Debunking Diets (part 1)

A quick whizz around Google News this morning resulted in articles about 5 new diets that have been launched; that’s the news just for today not the last week or month, in just one day! Curious as ever I decided to have a closer look at a couple of them and I’d like to share with you the things that I discovered…

The 2 Week Diet:  With this one the clue is in the title, the creator claims that you will lose 8-16 lbs in just 2 weeks. Apparently his system is full-proof and science based but, unfortunately, I couldn’t verify this as I would need to part with $37 in order to read the PDF downloads which would explain the diet that ‘100% guarantees to melt away stubborn body fat’. No junk food His claims could well be right; if you are obese and you cut refined sugars and carbs from your diet for a period of two weeks, I’ve no doubt at all that you would easily lose the promised 8-16 lbs.

However, according to what little information there was available, the programme requires that you do only 20 minutes of exercise a day, 3-4 days a week to ‘carve out the body of your dreams’. Hhhmmm well Elle McPherson has the body of my dreams and I’m fairly sure that an hour of exercise a week is not going to give me that. High intensity interval training can burn a lot of calories quickly but, even then, in 20 minutes you’ll only be talking about 200 which is somewhat less than a grilled chicken salad with no dressing. Elle mcpherson.jpgThe author claims that cellular inflammation is what needs to be addressed when looking at weight loss and says that his plan is ‘revolutionary’. This inflammation occurs when we ingest high levels of refined sugars and trans fats (fast food and processed foods basically) which cause the liver to generate chemicals to fight the toxins. This is not a new idea, it’s well known that bad foods lead to increased levels of fat in our bodies.

Verdict: Cutting out processed foods and replacing them with meals made from fresh natural ingredients will certainly ensure that you lose weight but, as far as I can make out, there is nothing ‘new’ here. I would also suggest that an hour of exercise a week, if you spend the rest of your time sitting on your backside, is going to do little to help you shed any unwanted lbs and will certainly not do very much to improve heart and lung health. I’m also slightly concerned about the emphasis that is put on losing weight quickly as it’s often been suggested that, when people lose a lot of weight very quickly, they invariably put it all back on again and then some. As the programme suggests that, after the first 2 weeks you will continue to lose the weight far more slowly, I wonder how much of the weight lost will, in fact, be water and not, as the diet suggests, fat….

The Lectin Free Diet was developed by a former heart surgeon who believes that lectins are a major cause of health problems in the US as they cause inflammation in the body. There does seem to be some scientific evidence to support his claim but the diet he proposes to combat the problem is extreme even for the most determined dieter.Foods containing lectin You have to avoid any nuts and beans, squash, bell peppers, potatoes, tomatoes, all grains and fruit (unless it’s in season) and even then in small quantities. You can eat meat if it’s been fed on grass and not corn as corn is one of those things that are forbidden to you in this programme. What you are left with, basically, are green vegetables, line caught wild fish, avocados, mushrooms, onions and garlic. Rice and pasta are out as well unfortunately as is milk unless it’s from a goat or a sheep or cows residing in Southern Europe. Apparently there was some sort of mutation in cows who reside in Northern parts of Europe that resulted in their milk being full of lectin like proteins – who knew! Funny-Cow-Smiling-With-Humans-TeethThe doctor who came up with the diet makes many interesting suggestions on how to replace those foods that you will cut out with others that are acceptable under the regime. It will be interesting to see how the science develops over time as it’s obvious that a lot of research has gone into all this..

Verdict: There are some foods that will irritate the stomach such as tomatoes, grains and pulses if eaten in large quantities but they also provide us with certain nutrients that our bodies need. I’m a great believer in cutting out processed foods and junk food but I do wonder about cutting out entire food groups if there are both positives and negatives for eating them. If you suffer from IBS or stomach bloating I think that you would definitely find an improvement in your symptoms if you followed this diet. There is certainly nothing wrong with the foods that are proposed and I’m sure that you would lose weight but I would be concerned about how difficult it would be stick to long term and how quickly you would lose motivation and revert to previous eating patterns.


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