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The Science Behind Diet Trends Like Mono, Charcoal Detox, Noom & Fast800

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Every year a new batch of diets become trendy. In the past, the blood group, ketogenic, Pioppi and gluten-free diets were among the most popular. These have made way for the mono diet, charcoal detox, Noom, time-restricted feeding and Fast800.

So what are these new diets and is there any scientific evidence to support them?


Read more: Health Check: six tips for losing weight without fad diets


1. Mono diet

The monotrophic or mono diet limits food intake to just one food group such as meat or fruit, or one individual food like potato or chicken, each day.

The mono diet has no scientific basis and no research has been done on it. It’s definitely a fad and should not be followed.

It leads to weight loss because your food intake is so limited (one food per day) that you get sick of that food very quickly and so automatically achieve a reduced kilojoule intake.

If you ate three apples at each main meal and had another three as between-meal snacks then your total kilojoule intake from the 12 apples would be about 4,000 kilojoules (950 calories).

The mono diet is nutritionally inadequate. The nutrients most deficient will depend on the individual foods consumed, but if you follow the mono diet long term, you would eventually develop vitamin and mineral deficiencies.

2. Charcoal detox

The charcoal detox diet claims to help people lose weight by “detoxing” them. It involves periods of fasting and consumption of tea or juice drinks that contain charcoal.

It is definitely not recommended.

Medical professionals use activated charcoal to treat patients who have been poisoned or have overdosed on specific medications. Charcoal can bind to some compounds and remove them from the body.

There is no scientific evidence to support the use of charcoal as a weight loss strategy.

Avoid the charcoal detox diet. Andasea/Shutterstock

Read more: Five supplements that claim to speed up weight loss – and what the science says


Charcoal detox plans also include dietary restrictions or fasts, so people might lose weight because they’re consuming fewer kilojoules.

Charcoal is not selective. It can bind to some medications and nutrients, as well as toxic substances, so there is the potential for charcoal to trigger nutrient deficiencies and/or make some medications less effective.

Side-effects of using charcoal include nausea and constipation.

3. Noom diet

The Noom diet isn’t actually a diet at all. It is a smartphone app called Noom Coach that focuses on behaviour change techniques to assist with weight loss. It allows users to monitor their eating and physical activity, and provides support and feedback.

The Noom diet does not provide a diet plan, but it gets users to record within the app, all foods and drinks consumed. It then uses a traffic light system (red, yellow, green) to indicate how healthy the foods are.

One advantage of Noom is that is doesn’t eliminate any foods or food groups, and it encourages healthy lifestyle behaviour change to assist with weight loss.

A disadvantage is that while you can download the app for a free short-term trial, membership is about A$50 per month for four months. And additional services cost extra. So consider whether this approach suits your budget.

One study has examined the app’s effectiveness. In a cohort of 35,921 Noom app users over 18 months, almost 78% reported a reduction in body weight. About 23% of these people reported losing more than 10% of their body weight.


Read more: Health Check: should you weigh yourself regularly?


Although the data are observational and don’t compare Noom app users to a control group, the results are promising.

In other weight-loss interventions in adults at risk of developing type 2 diabetes, researchers found losing 5-10% body weight and being active for about 30 minutes a day lowered the risk of developing type 2 diabetes by more than 50%.

4. Time-restricted feeding

Time-restricted feeding is a type of intermittent fast that involves restricting the time of day that you are “allowed” to eat. This typically means eating in a window lasting four to ten hours.

While energy-restriction during this period is not a specific recommendation, it happens as a consequence of eating only during a shorter period of time than usual.

It’s unclear whether weight loss results from changes in the body after you fast, or if it’s just because you can’t eat as much in a short period of time. Best_nj/Shutterstock

The difference between time-restricted feeding compared to other intermittent fasting strategies is that recent research suggests some metabolic benefits are initiated following a fasting period that lasts for 16 hours, as opposed to a typical overnight fast of ten to 12 hours.


Read more: Health Check: what’s the best diet for weight loss?


Researchers have reported some promising effects on the amount of body fat, insulin sensitivity and blood cholesterol with time-restricted feeding windows, although some studies have reported benefits for weight but not for fat mass, blood cholesterol or markers of type 2 diabetes risk.

