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Flipside of Fad Diets

Flipside of Fad Diets

If skipping meals is a bad idea, then how about eating low carb meals? And if you are not the soup and salad type, then you could attempt the keto diet, it's the latest cool thing! Incase the thought of egg yellows and cream leave your lipid profiles soaring, try going high protein instead. Just remember that you can always do intermittent fasting and detox diets in between or with all the other permutation and combinations! Phew!

Knowing about the latest trends in the field of diet and exercise has never been simpler. With the popularity of social media, our favorite stars have graduated from being role models to 'influencers'. It has become even easier to peep into their daily food and exercise routine and replicate the diet trends they share.

The fear of food, desire for quick results, insecurities along with desperation to conform to the societal construct of beauty is often what makes people opt for fad diets at a drop of a hat.

What is a fad diet?

A fad diet is a stylish weight-loss plan that promises dramatic results. Typically, these diets promise 'quick fixes'. Many of these are highly restrictive, they highlight one nutrient and restrict or eliminate completely some food groups. Fad diets tend to appeal more to people's vanity than their desire to stay healthy.

Some of these diets had originated in reality to attend to a specific clinical condition. These served the clinical purpose of Nutrition Therapy of the medical disorder for the patients. However, these diets have now made their way into the lives of general population and people are so sold with the idea of diets that they don't understand where to draw the line.

Let's look at some of the popular fad diets that flood the market today and their health consequences.

Keto Diet

Keto diet is the latest big craze. It is essentially an extremely low carbohydrate diet, allowing nearly just 50 grams in a day and derives 80 per cent of the calorie consumption from fats. This low sugar level forces our body into a state of ketosis. Originally this diet was designed for the treatment of epileptic patients. In clinical routine during the execution of this regime, the health parameters of patients were closely monitored by doctors to rule out any side effects that a high fat diet could have on the liver and kidney.

Currently it's in vogue as a diet promising rapid weight loss. According to Harvard Medical Research, some studies show good evidence of a faster weight loss when patients go on a ketogenic or very low carbohydrate diet compared to participants on a more traditional low-fat diet. However this difference in weight loss seems to disappear over time.

In addition, there is even more controversy when it comes to cholesterol levels. Many trials have shown people begin to increase their cholesterol levels on a Keto diet, but we still await confirmations from long term trials.

Keto diet is not only hard to follow for life, its limiting in nature. Firstly, one cannot possibly stay without cereals like rice, chapati and the likes for life and when

you do bring them back on your plate you end up gaining all the weight back if not more.

GM Diet

GM diet is very popular for people aiming for quick weight loss as it promises a drop of about 6-7 kgs in a week! Before I even begin to talk about the perils of such drastic weight loss, let me first orient you to the eating pattern it proposes.

GM diet is more or less on lines of Mono Diets. This essentially means that it allows for only one kind of food group to be consumed for a period of time. In this case, it proposes fruits on a certain day, vegetables on another and meat and poultry separately. Not only is this unnatural, it creates an imbalance of nutrients in the body. Mono diets are known to cause hormonal imbalance. The high claims of weight loss are not really the fat loss that's desirable, but a temporary loss of water. The imbalanced diet leads to muscle loss which further lowers the metabolism in the long run. With limited intake of essential nutrients, GM diet may not be a wise choice.

Gluten Free Diet

Going gluten free is the latest trend that urbanites are engaging in. Gluten is a family of proteins found in grains like wheat, rye, barley and more. There is generally 8 grams of gluten in 100 grams of wheat. Gluten is responsible for the characteristic dough required to make breads, chapattis, pasta and other food items.

Today, many otherwise healthy individuals are giving up the traditional chappati, bread and other traditional and cultural preparations. These grains in their wholesome form are a great source of fiber, B vitamins and essential micro nutrients. They contribute towards the daily doze of prebiotics, which is imperative for good gut health and immunity. In addition to this there is absolutely no evidence that going gluten free will cause weight loss.

Blood Group Diet

This is based on the premise that each blood type represents genetic traits of our ancestors, including the diet they evolved to thrive on. Thus, it suggests that your blood type determines which foods are best for your health. It groups permitted foods under the four blood groups namely O, A, B and AB. The individual refers to the list of foods that are allowed to include in his/ her menu on a daily basis.

This diet is neither customised nor does it take into account the medical condition the individual might be suffering from

like Diabetes, Thyroid, deranged Lipid

Profile etc. Thus, this is too generic in nature, does not consider the eating habits, cultural background or food preferences of the individual. It can have negative consequences if followed without

aligning with the health condition of the individual.

O2 Diet

This diet plan focusses on the ORAC (oxygen radical absorbance capacity) scale. This is a score of the amount of anti -oxidants in a food. The higher the ORAC score, the higher it is in antioxidants. This diet claims that it not only reduces weight but is anti- aging and anti-inflammatory in nature. The plan revolves around fruits and vegetable-based dishes, green tea, vegetable juices and smoothies.

As is visible, this diet has an imbalance of nutrients. Since all the attention is on fruits and vegetable, food groups like grains, meat, milk get neglected. Excessive fiber in form of raw foods causes gastric issues like bloating, heart burn, indigestion and diarrhea. Also eating too many fruits could negatively impact the blood sugar and triglyceride levels in the body. Excessive fiber also hinders the absorption of micro nutrients like iron, zinc, magnesium causing deficiency.

The diet trends come and go. Health remains. Each one of us is unique. Our genetic predisposition, cultural background, food preferences, daily routine, and our gut microbiome expression is unique. Thus, we all differ from each other in terms of how our body receives, absorbs and assimilates food. One diet fits all approach is erroneous.

Madhavi K Sharma

Madhavi K Sharma

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