NHS doctor warns against new year crash diets

I'm fed up with untasty disgusting salad. Close up unhappy unsatisfied grimacing sad upset lady looking down at plate of lettuce on table.
A leading doctor has warned against January crash dieting (Getty)

A senior NHS doctor has issued a warning against quick-fix new year diets, which he said could do “more harm than good”.

With many of us thinking about our new year’s resolutions for 1 January, it’s common to tackle weight-loss goals once the festive indulgences are through.

But Professor Stephen Powis, a medical director at NHS England, warned that using drastic methods like diet pills, "tea-toxes", and appetite suppressant products have just a “slim chance” of success – and could even lead to serious health complications.

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The products, which are marketed around suppressing one’s appetite, could have damaging side effects, including diarrhoea and heart problems. They can also affect the effectiveness of oral contraception, causing unplanned pregnancies, he added.

Instead, he advised those looking to lose weight to do so "gradually and safely".

He said: "New year's resolutions are a great time to make a change, but the reality is there's a slim chance of success with diet pills and detox teas – and people could end up doing more harm than good."

Earlier this year, the Advertising Standards Agency banned adverts for weight loss products posted on Instagram by a trio of celebrities: TV personality Katie Price, reality star Lauren Goodger and former Love Island contestant Georgia Harrison.

Weight loss-related posts, which promote certain slimming products such as teas or supplements, have become commonplace on celebrity and influencer led Instagram accounts in recent years.

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The ban centred around adverts for two weight loss brands. The first was BoomBod, which is branded as a “weight loss shot drink”. The “10-calorie shots” are said to prevent people from overeating.The second is V24 Gummies – a “gummy”-style supplement said to stop food cravings.

Healthy weight loss

For a healthy slimming programme, Prof Powis recommended slimmers to use the NHS Long Term Plan, a 12-week weight loss schedule to be used alongside an app.

The NHS also offers a Diabetes Prevention Programme. It’s been established that even slightly overweight people have a doubled risk of developing the condition.

Both regimes are available on the NHS website, alongside detailed nutritious recipes and exercise tips.