Further research is required to determine whether any health effects of time-restricted feeding are due to regular 16-hour fasting periods, or simply because eating over a small time window reduces energy intake.

If this approach helps you get started on a healthy lifestyle and your GP gives you the all clear, then try it. You will need to follow up with some permanent changes to your lifestyle so your food and physical activity patterns are improved in the long term.

5. Fast800

The Fast800 diet by Dr Michael Mosley encourages a daily intake of just 800 calories (about 3,350 kilojoules) during the initial intensive phase of the Blood Sugar Diet.

This lasts for up to eight weeks and is supposed to help you rapidly lose weight and improve your blood sugar levels. You can buy the book for about A$20 or pay A$175 for a 12-week online program that says it includes a personal assessment, recipes, physical and mindfulness exercises, tools, access to experts, an online community, information for your doctor and advice for long-term healthy living.

Michael Mosley’s diet program is based on a very low daily energy intake. Screenshot of https://thefast800.com/

Two recent studies provide some evidence that supports these claims: the DiRECT and DROPLET trials.

In these studies, GPs prescribed patients who were obese and/or had type 2 diabetes an initial diet of 800 calories, using formulated meal replacements. This initial phase was followed by a gradual reintroduction of food. Participants also received structured support to help them maintain the weight loss.

Both studies compared the intervention to a control group who received either usual care or treatment using best practice guidelines.

They found participants in the 800 calorie groups lost more weight and more of the adults with type 2 diabetes achieved remission than the control groups.

This is what you would expect, given the intervention was very intensive and included a very low total daily energy intake.

But the low energy intake can make the Fast800 difficult to stick to. It can also be challenging to get enough nutrients, so protocols need to be carefully followed and any recommended nutrient supplements taken.


Read more: What are ‘fasting’ diets and do they help you lose weight?


Fast800 is not suitable for people with a history of eating disorders or health conditions such as liver disease. So if you’re considering it, talk to your GP.

When it comes to weight loss, there are no magic tricks that guarantee success. Have a health check up with your GP, focus on making healthy lifestyle changes and if you need more support, ask to be referred to an accredited practising dietitian.

If you would like to learn more about weight loss, you can enrol in our free online course The Science of Weight Loss – Dispelling Diet Myths.

Professor in Nutrition and Dietetics, University of Newcastle

 

 

Postdoctoral research fellow, University of Newcastle

 

 

Postdoctoral Researcher, University of Newcastle

 

Clare Collins is affiliated with the Priority Research Centre for Physical Activity and Nutrition, the University of Newcastle, NSW. She is an NHMRC Senior Research and Gladys M Brawn Research Fellow. She has received research grants from NHMRC, ARC, Hunter Medical Research Institute, Meat and Livestock Australia, Diabetes Australia, Heart Foundation, Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, nib foundation, Rijk Zwaan Australia and Greater Charitable Foundation. She has consulted to SHINE Australia, Novo Nordisk, Quality Bakers, the Sax Institute and the ABC. She was a team member conducting systematic reviews to inform the Australian Dietary Guidelines update and the Heart Foundation evidence reviews on meat and dietary patterns.

Lee Ashton is affiliated with the Priority Research Centre for Physical Activity and Nutrition at the University of Newcastle, NSW, Australia.

Rebecca Williams is affiliated with the Priority Research Centre for Physical Activity and Nutrition at the University of Newcastle, NSW, Australia.

