Keeping a healthy lifestyle is important, of course, but quick fixes and flashy diets that you hear of online aren't the way to go. These trend diets, advertised to work wonders, can actually bring more hassle and danger than benefits to your health.
With flashy food shots and pictures of fitness gurus posted on social media pretty much every second of the day, it’s no surprise so many of us are scrambling to keep up with appearances through strategic self-branding and unhealthy diets.
“People are willing to try and pay anything in the hopes of losing weight. There are many self-proclaimed ‘experts’ on the internet providing health advice that may not be safe or even science-based,” says Andrea D’Ambrosio, a registered dietitian and spokesperson for the Dietitians of Canada. “It’s crucial to be critical of information that we find on the internet to avoid being misled by false, unsubstantiated claims.”
D’Ambrosio says she reminds her clients that despite what personalities like Dr. Oz say, there’s no magical food or diet for weight loss.
Here are five popular diets to be wary of.
Juicing encourages dieters to juice their plant-based meals. It’s based on the idea that nutrients from foods such as fruits and vegetables can be absorbed quicker, and fresh juice gives our systems a rest from digesting fibre. While some claim this helps in weight loss and the removal of toxins, the truth is that the amount of sugar from the fruit you eat to maintain a feeling of fullness can equal more calories, which contributes to weight gain.
“Diets that remove entire food groups run the high risk of leading to nutritional deficiencies unless you make up the lost nutrients in other foods or supplements,” D’Ambrosio says.
2. Low-carb diet.
A low-carb diet requires the restriction of foods high in carbohydrates such as pasta, bread and certain fruits and vegetables. Although dieters don’t need to cut high-carb foods from their meals entirely, the suggested limit being advocated on social media, is 60 to 130 grams of carbohydrates per day. That’s less than three plain bagels.
3. No fat diet.
A fat-free diet sounds tempting, but is it really? When we think of fat, we often think of the bad kind that’s found in junk food, but we can also find it in nuts and seeds, fish and fruits like avocado. According to a publication by the Harvard Medical School, unsaturated fats (the good kind!) supply the body with energy and can even help prevent heart disease.
A positive note, D’Ambrosio says, is that these types of diets encourage people to eat less processed foods, which is healthier and helps weight management.
4. 5:2 diet.
For those familiar with diets, fasting is no stranger. The 5:2 diet is one of many regimens floating around the internet that has dieters eating normally (read: unrestrained) for five days and reducing food intake to 500 calories a day for the other two.
“Eating less than 500 to 600 calories a day on fasting days is very difficult for many people and challenging to sustain,” she says. “Many who attempt fasting or severe restriction also find a corresponding increase in cravings or binging after their day of restriction.”
5. Activated charcoal “diet”.
Touted by both health junkies and beauty enthusiasts on social media, charcoal can be consumed via tablets or used in cooking. Aficionados of activated charcoal claim it soaks up surface fat so that calories are not absorbed into the body, plus they say it removes unpleasant gases and toxins and reduces appetite.
The short-term effects may be tempting for those hoping to quickly shed a few pounds or to maintain a healthier lifestyle, but D’Ambrosio says there needs to be more research conducted for diets that boast impressive results. “If you want to lose weight fast, remember that you did not gain that quickly.” she says.
D’Ambrosio says working with a professional dietitian to ensure nutritional needs are met and healthy weight-loss strategies are implemented is a good plan for those who need a helping hand losing weight. “Forming a healthy relationship with food and a positive body image—regardless of weight—is also important during any weight-loss journey,” she says.
Tip from D’Ambrosio:
Food-tracking apps, such as eaTracker, give you a better idea of what (unhealthy) foods you’re eating and what swaps you can make to increase the nutrition and healthfulness of your diet.
Andrea D’Ambrosio is also the owner of Dietetic Directions a nutritional counselling and education company based in Kitchener, Waterloo.
Whether you're celebrating Easter, Passover or just the arrival of Spring, we've got ten gorgeous tablescape ideas to help inspire you.
