With every new issue of any magazine (both men’s and women’s), there is some kind of piece about a new trick to lose a huge amount of weight, and fast! Many of these tips and diet plans sound just too good to be true, and that is often because they are!
“I’m on this new diet. Well, I don’t eat anything, and when I feel like I’m about to faint, I eat a cube of cheese.”
-Emily, The Devil Wears Prada
Either they provide results that will only last for a few days after the diet is no longer being followed, or they just won’t lead to weight loss at all. With so many potential ways to try and lose weight, and so much conflicting information, it can be hard to know what tips are the ones to actually follow!
Below we have brought together some of the “quick weight loss tips” that you should definitely not follow!
1. Banning food groups
Unless you actually have a food allergy, as confirmed by actual testing, there is no reason to ban any type of food from your diet completely. Having a little bit of something you love that you perceive to be unhealthy occasionally is far better than deprivation.
Whilst this may sound like the insane rantings of a hedonist, especially if the context of losing weight, it is a theory that is increasingly being supported by anecdotal evidence and studies.
When people give up a food group, whether it be fat, sugar, gluten, carbohydrates, or something more specific such as cheese or chocolate, they crave it more. Call it forbidden fruit syndrome, if you will. They will then either go through the next few days, weeks or months suffering through cravings, or will fall off the wagon quickly (and often dramatically). Some believe that denying yourself a food group lead to binge cycles, failed diets and feeling guilty about being unable to stick to the “plan”. All of these certainly lead to mentally unhealthy eating habits, and are likely to lead to weight regain as well!
These types of diets again only work to aid weight loss if you reduce your overall calorie intake in the process. For example, a gluten-free diet could aid weight loss if you introduce more vegetables and low calorie foods to replace bread, pasta and other gluten containing foods from your diet. It is not going to aid weight loss if you just replace your usual loaf of bread with an expensive gluten-free loaf of bread, and continue eat just as much food as before.
Fat-Free Diets, especially ones that feature altered “fat-free” or “low-fat” foods, are possibly the biggest culprit here. For example, some fat-free yoghurts can contain a similar number of calories to their full fat counterparts, especially if they are flavoured yoghurts, and need to be compared individually. This is because the manufacturers add extra sugar to the yoghurt to make up for the creaminess that has been removed when taking the fat out. So by focusing purely on the fat content of foods, rather than on the entire meal being well-balanced, dieters could be making little weight loss progress.
2. Meal Replacement Shakes and Liquid Diets
We have reviewed numerous different products and meal replacement programs over the years; although the exact nutritional composition varies, they are all broadly similar. Consumers replace most of their meals with a shake, mixed with milk or water in the more extreme programs. These shakes can often be high in sugar and low in fibre, and plans often encourage consumers to consume under 800 calories a day!
Because chewing is a large part of the psychological process of feeling satiated following a meal, consuming only a glass of milkshake is not physically satisfying. There are also often complaints about extreme hunger, side effects, and the many of these products taste unpleasant or merely tolerable. Whilst some brands do offer a range of flavours and are designed in a way that means consumers can try a selection of the range easily, other companies offer only a few flavours, leaving consumers stuck with repetitive, boring and unsatisfying shakes.
Studies have shown that people who follow liquid-focused weight loss plans are more likely to show signs of disordered eating, such as binge eating. Women who were assigned a liquid meal replacement diet binge ate significantly more during their diet than other groups who had been assigned other weight loss strategies. (Source: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15321793)
Weight gain immediately following a very low calorie meal replacement diet is also incredibly likely. (Source: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25183847)
3. Fad and Crash Diets
Sometimes taking on a new diet plan can feel intimidating, especially if it features a lot of new foods that you haven’t tried before, and newrecipes that need to be cooked. Gimmicky fad diets often pop up, stating that it is their simplicity that leads to weight loss (on top of the heavily restricted calorie intake). Unfortunately, they just don’t work. Dieters are likely to lose weight very quickly, but they will regain it very quickly after they quit the fad diet. Because the diets are so restricted and gimmicky, they are very difficult to follow for more than a few days at a time.
A few examples include:
The Cabbage Soup Diet : Incredibly popular in the 1980s, this diet primarily consists of cabbage soup supplemented with some extra vegetables. Causes extreme flatulence and bloating.
