IF YOU'RE looking for a quick fix to feel your best this summer, you might be tempted to try a number of crash diets floating about the internet.
But there are ways to lose weight without going to extremes and experts have warned that these supposed 'miracle' diets can be pretty terrible for your health.
While you might see results pretty quick, it's quite likely you'll regain the weight you lost.
And you might experience unpleasant side effects to your energy levels, as well as your skin and hair health.
Nutritionists have weighed into the debate to flag the five crash diets you'd do best to avoid.
1. The very low calorie diet
These diets involve slashing your calorie intake to 1,000 or even 800 calories a day.
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While this type of eating plan could see you lose weight rapidly, it often means depriving yourself of vital nutrients that fuel your body and metabolism.
Clinical nutritionist Lee Holmes, author of the Supercharged Food book series, said: "It can lead to nutrient deficiencies as rapid weight loss often involves severe calorie restriction, which can lead to inadequate intake of essential nutrients.
"This can result in deficiencies in vitamins, minerals, and other important nutrients that are necessary for maintaining overall health."
Aside from shedding body fat, you might also start to lose muscle as well when restricting your calories to extreme levels, as you're probably not eating enough protein.
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London-based Harley Street nutritionist Kim Pearson told Mail Online that the lost muscle mass might trick you into thinking you're losing more weight than you are.
"This will show up like you are losing weight on the scale, but you are reducing your metabolic rate, your body's ability to burn calories reduces and then as soon as you start eating normally again you are more likely to regain weight," she said.
An added consequence is that you might also opt for more processed and ready-made foods in a effort to make calorie counting easier.
2. Meal replacement shakes
Though they don't sound the most appealing, meal replacement shakes have been used by dieters for decades.
The NHS even plans to roll them out for type 2 diabetes patients in England by March next year.
Though they can trigger rapid weight loss for some people, Kim said not all shakes are created equal.
While those created by doctors and nutritionists that are protein based might be 'alright', the nutritionist said that the nutrients in most are synthetic – so lower quality that what you would find in food you'd eat.
Many shakes will also contain thickeners, emulsifiers and preservatives.
3. Detox diets
Detox diets claim to 'clean out' your body and eliminate harmful toxins.
But experts say that most of the weight you lose from them is down to dehydration which can cause weakness, headaches and even fainting.
A typical one involves a period of fasting, followed by a strict diet of fruit, vegetables, fruit juices, and water.
Other popular approaches includes herbs, teas, supplements, and colon cleanses or enemas, according to healthline.
But as with other crash diets that involve intense restriction, it's pretty impossible to get all the nutrients your body needs – especially things like fibre and protein.
According to Lee, a diet like this will leave you with low energy and could cause some stomach issues.
Meanwhile, Kim noted that detox juices contain surprising amounts of sugar, which can spike your blood sugar even if its comes from fruit.
4. Atkins diet
The Atkins diet – reportedly loved by Kim Kardashian and Jennifer Aniston – involves eating lots of far and protein but severely restricting carbohydrates, encouraging your body to burn fat instead of carbs for energy.
But although it may result in weight loss, Lee told Mail Online that it could have some less desirable long-term effects, including an increased risk of heart disease.
"Carbohydrates are a vital energy source for the body and severely restricting them may lead to initial weight loss," the nutritionist said.
'"But the long-term health effects of consuming high amounts of saturated fats and animal proteins are a concern, as it may increase the risk of heart disease, kidney problems, and nutrient deficiencies."
This keto diet is another low-carb high-fat eating plan, but it has again prompted nutritionists to express concern about demonising a whole food group.
Lee emphasised that carbs aren't the enemy. All foods should be eaten and enjoyed in moderation, she said.
Her warnings were echoed by dietitian Vanessa Rissetto CEO and co-founder of Culina Health, who noted that carbs have gotten a bad rep in recent years,in an appearance on the Today Show.
Our mind immediately goes to things like bread and biscuits, Vanessa said.
But the dietitian pointed out there are carbs in everything, like lentils or avocados.
'Carbs are not bad. They are our major energy source. We need them for fuel,' she said. 'We are scared of carbs because no one taught us how to eat them.'
Lee added that many of her clients who has adopted the diet are now suffering from gut issues as many ditched prebiotic rich vegetables because of their carbohydrate content – not the best thing for a healthy and diverse gut.
There are more sustainable ways to help you to lose body fat instead of ‘dieting’, nutritionist Rhiannon Lambert previously told The Sun.
She advised you eat a healthy, balanced diet which includes a variety of starchy carbohydrates, wholegrains, healthy fats, protein, fruits and vegetables, fibre, nuts, seeds, pulses, and legumes, as well as maintaining good hydration levels too.
Instead of restriction, the nutritionist suggested practising portion control.
You can still enjoy less-healthy foods, Rhiannon stressed.
"But be mindful of how often you consume them and keep intakes to a minimum," she said.
"Full restriction can lead to binge eating tendencies, which can have a negative impact on our relationship with food and may also lead to weight gain."
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Lastly, she said you should listen to your body’s internal hunger cues.
"Eat when you’re hungry and stop when you’re full," she explained.
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