In this episode, various diets that focus on juicing or detoxifying, intermittent fasting, the paleo diet, and high-intensity exercise will be covered.
Obesity has emerged as one of the most significant global public health issues, and it is linked to higher rates of morbidity and mortality as well as more expensive medical treatment. The US spent 147 billion dollars on obesity and related illnesses in 2008 alone, and expenses are expected to climb (1).
An entire industry has been developed to create and promote fad diets and exercise regimens as a result of how widespread and expensive obesity has become. The following topics will be covered in this episode as we examine the most recent research supporting four well-known weight loss programs: Diets that emphasize juicing or cleansing, intermittent fasting, the paleo diet, and intense exercise
Juicing and Detoxification Diets
Detoxification diets and juicing have long been and are still used as weight loss management strategies. The phrase “juicing” or “detoxing” typically refers to a brief period of time, typically less than two weeks, during which all calories taken come from juices and additional supplements chosen in accordance with the particular juicing diet( (e.g: The Master Cleanser, Lemon Detox Diet, the Liver Cleansing Diet, Martha’s Vineyard Detox Diet).
The majority of these diets include liquids and supplements that serve as meal replacements for the duration of 2 to 21 days. The use of laxatives is also a common component of the programs, and the Hubbard Purification Rundown cleanse even calls for spending up to five hours each day in a sauna. The idea behind weight loss is that there is a substantial decrease in caloric intake, in addition to the loss of water weight and fecal matter when laxatives and saunas are included. Some of these diets offer just 400 calories per day since they are so restrictive.
In conclusion, these incredibly low-calorie diets cause stress hormones like cortisol to surge, which may have additional detrimental downstream consequences including stimulating hunger, which can result in rebound weight gain through binge eating (2)(3).
Periodic fasting, commonly referred to as “intermittent fasting,” is a weight loss technique that entails periods of minimal or no calorie intake, usually lasting 16 to 48 hours, followed by periods of regular eating(4).
The length of time spent fasting and the amount of calories that can be consumed during the fasting phase might vary greatly depending on the intermittent fasting diet. During this fasting period, a number of metabolic changes take place, including decreased glucose levels, decreased glycogen storage, decreased fatty acid mobilization, decreased leptin, and maybe increased alertness.
Due to the fact that calorie consumption is typically lowered by roughly 25% relative to the person’s baseline calorie intake, intermittent fasting diets generally result in weight loss.
In conclusion, although intermittent fasting diets are becoming more and more popular as a weight loss strategy, there are still very few research that evaluate its effectiveness and potential drawbacks.
The Paleolithic (Paleo) Diet
The Paleolithic (Paleo) diet was developed to resemble how prehistoric humans consumed solely whole, unprocessed foods. This diet was developed on the grounds that, according to a theory, human genetics are best suited to it since human genes ceased changing during the Stone Age, roughly 10,000 years ago.
Fresh produce, fruit, lean meats, chicken, fish, eggs, tofu, nuts, and seeds are all considered paleo foods. Cereals, grains, legumes, and dairy products are not.
Mellberg et al. conducted the largest randomized control study (RCT), which involved 70 post-menopausal, obese women who were given either a paleo diet or a Nordic Nutrition Recommendations Diet. At the end of 6 months, those who followed the paleo diet significantly improved in terms of weight loss and fat loss; however, at 24 months, there was no difference in these parameters (5).
The fact that these foods are typically more expensive is one of the criticisms of the paleo diet, and the higher cost may make this sort of diet unaffordable for some people. Weakness, diarrhea, and headaches are a few potential adverse effects that study participants have mentioned.
High Intensity Training
Although high-intensity training (HIT) has long been a technique used by professional athletes to improve their athletic ability, it has only lately gained popularity as a method for the general public to lose weight. HIT consists of brief periods of maximal intensity work followed by rest intervals. When compared to moderate intensity training (MIT), such as long-distance running or cycling at a moderate speed, this is very different.
24 men and 17 women with normal body fat percentages who did not frequently exercise at baseline were enrolled by Bagley et al. Participants in the study were asked to complete four sets of 20-second sprints with two minutes of low-intensity cycling in between for a total of 12 weeks. Participants showed a 1.2% decrease in body fat and a 1.2% increase in lean body mass after 12 weeks. It’s interesting to note that positive changes in body composition were seen after only completing a total of 80 seconds of sprints and 8 minutes of low-intensity exercise three days a week for a period of 12 weeks (6).
But one drawback of this program is that it doesn’t accept those with physical disabilities or serious comorbidities who can’t engage in high-intensity training.
Juicing or detoxifying diets cause weight loss as a result of their stringent calorie restrictions, however they are not long-term maintainable. Even while people may lose weight while on the diet, once the program is stopped, they frequently gain the weight back.
By lowering weekly calorie consumption overall, intermittent fasting appears to promote weight loss. Although there is currently very little research on humans, it is a more sustainable choice than juicing diets.
The paleo diet seems to produce significant short-term gains in weight reduction and other metabolic parameters, but for some people, it may not be a realistic diet because of the expense, time commitment, side effects, and questionable long-term benefits.
Although HIT appears to provide significant advantages for weight loss and only takes a little time commitment, it might not be practical for people with physical limitations, which could include a significant number of obese people.
Klein, A. V., & Kiat, H. (2014). Detox diets for toxin elimination and weight management: a critical review of the evidence. Journal of Human Nutrition and Dietetics, 28(6), 675–686. https://doi.org/10.1111/jhn.12286
Mazurak, N., Günther, A., Grau, F. S., Muth, E. R., Pustovoyt, M., Bischoff, S. C., Zipfel, S., & Enck, P. (2013). Effects of a 48-h fast on heart rate variability and cortisol levels in healthy female subjects. European Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 67(4), 401–406. https://doi.org/10.1038/ejcn.2013.32
Mellberg, C., Sandberg, S., Ryberg, M., Eriksson, M., Brage, S., Larsson, C., Olsson, T., & Lindahl, B. (2014). Long-term effects of a Palaeolithic-type diet in obese postmenopausal women: a 2-year randomized trial. European Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 68(3), 350–357. https://doi.org/10.1038/ejcn.2013.290
Obert, J., Pearlman, M., Obert, L., & Chapin, S. (2017). Popular Weight Loss Strategies: a Review of Four Weight Loss Techniques. Current Gastroenterology Reports, 19(12). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11894-017-0603-8