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Abby Ixer’s Nutritious Food: Ditch The Diet And Go Back To Basics

Published on: 11 Jan, 2015
Updated on: 11 Jan, 2015

Abby Ixer is a registered dietician with a passion for food and nutrition. In this month’s feature she writes about the pros and con of dieting.

Dietician Abby Ixer.

Dietician Abby Ixer.

Dieting isn’t a new concept, but at this time of the year there appears to be an abundance of new (and old) diets claiming to be the ‘only diet you’ll ever need’.

Whether it’s juicing, detoxing or cutting out carbs, everyone is looking for a quick fix to undo the damage caused by overindulging at Christmas.

But what are the long term effects of these diets? Does the occasional spell of dieting do more harm than good? And do they actually work?

A feature of many diets includes restricting food groups and drastically limiting calorie intake.

Low calorie diets may lead to quick weight loss initially, but it is important to note that this will be primarily water and some muscle, not fat. It takes a lot of work and exercise to build up lost muscle, so can you imagine trying to hit the gym when you’re surviving on less than 800 calories a day?

Not an easy task and certainly not safe either. Such diets are so restricted and near impossible to maintain that dieters often give up and eating habits return to normal after a short time.

Consequently, the weight piles back on and dieters often end up weighing more than they did to start with, triggering the start of another diet.

Some evidence suggests that this process of yo-yo dieting may slow down our metabolism, making it easier to gain weight and more difficult to maintain a healthy weight in the long term.

Cutting back on food intake to the extent that many diets encourage may also lead to other issues, including iron and calcium deficiency, leading to low energy levels and potential problems with long term bone health.

So although some fad diets may seem like an appealing idea, it is clear that they are not always what they seem. They may help people lose weight temporarily, but they are not good for long term health.

Be a sceptic and don’t believe everything you read. There is no such thing as a healthy quick fix – good health comes from a balanced diet and healthy lifestyle. So ditch the diet and go back to basics!

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