Will your Diet Kill you ? The Risks of Extreme Diets.

The average UK woman spends 31 years of her life on a diet.


As obesity escalates, the diet business is booming with Britain’s diet industry now worth £2 billion. In Britain most people are now overweight or obese, this includes 61.3% of adults and 30% of children. The average 45-year-old woman has been on 61 diets, with few of them having had the desired effect. Professionals suggest most fad diets promise rapid weight loss, but there’s usually a catch. Their rigid diet plans tend to be nutritionally unbalanced, impractical, scientifically unsound and doomed to fail as people slip from the unrealistic routine.

What do I think of Extreme diets ? Read on….

Extreme Diets:

In this blog I am reviewing some extreme diets which have hit the press recently, due to their novelty or popularity.


The Intermittent Fast/5:2 Diet:

The fast or 5:2 diet involves severe calorie restriction for two non-consecutive days a week and normal eating the other five days. The diet first reached the mainstream via a BBC Horizon documentary called Eat, Fast and Live Longer in August 2012. It is a form of intermittent fasting where on two days a week men eat only 600 calories and women eat 500. Sticking to this plan claims dieters should lose around 1lb (0.46kg) a week if you are a woman and slightly more for a man. Success also depends on not over-eating on your normal days. As well as losing weight the diet claims also sees a wide range of health benefits. Studies of intermittent fasting show that not only do people see improvements in blood pressure and their cholesterol levels, but also in their insulin sensitivity. According to the UK National Health Service there is limited evidence on the safety and effectiveness of the diet. Celebrities including Miranda Kerr, Kate Hudson, Philip Schofield, Hugh Fearnley-Wittingstal and Benedict Cumberbatch have tried to diet.

My opinion…..One of the most popular diets amongst my patients

I have seen many lose weight but we don’t have enough evidence about the long term effects of this type of diet.

If the non fasting days are healthy then this diet is probably ok for most people. Not for pregnant women or diabetics though.



The Juice Diet: New super drinks include high proportions of raw-pressed vegetables as well as fruit which in turn makes them high in naturally occurring vitamins and minerals and lower in calories. Juicing claims to help lose excess weight and be enormously beneficial for your health. The juice diet supercharges your nutrient intake by providing your body with pure micronutrients, vitamins and enzymes – with none of the bad stuff that constitutes processed food. Experts say there is no scientific evidence that the daily juice products remove toxins in the body – a function already carried out by the liver and kidneys. The weight reduction is very temporary water weight that you’re losing so it’s not going to persist long term.

My opinion… This is one of the latest crazes to sweep through the uk

Juicing as part of your 6 a day is fine but I am concerned about the juice fasts, where only juice is consumed for days, sometimes  even weeks
This leaves people severely lacking in important nutrients like calcium iron protein and essential fats
and can result in poor skin, hair loss, weakened immune systems and the high sugar content can rot teeth and upset our stomachs


Dukan Diet: The Dukan diet is a low-carbohydrate, high-protein diet. There’s no limit to how much you can eat during the plan’s four phases. During phase one, you’re on a strict lean protein diet. This is based on a list of 72 reasonably low-fat protein-rich foods, such as chicken, turkey, eggs, fish and fat-free dairy. This is for an average of five days to achieve quick weight loss. Carbs are off limits except for a small amount of oat bran. Unlike the Atkins diet, Dukan’s phase one bans vegetables and seriously restricts fat. The next three phases of the plan see the gradual introduction of some fruit, veg and carbs and eventually all foods. The aim is gradual weight loss of up to 2lb a week and to promote long-term weight management. There’s no time limit to the final phase, which involves having a protein-only day once a week and taking regular exercise. Celebrities such as Penelope Cruz, Carole Middleton, J-Lo, Katherine Jenkins, Linda Bellingham and Louise Redknapp have all followed the diet.

My opinion… once again I am not a fan of this form of dieting, which involves removing important food groups from the diet and can leave us lacking essential fats and nutrients needed to stay healthy. Most of my patients who have tried this seem to have out any weight loss straight back on.


The Corset Diet: In America some doctors are recommending the corset diet to their patients who want to lose weight but others are sceptical that such a method is merely a trend that could in fact cause health problems later on. Beverly Hills-based Dr Alexander Sinclair claims that a number of his patients follow the ‘corset diet’, which consists of wearing a tightly laced corset forseveral hours a day. He says some of his patients have lost six inches from their waistline by wearing the garment for three to five hours a day, before working their way up to 12 hours. The tight corset moves the ribs, makes you sweat more and the discomfort caused by a tight corset compressing the bottom ribs can also apparently make the wearer eat less. When corsets were commonly worn in the 16th and 17th centuries, they were so tight that they caused some women’s internal organs to be rearranged. Other medical experts have spoken out about the health risks of wearing a corset, such as that it can constrict the lungs and cause joint pain. Burlesque star Dita Von Teese owes her tiny 22in waist to wearing corsets since the age of 18.

My opinion….Probably the craziest diet of them all. I do NOT advise this one!!

The corset can injure internal organs, it can upset our breathing, cause joint pain in our ribs and cut off the circulation

What is my overall opinion of extreme diets ?

There appears to be no quick fixes to sustained weight loss. A healthy balanced diet and plenty of exercise will help to keep you healthy and happy.