Mainstream diets not health threat

Experts give popular diets the thumbs up

Popular diets aimed at losing weight have been approved by researchers.

Weight loss programmes including the Atkins Diet and Slim Fast have been criticised in the past for not including all the nutrients for a healthy, balanced diet.

However, experts have analysed the effectiveness and nutritional content of these diets and others such as WeightWatchers and Rosemary Conley’s Eat Yourself Slim diet and found that all the diets reduce energy intake, in turn helping to control weight, but still give the sufficient nutrients to maintain a healthy lifestyle.

The research did emphasize that dieters did not significantly increase their fruit and veg intake as recommended.

Scientist analysed the food diaries of nearly 300 people and concluded in the Nutrition Journal: ‘This analysis provides reassuring and important evidence for the effectiveness and nutritional adequacy of four commercial diets in weight management for the general public.’

The results from the dieters showed a significant drop in body weight across the board, but no one diet caused a greater weight loss than another.

Heather Caswell, a nutrition scientist at the British Nutrition Foundation, said: ‘It is a shame that the diets did not result in an increase in the fruit and vegetable intakes of the subjects, however the fact that subjects lost weight will reduce their risk of many risk factors for diseases such as cardiovascular diseases and also certain cancers.’

Ms Caswell did express concern over the long-term effects of the Atkins diet, saying no research existed to show the lasting effects of the high-protein, low-carb diet.

‘I would therefore advise anyone against opting for this diet with a view to helping them to achieve long term weight loss,’ said Ms Caswell.

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