Featured in METRO: Everything you need to know about fitness fads

From 'clean eating' to colonic irrgation, I shared my take on the latest health trends to help you determine fact from fad!

Everything you need to know about fitness fads: Which ones to try and which to avoid

By Vicki-Marie Cossar

Put on a few pounds during lockdown? You’re not alone. Half of Brits have admitted to overeating, exercising less and becoming more anxious during the pandemic, according to research by WW, Weight Watchers Reimagined. It’s been a long winter, but as we start to emerge from our homes, it’s tempting to turn to quick-fix health fads to give your wellbeing a boost. Here, Lafina Diamandis, a GP specialising in lifestyle medicine (@drldiamandis), shares her thoughts on which ones should be avoided and which you can safely embrace.

Colonic Irrigation

What is it? ‘Known as hydrotherapy of the colon, this involves a nozzle being inserted into the rectum with a tube attached and water being sent into the colon to flush out faecal matter. Herbal infusions are sometimes added to the water.’

Claim: ‘It’s meant to detoxify or cleanse the body of unspecified ‘toxins’ and waste material by removing faeces from the colon. Other claims include boosting your immune system and energy levels and aiding weight loss.’

Reality: ‘One of the functions of the colon is to expel waste products from the body, therefore there is no need for colonic “cleansing”. It can actually disrupt the gut microbiome (essential for gut and immune health) and can cause pain, nausea, bloating, dehydration, serious infection and even bowel perforation.’

Should I try it? ‘No. There is no evidence that it offers any health benefits.’

IV Vitamin Drip

What is it? ‘An Intravenous Drip (IV drip) is administered by putting a cannula into a vein in your arm. Fluid and nutrients – vitamins and minerals such as vitamin C or magnesium – are then pumped into your bloodstream.’

Claim: ‘This allegedly allows the nutrients to bypass the digestive system for a quicker shot of vitality. Different treatments promise to boost your immune system, energy levels and mood, and are meant to defy ageing and cure hangovers.’

Reality: ‘There is no evidence to support the claims. The body extracts all it needs from the foods we eat and excretes the rest. Vitamins and minerals can also be toxic in high doses. The procedure carries risks such as bubbles entering the vein through the syringe, phlebitis [inflammation of the vein], allergic reactions, infections, and it can potentially put the liver and kidneys under stress.’

Should I try it? ‘No. IV nutrition should only be given to people who are too sick to eat or have a severe deficiency. Eat a well-balanced diet instead.’

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