Fad diets – a recipe for disaster

With so much conflicting information out there, it’s easy to become confused about what we should and shouldn’t eat.

Becci Dunn, a senior dietitian at North Tees and Hartlepool NHS Foundation Trust explained: “One thing I would tell people is to stay away from fad diets.

“Fad diets offer a quick fix. Often you will be restricted from eating certain food groups, for example carbohydrates. This makes it difficult to maintain and can put your health at risk by cutting out nutrients, vitamins and minerals that your body needs. They can often leave you feeling hungry, with an urge to snack on unhealthy food during the day.

Fad diets don’t help you maintain healthy eating habits. You need to ask yourself – will you still have these eating habits in the next six to nine months? If not, it is likely that this is not going to be successful or healthy.”

People often blame certain foods for weight gain. At the moment, a lot of blame is being placed on sugar. However, it is not one food group that causes you to gain weight, it is anything in excess.

Becci continued: “Basically, if you take in too many calories than you need, you will put on weight. It is much more important to look at the bigger picture. I would recommend making permanent lifestyle changes, as the key to successful weight loss is consistency. You should reduce your total calorie intake while keeping you physical activity levels high. You should eat a balanced diet with protein to keep you feeling full, carbohydrates for energy and fresh fruit and vegetables. Simply eat healthy wholesome food in the right sized portions and limit refined foods, for example cakes and biscuits.

“Healthy eating doesn’t have to be expensive. Take a little time to plan meals and snacks so you’re less likely to go hungry and make an unhealthy choice. Freeze any leftovers to save you time and money another day or take leftovers to work for your lunch the next day.”

Don’t fall for the fad diets. Be prepared, be consistent and you will make the right decisions. Follow a healthy eating plan and take regular exercise and you’ll slowly get and maintain the results you want.

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