Express News Service
The word ‘diet’ comes from the Greek word diata, which means ‘way of life’.
But today, when we use the word diet, we think of eating less or eating selectively, very often to lose weight.
What’s interesting about diets is that they come and go. The Atkins diet, Dukan diet, raw food diet and the alkaline diet have something in common.
They were all immensely popular in their time, but none stood the test of time. At best, some of them have been around for six or seven years, but none have been seen as viable ways to lose weight.
Each one, eventually, has paved the way for another diet that has sounded even more compelling and miraculous.
Even those who jump onto the trending diet bandwagon are hardly able to sustain the regimen for more than a couple of months.
This is because none of these diets are designed for sustainability or long-term health benefits, and don’t offer any more than quick fixes. Today, the Gluten-Free Diet (GFD) has a cult following, and gluten is blamed for just about every ailment, including autoimmune disorders, inflammation or weight gain.
The GFD, without a doubt, is the ideal prescription for Celiac Disease, NCGS (Non-Celiac Gluten Sensitivity) and wheat allergy. However, the rampant use of the GFD for weight loss has become a matter of concern.
The Harvard TH Chan Institute of Public Health clearly points out there is no evidence to support the weight-reducing virtues of a GFD. Yet, almost every other person I know gets taken in by anecdotal evidence and goes on to banish gluten from the menu.
What’s more worrisome is that gluten-free foods are assumed to be healthy which is why they tend to be consumed in larger quantities, leading to weight gain. Many of these GF foods are in fact highly processed, lacking in fibre and vitamins.
Like the GFD, the Ketogenic Diet was also designed to treat a medical condition – epilepsy in children that did not respond to medication.
This diet comprises of 70-80 per cent fat with moderate protein and small amount of carbohydrates. Many variants of the Keto diet have been used for medical purposes and have been of benefit.
The success of Keto diets in this condition led it to be tried for weight loss. In 2018-19, the Keto diet was immensely popular for weight loss.
I expect this trend to continue in the following year. However, an editorial in JAMA Internal Medicine (July 15, 2019), mentions that “enthusiasm outpaces evidence” when it comes to the Keto diet for obesity and diabetes.
An editorial in The Indian Journal of Medical Research (Sept 2018) reads, “these (diets) can increase morbidity and mortality in the long run”.
The low-carb era surged in popularity with the Atkin’s Diet (a low-carb, high-protein diet). This hugely popular diet was designed to make you lose weight, but did you know that its founder died of a heart attack? Would anyone want to lose weight at the risk of an unhealthy heart?
When it comes to weight loss, moderation and sustainability are the keywords. If a diet does any of the following, make note that it is a fad.
Promotes quick fix solutions like rapid weight loss.
Wants you to eat in excess aparticular food group.
Wants you to cut out a particularfood group.
Tries to sell specificproducts.
Cites only anecdotes and noscientific evidence.
2020 will yet again see its fairshare of trending diets. Bewarned, and stay healthy.