Is This ‘Healthy Diet’ Trend Jeopardising Your Health?

Tuesday, 08 November 2016

According to dietician Dr Sarah Schenker, cutting out entire food groups in an effort to lose weight can jeopardise a person’s health.

Figures have shown that people who eliminate whole food groups from their diets experience a number of unpleasant side effects and 15 percent suffer from trapped wind. An additional 30 percent lack energy and feel sluggish, while 10 percent experience bad breath.

Diet changes, according to Dr Schenker, can also harm your mental health. 30 percent of people state that such changes negatively affect their emotional mind-frame, as they suffer with irritability and mood swings.

But although they felt ill, angry and emotionally vulnerable, 81 percent of people who cut out a food group say they would consider doing it again.

Diets are highly publicised by celebrities and high profile social media personalities. We often see conflicting food fads that involve a certain food group being singled out as harmful to healthy nutrition.

According to new research, almost 60 percent of people have either seriously considered or actually cut out an entire food group because of something they’ve read. Sugar is the most common food item that people have eliminated.

Dr Schenker said the problem is that people cut sugar out of their diet without realising that it appears in different forms.

Just 26 percent of people surveyed understood the differences between refined sugar, free sugars, added sugar and naturally occurring sugars.

Reducing our intake of refined sugars is advised by medical professionals, but fruits and pure fruit juices contain naturally occurring sugars, alongside a lot of essential vitamins and nutrients like potassium, vitamin C and folate. Dr Schenker urges us to eat everything in moderation.

She said that elimination diets hardly ever produce long-lasting results and could have serious repercussions on our overall health.

24 year old chef and model Tait Miller felt under pressure to look his very best during photo shoots, as well as feeling full of energy, so he decided to cut out carbohydrates.

Though he had never been formally diagnosed with an intolerance or allergy to gluten, Mr Miller self-diagnosed because he had read that gluten can make a person feel tired and lethargic and affect your gut.

After three months without carbs, Mr Miller said that he felt noticeably better and believed that the diet was beneficial to his health. But the process didn’t come without side effects. Mr Miller saw changes in his mood and he felt an increased sense of irritability. He also suffered with pangs of hunger and felt the need to eat more frequently than he used to.

Dr Schenker said that some people are sensitive to gluten, so may want to reduce the amount they eat, but she doesn’t recommend cutting out all carbs. She said there are lots of naturally gluten-free wholegrain foods, including brown rice, buckwheat and quinoa. These grains release energy slowly, helping to reduce hunger pangs between meals and control appetite.