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3 diets to avoid in 2014

News — Posted 08/01/14

Australia’s top nutrition experts have voted on the three worst diets.

The start of a new year is a great time to refresh your daily habits and make changes for the better. But if your new year’s resolution is to lose weight in 2014, Australia’s leading dietitians say it’s essential to take a healthy, balanced approach, and avoid popular diets that can do more harm than good. The three worst diets to avoid this year? The jury is in –

1. The Lemon Detox Diet

2. SkinnyMe tea 

3. The Ashy Bines Bikini Body Challenge

More than 200 accredited practising dietitians took part in a survey run by the Dietitians Association of Australia, in which they were asked to assess a list of 11 popular diets. For the third year in a row, the Lemon Detox Diet was widely agreed to be the worst diet on the list, with more than two thirds of participants voting against it.

More than half of the dietitians voted against SkinnyMe tea, while the Ashy Bines Bikini Body Challenge came in third with negative votes from over one third of the nutrition experts.

The promise of a fast, radical body transformation can be tempting, but dietitian and DAA spokesperson Melanie McGrice says this survey emphasises that there is no ‘quick-fix’ solution for healthy weight loss. “The problem with fad diets is that they’re all about restrictive eating patterns that you can’t stick to over the long haul and may even undermine your health,” McGrice says.

On a detox diet such as the Lemon Detox Diet or SkinnyMe tea, the weight lost will be mostly made up of fluid – which includes healthy gut bacteria and electrolytes that keep your body healthy – rather than fat.

“If you want to ‘detox’, nourish your body by cutting down on fatty, highly-processed foods, alcohol and caffeine, and eat a balanced diet – making sure you get plenty of fruit, vegetables, whole grains and water.”

Fad diets such as the Ashy Bines Bikini Body Challenge also often cut out whole food groups and demonise certain foods, making it a challenge to meet nutritional needs.

“For long-term success, Aussies should choose realistic and achievable goals that they can do every day. For example, including an extra serve of vegetables at lunch and dinner or cutting back your alcohol,” Ms McGrice says.

To get started on the right path, Ms McGrice offers her top three tips for healthy home cooking 2014:

1. Plan. Plan your menu for the week, make a shopping list and stick to it. Encourage the family to get involved and remember that it’s harder to eat junk food if it’s not in the house. Extra tip - don’t shop on an empty stomach.

2. Swap. Choose low-fat, salt-reduced, high-fibre versions of the foods you love. For example, swap full-fat yoghurt for a reduced-fat variety. Buy salt-reduced sauces, stocks, soups and tinned tomatoes. Choose whole grain varieties of breads and breakfast cereals.

3. Simplify. Healthy cooking doesn’t mean gourmet. Focus on fresh, seasonal produce and the quarter, quarter, half rule. One quarter of a plate of low GI carbohydrates, another quarter of lean protein and half a plate of vegetables in a rainbow of colours.

Australia’s Healthy Weight Week runs from 17-23 February.

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