Every year comes with its own array of weight loss trends. These often seem to spring up out of the blue, take people’s imaginations by storm, and then vanish virtually overnight. Sometimes they have a bit more longevity and hold on for a few years. Sometimes though they have a little something extra and stand the test of time.
Here’s a look at some of the weight loss trends which have been popular during 2016, and whether or not they live up to the hype:
Juice detox diets
Various juice detox diets and cleanses have cropped up in 2016, often backed by a particular product line. Juice diets tend to promise enormous fat loss in record time, as well as occasional boasts that you’ll cure yourself of any form of disease, boost your athleticism through the roof, etc.
So, are juice detox diets worth following? The answer seems to be “probably not.” One 2003 study did find that a one-week juice fast resulted in reduced free cholesterol, insulin, and triacylglycerols – although all parameters returned to normal one week after the fast.
A one-week juice fast is likely to help you drop water weight and may be beneficial as a short-term detox, but it’s unlikely to help you shed much real fat. Furthermore, continuing a diet like this for more than one week is likely to result in serious health complications from lack of vital nutrients.
The Paleo diet
The paleo diet has been going strong for some years now and has been popularised by various authors, alongside the Crossfit movement.
The basic idea behind the paleo diet is “eating like a caveman,” or in other words, trying to eat approximately the same kind of foods that humans evolved to eat back in our hunter-gatherer days. In practice, this mostly involves eating lots of leafy greens and meat, and cutting out refined grains, and sugar.
The paleo diet has faced criticism from some quarters for promoting the eating of animal fat and substantial quantities of red meat. But what does the science say about paleo for weight loss? Well, one 2007 study found that the paleo diet improved glucose tolerance more than a Mediterranean diet, resulting in potentially greater fat loss.
A 2008 study found that the paleo diet promoted fat loss of 5lb over 3 weeks while also improving cardiovascular risk factors, while a 2009 study reported weight loss of 6.6lb over a 3-month period.
The “clean eating” movement has risen to new heights of popularity in 2016, but what’s it really about? It’s tricky to say. The term itself has gained widespread popularity while being applied to a variety of different diet styles, though an emphasis seems to be on raw food vegan and vegetarian diets.
The same studies though, found that raw food diets resulted in low levels of HDL (good) cholesterol, and increased levels of homocysteine – an amino acid associated with an increased risk of blood clots and atherosclerosis.