Ditching the diets
Starting the year with a weight loss goal? Rebecca Beattie explains why fad diets are not the answer.
As many as 35% of people reported trying to lose weight last year according to the Healthy Ireland Survey 2021. It is tempting to opt for one of the highly publicised "fad" diets, as they promise quick results. However, while these diets may lead to initial weight loss, they aren't sustainable and can have a negative impact on your health. This may make you feel disheartened and like you can never lose weight and so the cycle repeats.
Some diets promote the avoidance of whole food groups. For example, the paleo diet involves only eating foods found in their natural form, this cuts out dairy. This means missing out on an important source of calcium. Not getting enough calcium can lead to weakened bones and osteoporosis.
The Whole 30 diet, like the Paleo, diet cuts out many food groups including dairy, grains and added sugars. Cutting out essential food groups is not a healthy diet. Excluding grains can leave you feeling hungrier between meals. This diet is deficient in important nutrients such as iron, B vitamins, copper, zinc, and magnesium.
Some diets promote rapid weight loss through severe calorie restriction. This is not sustainable and can lower your metabolism, cause fatigue, reduce immunity.
Weight loss or detox teas are not recommended. Many are essentially a laxative which can lead to dehydration, fatigue and dizziness.
So, what steps should you take to be a healthier you this year? It is important to follow a diet that you will be able to maintain all year long and allows you to get all the nutrients and vitamins you need to have a happy and healthy 2022.
- Eat plenty of vegetables and fruit - aim to eat five or more portions a day.
- Eat some dairy or dairy alternative products. Choose lower fat options and consume milk and yoghurts more often than cheese as cheese is higher in fat.
- Include cereals, breads, potatoes, pasta and rice. Try to choose high fibre and wholemeal options like brown rice over white rice.
- Have some beans, pulses, fish, eggs and meat. Choose lean options and include fish at least twice a week.
You can lose weight by making small changes to your diet and lifestyle. It is best to lose weight gradually, this can be achieved by eating fewer calories than you normally eat each day and being more active.
First use our BMI calculator to see if you should consider losing weight.