Diets claiming you’ll lose a huge amount of weight in next to no time pop up on social media relentlessly.
When a new diet promises dramatic results with little effort or sells miraculous pills, potions or supplements guaranteed to melt body fat or speed a up sluggish metabolism – with testimonials touting success – then be sceptical.
We evaluated four current diet trends to see how their claims stack up against the science.
Watch: Portion control made easy. Post continues below.
Reverse dieting, referred to as “the diet after the diet”, involves increasing your energy intake in a gradual, step-wise way after you stop following a reduced energy diet.
The reverse diet is popular among bodybuilders and physique athletes trying to return to “normal” eating patterns without gaining extra weight.
The theory is that providing a small energy intake surplus may help restore circulating hormone levels and reverse any adverse change in the body’s energy expenditure, restoring it to pre-diet levels.
At the same time, it tries to match energy intake to a person’s usual metabolic rate based on them being at a stable weight. The aim is to try not to store extra body fat due to consuming more kilojoules than are being used.
Anecdotal reports of success using reverse dieting have seen it trending, but there are no studies specifically testing this diet for weight management.
Ideally, weight loss strategies should maximise any reduction in body fat stores while conserving or building muscle mass.
One review evaluated studies estimating the number of extra kilojoules needed daily to maximise muscles and minimise body fat stores, while also exercising to build muscles, called resistance training. They found limited evidence to guide recommendations.
Verdict? Fad diet.
The GAPS diet
The Gut And Psychology Syndrome (GAPS) diet starts with a strict elimination diet followed by maintenance and reintroduction phases that proponents suggest you follow over several years.
There is no scientific evidence to support the website claim that the diet could lift a “toxic fog off the brain to allow it to develop and function properly”.
The GAPS diet wasn’t specifically formulated for weight management; it’s rather promoted as a natural treatment for people with digestive problems or conditions that affect the brain, such as autism. But the blog reports some people have experienced positive weight changes, either weight loss or weight gain, as needed.