How to spot a dodgy weight loss diet
A fad weight loss diet is any diet that promises fast weight loss without a scientific basis. These diets often eliminate entire food groups and as a result do not provide a wide range of important nutrients.
Fad diets may provide short-term results but they are difficult to sustain and can cause serious health problems. The best approach to weight loss is to follow a long-term, healthy and balanced eating plan and to exercise regularly.
Weight loss and fad diets
Fad diets often lead to fast weight loss at first. But most of this weight loss is water and lean muscle, rather than fat.
When we eat very little, our body begins to break down muscle to meet energy (kilojoule) needs. Unfortunately, this occurs much more easily than the breakdown of fat stores.
Breaking down muscle leads to:
- Water loss, making it seem like you’re losing weight quickly
- A reduced metabolic rate, so when the diet is stopped, it is much easier for the body to gain fat than it was prior to going on the diet.
As a result, over time, people can diet themselves fatter.
Fad diets often encourage a short-term change in eating behaviour, rather than encouraging long-term, sustainable changes. It is essential that any diet meets nutritional needs, is practical and suitable for individual lifestyles.
Regular physical activity is important for those wanting to lose weight to help maintain muscle mass.