With January well and truly in full swing, how are all those resolutions bearing up? Still eating healthily, hitting the gym and sticking to your Dryanuary pledge? Well, I must confess that I have unashamedly fallen off the wagon and as I type am enjoying every mouthful of my pain au chocolate and full fat latte.
Next Monday, 19th January 2015, has ominously been titled ‘Blue Monday’. Devised in 2005 by the psychologist, Cliff Arnall, it is thought to be the most depressing day of the year based on factors which include, weather conditions, time since Christmas, debt and the general consensus that we don’t like Mondays as it means the end of the weekend and the return to work. It is also the day that we are most likely to give up on our resolutions.
With so many new diets and fitness DVDs available at this time of year around, particularly those endorsed by celebrities, it’s difficult to know which ones will work best for you.
So, with that in mind and knowing that we all need a bit of motivation to keep us going we have taken a look at some of the new diet trends that are hitting the headlines.
Ok, so let’s start with a really gross sounding one:
Also known as Urotherapy, it is basically the act of drinking one’s own urine for medical wellbeing. It is claimed that the urea element of urine can help reduce the risk of some cancers. Although, it will not aid weight loss, it is believed that it can boost energy levels, which in turn may motivate you to do more exercise and eat more healthily. Urine consists of 95% water and the remaining 5% is made up various nutrients, which include various vitamins, minerals, proteins, antibodies and other beneficial ingredients. It is, however, a bodily waste product and I for one will not be replacing my morning coffee with a glass of my wee, not matter how good it is for my health! Bear Grylls famously drank his own urine for his TV show, but we are talking extreme survival measures. Another celebrity who claims to have benefited from the healing powers of urine is Madonna. Although, she doesn’t drink it she has famously claimed that she urinates on her feet to help cure Athlete’s Foot. Think we’ll give this particular diet a miss thank you very much.
Sugar Free Diet
It seems you can’t go anywhere these days without hearing or reading about how sugar has become our worst enemy. Thought to be as bad for us as smoking and drinking alcohol, sugar is the nations new addiction. As the name suggests, this diet involves cutting all types of sugar, including some carbohydrates, from your diet and replacing it with wholesome, natural foods. Celebrities such as Tom Hanks and Alec Baldwin have reportedly followed this diet and more and more are jumping onto the bandwagon. Davina McCall has recently published her book ‘Davina’s Five Weeks to Sugar Free’ and charts her own journey to omit sugar from her diet along with simple, healthy recipes for the whole family. We could probably all do with reducing the amount of sugar that we consume. Simple changes to our snacking habits alone would help with this, but it is those hidden sugars in foods that are proving to be the most problematic. Food labeling is generally good, if you bother to take the time to read them, however sugar can come under many different guises and will appear in the most unsuspecting products. By reducing the amount of sugar in your diet you will without doubt lose weight. Try not to add sugar to your food, e.g in drinks or on breakfast cereal, and consider only having puddings at the weekend or as a treat for when you go out to a restaurant. If you were to go completely cold turkey on sugar and treat it as the drug that it is rapidly getting a reputation for, then it would mean also cutting out foods such as fruit (this contains the naturally forming sugar, fructose), some dairy products and even some vegetables, which surely cannot be a good thing. As with all good diets, think everything in moderation. This diet is certainly one of the less wacky plans out there and I can certainly see how this would be of great benefit to my health, unfortunately I simply enjoy cake too much!
Also referred to as the Caveman diet, Stone Age diet or Paleolithic diet, this plan advocates only eating food that our Neanderthal ancestors would have consumed. Foods such as meat, fruit, nuts, seeds, vegetables are all acceptable, whereas dairy products, grains, sugar, legumes, processed oils, salt, alcohol and coffee are all excluded. The benefits of eating a diet like this one is that by eating less processed foods your calorie consumption will be that much lower and consequently you will lose weight. However, experts argue by omitting essential food groups, particularly dairy, you could be at risk of endangering your bone health due to the lack of calcium. With an increased intake of one of its core food groups, meat, comes a greater risk of heart disease and it also goes against all current advice on the levels of meat consumption that is considered part of a healthy diet. Miley Cyrus, Matthew McConaughey and Jack Osbourne are all reportedly advocates of this particular diet. Osbourne turned to the Paleo diet when he was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis. The autoimmune disease attacks the central nervous system and has no known cure, which is why Osbourne explains, ‘at it’s core, I look at MS as inflammation, so I try and eliminate foods that cause inflammation; dairy, gluten and grains’. This diet is a pretty hardcore routine and certainly not for the faint hearted. It may be beneficial in the short term but the lack of certain key groups of food must surely outweigh any longterm health benefits. There is a reason why our prehistoric ancestors has bad postures and were so hairy, thank goodness for evolution!
