Food, Fad Diets and Filters

This fantastic blog post was written by Nutrition Student Elysia Kenyon!

Social media really is the queen of 2019! It’s hugely influential, and it is full of nutrition advice – however, it can be difficult to identify what is fact and what is fiction. It is through social media that fad diets have risen in popularity, particularly among younger generations; these diets often promote weight loss through more extreme means. Fad diets are commonly identified by their restrictive nature, the elimination of certain foods or the elimination of entire food groups. However, this approach can result in the exclusion of vital nutrients (1). Although these diets may achieve weight loss, they do not necessarily promote health, nor do they achieve permanent results.

For example, the keto diet, it is used for the treatment of certain diseases such as epilepsy (2) and for the management of type two diabetes (3). This diet involves a reduction in carbohydrate consumption, both starchy carbohydrates and fruit and vegetables. Fruit and vegetables are rich in nutrients and offer many health benefits; they are also associated with the reduced risk of various cancers (5). So, is carb cutting really the way forward? In addition to this, the keto diet permits an unlimited amount of saturated fat (4). Saturated fat is linked with various health conditions such as, cardiovascular disease (6). So, although the keto diet may indeed cause weight loss, unless you need it for medical purposes, there are healthier ways to shift a few pounds!

Diet and supplement pills are another common weight loss tool, which seem to be littered across the many social media platforms. These pills claim to facilitate magical weight loss with the click of your mouse, but unfortunately there is little research to support these claims. In addition to this, diet pills have been associated with various health risks and should not be used unnecessarily (7).

Fact or fiction really is the question. There are lots of people on social media who offer dietary advice, however it’s important that you check out their credentials and qualifications. Dietitians train for years to offer accurate dietary guidance based on up to date scientific studies. So, don’t be fooled by the filters on Instagram!

Another point which seems fitting to discuss are the unrealistic standards that social media has imposed upon us. It’s like your computer screen is wearing rose tinted glasses! It’s important to remember that most of what you see on social media isn’t real, it’s all about lighting, angles, editing and let not forget about filters. People are portraying the best versions of themselves, as they should - but in reality, nobody is perfect!
We all know weight loss, can be challenging and overwhelming but try not to resort to a quick fix. Extreme diets and diet pills come with a host of potential health risks - mainly because there is still so much unknown about them.

If you want to lose weight, let’s return to the basics – reduce your calorie intake! It is the most sustainable way to lose weight and achieve lasting results. A combination of a healthy balanced diet and a consistent fitness regime will go a long way on the road to weight loss.

Top tips to achieve sustainable weight loss:
- Reduce calorie intake – it’s all about energy in and energy out.
- Increase activity levels – find an activity you enjoy, I promise this is possible!!
- Consider your portion sizes – try using a smaller plate.
- Reduce alcohol consumption – no tears ladies and gents.
- Eat more fruit and veggies – they’re your nectar and ambrosia!

(1) Isolauri, E., Sütas, Y., Salo, M.K., Isosomppi, R. and Kaila, M., 1998. Elimination diet in cow's milk allergy: risk for impaired growth in young children. The Journal of pediatrics, 132(6), pp.1004-1009.
(2) Martin, K., Jackson, C.F., Levy, R.G. and Cooper, P.N., 2016. Ketogenic diet and other dietary treatments for epilepsy. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews, (2).
(3) Azar, S.T., Beydoun, H.M. and Albadri, M.R., 2016. Benefits of ketogenic diet for management of type two diabetes: a review. J Obes Eat Disord, 2(02).
(4) Freeman, J.M., Kossoff, E.H. and Hartman, A.L., 2007. The ketogenic diet: one decade later. Pediatrics, 119(3), pp.535-543.
(5) Ziegler, R.G., 1991. Vegetables, fruits, and carotenoids and the risk of cancer. The American journal of clinical nutrition, 53(1), pp.251S-259S.
(6) Hooper, L., Martin, N., Abdelhamid, A. and Smith, G.D., 2015. Reduction in saturated fat intake for cardiovascular disease. Cochrane database of systematic reviews, (6).
(7) Futures Recovery Healthcare. (2018). Harmful Effects of Diet Pills and Supplements. [online] Available at: [Accessed 2 Sep. 2019].

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