Dr Nick Fuller: It’s true! Diets are making you fat

Dr Nick Fuller
Leading Obesity Expert at the University of Sydney and founder of Interval Weight Loss.

IT’S a global epidemic, with no end in sight. Two in three people now have problems with their weight and despite our obsession with #fitspo, we still don’t seem to have a solution.

People often turn to the next diet that hits the shelves as the cure to their problem. It doesn’t matter where you go, everyone is always talking about what diet they are on. The latest buzz is certainly the 5:2 and intermittent fasting but it's just as ineffective as its predecessors.

Search #diet on Instagram, and you'll come across over 40 million posts. There are so many diets on the shelves, with the majority of the population willing and desperate to try anything to lose weight. 

But guess what? 

Diets don’t work and you are only dieting yourself fatter and fatter.

There are 5 main reasons why:

1. Body metabolism slows.

Your body stops working as efficiently when you go on a diet. With any diet you are restricting the amount of energy you put in your body for a sustained period of time. Consequently your body metabolism (amount of energy burnt at rest) slows to prevent you continuing to lose weight – a process known as adaptive thermogenesis. 

2. Appetite hormones increase.

When you lose weight on a diet your body starts telling you to eat more so that you get back to where you started. Yes, your body’s appetite hormones actually go up and send signals to your brain to ensure you eat more. The sad thing is, your appetite hormones never recover to their normal level even after you regain all the weight, so you will only end up heavier than when you started.

3. Diets are dangerous and unhealthy. 

There are so many ridiculous diets. The latest ones, to name a couple, include the Eddie McGuire Chinese herbal tea and cucumber diet, and the intermittent fast. Diets are often very dangerous to our long-term health and unhealthy to sustain. 

4. Unrealistic.

It is not realistic to sustain a diet and once you reintroduce the food you put the weight back on. One common and popular diet that gets quick short-term results is the Paleo diet. Omit a food group such as carbohydrates and you decrease water content in your body. It’s not a weight decrease you are seeing initially but rather a decrease in water in the body. Wholegrain carbohydrates play a vital role for our long-term health and all that meat intake can cause cancer.

5. We are all tuned to a set point.

It doesn’t matter what you do, your body will work back to where it started, to defend its level of fatness. Everyone has a set point and this is the weight that our body is most comfortable being. You are doomed to fail every time you start a diet because your body will work back towards its set point every time you impose a stress on it – in this case, dieting.

No diet works, and it doesn’t matter what diet it is, because none of them prevent the usual response to dieting (decrease in metabolism and increase in appetite hormones).

What’s the answer?

Stop dieting! It is making your situation worse. You will get short-term results for long-term pain.

About Dr Nick Fuller

Dr Nick Fuller is the founder of Interval Weight Loss and is a leading obesity expert at the University of Sydney with a Ph.D. in Obesity Treatment. Dr Fuller is also the author of three best-selling books and his work been published in top ranked journals in the medical field, including JAMA, Lancet and American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.