Standing for vegan before 6, it does exactly as the name suggests – eat vegan before 6pm and then after that time no food is off limits. Popular with celebrities, such as Beyonce and Dita Von Teese, it certainly helps increase your intake of plant based foods like beans, pulses, wholegrains, nuts and of course fruit and vegetables. But, like many other diets, there is the risk of not getting enough from just these things and you could be missing out on crucial nutrients. There is also a huge risk that 6pm comes around and suddenly you want to binge eat everything in sight and this is most likely going to be food which is high in calories, saturated fat and packed with salt and sugar. You’ve got to be pretty strong willed not to give into this temptation and dare I say it, you might even go so far as to actually put weight on with this diet. Ultimately, it doesn’t matter what types of food you eat at certain times of the day. What does matter is that you get a balanced mixture of all of the food groups in the right proportions.
The Clay Cleanse Diet
First things first, DO NOT TRY THIS AT HOME! Only in the wacky world of celebrity would you find a diet that claims eating a spoon of clay a day will remove toxins and negative isotopes from the body and will help you both detox and stay in shape. Reportedly followed by Zoe Kravitz, the Food Standards Agency have since issued a warning after clay based food products were found to contain high levels of lead and arsenic and they ‘remind consumers, especially pregnant women, about the dangers of ingesting clay, clay-based detox drinks and supplements’.
Still proving popular, this diet is based on the principle known as intermittent fasting. Basically, you are allowed to eat as you normally would on 5 days of the week, but on the 2 remaining days you must restrict your calorie intake to just 500 calories. By following this plan it is believed that not only will you lose weight, but it can also help increase lifespan, brain function and protect against such conditions as dementia and Alzheimers. Although, this diet seems pretty achievable, after all surely it must be easy to only have to stick to a diet for 2 days of the week right, but you have to be pretty strict with yourself on the other 5 days. It is not going to work if you see those 5 days as an eat anything, free for all, you must still make healthy choices and be physically active. One of the big disadvantages of this diet is that on your fasting days, you are likely to feel dizzy, irritable, suffer from headaches and you may find it harder to concentrate which can impact on your daily routine. Other reported side effects have included disruption to normal sleep patterns, bad breath and dehydration. There are also other variations on this diet, which include the 4:3 diet; a similar method of fasting but this one advocates fasting on alternating days, and the 80/20 diet; eat healthily 80% of the time and then relax your diet for the remaining 20%.
Green Coffee Diet
Another faddy diet of the moment, the idea behind it being that unroasted coffee beans (green coffee) are high in chlorogenic acid, which is believed to help shed fat, lower blood pressure and regulates the body’s blood sugar levels and metabolism . Popular with Hollywood celebrities, such as Demi Moore and Katy Perry, there has been no evidence to support that this helps weight loss. Arguably, if you are filling yourself up on coffee, you are likely to be eating less and your calorie consumption will be lower, but it is certainly not a great diet to choose.
The theory behind this diet is that our modern diets cause our body to produce too much acid and that excess acid is turned into fat in our bodies. Therefore, by reducing our intake of high acid foods and sticking to those that are high in alkaline, it should help with weight loss. With celebrity fans including Gwyneth Paltrow, Jennifer Aniston and Victoria Beckham, banned foods include meat, wheat and other grains, refined sugar, dairy products, caffeine, alcohol and processed foods. So what does that exactly leave that we can eat? Fruit and vegetables of course, oh and nuts and seeds, sounds exciting doesn’t it! With such restrictions on food, this diet will of course see you lose weight, it would be impossible not to, but there is no evidence that this diet is of great benefit to out health and it certainly can’t be a good thing that so many key nutrients will be missing.
So, there you have it, the top diets of 2015 that all the celebrities are trying. I don’t know about you but after hearing about all those, I’m starting to think that maybe what I eat isn’t so bad after all. A spokesperson from the British Dietetic Association (BDA) tells us ‘quite often fad diets we come across come at a price. Firstly, there can often be a cost to your health if you follow these diets over a period of time and secondly, there are often accompanying books, products, paid-for-memberships or online services that can quickly add up. The truth is, if something sounds too good to be true, it probably is’. The only true diet that can be beneficial to your health and is one that you can stick to for life is one that includes all of the key food groups in the right proportion, combined with physical exercise. Nothing is truer than the saying ‘everything in moderation’