Debunking some common diets, and seeing which work! More Food and Health Science videos! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ztiHR… Subscribe for more! http://bit.ly/asap Eating Disorder Information: http://www.nedic.ca/ Created by: Mitchell Moffit and Gregory Brown Written by: Annik Carson, Rachel Salt, Greg Brown and Mitchell Moffit Illustrated: by: Max Simmons Edited by: Sel Ghebrehiwot GET THE ASAPSCIENCE BOOK: http://asapscience.com/book/ FOLLOW US! Instagram and Twitter: @whalewatchmeplz and @mitchellmoffit Clickable: http://bit.ly/16F1jeC and http://bit.ly/15J7ube AsapINSTAGRAM: https://instagram.com/asapscience/ Snapchat: realasapscience Facebook: http://facebook.com/AsapSCIENCE Twitter: http://twitter.com/AsapSCIENCE Tumblr: http://asapscience.tumblr.com Vine: Search “AsapSCIENCE” on vine! SNAPCHAT US ‘whalewatchmeplz’ and ‘pixelmitch’ Created by Mitchell Moffit (twitter @mitchellmoffit) and Gregory Brown (twitter @whalewatchmeplz). Send us stuff! ASAPSCIENCE INC. P.O. Box 93, Toronto P Toronto, ON, M5S2S6 Further Reading — Weight Loss Overview Studies http://ajcn.nutrition.org/content/66/… http://www.jstor.org/stable/25457080?… Low Carb http://annals.org/aim/article/717452/… http://www.nejm.org/doi/full/10.1056/… https://login.medscape.com/login/sso/… http://ajcn.nutrition.org/content/83/… http://content.onlinejacc.org/article… High Protein http://www.pnas.org/content/110/26/10… https://www.researchgate.net/profile/… Metabolic Slowing https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/2… Biggest Loser http://www.nytimes.com/2016/05/02/hea… White Tongue http://www.mayoclinic.org/symptoms/wh…

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10 Women Discuss The Crazy Ways They’ve Tried To Lose Weight Fast – Fizzation

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Unless by some genetic miracle you’re able to eat whatever you want and not look a pound over tweenage Victoria’s Secret angel, you’ve probably tried a special diet… or three.

Even if we’ve been down that road before — and back again — there’s something about the promise of seeing results quickly (coupled with the glamour of eating like a waif celebrity) that makes us keep wanting to test it out for ourselves.

We’re a goal-oriented society, after all. Who cares that the process sucks if it’s only temporary?

In the spirit of female solidarity and all the Blueprint cleanses we’ll be back-ordering until the first beach day (and then regretting after the first BBQ), we’ve rounded up our favorite, hilarious and horrific diet stories.

Because we all have at least that one time*…

*Names have been changed to protect the privacy of contributors.

1. The Spoon Diet

“In college, right before spring break, my roommate and I decided to go on the Spoon Diet. We were literally allowed to eat anything that we could put on a spoon — soup, parfaits, yogurt, pudding.

“You’d think it would be fun (my preferred utensil is spoon), right? But it was the most miserable two weeks of my life.

“Instead of slowing down to eat, enjoying what I was eating or eating more of the right types of foods, I was literally shoveling parfait after parfait into my mouth as often as possible because I spent most of the day famished and angry at everyone.

“Plus, chugging Natty Lights every night didn’t exactly fall on the Spoon Diet, but it was a liquid so, whatever, okay?”

– Katie, 26.

2. The South Beach Diet

“I just moved to Miami for work and was having trouble making new friends (Miami is cliquey like that). Between that, everyone around me walking around half-naked and having amazing bodies, and I was going through a breakup when I just moved to Miami. I was a prime diet candidate (Did I mention I was dating someone I worked with long distance to only have him break up with me when there was no distance?).

Needless to say, it was a rough time, and I dived deep into working out EVERY DAY.

“My diet of course was the South Beach diet. There are three phases to the South Beach diet: Phase 1 is mostly lean proteins, low-sugar vegetables, and nuts in moderation. No carbs or added sugar whatsoever. Phase 2 adds some grains back in, and Phase 3 shows you how to eat like a normal human being, but I never got this far. I told myself I’d make more of an impact if I stayed in Phase 1 forever.

“This diet was super easy to follow in Miami, as everyone is super healthy, but if I ever left Miami, I’d have to explain my psychotic substitutes when eating out.

“I recall coming back to NY for a work trip with a co-worker/best friend who was also on the South Beach diet. We went for a morning coffee at Starbucks together and both ordered our sad, nonfat cappuccinos. We started to add the cinnamon into our coffee when we saw it appeared unusually shiny.

“Turns out the barista put cinnamon sugar in the cinnamon containers, and we were having a tachycardia in the Starbucks at the thought of consuming sugar in our coffee and were desperately trying to scoop it out. The baristas and customers on line were looking at us like we were crazies.”

– Melissa, 32.

