Dieting: what’s trending?

The UK’s population is experiencing an increasing issue with obesity and weight gain. In 2015, 58% of women and 68% of men living in the UK were obese or overweight. With these worrying figures, it comes as no surprise that two thirds of the British public admit that they are on a diet all or ‘most of the time’, and 48% of them have lost weight in the same year. As January approaches, weight loss and healthy eating are very common new year’s resolutions across the UK. According to The Telegraph, 33% of resolution makers want to lose weight, and 32% want to eat more healthily. With this in mind, MaxiMuscle investigate what the biggest diet trends could be in 2018:

Bulking season

Fitness enthusiasts and bodybuilders often switch between ‘diet seasons’ throughout the year. Terms such as cutting season, off season and bulking were recognised throughout the fitness industry. Bulking in particular, is a diet that requires an intake of excess calories to provide your body with additional energy and protein to build muscle. When in bulk season, someone is purposely providing their body with a calorie surplus.

Bulking is almost the opposite to cutting – however, counting calories is still important, and your food should still consist of the three main macronutrients: carbohydrates, lean protein and essential fats. The quantity of food you consume is what changes to ensure they consume enough calories. Protein shakes are often consumed before and/or after workouts too for additional calorie intake and a protein boost. They can also be taken as a snack or meal replacement in some cases.

Keeping track of your daily calorie intake is key to succeeding in bulk season. However, in an article by the Huffington Post, it was revealed that 33% of women don’t know how many calories they consume on a daily basis, whilst 42% of men said the same. Bulking requires commitment and careful calorie counting, alongside a strict workout routine.

Meat-free diets

The Vegan population is on a steady rise across the UK. In 2016, the number of vegans living in the UK increased by 360% when compared to the previous ten years, and figures from 2017’s Veganuary campaign suggest over 60,000 people officially signed up to take part in Veganuary — showing a progressive 260% growth on figures from 2016. 2018 figures revealed that over 150,000 people signed up to participate in the meat-free month. Whilst the campaign only lasts for the month of January each year, it aims to encourage people to alter their diets as a long-term lifestyle change and live by a predominantly plant-based diet.

There are several benefits to the vegan diet – the average vegan diet is said to be typically higher in fibre and vitamin C, whilst also lower in saturated fat, than a diet that contains meat. The health benefits are big motivators for those who want to adopt, or trial, a vegan diet during January. In 2017, of the official participants that signed up for Veganuary, 19,206 of them said they signed up for health reasons.

Intermittent Fasting

Most commonly referred to as the 5:2 diet, intermittent fasting is where you split your diet between eating at certain times and then fasting during other times. The 5:2 refers to five days of eating and two days of fasting. The NHS reports that some followers of the diet claim it can improve lifespan and brain function whilst protecting against particular health conditions such as dementia and Alzheimer’s disease. However, scientific evidence about the effectiveness of the diet is limited — but the NHS reports that there is some evidence to suggest the diet may lower the risk of certain obesity-related cancers, such as breast cancer.

The 5:2 diet is considered to be achievable when compared to other fasting diets, as you only fast for two days as opposed to seven days a week. This way you could help reduce body fat and insulin resistance. However, be aware that fasting too much and skipping meals can cause dizziness and headaches.

The Paleo Diet

The Paleo Diet predominantly consists of foods that can be hunted, such as meat and seafood, and foods that can be gathered, such as plant-based foods – hence why it gets the nickname of the Caveman Diet. Cereal grains and processed foods are strictly off the menu. The Paleo diet claims it is a lifestyle that consists of a small portion of meat, with lot of vegetables, fruits and some nuts. This diet is more of a long-term eating plan that helps to lose weight and can reduce the risk of diabetes.

Allergen Diets

Across the UK, many people suffer from food allergens, which as a result restricts what they can eat. Free-from diets, including gluten-free diets and dairy-free diets, are becoming incredibly popular across the UK and on a global scale. Many people live by a gluten-free diet for health reasons, because they suffer from Coeliac disease. The disease affects 1 in 100 people in the UK and Europe but it is suggested that only 24% of people with the condition have been clinically diagnosed. There is also 65% of the UK public who have a reduced ability to digest lactose. But it is not just sufferers who live a free-from diet. In the first month of 2017 alone, 54% of households also bought ‘free-from’ products, too.

There are more benefits to be noted from a gluten-free diet – sufferers of Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) as well as Coeliac sufferers have benefited from the diet — and a dairy-free diet can prevent bloating, clear skin, improve digestion, and prevent oxidative stress, to name just a few benefits. Weight loss is also a possibility with a transition towards a dairy-free diet.

Long-term lifestyle change

Crash diets are more often than not a quick fix to lose a few pounds. However, when they reach their target weight, people often revert back to their old ways — it becomes a temporary fix then, before they move on to a new diet trend, revert back to old habits or simply give up. However, the most effective and safest way to diet is to change your lifestyle for the better instead of yoyo dieting. Find something that works, that you enjoy and stick with it to ensure you maintain a healthy balance.


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