Sunday, 4 August 2013

Take a stand against extreme diets

By Melanie Leyshon


As you'd imagine, being the editor of Healthy Food Guide magazine, I check the daily newspapers for health breakthroughs. And there's no shortage of stories  some based on reliable scientific evidence, others rely on more flimsy statistics. 

Putting aside the well-researched advances in overcoming cancer, finding a cure for Alzheimer’s, etc, at this time of year, when the beach beckons, many health sections become obsessed with diets – and extreme diets. Yet, despite the growth of the dieting genre – juicing, fasting, no carbs, feeding tubes – we continue to upsize as a nation.

When we read about a diet that promises you'll lose 7lb in a week, it can be tempting to give it a go. 

I’ve taken shortcuts myself. There was the miserable, stinky week of the Cabbage Soup Diet (dire daily doses of soup, fruit and a hellish day of 5 bananas that left me too weak to think), then there was the anxiety-inducing South Beach Diet (I was so shaky after day 6, I made straight for the sandwich shop for a cheese bap).

Now I eat in moderation or semi-moderation and factor in exercise to offset the excess. I’m no Jessica Ennis, but even I’ve found a mix of running, cycling and yoga works. It's helped me maintain a healthy weight and BMI, which my recent NHS Health Check confirmed.

Health professionals, such as British Dietetic Association (BDA) registered dietitians, know it’s not necessary to go to such extremes to lose weight. Doing so can mess with your metabolism and compromise your health, as you may miss out on vital nutrients. What’s more it’s almost impossible to stick to restrictive diets that cut out food groups, or expect you to exist on under 1,400 calories a day - so any weight loss achieved is short lived.

That’s why at Healthy Food Guide magazine we decided to launch our mission to Fight the Fads: Make Every Meal Healthier, which has gained the backing of the BDA, Diabetes UK and the British Nutrition Foundation.

Our aim is to encourage both women and men to eat healthily every day instead of resorting to extreme, yo-yo dieting. Healthy Food Guide magazine is the only dedicated food magazine with a panel of health and diet professionals (qualified dietitians, not self-styled nutrition therapists), registered fitness experts and fully-trained recipe consultants. They bring their expert know-how to our fully referenced features – we don’t print facts that can’t be substantiated.

In our September issue (which comes out tomorrow), our nutrition consultant, registered dietitian Juliette Kellow, has put together a visual guide to portion sizes (no scales required) that will help you reduce your calorie intake without missing out on any of your favourite foods. We also have 46 taste-tested and nutritionist approved recipes, including slimmed down versions of your favourites, such as steak and chips and chicken kiev – that are full of flavour, but easy on your waistline. Plus, we’ve investigated the claims surrounding cancer and diet, to bring you the latest scientifically supported advice about what to eat to help reduce your risk. 

Pick up your copy of Healthy Food Guide magazine in larger supermarkets, Boots, WH Smiths or M&S; download a digital edition or purchase a subscription.


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