Ask anyone what New Year resolution they’ve made, and chances are that they will tell you in a wistful tone that they want to lose weight and become fitter. But now more than ever before they’re spoilt for choice with a smorgasbord of dieting choices before them. Should they attempt to evaporate the kilograms by going on the Keto diet? Or should they lay waste to their weight by trying out what’s called intermittent fasting or time-restrictive eating? And for those who believe that modern living is hopelessly soft, how about going back to the brilliantly named Caveman Diet?
Halle Berry and Kim Kardashian swear by the Keto or the Ketogenic diet, a high-fat, low-carb diet that has become all the rage globally. The main premise of the Keto diet is that by greatly lowering carb intake, you’ll force your body into a state of ketosis, which means it burns fat instead of carbohydrates for energy. As per the diet, roughly 80 per cent of your daily calories will come from fat. While it may be extremely popular, most dieticians warn against it. “Such a fat-intensive diet will have a negative impact on your organs in the long run. We don’t have any long-term research on Keto. All research is short term. Logically, it doesn’t make sense,” says Delhi-based dietician Kavita Devgan who has written a book called Don’t Diet – 50 Habits of Thin People. Fad diets and going to extremes by cutting out major food groups — like carbs — simply aren’t sustainable strategies in the long run, feels Devgan. “It is important to have a balanced diet,” she insists.
Another dieting fad that has gained popularity over the last year is intermittent fasting or time-restrictive eating. It refers to an eating pattern that swings between periods of eating very little or nothing (fasting), and, eating regular meals. So basically, you fast for 16 hours a day and then eat all your meals in an eight-hour span. It effectively means you skip breakfast. Some fast for one or two days in a week. Devgan feels that intermittent fasting is not harmful because it allows you to eat everything. “It is a healthy approach as long as you don’t take it to the extreme. Listen to your body,” she advises.
Shikha Nehru Sharma, dietician and founder of Delhi-based Nutri Health is also in favour of intermittent fasting. “In India various cultures anyway follow intermittent fasting. Certain Jain families prefer to eat before sunset and fasting once a week is common amongst Hindus.” However, she advises against combining intermittent fasting with any other dieting fad. Also, she recommends drinking a lot of water when fasting to keep yourself hydrated.
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