Diet Trends to Leave Behind in 2019

September 13, 2020

Let’s be honest, 2019 is the damn year of body positivity – more women than ever are celebrating their bodies on social media than ever before, rather than trying to make them conform to the standards society has taught them, oh, since the beginning.

But while there has been some serious progress on the road to body acceptance, there have also been some setbacks – mostly by some pretty problematic (and potentially even harmful) diets. That’s right. While 2019 is the year of embracing cellulite (or, er, “#celluLIT,” according to Demi Lovato and Iskra Lawrence) and gushing over Ashley Graham’s pregnancy photos, it’s also the year of another hardcore diet, like keto and intermittent fasting.

Here, registered dietitians and coaches – experts in the field of health and wellness – reveal a few eating habits that turn them on most of the time in 2019, and implore you to pretty much keep them where they belong in 2019.

1 Extreme fasting.
OMAD, 16:8, 5:2 – Whatever the variation, fasting diets, or the practice of restricting your diet to certain hours of the day, or eating every other day, have gotten a lot of attention this year (mostly due to the trend of celebrities like Jennifer Aniston swearing by them). But the practice of intermittent fasting isn’t exactly practical for everyone – and can even be dangerous.

“I think the most dangerous diet trend for 2019 is extreme fasting,” Abby Langer, RD, tells Health.” Eating for only [a few] hours a day, or on some days not eating at all, is not normal by any means.” Langer goes on to explain that extreme fasting affects people physically, emotionally, and socially. After all, what do you do if you’re having dinner with friends at 7 p.m. – but you’ve already completed your diet for the day? And there’s no science to support these diets.” There’s no good research to show that eating so little has a positive impact on health,” says Langer.

2 The Serpentine Diet
The serpentine diet takes the idea of fasting to the extreme and encourages restricting your eating to just two hours a day, Health.com previously reported. According to Cynthia Sass, MPH, MA, RD, CSSD, to add insult to injury, the creator of the diet is not really qualified to give dietary advice.” The Snake Diet involves extreme fasting and the creator, who is not a trained health professional, promotes incorrect information, such as the fact that obese people only need salt water to meet their needs because fat storage provides all the nutrients they need.”

This can lead to serious health consequences, such as malnutrition, says Sass.” In fact, anyone can become malnourished if they are deprived of enough vital nutrients day in and day out. Humans are not snakes, and we shouldn’t mimic their eating patterns.”

3. the keto diet
Keto fans (yes, we’re looking at you, Jenna Jameson), you may want to sit down and read this. It turns out that a high-fat, very low-carb diet may not be the best for your long-term health.” The Keto diet now has a reputation as one of the ‘most successful’ diets out there,” explains Amee Gloyn, RDN, CD.

But here’s the thing: In this case, “most successful” primarily means “resulting in the most initial weight loss” – but the keto diet’s “success” has nothing to do with overall health.” The truth is, we have no more evidence that it works better in the long term than other diets.”

In fact, cutting out one food group entirely – carbohydrates, which include healthy foods like starchy vegetables and whole grains – isn’t the safest way to lose weight.” Removing an entire food group – the one(s) our brains need to function properly – is disordered [eating],” says Gloyn. Instead, if you really want to keep losing weight, it’s important to eat a variety of whole, nutritious foods – and not deprive yourself too much.

4. no-carb diets
J.Lo’s abs aren’t the only reason she’s making headlines in 2019, as she and fianc√© A-Rod caused a ruckus in January when the two embarked on a 10-day “no carbs, no sugar” challenge – much to the dismay of nutritionists everywhere.

“No thanks to J. Lo and A. Rod, this became a big trend for 2019,” the RDN’s Keri Gans told Health.” Carbohydrates, which break down into glucose, are our body’s main source of fuel.” And when we stop giving them carbohydrates, our bodies suffer badly: “Without glucose, our brains and muscles can’t function optimally,” says Gans.

Instead, Gans hopes that in 2020, everyone will understand the difference between “better-for-you carbs, like fruits, vegetables, and whole grains, and those that aren’t,” like over-processed carbs like white bread or sugary cereals.

5. gluten-free diets (when they’re not medically necessary)

Some people, like those with gluten intolerance or celiac disease, have a strong need to avoid gluten because their bodies react negatively to it. But for those who don’t have a medical need to remove gluten from their diet, going gluten-free isn’t a good idea.

“Many people remove gluten from their diets because they suspect they can’t tolerate it,” Alyssa Lavy, RD, tells Health.” However, removing gluten from the diet without first discussing it with your doctor can make it difficult to diagnose celiac disease and/or address the underlying cause of symptoms.”

Not only does going gluten-free cut out the main food group that provides nutrition for those who can tolerate them (hi, carbohydrates), but it’s also a major lifestyle change, Lavy says. At the end of the day, cutting out an entire food group simply isn’t your best option, unless you have to do it for medical reasons.

6. juice cleanse
Please, can we all stop washing our faces in juice? Your body needs more fluids to keep functioning properly.Performix House coach Brittany Watts, NASM-CPT agrees.” Weight loss juice cleanses have to go,” she says.” Not only are they unsustainable, but they actually do more harm than good. When you remove solids from your diet, you reduce the thermic effect of your food (i.e. the calories you burn) from the digestive process.” This can cause your metabolism to slow down, which will hinder your results if you’re trying to lose weight.

Plus, Watts says, if you do lose weight on a juice cleanse, it can come right back when you start practicing normal eating again. Still not convinced? Earlier this year, Health magazine reported on the case of a woman whose juice cleanse may have caused irreversible brain damage.