Superdiets are a ‘fairytale’

Top doctor claims faddish eating regimes don't make you healthier – regardless of what celebrities might tell you…

Gwyneth Paltrow famously followed a macrobiotic diet for years; Kylie Minogue reportedly swore by the cleansing power of grapefruits, and many a celeb has prepped for Oscar season by embracing the cabbage soup diet.

But whatever fad diet you choose to follow, scientists now believe they don’t work, and that their promised results are no more than a ‘fairytale’.

Professor Chris Hawkey, president of the British Society of Gastroenterology (BSG), will list more than a dozen famous diets when he addresses Gastro 2009, a major conference for doctors. They include ‘rawism’, the grapefruit diet and the alkaline diet.

‘Food has been shrouded in myths and fairytales since time immemorial,’ he said, arguing that some people become ‘quasi-religious’ about what they eat. ‘But what’s important is to recognise that, despite the popularity of fad diets, we are losing a grip on the fight with obesity.’

His comments come as a survey by the BSG shows that one in five Londoners would turn to weight-loss pills to slim down.

Among the more balanced diets he will mention is one promoted by the nutritionist Esther Blum, who advocates eating full-fat foods in moderation to help metabolise cholesterol and to improve sex drive. Its famous fans include Sex And The City star Sarah Jessica Parker and  Desperate Housewife Teri Hatcher.

Commenting on the speech, Andrew Hill, professor of medical psychology at Leeds University, told the Guardian: ‘People are looking for quick-fix repairs, but in fact they are very rare, particularly in relation to being overweight.’

‘The idea that some new discovery or new way of combining food will give you an instant fix to your weight or health problem is nearly always misinformed. Health isn’t immediately reparable; weight isn’t immediately modifiable.’

What do you think? Do fad diets work? Tell us how you feel about fad diets in the box below…


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