With the festive season but a distant memory, millions of Brits are a looking to celebrities for inspiration to help them shift the extra pounds.
But a leading fitness expert has warned that fad diets championed by the stars could be doing us more harm than good – and in some cases, may not even be helping us to lose weight.
Max Bridger, personal trainer and co-founder of LDN Muscle, spoke to MailOnline FEMAIL about the possible risks of shakes, injections and fasting – and how they can lead to slimmers putting on even more weight than they originally lost.
‘Little changes will be easier to implement and maintain, than large, lifestyle-changing fads and regimes,’ says Max.
‘So finding your average daily calories and then reducing them by around 200-300 calories for two to four weeks is a good place to start.’
Favoured by stars including Rihanna (pictured) the
The Ketogenic Diet
Rihanna and Kim Kardashian are both said to be fans of this low-carb plan, found to burn up to ten times as much fat as a normal diet – but Max warns following the regime could lead to an ‘unhealthy’ relationship with food.
‘Keto is short for ketogenesis, a state where your body burns fat as its primary energy source,’ Max explains.
‘In theory ketogenesis is a great idea, but it only causes weight loss by creating a calorie deficit.
‘A calorie deficit can be created while eating any and all foods, and a keto diet will not cause more weight loss than a diet than contains carbohydrates and sugar in the calorie intakes are the same.
‘The biggest issue with the keto diet is that it creates a negative association with carbohydrates, unfairly demonising them for causing weight gain.’
Max believes this could lead to feelings of guilt and failure and, ultimately, cause slimmers to give up on their diet altogether – and says maintaining a steady calorie deficit is a more sustainable approach.
The 5-2 Diet
Popular with stars including Beyoncé (pictured), the 5:2 fasting plan is a temporary solution, Max warns, because as you return to normal eating you will regain at least the weight you lost through the 5:2 dieting’
Everyone from Beyoncé to George Osborne are reported to have tried out the 5:2 – where you eat just 600 calories two days a week and eat normally for the rest – despite scientists claiming the fasting technique doesn’t promote weight-loss in the long-term.
Max explains: ‘Assuming you can move these fast-days around, this method of dieting can be more flexible and sustainable than the rest, and it may really work for some people long-term.
If you cannot see yourself using this method long-term, it will set you up for failure
‘However, as soon as you return to normal eating you will regain at least the weight you lost through the 5:2 dieting, as your total weekly calorie intake will increase, whilst your metabolism may have slowed, causing more extra energy to accumulate and be stored as fat.
‘If you cannot see yourself carrying this method of eating on long term, or it suiting your lifestyle, then it will set you up for failure.
‘However, your fast days may help you better identify when you are hungry, and when you are just bored, which could help you maintain a healthier weight than before you started the 5:2 diet even when you have reverted back to a normalised eating routine.’
Meal replacement shakes
Too good to be true? Max warns that stars like Kim Kardashian (pictured) will struggle to lose weight in the long-term simply by using meal replacement shakes
Kim Kardashian hit headlines this week after promoting Flat Tummy Co’s Shake It Baby slimming shakes via Instagram.
But Max suggests these plans risk ‘burning a bigger hole in your wage packet than your body fat stores’.
He says: ‘With shake diets you replace 1-2 meals per day with a (usually) protein-based shake, containing an extremely loosely proven “thermogenic (fat loss) blend”, and totalling around 150 calories.
The cravings will eventually beat you
‘If you are replacing two meals per day with shakes, you will likely be cutting 800-1,200 calories from your diet. This will work for weight loss certainly, but it is not enjoyable, stimulating, filling, and most importantly not sustainable beyond a few weeks.
‘With all the exotically named extracts, false promises and rapid weight loss advertising material, it’s no surprise shake diets prove popular, blow up across social media and then slowly disappear until next January.
‘However, these shakes are like drinking slightly thicker water. They do not give you the same feeling of satisfaction, satiety or nourishment of whole foods, and will facilitate cravings.
‘These cravings will eventually beat you, and when you revert to your normal style of eating, do not be surprised if you put more weight on than you lost.
‘This often happens because your metabolism has adapted to run on fewer calories, becoming more efficient. Add more calories to a slower metabolism, and more will be left over to be stored as fat.
Rapid weight loss: Kerry Katona has championed weight loss injections, but Max warns they should be avoided in favour of maintaining a more ‘sustainable’ calorie deficit
Atomic Kitten star Kerry Katona claimed to have dropped 2 stone in just six weeks by injecting protein into her stomach.
But Max warns: ‘There isn’t enough data on these injections for me to deem them utter rubbish, but no proper evidence to prove them safe and effective either.
‘In my opinion I would never recommend anyone to inject themselves unless told to and shown how to by a doctor, and most certainly not with hormones.
‘On the whole these slimming injections have all the characteristics of a fad diet; they’re too good to be true, pushed by a celebrity, and not backed by science. For the meantime at least, most definitely avoid slimming injections.’
Why following a more sustainable approach is the safest option
‘For 99.9 per cent of the population it comes down to calories in vs calories out,’ says Max.
Max Bridger is a personal trainer and co-founder of LDN Muscle
‘If you burn more (through exercise and daily activity) than you consume (through food and drink) consistently, then you will lose weight as you are in a calorie deficit.
‘When you are in a calorie deficit, you will use fat stores to make up the energy deficit. The key to being able to develop a genuinely healthy lifestyle, is incorporating aspects you enjoy into both your training and diet, which will allow you to follow both long term; dropping fat and then keeping it off.
‘Training three to five times per week, with a combination of weights, resistance, cardio and or sport is great for your exercise regime.
‘In combination with this a calorie controlled diet that’s based on 80 per cent healthy choices and 20 per cent of what you like, is ideal for creating an effective, flexible and enjoyable diet, without the extra cost, food prep, binging and unhealthy relationship that often comes with “clean eating”, juicing, detoxing, shakes and diets.’