Losing weight is often top of the list of New Year’s resolutions.
The British Dietetic Association has released a list of eating regimes, from ketogenic to Pioppi, that should be avoided.
Some of the trends were labelled ‘downright dangerous’ by the organisation, which warns there is no ‘magic bullet’ when it comes to losing weight healthily.
The raw vegan diet, favoured by Sting and Miss Paltrow, has been hailed as a cure for obesity and other conditions. But the BDA said vegan food often contains the same number of calories as non-vegan options and some produce, such as carrots, are more nutritious when cooked.
‘The human body can digest and be nourished by both raw and cooked foods so there’s no reason to believe raw is inherently better … It may not damage your health in the short term, but could in the long term if the diet isn’t balanced,’ a spokesman said.
Supporters of the alkaline diet claim eating less acidic foods can change the blood’s pH balance and reduce health risks. Despite the diet being popular with the Duchess of York and Kate Hudson, the BDA said it is ‘based on a basic misunderstanding of human physiology’.
The BDA claims Katie Price’s diet supplements are ‘not a healthy, advisable or sustainable’ way to lose weight. Ketogenic diets, favoured by Halle Berry and Kim Kardashian, also came under fire.
Sian Porter, BDA consultant dietitian, said: ‘We hear it all … from the good to the bad, and at times even the downright dangerous. When we see a celebrity looking fabulous … telling us they did so through the latest fad diet it can be very tempting to believe that it will be the magic bullet … In reality, if something sounds too good to be true, it probably is.’
Why the stars’ eating plans are hard to stomach
Diet: Raw vegan
Regime: Gwyneth Paltrow champions a raw vegan diet
What it is: There are many versions but the premise is the same – go vegan and eat raw. Promoted as a cure for obesity and other conditions.
Celebrity fans: Gwyneth Paltrow, Megan Fox, Sting.
Miss Paltrow’s website Goop provides recipes for raw vegan food, adding that it ‘can give your digestive system a break’.
BDA verdict: A carefully planned vegan diet with the necessary supplements like vitamin B12 and vitamin D can be healthy, but it is not a guarantee of losing weight. A vegan cake is still a cake, vegan syrups are adding sugar and vegan foods often contain the same calories as non-vegan foods.
What it is: Eating more ‘alkaline’ food – vegetables such as spinach and broccoli, fruit such as avocado and grapefruit, grains and beans – and avoiding sugar, meat and processed food. This, supporters say, will alter the blood’s pH balance and cut health risks. Some wrongly claim it can treat cancer.
Celebrity fans: Tom Brady, Kate Hudson, Duchess of York.
Alkaline: Duchess of York demonstrates how to use the Fusion Xcelerator blender
Miss Hudson said: ‘I live by a rulebook of eating alkaline. No meat, no dairy, no gluten. I try to stay away from sugar.’
BDA verdict: You’ll most likely lose weight as you are cutting out processed foods and eating more healthily – [but it’s] nothing to do with acid or alkali nonsense.
Diet: Katie Price’s supplements
Hydration: The supplement powder is added to water or milk to make a drink
What it is: Includes hydration, breakfast and meal replacements. The supplement powder is added to water or milk to make a drink.
Celebrity fans: Katie Price. She said: ‘Used as part of a healthy diet to replace a meal or snack and combined with an active lifestyle, Meal Replacement provides a balanced and nutritious solution to help towards your weight loss goals.’
BDA verdict: Protein supplements are often mis-sold as the only answer to weight loss, often with misleading claims attached…Rapid weight loss can be a powerful motivation, but it is unsustainable.
Mediterranean diet: Keith Vaz is a fan of Pioppi
What it is: Named after an Italian village recognised as the home of the traditional Mediterranean diet, it’s low-carb and high-fat. It means eating lots of vegetables, nuts, legumes and fish and refraining from red meat, starchy carbs and sweetened treats. Followers are encouraged to fast for 24 hours at a time every week.
Celebrity fans: Keith Vaz, Andy Burnham. Mr Vaz, of the All-Party Parliamentary Diabetes Group, urged 100 MPs with the highest prevalence of type 2 diabetes in their constituencies to follow the plan over summer.
BDA verdict: Probably not a good idea. A Mediterranean diet is a healthy choice but this has been hijacked here. Fasting may help weight loss but the only reason their other advice is likely to help is because it involves less food and calories.
What it is: Many types including Atkins and paleo but all very low-carb, relatively high in fat and moderate protein. Excludes grains, dairy, legumes, soy, most fruit and starchy vegetables. Carbohydrate comes mainly from non-starchy vegetables, nuts and seeds.
Low-carb: The reality TV star Kim Kardashian prepares a ketogenic meal at home
Celebrity fans: Kim Kardashian, Halle Berry, Mick Jagger, Tom Jones, Rihanna. Miss Berry said: ‘Train your body to burn healthy fats – avocado, oil, coconut oil, butter, but no sugar … you’re constantly on fat-burning mode, that’s the secret.’
BDA verdict: The diet cuts total calories and removes foods people tend to overeat. Initial side effects may include low energy levels, brain fog, increased hunger, sleep problems, nausea, digestive discomfort and poor exercise performance. It can be an effective method of weight loss in the short term with careful planning but it is hard to sustain in the long term.