It’s been a very strange year in the world of diets.
The CICO diet (which stands for ‘calories in = calories out’) gained increasing popularity on Reddit, with one user claiming; “CICO will work regardless of what you’re eating. Junk food, healthy food, fancy food, cheap food. It doesn’t matter. CICO is essentially the only thing that matters when it comes to weight loss.”
Except, er, that’s not really how food works.
One hundred kilojoules of hot chips is not the same as one hundred kilojoules of broccoli… no matter how much we wish that were the case.
Flexitarianism became a buzzword, which is just a fancy way of saying “sh*tty vegetarian”. Mostly, it promotes eating more vegetables and less meat, which as a general rule, isn’t a bad thing.
But there’s one diet in particular that experts are worried about.
Mamamia spoke to one of Australia’s leading dietitians, Susie Burrell, and asked: What’s the worst dieting fad of 2017?
Her answer was simple.
LISTEN: Brigid Delaney speaks to Mia Freedman about her experience with the 101 Wellbeing Program on No Filter. Post continues below.
In essence, it’s a detox. The program is broken into phases, the first of which is called ‘Cleanse and Release’ where one is only allowed to consume water, black tea and herbs. This phase is meant to last between five and 21 days.
The second phase, called ‘Repair and Recover’, includes a number of Chinese herbal medicines and treatments. It promises better quality of life, and a weight loss of five to eight kilos in less than two weeks.
Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull and presenter Eddie Mcguire have both raved about the effectiveness of the program.
But, according to Burrell, “the body does not need to be detoxed and restrictive diets that promote extreme fasting and liquid meal replacements for weeks at a time, not only promote a restrictive approach to diets, but they are rarely effective long term.
“They can also cause reductions in metabolic rate long term.”
When our metabolic rate slows down, we burn less kilojoules, meaning one will most likely put the weight back on - and then some.
The diet promotes serious restriction, which is not sustainable over a long period of time.
"The key with choosing the right diet for you," Burrell said, "is to choose one that is sustainable. While weight loss may be slower it will be more likely maintained and not cause extreme hunger, food obsessions or a reduction in metabolic rate."
Author and journalist Brigid Delaney tried the 101 Wellbeing Program, and wrote about it in her book Wellmania. The side effects she experienced were headaches, sore muscles, terrible breath, body odour, dizziness, irritability, back pain, extreme fatigue and brain fog. She was also unable to function socially, zoning out of conversations, and unable to sit across from someone drinking a coffee, or enjoying dinner.
When asked if she'd try the diet again, she answered a resounding 'no'.
When it comes to weight loss, there are no secrets.
If you loose eight kilos in two weeks, you'll put it back on just as quickly - and that is not at all what 'health' looks like.