- Juice detox diets were popular this decade
- Intermittent fasting and keto diet did rounds in the world of weight loss
- Gluten-free diets caught the fancy of many weight watchers
Health 2019: Dieting has become synonymous with fad diets. Following a diet has become similar to fashion, with trends changing every year. Practitioners across the globe keep coming up with something 'new' every now and then; mostly promising to help you shed weight magically. Most of the fad diets promise quick weight loss (often without any emphasis on lifestyle changes and regular exercises) but have more to their flipside. Also, mostly these are not sustainable. Thanks to the internet, the fad diet trends easily go viral very quickly. Let's that a look at some of the diet trends of the last decade.
Decade-end special: Diet trends that gained immense popularity in the past decade
1. Juice cleanse/ Juice detox diets
These diets involve consuming only juices of fruits and vegetables and claim to detoxify the body. These diets are typically very low in protein and can lead to temporary weight loss in the form of muscle loss. These are not sustainable and are accompanied by increased risk of infections and diarrhoea. Also, these diets are not suitable for certain conditions like diabetes, kidney diseases, pregnancy etc.
2. Atkins diet or Low-carb diets
This high-protein, low-carb diet is a favourite with weight watchers as it produces easy weight loss in a lot of people; also the protein keeps you satiated. Atkins diet is not new; it dates back to the 1960s. Most fad diets quickly lose popularity but Atkins seems to remain popular. It can produce side effects like headache, dizziness, constipation due to low carbohydrate content. It is also not suitable for certain conditions like kidney stones, kidney disorders etc. Usually such diets are predominantly animal food based and high in cholesterol.
3. Paleo diet
A paleo diet is a cavemen's diet, typically consists of lean meat, fish, fruits, vegetables, nuts and seeds, food in ancient times collected by hunting & gathering. Though it helps cut out processed food, it also omits important food groups like beans, legumes and grains.
4. Gluten-free diet
This diet has caught the fancy of many weight watchers. People have started believing that going gluten free is the one-stop solution to all their health problems. My take is you must avoid gluten only if you genuinely are sensitive or allergic to gluten. One of the side effects of going gluten free can be constipation since such diets are typically low in fibre. Though, if well planned, gluten free diets can be balanced and nutritious.
Also read: Should You Try Gluten-Free Diet Or Not?
5. Vegan diet
Vegan diet can be considered extreme simply because these exclude a number of food groups, some of which are actually healthy. A vegan diet excludes any food items which come from animal sources like dairy, eggs, poultry, fish, and meats. It includes fruits, vegetables, beans, legumes, nuts, seeds and grains all of which are healthy but still doesn't exclude some highly processed foods items. Also, vegans run a risk of nutritional deficiencies as these diets are typically low in Vitamin B12 & Vitamin D.
6. Ketogenic diets
These diets considered to be a quick way to lose weight, have many short term and long term side effects. Short term side effects include excessive thirst, frequent urination, confusion, anxiety, tachycardia, shakiness, headaches and constipation. The long term side effects include higher cholesterol levels, kidney stones, increased risk of bone fractures and stunted growth in children.
7. Intermittent fasting
This is one of the trendiest diets at the moment but not without its share of side effects. The starvation in the morning can eventually slow down metabolism, the long gaps can create an acidic environment which makes the body susceptible to many health problems. You may also feel lethargic, irritable, dehydrated and blood glucose levels can drop too. Though there are lots of people including some famous ones who swear by it and are raving about the transformation it has brought into their lives, yet it doesn't suit everyone.
To sum it up, no fad diet can beat the benefits of our traditional balanced meals which have been curated to provide balanced and adequate nutrition. Not all fad diets need be written off completely. Some of them can be used carefully on a short-term or long-term basis but remember, 'one size doesn't fit all. It's extremely important to listen to your body and be guided by biological cues. Diet plans need to be individualised to meet each individual's needs.
(Pooja Malhotra is a nutritionist based in Delhi)
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