The recent death of actress Mishti Mukherjee in Bengaluru has put the focus back on diet fads, sparking a debate over the effect of their prolonged dependency on our body. While some diets assure quick results, there are those which when continued for a long period of time may pose serious health risks.
Different people need different diet charts
According to internal medicine consultant Dr Ambanna Gowda, there is no common diet plan that can benefit everyone. “Women, in particular, should customise their diet chart keeping in mind their own individual lifestyle. For instance, the diet plan for a homemaker will be different from that of a woman who goes to office, mainly because their eating habits and BMI are all different,” she says, adding, “Everyone’s body and metabolism rate are different. And a suitable diet plan can be chalked out only after doing some basic tests and consulting a nutritionist or general physician.”
Avoid diet plans that promise quick results
Fad diets, clinical dietician Dr Priyanka Rohatgi says, are short lived. “One must find out what works for his or her body before starting to follow a diet. Some promise a quick fix, which, of course, is difficult to attain. It would be wise to avoid ‘magic’ food or combinations of different food, as well as statements that imply that a particular food can change your body chemistry. Also, any diet plans that exclude or severely restrict food groups or nutrients, such as carbohydrates, should be kept away. Diets that impose rigid rules to focus only on weight loss may be harmful. Some examples are ketogenic diet, paleolithic diet, general motor, Atkins and HCG diet.”
Intermittent fasting is best avoided, says doctor
Of late, many people seem to be taking interest in intermittent fasting. Health experts, however, advise against it. Dr Priyanka says, “If at all someone is opting for intermittent fasting, he or she needs to follow it under supervision only for a month or two. A recent study pointed out that around 150 healthy adults had lost weight after following this regime, but they also ended up with muscle loss, which is unhealthy as it compromises the immunity and general health of a person.”
Fad diets and the risks involved
Celebrities around the world have tried fad diets, and some have even faced criticism for promoting the same without properly learning about the ill effects of such diets. Here’s a look at some of the most popular diets and why they were in the news for wrong reasons…
PALEOLITHIC DIET OR PALEO DIET: Also known as the caveman diet, this includes lean meats, fish, fruits, vegetables, nuts and seeds. It avoids grains, legumes, refined sugar, dairy products, salt and processed food in general. Actresses like Gwyneth Paltrow, Jessica Biel and Blake Lively have endorsed this diet.
Risks: Paleo diet may cause deficiency of calcium and Vitamin D, while it is also said to increase the risk of cardiovascular diseases.
KETO DIET: Ketogenic diet involves consuming less carbs and sugar, and instead depending on moderate amounts of protein and healthy fats. By following this diet, individuals are said to be able to enter ketosis, through which the body burns fats instead of carbs. Celebrities like Halle Berry and Kourtney Kardashian seem to be fond of this regime.
Risks: Health experts have questioned the effects of following keto diet for a long period of time, as it may lead to low blood sugar levels, as well as an increased risk of heart diseases, kidney stones and more. The long-term effects of this diet were discussed again recently after Mishti passed away due to kidney failure following a prolonged keto diet.
ATKINS DIET: Atkins diet is a low-carb diet that involves eating meats, fatty fish and seafood, eggs, low-carb vegetables and full-fat dairy products like butter, cheese, cream and healthy fats such as coconut oil, extra virgin olive oil. Celebrities Kim Kardashian West and Renée Zellweger follow this diet.
Risks: The short-term risks of following Atkins diet include weakness, nausea and constipation. Over a long time, restricting carbs may result in nutritional deficiencies in the body, which, in turn, could lead to serious health implications. Although Dr Atkins, who popularised this diet, died from a fall, his death became a hot topic, as many questioned about his health and weight at the time of his death. According to reports, Dr Atkins had a history of heart attacks and congestive heart failure, and he weighed 258 pounds (117 kilos) during the time of his death.
MEDITERRANEAN DIET: This diet tries to incorporate traditional healthy living habits. It involves eating vegetables, fruits, legumes, nuts, beans, cereals, fish and unsaturated fats. Celebs who have tried or endorsed Mediterranean diet include Penélope Cruz, Lady Gaga and Robert De Niro.
Risks: Experts say that this diet can result in low calcium and Vitamin D levels. However, it is considered better than other fad diets.
GM DIET: This diet was originally developed by General Motors for its employees, with the intention of making them healthier and, in the process, improve their productivity at work. GM diet is a crash diet that involves the intake of specific food items from a particular group. It includes low-calorie foods such as fruits and vegetables on all seven days, which will result in weight loss. Not many personalities have endorsed this diet.
Risks: Although this diet promises to help you lose weight quickly, it is low in carbs, proteins and fats. Experts also say that following this week-long diet plan may result in dehydration, weakness and hunger pangs.