Diet culture has always existed, but over the last several years the health and wellness industry has taken a turn to the extreme, pedalling flat tummy teas and restrictive eating plans which promise to help you achieve the body of your dreams while ultimately sacrificing a positive relationship with food. It’s important to note that some diets, such as minimizing your refined sugar consumption or prioritizing fruits, vegetables, and lean protein, are holistic life choices that enrich your eating plan rather than limit.
However, many diets now can actually have an adverse effect on your body, causing deficiencies and even wreaking havoc on your metabolism over time, making it more difficult to achieve sustained weight loss. If you’re working towards a healthier lifestyle and are considering implementing a new eating plan, there’s one diet that health experts warn could be creating an uphill battle.
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Fad diets have multiplied throughout the years as quick fixes for weight loss, and it’s eating plans such as cleanses and other restrictive detox diets which can cause the most harm to your body over time. This can include juice cleanses, intensive fasting, and even teas marketed as a meal replacement to target and flush belly fat. “Any diet which severely restricts your intake of certain foods is almost always a bad diet,” says certified nutritionist and fitness instructor, Carly James. Your body depends on a variety of nutrients in order to run smoothly and effectively lose weight, and limiting these essential nutrients can cause more harm than good, rendering weight loss pointless when you garner a whole slew of health issues from depriving yourself.
In diets such as juice cleanses and extreme deprivation such as the keto diet which prioritizes high fat, low carb foods, the issue is that your body will be missing out on the other nutrients needed to fuel healthy weight loss. James notes that fiber is one such nutrient which is often lacking in diets, and without enough fiber your digestive system will suffer. “Fiber tends to come from sources of complex carbs (think cereals, rice, pasta, potatoes, and wholegrain bread). In the short term, lack of fiber can lead to bloating, toilet difficulties, and general discomfort. In the long term, it can lead to a wide range of serious health issues,” she says.
Unfortunately, the nature of dieting is depriving yourself of certain food groups, so James notes that there’s really no particular diet which is actually good for your health in the long run. Instead, following a whole food eating plan that includes a variety of protein, fat, and carb sources is going to be a more sustainable and ultimately healthier way to achieve your goals. If you do feel the need to cut something out to keep yourself on track, refined sugar is one of the worst culprits in weight gain, so keeping this to a minimum will allow you to achieve the best results without eliminating your favorite foods or subsisting on juices and teas that only irritate the stomach and won’t create lasting changes. Weight loss is just as mental as it is physical, so changing your mindset to have a healthy view on food as fuel will make all the difference in a successful lifestyle change.
It may be frustrating to hear that you can’t lose weight overnight with a magic shake or tea, but slow and sustainable changes are the healthiest ways to preserve your metabolism and allow for weight loss that you don’t immediately gain back. Cleanses and detoxes have been marketed well for years, but avoiding falling for diets which ask you to cut out major food groups needlessly will ultimately allow you to live a healthier and more fulfilled life long term, creating an eating plan that focuses on moderation and is easier to stick to. We’ve long been told that dieting is the best way to lose weight, but there truly is no diet which will work for everyone to achieve the body of your dreams–only eating balanced meals to create a healthy calorie deficit will do that.