Revealed: Diets to Avoid and Those to Follow!
DHA-licensed clinical dietician and founder of Simply Healthy Foods Mitun De Sarkar breaks it down for you
Go to any gathering and the conversations are most likely to end up about food and dieting. “I am on a diet”, “So what’s your diet these days?” “What are you eating, what are you avoiding?” … sentences like these pepper our chats regularly.
However, the fact is that diets should not be advised by ill-informed people. If you don’t follow the right one for your body, chances of your food habits boomeranging on you is huge. Often you find that despite practising a certain diet, you have no change in your body and the reason is simple: failure is certain when you jump into temporary, unsustainable and difficult diets. For instance, if you are asked to cut out a whole food group, you are bound to slip and go crawling back to your old ways, oscillating between weight gain and loss.
For good health, remember this basic rule: Stop going to any extent in the name of diet. Starving is not dieting. Eat well by picking the choicest ingredients. That is the real definition of dieting.
In my practice, I have come across many clients who have followed some of the worst diets ever. How you can put your body through such suffering, is beyond my understanding. Here are five bizarre diets you should NEVER try. Read and be informed!
DIETS TO AVOID
THE CABBAGE SOUP DIET
This diet makes you drink plain cabbage soup for seven days at a stretch in each and every meal. Yes, cabbage and vegetables are healthy for you but why should you deny yourself healthy proteins and fats from other fruits and vegetables? This diet helps you lose weight but you will gain it back as soon as you stop it. Not to mention the nutritional deficiencies that occur!
THE GRAPEFRUIT DIET
Once I met a client who approached me after gaining copious amounts of weight, going on a grapefruit diet. She wondered how it happened. The funny part is since she couldn’t gulp the sour grapefruit, she bought grapefruit juice from the supermarket and guzzled the sugary juice in gallons to lose weight. She hated it so much after a while that she can’t even hear the word ‘grape’ anymore.
VLCD Liquid Diets (VERY LOW CALORIE DIET)
There are loads of these diets available. But I fail to understand how having three shakes a day is acceptable as a diet! In this diet, you essentially drink chemical filled processed drinks twice a day along with processed soup in a packet or some processed bar. Simply put, you are basically drinking chemicals and artificial sweeteners daily for months. Of course, you will lose weight, but you also lose hair, sleep, and your mind.
SPECIAL K DIET
Yes, you read it right. After the TV commercial with a famous actress and the so-called challenge to get slim within a month, I met many ladies who claimed they tried it. This is a diet whereby you replace three meals a day with Special K cereal. It’s quick and easy, and requires no planning. But seriously why would you eat processed cereal day in and day out for a month? Plus you are missing out on fresh produce and healthy proteins, leading to nutritional deficiencies.
HIGH FAT DIET
This diet has become very popular of late. It is all about consuming 70 per cent fats, 25 per cent protein and only 5 per cent carbs! Unbelievable isn’t it? Here is how it works: The body reaches a metabolic state in which it uses fat instead of glycogen, the form in which carbohydrates are stored in the body as the primary source of energy. This, in turn, creates weight loss. This diet should never be followed just by reading about it on the internet. It needs medical or dietitian supervision. Excess intake of fat can lead to unhealthy alteration of blood lipid parameters and comes along with hair-loss, fatigue and muscle wastage.
DIETS TO FOLLOW
In my 15 years of experience, I have learnt that all forms of restrictive diets only results in a short-term weight loss. The body expels water to adjust to the ‘shock’, but the results are temporary. The lost weight is usually regained – with interest – as soon as one goes off it, since the body tries to latch on to all the nutrients it was deprived of during the diet. So what are the good diets?
The best diets are the ones that are easy to follow, nutritious, safe, gives slow and steady weight loss, prevents diabetes, heart diseases, cancer and memory loss. Here are a few...
DASH DIET (Dietary Approaches to stop Hypertension )
In the medical field, the DASH diet has always been on top. It has been recommended by all dietitians and doctors even if you don’t have hypertension.
This diet is low on salt, lots of fresh produce with vegetables, fruits, whole grains and lean protein. This enables emphasis on nutrients like potassium, calcium, protein and fiber and shuns high calorie, high fat, sugar laden processed food. Most importantly, it cuts back on salt. You are allowed to cap your salt at 2300 mg of sodium (1tsp of salt) the whole day. It not only supports your weight loss but also offers satiety.
This is another diet that has been applauded for many years by doctors and dietitians for great cardiovascular health and steady weight loss.
It emphasises on eating fruits, veggies, whole grains, beans, nuts, legumes, olive oil and flavorful herbs and spices, fish and seafood at least a couple of times a week; and poultry, eggs, cheese and yogurt in moderation, while saving sweets and red meat for special occasions. Top it off with a splash of red grape if you drink and of course remember to stay physically active and you’re set.
MIND DIET (Mediterranean DASH Intervention for Neurodegenerative Delay Diet )
Just like the name suggests, MIND diet is best to continue until old age to lower your risk of mind and mental decline. It’s a combination of Dash and Mediterranean diet and the emphasis is on picking 10 brain healthy vegetables, nuts, berries, beans, whole grains, fish, poultry, olive oil. Strictly avoid foods from the five unhealthy groups: all red meats, all saturated fats like butter, margarine, cheese, pastries and sweets and fast food.
THE 5 FACTOR DIET
One of those celebrity diets that made sense to me was the five factor diet. Each and every meal should include protein, complex carbs, fiber, fat and fluids. Dieters eat four to five small meals a day and every meal includes recipes with not more than five ingredients per meal. Simple, effective and easy to follow. But still it’s wise to consult your dietitian if you are diabetic or have any pre-existing medical condition
This is my most favourite diet. I am a strong believer that if our body is healed and cells are healthy, you can slow the process of aging and reverse degeneration. Chronic inflammation is the root cause of all illness. It is caused by stress, lack of exercise and sleep, inhalation of toxins and excessive medication.
This diet includes fresh fruits and vegetables, followed by whole grains, legumes comprising 40 per cent of the calories. This is teamed with healthy fats like extra virgin olive oil, nuts, seeds, and avocadoes. Also included are, seafood, Omega 3 eggs, low fat cheese and unlimited spices.