Crash dieting is an unhealthy way of losing weight and often involves eating a low calorie intake. These sorts of diets often promise quick and simple weight loss results and will only work for in the short term according to a nutritionist. This sort of dieting is often related to fasting, only eating fruits and vegetables, taking herbal supplements, cutting out food groups and eliminating alcohol or caffeine.
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Detox diets are very popular amongst Brits as they are often associated with a quick weight loss and fix.
Second Nature is a healthy NHS backed eating plan that aims to help those with bad eating habits.
Nutritionist Tamara Willner who worked for Second Nature has shared her advice over detox diets and why they don’t work in the long term.
She told the Express.co.uk: “It’s not that these diets don’t work for weight loss. They will work. However, they’re an unhealthy way of losing weight. Plus, the weight you lose won’t stay off.
“You’ll most likely experience some short-term weight loss with any form of strict detox diet.”
Tamara explained that the two main reasons you will see quick weight loss results are because you’ll be consuming a lower amount of total calories. Your body will also go into fasting most for extended periods of the day.
Also you will be reducing your intake of high calorie foods with little nutritional value such as processed foods and alcohol.
She continues: “While they may result in fast weight loss in the short term, these diets aren’t helpful when we look at the bigger picture of long-term health. Arguably, the biggest problem with extended detox diets is that you lose muscle mass.
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“The lack of protein contained in fruit and vegetable juices will cause your muscles to waste away. So, while you’ve lost overall weight (which appears good on the surface), you’ve also lost muscle mass (which is bad).
“This will reduce your longer-term metabolism, meaning that you will burn fewer calories at rest.”
When it comes to metabolism, many people try to boost theirs in order to lose weight as it can have many benefits like burning more calories throughout the day.
The nutritionist explained: “The goal of weight loss is to reduce body fat while maintaining muscle levels. This is achieved by consistently eating a portion of protein at main meals and doing a variety of resistance exercises.
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“Evidence also suggests that when we dramatically reduce our energy intake (as we would with a detox diet), our body adapts to try and conserve energy.
“As a result we experience a compensatory increase in appetite and a decrease in energy expenditure.
“This often leads to a plateau in weight loss, after the initial short-term weight loss, and even weight gain when we return to normal eating patterns.”
Other experts also suggest that after detox dieting, you could turn to bad eating habits like binge eating to make up for the loss in calories.
Therefore in order to lose weight, it should be done slowly but will provide long term gain.
Tamara continued: “There’s no scientific evidence supporting the need for a detox diet to eliminate ‘toxins’. This idea doesn’t make biological sense.
“The human body has very complex systems that take care of any detoxing. These include the kidneys, liver, digestive system, immune system, lungs, and even skin. If there were toxins left floating around our body that weren’t being removed by these systems, we’d feel extremely unwell and most likely be hospitalised.
“On top of this, the term ‘toxin’ is regularly used but poorly defined. Many diets claim to ‘rid your body of toxins’ but they don’t actually name what these toxins are or why detox diets get rid of them.
Tamara explains how toxins conventionally refer to drugs or alcohol in the medical world. However, in the commercial world, anything can be called a ‘toxin’, which makes it challenging to investigate specific claims.
She says: “Ironically, if we take a number of herbal supplements and/or fast for an extended period of time it can actually end up damaging our health.
“With very little evidence behind detox diets, we can’t say for sure that any particular one that promotes supplementation is safe in the long-term.”
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