If you’re feeling the post-Christmas bulge and are tempted to lose weight fast, then you’re certainly not the only one. In fact, January is one the most popular times for dieting and with numerous promotions of celebrity diets at our finger-tips, it can be all too easy to get sucked into the marketing hype. Put simply, ‘quick-fix’ diets don’t work, not only can trigger an unhealthy relationship with food, but some may also have some more serious side effects…
1. Slim Fizz – in a gastric band in a glass
Slim Fizz is a flavoured evanescenceappetite suppressant tablet which is dissolved in water and consumed prior to a meal. The active ingredient is a type of fibre called glucomannan which is derived from the root of the konjac plant. This fibre forms into a gel that expands within stomach and is meant to help stimulate feelings of fullness.
Manufacturers of Slim Fizz state that the gel acts as a temporary gastric band and can have appetite suppressant effects.
Whilst there is some evidence to support the use of glucomannan with appetite control, in reality, these effects are simply down to the fact that glucomannann is a source of fibre. There are certainly healthier and more cost-effective ways of increasing fibre within the diet – simply consume more foods such as fruit, vegetables and whole grains!
These weight loss tablets also come potential side effects – it’s vital to remember that Slim Fizz can affect the absorption of medication including the contraceptive pill. It’s also important to note that extreme caution should be taken for those on Diabetic medication as the tablets affect blood sugar levels. Lastly, these tablets can swell in size in the throat and if consumed with insufficient water there is a risk of choking.
This weight loss tablet comes with a hefty cost of £19.95 for 10 days, with absolutely no education or development of long term healthy habits.
2. Flat Tummy Tea and Teatoxes
Teas for weight loss and flat tummies have been highly endorsed by celebrities and have become a hugely popular rage. Flat Tummy Tea provides a range of herbal teas which claim to boost metabolism, cleanse your digestive tract and reduce bloating. The company relies on influencers to preach the message that their tea will leave you with a flat tummy just like theirs.
Not only is there no conclusive evidence to back up these health claims, a common ingredient called senna is used within the teas and acts as a laxative. Senna can irritate the stomach lining and can cause cramps and diarrhoea. For those suffering with IBS, senna can only exacerbate symptoms. If these teas are consumed in large quantities they may even lead to a disruption with the body’s electrolyte balance which may can cause heart problems in the long run.
In reality, all senna increase bowel movements which may leave people feeling slimmer and having a flatter stomach in the short term, but there is absolutely no impact on fat loss.
3. Fat Metaboliser Pills
Fat metaboliser or fat burner pills are big within the diet industry and are hard to miss. They usually contain a range of stimulants, so called superfoods and extra ingredients which have next-to-non approved health claims for weight loss.
As with all diet pills, many are unregulated and can be downright dangerous especially if bought over the internet as you can never be sure of what is inside them.
Even with pills found on the shelves of respectable well-known shops, many of them contain high levels of stimulants such as caffeine, guarana and yerba mate. Whilst there is research that these ingredients do increase alertness, there is mixed evidence around weight loss.
A big problem with having the main ingredients as a stimulant is the fact that it can increase risk for heart attack and stroke. Some websites even tell customers not to be alarmed if they notice their heart-rate speeding up, because it’s just a sign of the product doing its job.
4. Keto diet
The ketogenic diet involves a very low-carb and high-fat intake sharing similarities with the Atkins diet. On a ketogenic diets you would tend to consume under 50g carbohydrate per day which is extremely low and can push the body into ketosis (switches the body from burning carbohydrates to burning body fat).
Whilst there may be a place for this diet for those suffering with epilepsy and extreme obesity – it’s certainly not a diet to follow without guidance from a health professional and is completely unnecessary for the everyday person.
There are many potential side effects from following a ketogenic diet including bad breath, fatigue, insomnia, brain fog, slow thinking, dizziness, nausea, nutrient deficiencies, elevated heart rate, leg cramps, decreased physical performance and low mood.
Carbohydrates provide a large amount of the fibre within our diet, which is why digestion can suffer when following a ketogenic diet. It’s not uncommon for chronic constipation to be a side effect and research has even seen changes in our gut bacteria.
Carbohydrates also play a role with in transporting tryptophan (key to creating serotonin your happy hormone) to the brain, which is why those following a ketogenic diet may experience severe drops in mood.
5. Lemon Water and Cayenne Pepper Detox
This detox diet states that for 10 day you should only drink 12 glasses of water, lemon juice, maple syrup and cayenne pepper tonic. No solid food is allowed is allowed between this time.
The key message here, is that weight is loss may occur simply because there very few calories being consumed. Much of the weight lost during the 10 days will be water weight and the lack of protein within the diet will mean that muscle wastage is inevitable. Losing our all important ‘fat burning’ muscle mass means that as soon as the fasting period is over, weight will quickly pile back on.
It is commonly stated that cayenne pepper can be used a weight loss aid, which may well have been seen in rat studies. But no well-conducted human studies have been performed because of the high dose of cayenne pepper needed to replicate these effects prevents compliance.
There is also no evidence that we need to detox. It is the job of the liver and kidneys to rid to body of toxins and they do the job just fine.
Lastly promoting detox diets can dangerously encourage eating disorders and unhealthy relationships with food.
Lily is a Nutritionist in London who graduated from Newcastle University with a BSc (Hons) degree in Food and Human Nutrition (AfN accredited) where she was awarded the Sage Faculty for Excellence Scholarship on an annual basis. She then went on to complete a 2-year post-graduate Diploma in Nutritional Therapy and is currently working towards her MSc in Nutritional Medicine (AfN accredited) at the University of Surrey. Lily’s extensive knowledge of the science of food and health, enables her to regularly write for The Times, The Telegraph, The Daily Mail, The Independent, Women’s Health and Cosmopolitan.
Her frequent TV appearances include ITV’s This Morning with Holly Willoughby and Phillip Schofield, and ITV’s primetime series Save Money: Lose Weight with Dr Ranj Singh. Lily’s passion is to simplify the science around nutrition, to provide health hacks and smarter eating strategies to empower people to enjoy a healthy and successful lifestyle. Her specialities lie in workplace wellness, implementing nutrition-focused wellbeing programmes within corporate organisations across the UK.
Lily also sees individual clients from her london nutrition clinic in Chelsea and a private medical practice based in Notting Hill.