5 Health Trends That Are Doing You More Harm Than Good

All the foodie and fitness bloggers are doing it so it must be healthy, right? Er, not necessarily. Nutritionist Lyda Borgsteijn puts paid to the health trends that aren't doing you any favours.

These days we’re bombarded with health fads that claim to drop inches from our waist, define our abs, make us fitter, brighten our complexions and detoxify our bods, but how many of these supposedly healthy habits are actually beneficial?

According to health and nutrition coach Lyda Borgsteijn not all are created equal. She calls out the trends that are potentially doing your body more harm than they are good.

1. Calorie counting

“This ‘easy weight loss solution’ continues to flood the mainstream health magazines and yet we are fatter and sicker than ever before,” says Lyda. “When you cut calories, your body automatically reduces its energy output to make sure it doesn’t burn out.” The result? Your body kicks into starvation mode meaning you hold on to those calories instead of burning them off.

Instead Lyda recommends you “eat whole, nutrient-dense food 80-90 percent of the time. Allow for some realistic slip-ups, too, sleep well, practice stress management, and move every day.”

2. Eating low-fat

“We have seen this obsession with low fat foods grow and develop into a full myriad of highly processed products,” says Lyda, “while at the same time obesity rates, modern diseases and health problems also continue to increase. It’s not the fat that is the problem but rather these low-fat products are usually laced with additives, chemicals and sugar.”

Lyda’s suggested solution? “The type and quality of fat is more important. Cook with stable fats like coconut oil, and make plain full fat yogurt, quality butter, fermented cheese, avocados, nuts and seeds an integral part of your diet.”

Eating food and maintaining a healthy size should be enjoyable and above all easy.

3. Dieting full stop

Guilty of yo-yo dieting? “Why are you making your life so complicated?” Lyda asks. “Eating food and maintaining a healthy size should be enjoyable and above all easy.”

Lyda has a three-step plan for forgetting the diet mentality: make 50 percent of your plate a variety of colorful vegetables, toss all packaged foods including anything with over 10 ingredients and eat a protein-based meal or snack every three to four hours.”

4. Intermittent fasting

“This is a diet method that is gathering speed and when used correctly it can have beneficial effects on the body,” Lyda explains. “The idea is that fasting kicks your body into fat burning mode and that it fits our primal instinct whereby back in the good ol’ days food was scarce and we could not plan for the next meal. The main reason to mention it is that people don’t seem to realise that when you fast, you do not cut calories but rather you just shorten your eating window.”

Instead “get the basics right first,” recommends Lyda. “And don’t ever skimp on calories – your body needs energy.”

Enjoy fruit but remember it is still sugar that can add up if you go overboard.

5. Juice cleanses

We love a yummy green juice as much as the next gal, but according to Lyda using them to detox isn’t the amazing health buzz it’s cracked up to be.

“First of all, I cannot discredit adding raw vegetable juice to your diet because there is a host of benefits to drinking green juice and it will certainly boost your nutrient profile,” she explains. “The problem arises when people rely on these three to five day juice cleansing diets all the time to lose weight and detoxify their body for that holiday or that event, or to get into that dress.”

For a healthier way to, er, be healthy “cover three quarters of your plate with veggies and aim for six to nine servings overall per day,” instructs Lyda. “Enjoy fruit but remember it is still sugar that can add up if you go overboard.”