Each month there seems to be a new diet trend or fad which promises to be life changing and more successful than any other diet out there.
Some can be sold with celebrity endorsements, before and after pictures or big claims that by doing this new diet you may never need to diet again!
Athletes should be mindful of popular diets and always ensure they make informed food decisions.
1. Just because a way of eating suited one person, it doesn’t mean it’s right for everyone
Popular diets are somewhat like small children doing an Easter egg hunt. One child will find an egg and all of the other kids will run to that spot in the hope they are also just as successful.
Sometimes going against the pack can be just as successful.
2. With any new eating habit its best to target a few key areas to modify and fit them in with your lifestyle
A diet shouldn’t control you or your actions. If you find yourself eating in a way that negatively impacts your mood or behaviour, social setting or circumstances just to suit your diet it may not be the best diet plan for you.
Food habits should support your training, make you feel healthy, energetic and be easy to manage because you choose to do it, enjoy it and can see the benefits, not because you feel it’s what you should do or because you are forcing yourself to do it.
3. Fad diets can seem appealing because they promise dramatic results through a quick fix
Keep in mind the body doesn’t like to lose weight quickly and has protective mechanisms in place to stop you from losing large amounts of weight.
Fad diets which promote very low intakes, eliminate whole food groups, liquid meals, juice fast or detoxes do not promote a lifestyle which is sustainable in the long term, so when past habits and practices return, so does the weight.
Further to that, metabolic rate is reduced by 15-30% within 24-48 hours of starting a kilojoule-restricted diet making it harder to keep losing weight and keep it off.
3. Current popular diet lifestyles – including sugar free, ketogenic, low carb high protein, intermittent fasting and paleo diets – all have elements which promote health and healthy eating
Where these can fall down is the strict adherence to the rules of the diet, when it doesn’t suit the lifestyle or person that is trying to do them.
4. Specifically for athletes, you can run into problems if you are following these diets and it doesn’t align with your training demands and performance goals
What and when you eat should be determined by when and what training you are doing.
If you are intrigued by these popular diets, first check with your sports dietitian how you might apply some aspects of them so it still suits your training demands while adding variety in your diet.
5. Popular diets aren’t superior for better results
Don’t underestimate the power of the basics, do them well and consistently and there will be a greater chance of long term modifications and success.
Instead of cutting out certain types of foods, eat mindfully, control portion sizes and have meals with balanced ratios of both high fibre carbohydrate, lean protein with some good fats and an increase in non-starchy vegetables.
The most important thing is making sure its right your YOU and your needs