Harley Pasternak: Three Fad Diets to Forgo
Recent studies argue that the Blood Type Diet, Dukan and Paleo Diets, and avoidance of wheat won't help you lose weight
Harley Pasternak is a celebrity trainer and nutrition expert who has worked with stars from Halle Berry and Lady Gaga to Robert Pattinson and Robert Downey Jr. He’s also a New York Times best-selling author, with titles including The Body Reset Diet and The 5-Factor Diet. Tweet him @harleypasternak.
Three of the more popular fad diets were in the news this week for the same reason — but it’s not a good one. Turns out, they may not be all they’re cracked up to be.
Science says that wheat does not make people fat. A recent article published in the Journal of Cereal Science (yes, there really is a Journal of Cereal Science) set out to dispel some misleading information regarding the dangers of dietary wheat. Much of the recent “wheat-hating” has been propagated by the diet book Wheat Belly by William Davis, which argues that eliminating wheat from one’s diet helps with permanent weight loss.
After reviewing all of the existing, past and present research in a selection of other journals, Dutch scientists concluded that there is absolutely no evidence to support the assertion that wheat can be linked to the obesity pandemic.
“These outlandish claims fail to take into account that obesity has a multifactorial causation … whole-wheat consumption cannot be linked to increased prevalence of obesity in the population,” researchers wrote.
The Blood Type Diet has been debunked! A few years ago, a diet book called Eat Right for Your Blood Type was published and sold millions of copies. The idea was that you found out your blood type, then tried to match the dietary habits of your ancestors. The author claimed it would improve your healthy and reduce your chance of getting heart disease and various other chronic health conditions.
However, researchers from the University of Toronto (where I went to grad school many years ago) recently examined the data of 1,455 subjects and concluded that “there is no evidence to support the ‘blood type’ diet.”
According to Dr. Ahmed El-Sohemy, who was involved with the study, “the way an individual responds to any one of these diets has absolutely nothing to do with their blood types and has everything to do with their ability to stick to a sensible balanced diet. We can now be confident in saying that the blood type diet hypothesis is false.”
This study is in line with an extensive review published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition last year that also found no evidence to support a blood type diet.
Back away from the steak. A new study out of Spain shows that diets über-high in protein, like the Dukan Diet, increase the risk of developing kidney disease in rats. Moreover, researchers found such diets may even promote kidney stones and loss of calcium.
While the U.S. recommended daily allowance for protein is approximately 20 percent of your daily calories, the study used protein ratios similar to the Dukan Diet (40 percent) and the Paleo Diet (30 to 35 percent). Conclusion? It’s important you eat a balanced diet with lots of vegetables (spinach and broccoli), fibrous grains (think quinoa), lean proteins (eggs or fish) and healthy fats (like Hass avocado).
So, for those of you tempted by extreme fad diets that suggest you eliminate certain food groups or focus on eating one specific food, please use good judgment — and just say “no.”
Tell Me: What’s the craziest fad diet you’ve tried?