Your diet is made up of all the foods and drinks (yes this includes alcohol) you consume in a day. With so many types of diets, and “experts” often touting their particular diet as the best, confusion reigns supreme. There is a lot of choice out there and some of it is based in some pretty dodgy science. Let me be clear, no one commercial diet is better than any of the others for fat loss. 

Some diets have been developed with specific medical conditions in mind. The keto diet, which is low carb and high fat, started as a management strategy for individuals with epilepsy. Celiacs must maintain a gluten free diet for the sake of their health. It is when diets like these make their way over to mainstream media, for the purpose of fat loss that advice becomes much more anecdotal and less based in facts.

If your goal is fat loss, this will require you to be in a negative energy balance. This means the energy you expend through being alive, exercising and doing daily activities is more than energy consumed or eaten. This explanation is likely one that you have heard often although it is simplified as your body is made up of complex systems. Losing weight is not a high priority for your body, evolutionarily speaking, your body will try to maintain your body weight at current levels. This is why dieting is challenging. 

The method or diet that you choose for fat loss seems to matter very little, one study comparing diets found that both low fat and low carb worked equally well. It also found that within the four types of diets studied there was no difference in the amount of weight lost at the six-month mark. It is important to remember that the diet itself is not a magic pill and what has worked for one person may not work for another. 

So how can you make your diet work for you? A sustainable approach to fat loss is the most effective over time. Choosing a diet that you can stick to long term is usually the best approach. Eat less processed foods such as sausage rolls (which I love). Eat less sugary foods like chocolate bars. Eat less refined starches such as chips & limit processed fats like margarine. Eat more whole grains and vegetables with or without lean meats, fish, poultry and seafood. Reducing calories slowly over time may be easier to stick to. Overall choose what works for you with a little bit of what you fancy. 

For more information on dieting please refer to the NHS website.

By Gemma O’Hare

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