The Diet “Experts” – Are They Having a Laugh?

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Move aside veganism, there are a few new kids on the block in 2013 and boy do these ‘diet gurus’ know how to charge for their pearls of wisdom!

I have to confess that I do keep an eagle eye on the New York Bestsellers list – any writer that tells you they don’t want to see their book featured is either lying or has a very well-paid job doing something else and doesn’t need to depend on book sales to pay the bills!

When it comes to diet books, it is impossible to keep up and my sympathy goes out to all those who have no sooner got to grips with one particular diet before another one hits the headlines. What do you do? Bin the one you are currently working with in favour of the new one that now promises faster fat loss or stick to your guns? It’s a dilemma!

Personally, I am all in favour of quick fix diets (oops, I can hear my contemporaries groaning, loudly!) Why? Because, research continues to reveal that when we see results in the early stages we are motivated to keep going – it’s not rocket science! Yes, there are some diets out there which are a bit crazy and restrictive and if we stick with them for longer than the prescribed time we are likely to suffer from nutritional deficiencies which then see our metabolism slowing down to a snails pace to keep us thriving BUT in all the years I have been working in the fat loss game I have rarely come across anyone who say “I am looking for a diet that results in slow and steady weight loss”. Of course, this is the healthier route but let’s get real – we are all in a rush!

I digress. Back to the current crop of diets that seem to be keeping my diets off the New York Bestsellers list – hard not to get grumpy but I won’t wallow in that place! 2012 was all about ‘going vegan‘ and almost every time I stepped on stage to discuss diets, dieting, fat loss and the rest there were questions from the floor about the perceived success of such diets which I happily addressed but usually with the warning that a complete change to your whole way of shopping, cooking and eating can be a mighty big hill to climb (and it’s rare that the rest of the family embrace such change which makes life tricky to say the least).

This month (new year, new you and all that) it’s portion control, meal spacing, whole foods (what, again?), more gluten-free stuff AND intermittent fasting. Not so long ago, everything to do with fasting was slammed, principally because most of us lead very busy lives, require lots of energy which we get from food and if we don’t get it, we get tired, miserable, irritable and ultimately sick. We lose weight but at what cost? Fasting has been part and parcel of many faiths over many centuries but it is not something that should be undertaken without expert guidance. Intermittent fasting, however is something quite different and if managed properly results in fast and lasting fat loss for many but there is nothing new about it, despite what the media might have you believe.

Anyone who has read any of my books or articles knows I have been a fan of intermittent fasting for years. Where the confusion possibly lies is that it has gained a new name (oh, the power of marketing). It used to be called ‘calorie cycling’ or ‘zig-zag dieting’ and professional athletes and natural bodybuilders have been employing the principles successfully before competition for years.  Animal studies indicating the health benefits of this type of diet started appearing in the 1970’s and 80s, human studies followed when I was studying nutritional therapy back in the 1990’s and if I remember rightly, I first started scribbling about it around 2000. But hey ho, it’s way too easy to get cynical! As mentioned, the scaremongers don’t like it much, their argument being that it encourages disordered eating patterns and you can’t expect to nourish your body properly on a daily basis when you adopt a pattern where you seriously restrict calories for two or three days a week – what rubbish! If you stick with seriously low calorie diets for days/weeks on end of course your body will start to struggle BUT if your diet is currently a bit of a road accident and you are carrying excess flab it will say a mighty big ‘thank you’ if you give it a break every few days and allow it to focus on badgering your fat stores into giving up their energy stores and shrinking in the process – trust me, it is not news!

Before I go, I need to get back to my first point and have a quick rant about how much some of the ‘experts’ are charging for their pearls of wisdom. The number one bestseller as I write, by that scary military guy who belittles every contestant on TV progs like Celebrity Fat Club, Ian K Smith wants to relieve you of $25 of your hard-earned cash to ‘lose 2 sizes and 4 inches in 6 weeks’ and that Wheat Belly fellow, William Davis M.D is charging  the same to help you ‘find your path back to health’. I have read both books (I really do read every diet book that hits the shelves) and I applaud a lot of what they say but come on, don’t hit those who desperately want/need to lose weight where it hurts – their wallets!

So, what’s my advice for January 2013 and the route to a new ‘leaner, meaner you’? Employ a degree of skepticism, don’t believe everything you read, email me through my website, if you want a pretty unbiased view of any diet you are thinking of embarking on – oh and make soup a major part of your day (sorry, a blatant push of my Soup Can Make You Thin diet)!

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About Fiona Kirk

When it comes to healthy eating, dieting and finding a route that works, confusion reigns! Nutritionist and best selling author Fiona Kirk’s ability to cut through the ‘noise’ that is being hurled at us from all sides, enables us to make a few small changes that can reap big rewards in minimum time. By writing articles for the press, books (4 to date), giving talks, blogging and contributing to numerous diet and health websites, Fiona has discovered that her somewhat cynical (but always honest) take on some of the nonsense being touted has struck a chord with her ‘followers’ - putting them back in the driving seat of their diet and long term health. After all, she knows good nutrition... and isn't afraid to talk about it! For more from Fiona, check out
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