WE’VE all tried a diet at least once in our lives, but one expert has now warned that some of the most popular ones could be making you ill.
Most key nutrients should be coming from the food we consume as part of our daily diet but if you’re on a specific diet you might feel a little out of sorts if you’re limiting what you eat.
Whether it’s to lose a little bit of weight or you want to try something different, many people can become so focused on their new diet plan that they forget all the nutrients the body actually needs.
Speaking to The Sun, registered nutritionist Rhiannon Lambert said whether you’re on a keto diet or trying to become a flexitarian or vegan, you could be missing out on key nutrients your body needs to stay healthy.
She explained: “Though you may not notice the effects immediately, skipping out on important nutrients like magnesium, vitamin D, and B vitamins can eventually affect your health.”
Recent data from Google shows that people have been googling four diets in particular to help them get back into shape.
Here Rhiannon outlines these four diets and the nutrients you could be missing out on.
Around 500,000 people search for the Keto diet each month, which involves eating lots of “good” fat, to curb hunger pangs, while cutting out carbs and eating moderate amounts of protein.
Rhiannon explained that few people actually realise that the keto diet was originally designed to help people who suffer from seizures.
She added: “Advocating the restriction of carbohydrate foods like grains, sugars, legumes, rice, potatoes, sweets, juices and even most fruits is a complete departure from the colourful, varied Mediterranean diet that comes with many proven health benefits.
“As a result, keto dieters are often lacking in certain vitamins and minerals needed for essential body functions.
“Initial side effects may include low energy levels, brain fog, increased hunger, sleep problems, nausea, digestive discomfort and poor exercise performance.
“It can be an effective method of weight loss in the short term with careful planning, but it is hard to sustain in the long term.”
She said that if you want to try the diet, then you should seek medical advice.
If you do however, want to try it, Rhiannon recommends taking a mutltivitamin.
She said: “While a multivitamin cannot replace what’s missing from a diet, it can certainly fill in some key nutritional gaps that can be missed out if following a keto diet.”
Rhiannon said that while there is evidence that low-carb diets are safe and effective in the short-term for most people with type 2 diabetes and helping with weight loss – such a restrictive diet is not recommended for all.
Around 50,000 people a month search for this diet – proving that it’s a popular option for many, but Rhiannon says there are many side effects you could suffer by completely cutting out food groups.
She explained: “Carbohydrates are such are an important source of energy that without them side effects can extend to headaches, muscle ache and constipation without enough essential fibre for your gut to work normally.
“While you may lose weight on these types of diets, they’re often high in protein and fat, which can make you ill. The likely symptom of weight loss is simply because it involves less food and calories.”
“Regardless of your diet, all adults and children over the age of one should consider taking a daily supplement containing ten micrograms of Vitamin D. During the autumn and winter, we get vitamin D from our body’s stores and from food sources but these are insufficient to keep up vitamin D levels.
“The only way to ensure a healthy vitamin D status at this time of year is to take a supplement.”
The Mediterranean diet is high in vegetables, fruits, legumes, nuts, beans, cereals, grains, fish, and unsaturated fats such as olive oil.
It usually includes a low intake of meat and dairy foods. It has been linked with good health, including a healthier heart.
Around 50,000 people search for this diet on average each month and Rhiannon says that this is actually one of the most balanced diets.
She added: “You should always try to eat two portions of fish each week, one of which that is oily – however, if you don’t eat a lot of fatty fish or seafood, you may want to consider supplementing with Omega 3”.
If you have a lack of omega 3 in your diet then you could suffer from fatigue, poor memory, dry skin, heart problems, mood swings or depression, and poor circulation.
Omega 3 is an essential fatty acid that supports brain and heart function, as well as promote normal cholesterol.
In the last few years there has been a large shift to plant-based living and it’s certainly a good option to take for people who are conscious about the environment.
We get a lot of nutrients from our foods, and some people who follow a vegan diet can become deficient in vitamin b12.
Around 5,000 people search for this diet every month and while it’s easier to be vegan now than it was ten years ago, there are some things you should keeping in mind if you’re planning on going plant-based.
Rhiannon said that a well-planned plant-based diet can support healthy living at every age and life stage.
She added: “However, a poorly planned plant-based diet may leave you at risk of certain nutrient deficiencies, which may affect both the mind and body.
“Most nutrients are abundantly available in plant-based diets, but if you are minimising your consumption of animal-derived foods or avoiding them completely there are a few nutrients that you need to pay particular attention to, including vitamin D, iodine, selenium and vitamin B12.”
She explained that B12 is especially important for energy and metabolism and that too little can result in fatigue, anaemia and nerve damage.
“B12 deficiency affects the central nervous system and the body’s ability to produce fully functioning red blood cells, which carry oxygen around the body.
“Animal products are most people’s main source of vitamin B12, so if you are not eating any animal foods, the only reliable sources of vitamin B12 are fortified foods and supplements”, she added.