New Year’s Dieting: Delight or Disaster?

After the champagne has been popped, the chocolates scoffed, and the has clock struck 12 to hearld in New Year’s Day, the nation begins a tidal wave of all things healthy: from gym memberships to crazy celeb diets. Before you begin to starve yourself into oblivion it would be wise to know which fads are fantastic, and which are just fiction.

Is there any difference between the recommendations of celebrities, nutritionists and the general public?

Which diets get a thumbs up and which should be avoided at all costs?

According to experts and readers of US News, the top ranked diet of 2011 is the DASH diet.

The DASH diet may not be everyone’s preference for weight loss but has ranked consistently high for its benefits to your cardiovascular system (it stands for Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension) and reduced risk of diabetes as well as being an easy diet to follow and improving healthy eating. The DASH diet in brief:


  • Foods to lower blood pressure such as fruits and vegetables, legumes, lean meat and fish
  • Reducing foods high in salt
  • Easy to follow as favourite fat and sweet foods are ok in moderation
  • Will help maintain a healthy weight through healthier eating

Other highly ranked diets include the TLC (Therapeutic Lifestyle Changes) diet, written by the National Institute of Health in the USA which has been ranked highly for its short-term weight loss and benefits to heart health but has been criticised for being complicated to follow and easy to stray from. The following diets were all ranked equally in bronze position: Mayo Clinic diet (lifelong healthy eating), Mediterranean diet (focusing on fruits, vegetables, olive oil and fish) and the Weight Watchers famous points-counting diet.

Whilst the top ranked diets all share their philosophy of more healthy foods and less processed, sweet and fatty foods what do the least favourite diets have to suggest for your New Year weight loss?

The most famous diet to be rejected whole-heartedly by the public and nutritionists has unexpectedly gained support from celebrities such as Kate Middleton, the Duchess of Cambridge, and Jennifer Lopez. The Dukan diet, invented by French doctor, Pierre Dukan, involves a complex four-phase diet cutting out the food groups and slowly re-adding in each phase. This diet, which nutritionists state has no solid science behind it has been criticised for being unhealthy, incredibly restrictive and leads to a lack of energy, constipation and bad breath.


Other popular celeb diets to be bashed by dieticians and nutritionists include the Baby Food diet (consuming puréed food to restrict calorie intake); the Raw Food diet (low in fat and calories but also low in vitamins, iron and protein); and the Blood Group diet (suggesting that certain blood groups cannot process certain foods – a theory not grounded in fact).

So just which diet would be appropriate for you? All of the top ranked diets allow you to consume all food groups (even those which include biscuits and cakes!) and focus on increasing your overall health leading to long-term weight loss and internal health. Whilst crash diets favoured by celebrities may drop your dress sizes rapidly, they will also drop your vitamin levels dramatically which can have dire consequences. In order to ensure that you can stick with your diet and keep your health on track it is advisable not to cut out any food groups and instead eat all of what you like in moderation.