The latest evidence shows that numerous popular weight-loss diets can have devastating long-term health consequences.
It is widely accepted that losing weight reduces the risk of cancer, heart disease or diabetes; but the newest studies show that the side-effects of some of the most popular weight loss regimes can cancel out the benefits.
In Ireland & the UK where around 70% of people die of diseases linked to overweight or obesity, the weight-loss business in thriving. Every year new ‘fad diets’ promise the ever expanding legions of dieters a ‘quick and easy’ weight loss solution. However, the fundamental question that dieters often forget to ask, is what are the long-term health consequences of their slimming regimes?
After years of ignoring popular diet regimes, researchers recently started to test them, and the results are alarming.
‘None of the diets reviewed are based on solid scientific evidence. They are misleading and can have serious long-term health consequences.’ says Gosia Desmond, the Director of Nutrition Research at The College of Naturopathic Medicine.
The well-known short-term effects of the most popular weight-loss regimes, high protein diets, include constipation, bloating and gastrointestinal discomfort and hemorrhoids[i].
Additionally, a study published in 2009 in the Journal of the American Dietetic Association showed that within just 1 month, a high-protein diet can increase LDL cholesterol levels by 100%, and can cause insulin resistance, erectile dysfunction, atherosclerosis and near a total blockage of a coronary artery[ii]’
However, the long term consequences are even more dangerous as dieters may never associate them with the diet itself.
Researchers from Washington University showed that high-protein diets significantly boost the levels of a growth factor, IGF-1 in the blood[iii]. High IGF-1 levels increase the risk of colon, prostate and postmenopausal breast cancer[iv].
‘Given the obesity epidemic and the increasing number of dieters in the UK, people should be warned about the risks of diets in the same way they are warned about high-fat foods with the traffic light system’ says Gosia Desmond.
According to the World Cancer Research Fund, every 47g of processed meats a day raises colon cancer risk by 21%[v]. The consumption of processed meats on a high protein diet can be four times as much. This level of meat intake can raise diabetes risk by 40%, according to a study published in the Journal Diabetologia[vi].
At a time when many people are trying to lose weight in the new year after the over-indulgence of Christmas, The College of Naturopathic Medicine will be hosting Gosia Desmond’s seminar on ‘How to Stay Slim and Healthy forever’. Gosia will explain how some of the most popular weight-loss diets together with the misleading marketing of so called ‘health foods’ can increase the risk of obesity, heart disease, diabetes or cancer. She will also demonstrate how to distinguish between really healthy foods and ‘health frauds’ or ‘health fads’, and will focus on the diet of the slimmest, healthiest populations on earth, who never need to resort to weight-loss diets.
1st February: Dublin. 2nd February: Cork.
Entry fee: €15 (CNM Students €10)
For more details or to book call 01 235 3094 or visit http://www.naturopathy.ie/events/events-special-ireland/
[i] Center of Science in the Public Interest (2004) Nutrition Action Health Letter. January /February.
[ii] Barnett TD, Barnard ND, Radak TL. (2009) Development of symptomatic cardiovascular disease after self-reported adherence to the Atkins Diet. J Am Diet Assoc. 109:1263-1265
[iii] Fontana L, Weiss EP, Villareal DT, Klein S, Holloszy JO. (2008) Long-term effects of calorie or protein restriction on serum IGF-1 and IGFBP-3 concentration in humans. Aging Cell. 2008 Oct;7(5):681-7.
[iv] Voskuil DW, Vrieling A, van’t Veer LJ, Kampman E, Rookus MA. (2005) The insulin-like growth factor system in cancer prevention: potential of dietary intervention strategies. Cancer Epidemiol Biomarkers Prev.14(1):195-203
[v] World Cancer Research Fund (WCRF) (2007) Food, Nutrition, Physical Activity and the Prevention of Cancer: A Global Perspective. Available at : <http://www.dietandcancerreport.org> . [Accessed on: 3rd May 2008].
[vi] Aune D, Ursin G, Veierod MB. Meat consumption and the risk of type 2 diabetes: a systematic review and meta-analysis of cohort studies. Diabetologia. 2009;52:2277-2287.