2017 was the year of dieting and healthy eating claims. The internet and social media – even actual businesses – were bombarding consumers with messages on how to feel and look healthy since not being fit was the equivalent of not being stylish or trendy. To join the craze, many companies and influencers started delivering promises of healthy and fit bodies through some unrealistic, harmful diet regimens. Below are a few of the worst diets that were very popular in 2017, but need to disappear in 2018.
1. Ketogenic diet
Super hot in 2017, the ketogenic diet consists of 75% fats, 20% protein, and only 5% carbohydrates. The metabolic goal is to utilize the fats as energy (and ketones, one of their biochemical byproducts) instead of glycogen (stored glucose or blood sugar). After about four days of inadequate carbohydrate for fuel, the body shifts to a state of ‘ketosis’ (burning fat instead of stored glucose) which can be verified through a simple blood or urine test. Weight loss will occur on a ketogenic diet, but it’s not sustainable. Further, multiple nutrient deficiencies (notably fiber, vitamins and minerals) exist on the keto diet and the scientific research just isn’t there yet. Ketogenic diets can be used for some medical conditions such as epilepsy but for long-term weight management, this type of diet can’t even be tweaked to be healthy.
2. Paleo Diet
I don’t really know how this diet was still going strong in 2017! The emphasis on meat and avoidance of grains and legumes is unsustainable for the health of people and the planet. Paleo diets encourage the high intake of red meats and animal proteins and the elimination of dairy, grains, legumes and many fruits. Naturally low in calories and carbohydrates, the diet will help with weight loss but there are potential health consequences like fatigue, headache, constipation, mood swings and increased risk of heart disease and certain cancers. It’s time to set paleo aside and embrace healthy foods from all food groups.
3. Clean Eating
‘Clean eating’ gets millions of results on Google, but does this mean that some foods are dirty or unhygienic? Although clean eating began with good intentions – focusing on whole foods, cooking at home and reading food labels – it has evolved into a fixation with perfection. Part of the problem is that the definition of ‘clean eating’ varies widely. If the goal is back to basics and whole foods, then that’s worthwhile, but some clean eating followers take it further and avoid any packaged foods or ingredients they are not familiar with. Perhaps most problematic, clean eating evokes a sense of fear and obsession. Focusing on fruits, vegetables, whole grains, legumes, nuts and healthy fats rounds out a healthier perspective on eating. It’s time to stop believing these popular food myths.
4. Gluten free diet
Certainly, a gluten free diet is appropriate for people with celiac disease, but otherwise, it’s not necessary. Gluten is a protein naturally found in wheat, barley, rye and some food additives. Eliminating it from your diet doesn’t automatically reduce calories and induce weight loss because those calories are typically replaced by other gluten-free foods. Some gluten-free foods contain more calories than their gluten-full counterparts. In fact, true gluten-free diets need to be monitored with dietitians as they can be deficient in nutrients (many B vitamins, fiber and iron). While it’s not a bad idea to steer clear of refined carbohydrates that contain gluten (think cookies, doughnuts and pastries), it’s unhealthy to avoid high fiber carbs that contain gluten (such as whole grain breads and cereals). In addition to that, up to date, scientific data does not support gluten-free diets as a treatment of obesity.
5. Apple cider vinegar
Popular websites claim apple cider vinegar cures every health issue you can imagine – from obesity to arthritis to chronic fatigue to acne to influenza, and so the list goes on. Claims of apple cider vinegar breaking down fat tissue abound on the internet. Ingesting a spoonful of apple cider vinegar is unlikely to cause any harm, but your gastrointestinal tract isn’t where your fat tissue is stored, so dissolving it doesn’t make sense. One of the few published scientific studies related to apple cider vinegar and weight reduction included twenty-two other herbal supplements, making it impossible to determine which contributed to the moderate weight loss (3.5 kg) seen among healthy volunteers. Apple cider vinegar is a healthy additive to your salads or meals, but it will not cause you to lose more weight so consume it for its health benefits and not for the obesity-fighting fake promises.
Finally, healthy weight is a long-term journey that does not tolerate shortcuts; the success of your diet is measured by sustainable weight loss in terms of time. This should be at least a year and unfortunately, following any of the trends above will cause you to regain your lost weight in a very short period of time, meaning all your time and efforts were in vain.< Back