Of course, when it comes to healthy eating, there are plenty of alternative diets that people want to claim are healthier than the traditional calorie counting method. They are usually motivated by a desire to sell a book or a food range, but some people swear by these methods.
The most famous diet lately has been the Atkins diet and its many copycats: the South Beach diet, GI, and the rest. These are basically high-protein diets that tell you carbohydrate (‘carbs’) are evil, and you should cut right down on them or even cut them out of your diet completely. While nutritionists are incredulous that anyone would seriously consider cutting an entire food group out of their diets, the books have sold in the millions.
The dirty little secret of protein diets is that they do help you lose weight, but only in the short term. They do this by causing you to give yourself a disease called ketosis, caused by lack of carbohydrate, that makes you lose weight, feel bad and have terrible breath. As soon as you go off the diet and back to your old ways, however, you will simply put all your weight back on again.
It is a similar situation with many other diets, including weight loss milkshakes, which rarely contain anything resembling a balanced meal. Instead, they flood your body with protein and little else, forcing it to burn fat – but again, the effect quickly wears off if you stop using the shakes.
A cynic might say that they’re not really trying to help you lose weight or eat healthily, so much as they are trying to keep you on their dodgy diets forever. If you want to eat healthily, stick to balance – no matter what anyone tells you, that’s never going to change.