This bright green and pink colour scheme sets a calming tone, perfect for an Easter brunch or garden party. The fresh floral napkin rings add a great personal touch and can be easily made using flowers from your garden. Check out the tutorial here.
Add bright flowers and gold accents to your spring tablescape decor to achieve this level of whimsical charm. You can find similar plates and cutlery over at Anthropologie.
If you're hosting an Easter brunch, use pastel colours to set a light and fresh mood. Get the kids involved with dyeing hard-boiled eggs in accent colours to use as decor.
Bust out your fine China and go all out with an all-pink ensemble for your tablescape theme. If an all-pink palette is too much for you, try toning it down with a muted table linen.
Use the Easter bunny as inspiration for your tablescape theme. Simple dinnerware is key and trading in your regular chargers for decorative bird nests makes for great table decorations and ties the theme together nicely. You can also make your own burlap bunny napkin rings.
Sometimes simpler is better. Use a real or faux foliage garland and white candles for a relaxed spring table decor mood.
Make your guests feel extra special by making Easter egg place cards. You can go for this speckled pastel teal look or try this pretty DIY.
Add candles and peach tulips to your Passover table setting for a peaceful and elegant experience. You can also pipe guests names in chocolate on matzos in lieu of traditional place cards to add a unique touch.
Pops of denim blue and copper offer a fresh and romantic take on spring table decorating.
Using a neutral colour palette, accented with silver metallics creates an elegant table setting for a Passover feast. Roses and ranunculus in blush pink and salmon pull the entire look together. You can make your table decorations extra special by customizing your own Haggadah. Check out how to make a DIY Haggadah cover.
Photography by Angus Fergusson
The best way to beat those midwinter blues? A touch of green. Read on for our guide to low-maintenance houseplants.
When it comes to decorating, we believe most spaces benefit from a plant or two, and the decor world agrees—houseplants have made a comeback. According to Jill Jensen, founder of Jill Jensen Botanicals, a Clarington, Ont., tropical-plant wholesale company, the resurgence in popularity comes down to four things: Compact, easy-to-care-for plants appeal to both small-space dwellers and novice gardeners; good-quality botanicals are more readily available at garden centres, flower shops and even your local grocery store; we now know they improve our mental health; and decorative pots have received an esthetic upgrade, with options in everything from marble to ombré woven baskets. When caring for houseplants, Jensen says the first step is having the right environment. Tropical houseplants typically do best in a temperature-controlled space—over 17°C is OK, but above 21°C is ideal. Read on for our selections and Jensen's best tips to ensure that your plants thrive.
Great for spaces that don't get a lot of natural light, this leafy choice is also less susceptible to both pests and disease.
This stylish plant is almost indestructible. It thrives in low-light conditions and needs only moderate watering, so it's ideal for first-time plant owners—or for those with black thumbs!
Named for its colourful spiky flower, this pretty tropical will sprout suckers, or tiny shoots, as it ages; once the shoots reach a substantial size, you can separate them to form new plants.
This hardy variety can grow up to six feet tall but doesn't tend to spread out, which makes it ideal for small living or work spaces.
A succulent is any plant that stores water in its leaves or stem. Available in a variety of rich textures and colours, these trendy botanicals prefer lots of light; since they're desert plants, don't overwater them (allow the soil to dry completely between waterings).
Don't expose the maroon leaves of this plant to direct sunlight—it will cause the delicate tissue to burn
This compact version of the popular fiddle-leaf fig adds visual impact without taking up too much space.
One of the few plants with the same common and botanical name, this lush pick purifies the air in your home. It's also easy to care for, as it does well in most light conditions (except direct sun) and can survive with occasional two- to three-week intervals between waterings.
This fast-growing plant benefits from regular pruning— otherwise, it will quickly become overgrown. If the wide, flat leaves get dusty, wipe them gently with a soft damp cloth.
Unlike most cacti, this variety is native to the rainforest, so it prefers ample moisture (ensure good drainage so roots don't sit in water) and indirect light. It produces small white flowers in late winter or early spring, followed by small berries (similar to the ones on mistletoe, hence the name). Handle with care—the stems break easily.
Three perfect perches for your plants.