Jumping from one diet to another is not healthy, says study

Diet hoping is not a solution but a trap. Yes, going bonkers with your eating habits is just going to make your case worse and science agrees on it too.
Changing diet repeatedly or abruptly may harm health. Image courtesy: Shutterstock.
PTI Updated: 12 May 2021, 11:32 am IST
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Ketogenic diet, paleo diet, vegan diet, or a low-carb diet – are you also trying your hands on every diet mantra that’s thrown your way? If yes, then my dear you are inviting a lot of troubles in the near future. Apparently, your body clock is going to knock you down if you keep on switching like this when it comes to your diet – and we have the science to prove it to you.  

In a recent study, published in the journal Science Advances, researchers found that swapping to a rich diet after eating a restricted one can decrease life expectancy, and have negative health effects, especially when you change your diet repeatedly or abruptly.

high-fibre diet
Don’t chomp on fibre blindly just to lose weight. Image courtesy: Shutterstock

Be mindful of your diet as it can make or break your health
The researchers, including those from the University of Sheffield in the UK, provided new insight into why, as well as how, diets could benefit humans in terms of slowing ageing and the onset of age-related disease.

Until now, they said the existing theory was that dietary restriction — a reduction of particular, or total nutrient intake without causing malnutrition — triggered a survival strategy in humans and animals.

This theory, the scientists said, suggested that humans and animals invested in maintaining and repairing the body in times of low food availability, to await times when food availability increases again.

The findings of the current study, according to the researchers, implied that rather than waiting for food availability to increase in the future, the flies (on which they conducted this experiment) were waiting to die on a restricted diet.

Instead of dietary restriction increasing repair and maintenance mechanisms, it could actually be an escape from the damaging effects of a rich diet, they said.

The new interpretation, according to the scientists, can help us understand why and how diet can have such profound effects on health.

Before switching to another diet, make your body accustomed to it
Researchers said the findings also suggest that changing diet repeatedly or abruptly could be harmful to health in certain situations.

“Our results have now pointed us towards a more refined explanation of why it occurs, and have the potential to wholly shift the focus of future research,” said study co-author Andrew McCracken from the University of Sheffiled.

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McCracken added:

Our most surprising finding was that under certain circumstances, restricted diets can also be the origin of particular types of damage to the individual.

According to the researchers, this understanding of the penalties and benefits of certain types of diets may accelerate the quest to identify pharmaceutical interventions that mimic dietary restriction.

Also, read: Yoga practitioners have a different take on intermittent fasting. Read on

So, don’t just adopt what you see or read – but first, adapt to it to make the most without harming your health.  

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