Year after year new diets that promise easy weight loss become mainstream. They have become a part of life just like death and taxes. While these diets might work for some people, the majority of us probably don’t have the patience or desire to change our eating habits as drastically as some of these diets require.
Cut carbs. No fat. Eat smaller meals. These are some of the restrictions fad diets tell us to make. A basic knowledge of nutrition will tell us that our bodies need to have protein, fat, and carbohydrates in our regular diets. Many of these diets claim that regular exercise will increase weight loss results. Are fad diets necessary to reach weight loss goals? Here are two popular diets in America today, and how they would affect someone who is regularly training.
The Dukan Diet was created by a French physician about 30 years ago and is increasing in popularity. It has been called “French Atkins Diet” by some, in that it is a very low carbohydrate diet. It is a protein-based, low carb, low fat diet. This should be a red flag for those who are training because carbs are our body’s main energy source. Another problem with drastically cutting carbs and fat is that it can cause the body to enter into ketosis to try and generate the energy it needs. This diet can be dangerous for someone who is at risk of electrolyte imbalance as well. Electrolytes are very important to maintain your hydration status and to prevent muscle cramps. It is easy to see how the Dukan Diet can pose problems for someone who is training regularly.
Detox diets have gained in popularity in recent years because of their claims to lose weight fast. It’s true; you can lose weight quickly because of the extreme decrease in the amount of calories you are consuming. Someone who is training regularly would feel the negative effects of a detox diet immediately because they won’t have energy for their workouts and if they do manage to get through an entire work out, they won’t be replacing the calories they are burning off during their workouts. Not replacing the calories burned during a workout can cause muscle atrophy (loss of muscle). Anyone who is serious about their training knows that this would be counterproductive. Detox diets, in general, also lack scientific evidence to many of the claims they make. After just a couple days on a detox diet a person can begin to feel fatigued, dizzy, and lightheaded. This would not be safe to try to exercise while experiencing any of these symptoms.
For someone who is regularly training, starting a diet like either of these will typically have negative side effects. Training demands energy. Many of the popular diets today call for decreasing the types of foods necessary to ensure that you have the energy to train at an elite level. When it comes down to it, the best diet for someone who is training isn’t a “diet” at all. Diets are often accompanied with words like decreasing and cutting down, but the word we should focus on is adding. Rather than avoiding certain foods, make sure that you are adding fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and lean proteins to your everyday meals.
Acocella, S. (2006). Case histories: risks associated with the Atkins-style diets. Nutritional Perspectives: Journal Of The Council On Nutrition, 29(4), 45.
Morrison, J. A., & Lannucci, A. L. (2012). Symptom Relief and Weight Loss From Adherence to a Meal Replacement-enhanced, Low-calorie Detoxification Diet. Integrative Medicine: A Clinician’s Journal, 11(2), 42-47.