Choi Chung, RPh, BScPharm
Now a days, if you’re looking for weight loss advice, you’ll get bombarded with conflicting information from the many “experts” that exist in today’s society.
So, you hop onto Google and try to look up weight loss and what do you get? About 240 million results.
Of these, you’ll find trending weight loss strategies such as juicing and detox, intermittent fasting, and the Paleo diet.
But, just how effective are these diets?
Obert et. al. recently did a review of each of these diets and we summarize the take-home points below.
Juicing and Detox Diets
Juice cleansing and detox diets are storming the market and it’s quite evident based on their presence on social media. Generally, these diets require you to consume your daily caloric intake in the form of juices or supplements. As well, they can last anywhere from a couple days up to 3 weeks.
In short, these diets don’t have much scientific backing. From what we know, it seems that the majority of weight loss on these diets are the result of water loss, especially when the regimen involves laxatives or saunas. We also don’t have a good understanding of the short-term or long-term risks of juicing and detox.
Intermittent Fasting (IF) involves fasting over an extended period of time followed by a set period of ‘normal’ eating. Depending on the regimen you choose, this fast can range anywhere from 16 to 48 hours.
Interestingly, IF seems to be tied to weight loss for a number of different reasons. First, people following IF are often naturally eating less because they only have an allotted time frame to eat. Second, studies show that the fasting period actually leads to metabolic changes in our bodies relevant to weight loss. Despite all of this, we still don’t really understand what sort of short-term or long-term consequences there are for IF.
Paleolithic (Paleo) Diet
Paleo diet aka the ‘caveman’ diet revolves around the idea of bringing back the days where non-processed foods were not available. Particularly, it means no cereals, grains, legumes or dairy and sticking to the basics like fruits, vegetables, lean meats and nuts.
Paleo has been shown to help with weight loss in a number of different studies and has also also been shown to lead to important metabolic changes in our bodies that contribute to this as well. Nevertheless, given that the paleo diet eliminates dairy products, bone density loss is a definite concern. Lastly and equally as important, the foods included in this diet are generally more costly. As a result, this diet might be quite impractical for those with strict budgets.
Overall, all of these diets can lead to a certain amount of weigh loss. From what we know, juice cleanses and detoxes seem to result in short-lived weight loss and these diets are generally not sustainable long-term. In comparison, IF and the Paleo diet might be more practical in the long-run, but cost and impact on lifestyle are definite factors to consider for those looking to start these diets.
- Popular Weight Loss Strategies: a Review of Four Weight Loss Techniques – https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007%2Fs11894-017-0603-8