New year…new fad diets

I hope you’ve all had a lovely Christmas break. As I write this, I am still very much in that hazy, blissful state of purgatory between Christmas and New Year where days of the week have become utterly meaningless. However, I know that thoughts will soon turn to January, and with that, the inevitable deluge of resolutions. I don’t think there’s anything inherently wrong with this – a new year can be a new start, and it also presents us with the perfect opportunity to assess how things have gone over the past 12 months.

So, racked with post-festive gluttony guilt, many of us focus on our health when making these resolutions. For some, alcohol or smoking must go. For others, it’s the time to finally get that gym membership up and running. But for so many, diet is the easiest target. Again, there’s nothing wrong with this; there is no better time than right now to make positive changes to what you put in your mouth, day in day out.

However… we live in a sensationalist, media-dominated world where time is tight and patience practically non-existent. So, when a celebrity spouts some misinformed pseudo-science about their latest quick-fix diet, common sense goes out of the window and the public jumps on board!

Which brings us to the weird and wonderful world of fad diets. It would be funny if it wasn’t for the fact that people waste thousands of pounds and put their own health at risk on these rudderless journeys. My professional body, the British Dietetic Association, prides itself on naming and shaming the worst fad diets any given year.

I urge you all not to get swept up in the nonsense that you read in magazines and newspapers: if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is. The key to weight management, glucose control and overall good health is a sensible, sustained approach where no food groups are excluded unnecessarily, and regular exercise is taken.

Anything other than this can be not only unwise, but unsustainable, and most importantly, unsafe. So, don’t feel afraid to make positive changes and regain control in the new year, but use your common sense! If in doubt, seek out a Registered Dietitian.

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