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THE LOWDOWN ON THE TOP FIVE DIETS

THE LOWDOWN ON THE TOP FIVE DIETS

There is no shortage of ideas for weight loss, especially at this time of year. Here are five of the most popular, and the verdict on the evidence to back them up.

1. INTERMITTENT FASTING

The idea here is to eat normally on some days, and to have a severely restricted calorie intake on others

If fast days make you ‘hangry’ with low blood sugar, you may want to think again about this. However with normal food intake and a balanced diet, many find that this really works.

The verdict - it works, if it works for you.

2. LOW CARB

We can all do with cutting down on the simple carbs, which means sugar.

Problems can arise when people read ‘low carb’ as also including complex carbs. Remember that not all carbs are created equal.

Keto diets are an extreme form of this. The theory is that the body is so low on carbs that it starts using fat as an energy source. The evidence is still subject to study.

The verdict – reducing your sugar intake is always a good idea.

3. CLEANSE AND DETOX

Juice fasts and herbal teas are said to be ways to remove toxins from your body, and to lose weight.

There is no scientific evidence for dietary detox or cleansing. A healthy body removes the waste products from food via the liver, gut and kidneys. Some herbs are toxic in overdose, so these diets can even be dangerous.

The verdict – forget it!

4. PALEO DIET

Reducing our intake of processed food can have some benefits. More fresh veg, plus leaner meat and fish simply cooked fills us up for fewer calories.

Paleo eating means ‘only what a caveman would find’. This means more meat, veg and fat but fewer dairy and grain-based products.

The evidence is limited but some swear by it.

The verdict – less processed food is good.

5. MEDITERRANEAN DIET

The concept of eating southern-Europe style has much in its favour. Enjoy seasonal fresh veg, olive oil, fish and herbs. There is evidence that eating this way is good for your heart as well as your waist.

The verdict – well worth a go.

The conclusion? Balance food intake with effort expended, eat a good variety of nutrients in sensible portions and don’t let food rule your life.

 

the author

Jessica Ambrose

Jessica is a fitness writer who loves long distance running, yoga, strength training and healthy eating.

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