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Hollywood Diets Slammed by Obesity Expert

Armen Hareyan's picture

Dr David Ashton, one of the country’s leading obesity experts has slammed extreme Hollywood diets that expect seriously overweight people to exist on less than 600 calories a day.

New research reveals that Very-Low-Calorie-Diets (VLCD’s) such as Lighter Life, are no more effective than a sensible Low-Calorie-Diet that allow you to eat between 850 and 1,000 calories a day. In fact, Very-Low-Calorie-Diets have dangerous side effects which include: fainting, dizziness, nausea, headaches and insomnia.

Dr Ashton, Medical Director of Healthier Weight says: ‘These faddy diets are difficult to maintain, they make you ill, and they can be dangerous to your health. With research now showing that they are no more effective than Low Callorie diets people shouldn’t be suffering un-necessarily. Losing weight is a very positive thing, but I would never advise my patients to go below 850 to 1,000 calories per day.”

Studies have shown that low-calorie-diets (LCDs) which recommend an energy intake of approximately 850 to 1,000 calories/day, produce weight loss results that are similar to those seen with Very-Low-Calorie-Diets, but with fewer side-effects.

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It seems the whole nation is growing more ‘fat conscious’, or is it just New Year new you initiative? The new Government ‘Change4Life’ has been launched to revolutionise the nations unhelpful habits by making small changes to eat well, move more and live longer.

What’s more the new look Home Economics and PE GCSEs are being introduced this year to teach pupils the importance of avoiding ‘crash’ dieting and maintaining a balanced diet. Both courses are looking to promote healthy lifestyle among students as there is a worrying lack of knowledge on the dangers of crash dieting and food fads. Dr Ashton is in full support of these initiatives. One of the main problems in society these days is the obsession young girls have with wanting to look like Hollywood models.

New research compares the long-term effects of three different diets with daily calorie intakes of 420 kcal, 530 kcal (VLCD) and 880 kcal (LCD) respectively, on 93 middle-aged obese patients. At the end of a twelve month period, there was no significant difference in weight-loss between the three groups. However, the researchers noted that the LCD group exhibited fewer side-effects than both the Very-Low-Calorie-Diet groups.

A more recent study looked at two groups of patients with daily energy prescriptions of 458 kcal (VLCD) and 800 kcal (LCD) respectively. Over a 3-month study both groups of patients lost similar amounts of weight. However, as with the previous research, the VLCD group displayed more side-effects. The research concluded that the 3-month LCD was safer and more cost-effective than the lower calorie alternative.

Dr Ashton concludes by saying “The most important part of a diet is that it encourages long term behavioural change. It’s not at all surprising that people ditch the Very-Low-Calorie-Diet and dive into the cake tin.”