We humans try to be as efficient as possible - even when it comes to weight loss. The fastest path from weight gain to weight loss is done through some semblance of a diet, whether it's a product or trend. Of course, eating a healthy, unrefined diet is always the best path...but not necessarily the fastest. Diet trends have been around for hundreds of years. Now, with obesity putting a lot of the world in crisis mode, the individuals and companies that push diet trends are here to pounce. Here are two current diet trends that might not be downright harmful, but do they really help you lose weight, burn fat or boost your metabolism.
Diet Trends: Be On the Lookout for These Two
When I was a kid, I remember my mom being on Weight Watchers for a while. She started following Weight Watchers after she had my youngest sister, Stephanie. Our cabinets were filled with boxes of Weight Watcher snack bars for her alongside of packages of Dolly Madison snacks for my siblings and me.
I also remember her feverishly trying to burn calories by taking the stairs instead of the elevator...sometimes more than what was needed. I never really associated the stair climbing as exercise, rather just calorie burning because that's the only reason she made the effort to take the stairs in the first place.
I watched as she lost a lot of weight following this diet. Then, when she was done with the diet, she gained it all back fairly quickly, along with a few pounds a year, every year, since then.
My mom temporarily committed to this diet because she wanted to lose weight. I'm sure she thought that once she lost the weight, she'd be able to maintain her loss but wasn't the case for her.
The only difference between diet trends of the '80s and today is that there are more of them.
They're just as confusing for consumers to understand - and often boast false claims.
They're just as attractive to people who need to lose weight because they tap into feelings of desperation.
They're just as ineffective as most diet trends have always been - 90+% of people experience weight re-gain.
These are two diet trends that have been on my radar lately that need to make their way to the graveyard with the rest of the fad diet trends.
Diet Trend 1: Baking Soda + Sea Salt Will Help You Lose Weight
I see this one pop up on my computer screen from time to time. The idea is that the combination of baking soda and sea salt will make your body's pH more alkaline (as opposed to acid) - and that by making your body more alkaline, you'll lose weight.
Yes, baking soda is alkaline. And adding a little sea salt to water along with baking soda increases the alkalinity of the solution.
There are two major flaws with this theoretical weight loss idea.
First of all, there is absolutely no real scientific proof that increasing your body's alkalinity will help you lose weight. None.
Second is that your body is meticulously fixed to a very specific pH of around 7.4. If you become more alkaline or more acid, you will become very, very sick. Maintaining a proper pH is something your body is really good at. Making your body more alkaline isn't something you want to do.
You may be wondering if all the alkaline waters you see on store shelves are worth it? The answer is no, not really. A really nice mineral water, on the other hand, would be a great thing to drink.
Bottom Line: There is nothing wrong with using baking soda or sea salt, but don't combine the two into a concoction to help you lose weight because it simply will not work and it could cause more harm than good.
Diet Trend 2: Coffee + Lemon Water Kick Start Fat Metabolism!
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There is nothing wrong with lemon juice. And, if you're not too sensitive to caffeine, there is nothing wrong with a little coffee. But there is nothing magical about combining coffee and lemon water to somehow motivate your body to burn more fat.
Let's break it down:
Lemon juice (or adding lemon to water) is alkalizing and can have detoxifying properties on your liver. This is true. That just means it's healthy. Lemon water will not push fat out of your fat cells or do much for your metabolism.
There is, however, research that suggests that drinking a cup of cool water will boost your resting metabolism by 30% for a little more than an hour (with our without lemon).
On a cellular level, adding a little lemon to water might help with fluid retention, too.
But what about adding lemon juice to coffee?
Coffee is a stimulant. It's also a "mover" and may be helpful in initiating something called peristalsis...or that feeling you get when you need to go to the bathroom.
But coffee doesn't really do anything for fat metabolism. Yes, there is some research that coffee may help with weight loss, but that's because for some people, caffeine can suppress appetite.
However, for many other people, too much coffee, or drinking coffee too late in the day can actually store fat in your belly area by causing irregular blood sugar levels and calling insulin into action.
Combining lemon juice to coffee might also have a diuretic effect, but again, won't help you burn fat.
Bottom line: if you really like the flavor of lemon and coffee together, enjoy a cup, but don't expect to see anything shift on the scale.