Want to have a better body? Want to lose weight? Beware the fad diet that may be based more on marketing money and social media influencers’ tripe than on any reputable research. That’s not to say that all diets are a waste of time, since some changes to diet and lifestyle can definitely have measurable effects on one’s weight and health.
However, when it comes to making drastic adjustments to what you eat, it is probably better to be safe than sorry, and do at least a cursory review of the literature before beginning. This means wading through all of the social media hype to find peer-reviewed studies from either legitimate health institutes or else unbiased university studies. Alternatively, you can read articles like the one linked to in this week’s post.
The authors briefly introduce and summarise each of the latest trends in dieting, and examine the extent to which scientific research does or doesn’t support the claims of these diets’ advocates. This makes it much easier to dismiss some harmful or potentially fatal diets, such as the mono diet and the charcoal detox, whilst also perhaps adapting or adopting some of the beneficial habits or methods from the other diet plans.
Unfortunately, what the writers do not make clear enough is that the relationships between diet, exercise, weight, genetics and environment are very complex and not fully understood by nutritional science. Likewise, the most significant fact about a diet’s effectiveness that they only briefly allude to in the very last sentence of the article is that most diets fail, even when they have been shown to be effective in some controlled trials, because the majority of people are unable to maintain them.
While changes may have noticeable effects in the short term, not many people are disciplined enough to make the lifestyle adjustments necessary for diets or exercise plans to become permanent, usually reverting back to old habits in the long run. How about you? Can you rise to the challenge?