NHS IS­SUES ALERT ON NEW YEAR ‘QUICK-FIX’ DI­ETS

‘There is a real drive for peo­ple to get fit­ter in 2020 and set­ting a tar­get is a great way of stay­ing mo­ti­vated’

Daily Express - - Front Page - By Hanna Geissler Health Re­porter

FAD di­ets and high street weight-loss reme­dies have a “slim chance of suc­cess”, Eng­land’s top doc­tor has warned.

After a pe­riod of fes­tive feast­ing, mil­lions of us make New Year res­o­lu­tions to lose weight, ex­er­cise more and drink less when Jan­uary ar­rives. But NHS med­i­cal di­rec­tor Pro­fes­sor Stephen Powis said fads such as diet pills, “teatoxes” and ap­petite sup­pres­sants could at best be a waste of money and at worse pose a risk to

our health. He said: “It’s al­ways a good time to try to get in shape, and New Year res­o­lu­tions are a great time to make a change, but the re­al­ity is there’s a slim chance of suc­cess with diet pills and detox teas – and peo­ple could end up do­ing more harm than good.

“Mak­ing new year goals and shift­ing a few ex­cess pounds after Christ­mas can be a good idea but it’s much eas­ier to main­tain when done grad­u­ally and safely.”

Prod­ucts claim­ing to help peo­ple lose weight quickly while re­duc­ing ap­petite and fa­tigue can have dam­ag­ing side ef­fects, in­clud­ing di­ar­rhoea, heart prob­lems and even un­planned preg­nan­cies caused by in­ter­fer­ence with oral con­tra­cep­tion.

Pro­fes­sor Powis added: “A good rule of thumb is: if it sounds too good to be true, it prob­a­bly is.

“Mod­ern fads of ‘detox teas’, lax­a­tive drinks and ap­petite sup­pres­sant pills also prom­ise the earth but can cost mind and body.

“Get-fit-quick so­lu­tions can af­fect the di­ges­tive sys­tem and cause heart prob­lems, as well as im­pact­ing men­tal health, by driv­ing peo­ple to­wards seek­ing an ide­alised but unattain­able body im­age.” The NHS’s warn­ing fol­lows calls ear­lier this year for so­cial media firms to crack down on in­flu­en­tial celebri­ties post­ing mis­lead­ing “get-fit-quick” ad­verts.

Kim Kardashian West was crit­i­cised in 2018 for ad­ver­tis­ing ap­petite-sup­press­ing lol­lipops to more than 100 mil­lion fol­low­ers on Instagram, in a post which was later deleted.

Instagram clamped down on diet and cos­metic surgery posts in Septem­ber, an­nounc­ing new rules that will see some hid­den from un­der-18s and oth­ers pro­mot­ing “mirac­u­lous” weight loss prod­ucts re­moved.

With one in four young peo­ple say­ing their ap­pear­ance is their top con­cern, Pro­fes­sor Powis warned that easy avail­abil­ity of quick-fix prod­ucts on­line and on the high street – in­clud­ing buy one get one free of­fers – could ex­ploit body im­age anx­i­ety.

There is no doubt that some of us could ben­e­fit from shed­ding a few pounds – with two thirds of UK adults ei­ther over­weight or obese.

The most re­cent Health Sur­vey for Eng­land found that just 28 per cent of adults and 18 per cent of children ate the rec­om­mended five or more por­tions of fruit and veg­eta­bles a day in 2018.

More than half of adults (56 per cent) were found to be at in­creased, high, or very high risk of chronic dis­ease due to their waist cir­cum­fer­ence and BMI. The Bri­tish Nu­tri­tion Foun­da­tion’s sci­ence di­rec­tor, Sara Stan­ner, said: “To make new year healthy eat­ing pledges last you need to ditch the Jan­uary diet and take a step back to con­sider the ba­sics of healthy eat­ing.”

For quick and sim­ple healthy op­tions, Stan­ner rec­om­mended stock­ing up on cer­tain canned and frozen foods which can help you put to­gether a bal­anced dish in a hurry. She said: “De­spite fre­quent media at­ten­tion around the im­por­tance of ‘clean eat­ing’, healthy food doesn’t have to mean ex­pen­sive in­gre­di­ents and cooking ab­so­lutely ev­ery­thing from scratch.

“The term ‘pro­cessed foods’ cov­ers a wide range of dif­fer­ent foods with vary­ing nu­tri­tional qual­i­ties.

“While some are not healthy choices, oth­ers, like canned pulses or frozen veg­eta­bles, can be part of a healthy diet, and can help you to cook bal­anced meals, even when you’re in a hurry.

“Cost can be a large bar­rier when it comes to im­prov­ing your diet but, with some savvy shop­ping, healthy eat­ing doesn’t need to break the bank.”

Get­ting fit­ter is the UK’s top new year’s res­o­lu­tion, ac­cord­ing to a new sur­vey from the Bri­tish Heart Foun­da­tion (BHF), which is en­cour­ag­ing peo­ple of all abil­i­ties to take on its 54-mile Lon­don to Brighton bi­cy­cle ride in June.

The heart char­ity’s fig­ures show that im­prov­ing fit­ness is a top pri­or­ity for 40 per cent of Brits in 2020. Its sur­vey also showed that two thirds (65 per cent) of those

who want to get more ac­tive are mo­ti­vated by im­prov­ing their phys­i­cal health.

Over half (55 per cent) said they were mo­ti­vated by the need to shed some pounds post-Christ­mas, 30 per cent were wor­ried about their health, while one in six (17 per cent) were look­ing for a new chal­lenge in Jan­uary.

Bar­bara Kob­son, Se­nior Car­diac Nurse at the BHF, said: “This sur­vey shows that there’s real drive amongst the Bri­tish peo­ple to get fit­ter in 2020.

“Set­ting a tar­get, or aim­ing for an event, is a great way of stay­ing mo­ti­vated and fol­low­ing through on that res­o­lu­tion.”

Crit­i­cism...Kim Kardashian West

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