The Baby Food Diet : Some baby food jars contains as little as 20 calories. Followers of the baby food diet replace two meals and snacks with up to 14 jars of baby food per day, spaced an hour apart each. Dinner is a “grown-up” meal. Bloggers and journalists who have followed the diet struggled to follow it for even an entire week, due to hunger, boredom, and issues with both the taste and texture of the baby foods.
Steak and Eggs Diet: This high protein, high fat diet is incredibly restrictive, with no vegetables in sight at all for five out of each six day cycle. Butter is also allowed, and encouraged! Fans report quick weight loss, but bad breath and constipation are incredibly common. This is not suitable for following for more than a few days at a time!
These types of diets can give quick weight loss results, if only because you are eating so little. However, once you stop following the diet, weight regain is inevitable. These diets also lead to yo-yo dieting, and can cause loss of muscle mass, and a lowered metabolic rate.
4. Mono eating
Mono-eating is where you eat only one food for the period of the diet. This principle has been incorporated into numerous fad diets that have gone viral over the past few years, but it can also be applied to any individual food. We have seen mono-eating recommendations for potatoes, bananas, fruit, juices, raw vegetables, and eggs.
So why do people recommend mono-eating? It should be easy to follow, as it is so simple, and some people claim that by eating such a restricted diet, it removed their cravings for junk foods. There is also the theory that consumers are less excited about eating, especially when you have eaten only eggs for the past two days, leading to reduced food intake and less calorie intake.
Mono-eating is obviously not sustainable, and is far from nutritionally complete! Anyone who tried to follow a mono-eating pattern for more than a few days would start to develop nutritional deficiencies. If your food of choice was low in fibre, constipation would be expected.
5. Laxatives and Detox Teas
If you take a look at various celebrities and social influencers on Instagram, it is almost impossible to miss the sponsored posts where theyrecommend some kind of cleansing tea to their fans, claiming that it is the reason that they are so thin. Once in a while, these teas do contain fat burning ingredients that could help to increase the body’s metabolic rate and aid weight loss, but these products are definitely in the minority!
Most of these detox teas promoted as weight loss aids are little more than a blend of various laxatives and diuretics. Any weight lost whilst using these types of product can be attributed to an increase in bowel movements and a loss of water weight. Fat mass will not be affected.
Some people think that taking a laxative will speed up the digestion process, meaning that not all of the calories from food eaten will be absorbed into the body. Unfortunately this is not the case either; food is absorbed into the body in the small intestines, but laxatives typically act upon the large intestine and the colon.
6. Replacing full sugar drinks with calorie-free “Diet” versions that use artificial sweeteners
Logically, replacing a glass of soda with a diet soda is a good way to significantly decrease your calorific intake and lose weight quickly. Unfortunately, just like everything else on this list, it is not as simple as that.
One study found that people who drink diet sodas actually snack more, and on unhealthier foods that their full-sugar soda drinking counterparts. (Source: http://jandonline.org/article/S2212-2672(15)01258-7/abstract) The researcher behind the paper, Dr. An theorised that this correlation is because consumers are compensating for their “good behaviour” of drinking diet drinks.
In a press release he stated, “It may be that people who consume diet beverages feel justified in eating more, so they reach for a muffin or a bag of chips,”, “Or perhaps, in order to feel satisfied, they feel compelled to eat more of these high-calorie foods.” (Source: http://www.delish.com/food-news/a43836/diet-soda-drinkers-eat-more-calories-study)
Other theories have also been proposed. Artificial sweeteners are typically sweeter than sugar, but may not provide the same sense of satiety as actual sugar. This could artificially affect the consumer’s perception of sweetness, leading to them adding more sugar to their diet in other sources.
The most recent meta-study into the effects of artificial sweeteners, which looked at the results from numerous studies, concluded that there is no evidence artificial sweeteners help in managing weight. Source: http://www.cmaj.ca/content/189/28/E929
Obviously, significantly reducing your intake of high-sugar beverages is going to aid weight loss, but studies suggest that replacing them with unsweetened drinks is going to be the best option for your health and weight. Try green tea with fruit flavourings, black coffee or just plain water!
Disclaimer: Our reviews and investigations are based on extensive research from the information publicly available to us and consumers at the time of first publishing the post. Information is based on our personal opinion and whilst we endeavour to ensure information is up-to-date, manufacturers do from time to time change their products and future research may disagree with our findings. If you feel any of the information is inaccurate, please contact us and we will review the information provided.