3. The Weekend Diet

“I go on a new cleanse/diet every week, then the weekend comes, and I blackout eat mac and cheese. Every time. All the time. I have no shame.”

– Ashley, 25.

4. The Bee Pollen Diet

“I took bee pollen pills in college before going on spring break. They were amazing, and I lost 10 lbs, so I eventually started taking an extra pill… then I started blacking out randomly midday and having vertigo, and my mom found my pill bottle and the fact that it was made in China and made me swear to stop so I did.

– Karen, 26.

5. The Mono Diet

“It’s definitely not a fad, but anyone looking to drop half of his or her body weight in a matter of hours should definitely acquire mononucleosis.

“When I got mono in 11th grade I dropped three pants sizes. It’s really effective, and it doesn’t cost any money. All you have to do is make out with a bunch of people.”

– Sam, 27.

6. The Dukan Diet

“One year after moving back home to NYC I gained like, 20 pounds. I turned to the Dukan diet, which was created by this French doctor, and supposedly, Kate Middleton had followed it. Between my love of France and Kate Middleton, I figured why not give it a try?

“This diet has multiple phases, which have fun names like “Attack” and “Cruise” phase. The Attack phase had you eating lots of lean protein and 1.5 tablespoons of oat bran a day. I’d have the oat bran in fat-free Greek yogurt with as much cinnamon to make the yogurt palatable. My coworkers were really grossed out with the amount of Greek yogurt that I was consuming.

“I definitely lost weight and looked great, but with summer approaching and all this amazing tasty fruit around like strawberries and watermelon, I had to forget about the diet. Another after effect of Dukan was that I couldn’t look at yogurt for at least an entire year afterwards.”

– Dana, 24.

7. The Gummy Diet

“One time I tried taking these gummy diet supplements. I thought they were too innocent and cute-looking to ever cause me any harm. You were supposed to take two shortly before each meal, but they just made me feel jittery and on edge.

“I’m not sure if they worked because after almost a week on this gummy bear binge, I decided I felt too weird and stopped taking them cold turkey. The next day I woke up at 3 am and vomited about once every half hour for the rest of the day.

“‘First they’re sour, then they are sweet’ is just a myth; those things are straight evil.”

– Caroline, 23.

8. The Homemade Juice Cleanse

“About three summers ago (before it was cool, OBVI), I read about juice cleansing and tried to do one.

“I didn’t have a juicer, and I just used my mom’s old blender. The kale and spinach never ground up quite right, so I ended up half drinking/half chewing nasty green mush for a week.

“I did lose weight, but that could have been because my juices were so disgusting I didn’t touch them.”

– Emma, 23.

9. The No-Diet Diet

“Dieting… it’s really not a part of my vocabulary. I try to do the whole gluten-free thing for health purposes. Back in high school, I tried taking garcinia cambogia, but that stuff made me feel strung out.”

– Natalie, 31.

10. The Organic Juice Cleanse

“I had done the occasional Blueprint cleanse and thought it tasted great. It didn’t bother me that the first day my mind would crash, and I couldn’t process simple decision-making. By the time the three days were over, I’d feel great and get so many compliments on how glowing my skin looked that it didn’t matter.

“When I was about to purchase another juice cleanse, I bumped into my uber-holistic, healthy sun salutation friend. We were chatting, and she insisted that I try Organic Avenue instead of Blueprint because it was way better.

“I took her advice and got the juices for the following day.

“Organic Ave is just plain gross. I don’t mind green juices — provided that they have LOTS of apple or some sort of fruit. Their juices tasted like straight-up vegetable, baby food puree. I told myself to hang in there.

“Second day comes along, and I had SoulCycle planned with String at 6:30pm. He’s notorious for flipping out if anyone is “not on point” or riding “janky.” I had taken his class for a couple months and was finally in a good place.

“This second day on the juice cleanse, however, was a different story. Midway through the class, the dumb candles they had lit were moving, and the room started to spin.

“He kept calling me out for not being on point. I could barely function. No idea how I got through that class.

“The next day, when I had the shakes around midday, I threw in the towel and got a chicken wrap across the street. Last time I juice cleansed.

“When I started to eat carbs again I realized I was such a nasty person before carbs. Carbs make me happy.”

– Erica, 28.

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