New Year, New Fad?

This blog is written by our clinicians and aims to keep patients informed with up to date information on medical conditions. The editor of the blog is Dr Cristina Romete.

Happy New Year to you all! I hope you have all signed up for that detox, teatox, 30-day body blitz, clean-eating, low-carb, high protein, high-intensity boot camp, weight loss meal plan! And I almost forgot the vow to go vegan for January ‘Veganuary’  being widely advertised at every given opportunity before that New Year, new you motivation dwindles! Well before you delve into your pockets to pay out for one of these ‘fads’, have a think about what you will do come February when the motivation for continuing with such a plan reduces or the plan completes?

It is all too easy to recommend a restrictive, calorie-controlled plan with the view of helping lose weight but the more complicated bit comes when the plan is finished. You rarely see an advert for helping you continuing with long-term changes post diet completion. Evidence indicates that most ‘diets’ or restrictive eating plans result in more weight gain prior to starting the diet 6 months after completion. Restrictive being the operative word. Such restriction can lead to a unhealthy relationship with food and a feeling of not knowing what to eat in social events.

The latest trend to hit the headlines is Veganuary- following a vegan diet for the month of January and possibly choosing to continue. The main issue with this is it sends out the wrong message first and foremost- you don’t need to restrict your eating by avoiding food groups in order to lose weight if that is your goal. Many people start January with the desire to lose weight and often start something they haven’t tried before in the hope it may work for them. In fact, removing both dairy and meat sources from your diet can lead to a restricted diet lacking in calcium, vitamin B12, omega 3 fats amongst other nutrients.

Veganuary appears to have sprung into the limelight out of nowhere. This in itself can lead to an imbalanced diet due to lack of time spent planning for such drastic changes to your eating. Following a vegan lifestyle in itself is not a bad or wrong choice. Eating more plant-based foods is something that should be encouraged to help meet fibre recommendations for example.  Many follow this and eat a balanced diet eating a variety of plant-based foods whilst also meeting their macro-and micronutrient intake. Eating a vegan diet can have health benefits but there isn’t sufficient evidence to show it improves your health.

Alongside following a vegan diet, you still need to implement exercise and focus on your own current eating behaviour in order to successfully improve your current habits. This is unfortunately where all ‘fad diets’ fall short. They simply don’t address factors that drive food choices. Following a 30-day meal plan or ‘fad diet’ simply does not change your habits of a lifetime like a magic wand. Addressing your eating behaviour can help facilitate long-term changes to improve both your health and waist-line.

For further information on how to improve your current eating habits, to lose weight safely or to simply improve your diet please contact Laura Court our Dietitian. If you are considering following a vegan diet please seek information from a dietitian.

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