Gov't nutritionists warn public vs. 'fad diets'

By Pamela Mariz Geminiano

August 28, 2018, 8:02 pm

BAGUIO CITY -- The National Nutrition Council in Cordillera (NNC-CAR) has warned city residents against fad diets that promise fast and easy results as these may have negative effects on the body. 

NO FAD DIET. Government nutritionists warn residents of Baguio City that a lean body can be achieved through a balanced diet, exercise, and healthy lifestyle, and not just from ‘fad diets’ that could sometimes cause health issues. (Photo by Pamela Mariz Geminiano)

“The most common fad diet trends worldwide include the Ketogenic diet, intermittent fasting, Atkins diet, blood type diet and many more," NNC-CAR dietician Bella Basalong told the Philippine News Agency (PNA) on Tuesday.

Basalong cited the USA Center for Disease Control and Prevention's definition of "fad diet" as a weight loss plan that promises quick results with short-term change in nutrition needs.

"One way to spot a fad diet is if it promises rapid weight loss in a short period of time, which sounds too good to be true. Food choices in the diet is limited on certain food or food groups, which can be difficult to sustain,” she explained.

Basalong warned that such diets promise weight loss without exercise and sound “scientific,” but are actually not supported by studies.

"Fad diets have negative drawbacks, which include occurrence of malnutrition due to certain mineral or vitamin deficiencies. It can lead to dehydration, getting tired quickly due to limited calories, and alters metabolism, which can cause serious diarrhea or constipation. It also affects emotional health due to frustration on achieving the desired weight loss," she pointed out.

Basalong said fad diets that introduce high fat can also lead to cardiovascular diseases, adding that fad diet pills and supplements might also contain ingredients that are harmful to the body.

High protein fad diets, according to her, affect the organs of the body such as kidney.

She stressed that the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, as well as other nutritionist and dietitians, do not promote the practice of fad diets due to their effects on the body.

"The most successful weight management is a lifelong process, which includes healthy eating, regular physical exercise, and behavior change,” the city nutritionist said.

Meanwhile, NNC Cordillera Coordinator Rita Papey said in a separate interview that obesity is a problem in Cordillera, as the region has the fifth highest rate of obesity in the country.

Papey pointed out that obesity, or over-nutrition, is also a form of malnutrition, signifying imbalances in the person's intake of energy and nutrients that lead to diet-related non-communicable diseases.

Jumping on the bandwagon of popular diet fads can also be a gateway to eating disorder habits and behavior, Papey warned.

Many of these trendy diets, she agreed, are not only ineffective but also dangerous to one’s physical health.

In a world that dwells so much on physical attributes, people will always have to live with the society's standards, the nutritionists noted, adding that in today's generation, where social media is accessible, there is a strong emphasis on idealized beauty on platforms, such as Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and even magazines and television.

Guian, a gym enthusiast who requested to be identified just with his first name, said body shaming is not an encouragement, but a judgmental health advice.

He said celebrities and models seen on social media with “perfect bodies” often make people critical of themselves and experiences the pressure of living up to society's unrealistic standards.

Guian said body shaming has become a serious societal issue.

Body shaming is defined as inappropriate, negative statements and attitudes toward another person’s weight or size.

Guian said the social stigma of obesity has created negative psycho-social impairments that lead to psychological and health issues.

"It has the power to make someone feel unlovable," he explained. "It causes so many insecurities that they can’t even love themselves let alone expect someone else to love them. This is something individuals should not inflict on anyone. Living in the 21st century, everyone should be accepting of all body types. Encouraging each other to understand that our bodies are different, beautiful whether we are thick, thin, curvy, or not flawless. We were created to be different, and we need to learn to love those differences." (PNA)