New Year has come, which inevitably means we are not getting any younger. Perhaps to compensate that, we are being bombarded by diet tips, fitness and personal coach promotions from all sides. Summer is still far enough, so one could get the impression there is enough time to – after all these years – fulfill the New Years’ resolution and lose weight. Browsing on the internet, one can get lost among all those reliable ways to burn fat and get fitter.
Some of those „diets that actually work“ have no meaningful scientific background.
Quick diets strive to make you lose as much weight as possible within the shortest possible time. Obese people up to 6 kilos per week. And what does our body say to such a rush? These diets are based on an exremely low calories intake. What happens first is that the body consumes its reserves of glycogen, which binds water. So that one loses water, but is happy to have lost weight. After 3-5 days the body switches to a by-thousands-years-well-tested mode: hunger mode. At first, the body needs to get rid of anything which is, in fact, quite useless and only consumes energy: the musles }those built in that fitness studio promoted last year). So one is happy to have lost weight again, but it was the hard built up muscles. And because the body is smarter than we think, it makes anything to survive the hunger period. It slows down the metabolism to the slowest possible mode. And immediately starts saving any extra energy. Slow metabolism: what a brilliant function during war times! However, it is nothing we need in central Europe today (good so!). Once we get bored of the diet and get back to the food before, each unused calorie is stored in the form of fat. For upcoming bad times again. This is called „yo-yo efect“ and it is nothing you want.
Blood type diet recommends eating according to your blood type a lot of certain foods and reduce other ones. This looks reasonable at the first sight. But: it has actually never been proven that your blood type has any effect on digestion of various nutrients. What’s more, for some blood types too much protein is recommended, whereas for other ones by far too litle. Therefore we cannot talk about a balanced diet at all. Most probably, you will be missing/having in excess some vitamins, minerals, fiber or protein.
Food-combining diets stipulate that one eats separately protein (e.g. meat) from carbs (e.g. potatoes or rice). They promise „losing weight while eating as much as you can“. The basic theory of these diets is that the body is unable to digest protein and carbs at the same time. If that happens, so the theory, these nutrients tend to rot in the guts. The first issue of this theory is that a strict separation of protein and carbs is impossible as some recommended foods contain protein as well as carbs. Another matter is that the human body is indeed able to release the digestion enzymes at the same time. Which means that the simultaneous digestion of both protein and carbs is no problem. Therefore a conclusion: it is completely useless to eat protein and carbs separately.
The famous Fit-For-Life diet allows to eat only in between 12:00 and 20:00 pm and recommends such a food composition, which would correspond to the human body: 70% water. It suggests raw veggies and fruits, especially on an empty stomach. Well, note the fact that the diet does not provide you with enough nutrients but with heartburn.
The Hollywood Diet says that carbohydrates should only come from exotic fruits. Why? Because they contain enyzmes which actively prevent storing fat. What a pity these enzymes are deactivated immediately after entering the stomach. And therefore are unable to impact fat storage at all. Exotic fruits will do no harm to you but as for the fat, it will be completely meaningless.
Potatoes and rice diets. Apart the fact that you will have potatoes or rice nightmares at night, the diet is full of carbs. So if you have problems with high insuline, which will jump up to the sky after you load yourself with a lot of potatoes or rice, you will make your body no favor.
The right implementation of the famous Atkinson Diet shows very good results. This diet has several phases which are to be followed. In the first phase one should eat very little carbs and a lot of animal protein. By doing so, the body switches to ketones (ketones are a good source of energy – more about it perhaps next time). The other phases are based on vegetables. What a shame that the vast majority of dieters never reach the second phase! These are those people proudly posting fried pork with mayonnaise and chips on Instagram with an Atkinson diet hashtag.
The list of diets is endless. So which one should we choose for 2019? NONE.
Because being on a long term diet is only about exhausting your own stamina. Which is proven to be limited – the same as any other source. There will be one day when there is none left. And on that day the vicious circle will re-start: cheat day – disappointment – some donuts and chocolate – kilos are back, accompanied by some buddies – frustration – next diet attempt or resignation.
The only way to lose weight in a sustainable way and to improve health is via changing lifestyle.
If you like following any nutrition philosophies such as paleo, low carb, veganism, vegetarianism, keto, TCM, ayurveda… try it out! With the only exception: the macrobiotics according to its founder Oshawa. You would risk following those who died of it.
Or, you can also ignore all these modern nutrition styles and eat mostly those foods, which they all have in common.
Even if it seems that their followers do hate each other, these nutrition styles do have something in common: they are all based on vegetables (what a surprise!) and on high quality food coming from your region. Because this is natural for our body. And the second surprise at the very end: none of these nutrition philosophies will ever recommend industrially produced foods, white flour, refined oil, sugar or conservants, colourants or a microwave.
Having said that, I wish you to be and eat SMART in 2019. And with no diets!