From intermittent fasting to ketogenic, low fat and paleo, we are constantly being bombarded with the latest promise to your healthiest, fittest or skinniest self yet, but are fad diets all that they promise?
Here at JAR, we strongly believe there is nothing that can top a healthy, balanced diet. Although it may be tempting to take up a fad diet post silly season to lose a few kilograms, it’s important to look at the bigger picture and assess how sustainable these diets are to achieving long-term success and the real impact that they can have on your mental and physical well-being.
Let’s look at intermittent fasting for example, a seemingly new fad that sees users restricting the window in which they consume calories. The time frames for restriction can vary anywhere from 16 hours to 3 days, however, no matter the time frame, the basic principles are the same, outside of your selected window, no calories are to be consumed.
The problem here? Other than the fact that this way of eating simply may not suit the lifestyle of many people, studies have shown that depriving yourself of food for extended periods of time can lead to a concerning imbalance of hormones. This includes increasing levels of cortisol, otherwise known as the stress hormone and imbalances between oestrogen and progesterone which can cause missed periods and even fertility problems in females.
Cutting Out Entire Food Groups
Then we have our other fad diets that cut out entire food groups altogether, mainly being focused around carbohydrates or fats. What a lot of people who try these diets don’t realise is that these macronutrients are essential for so many functions within the body including vitamin absorption, regulating hormones and optimising brain function and going without them for periods of time can cause serious long-term health issues.
Mental Health Issues Around Dieting
Besides the physical effects that dieting can have on your body, there are also an array of factors that can influence your mental state. This includes anti-social behaviour that typically comes with dieting around periods of celebration where food is at the center as well as the added mental pressure that comes with constantly antagonizing over certain foods, nutrients and eating windows.
There are so many more benefits to implementing long term, sustainable diet that includes a variety of whole foods so let’s ditch the fad diets and focus on health and happiness this new year!