Health

New year fad diets ‘do more harm than good’, warns top NHS doctor



England’s senior NHS doctor has warned new year dieters against quick-fix solutions, which can lead to heart problems and even unplanned pregnancies.

Professor Stephen Powis has urged Brits to ditch the diet pills and detox teas, often seen plugged by online influencers, saying they have a “slim chance of success” and can cause serious complications.

People who take the fad products in an effort to banish the Christmas bulge can end up doing “more harm than good”, the NHS England medical director said.


Dieting is the most common new year’s resolution, and although the NHS endorses getting in shape, he has advised against using diet pills, “tea-toxes”, and appetite suppressant products which can be harmful.

Products promising quick weight loss by reducing appetite and fatigue can have damaging side effects, ranging from diarrhoea to heart problems, and can even interfere with oral contraception, causing unplanned pregnancies.

The top doc says people should be careful about how they tackle their post-Christmas weight (Shutterstock / Dimmo)

Professor Powis advised those wanting to shed a few Christmas pounds to lose weight “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.”

This follows calls earlier this year for social media giants to crack down on celebrities posting misleading “get fit quick” adverts, prompting Instagram and Facebook to restrict endorsements of risky products.

Professor Powis recommended the NHS Long Term Plan, a 12-week weight-loss schedule to be used alongside an app, for those wanting to get in shape.

The NHS also offers a Diabetes Prevention Programme, and both of these regimes can be found on their website along with healthy recipes.

Health professionals also recommend the Couch to 5K app for first-time runners, Strength and Flex, and the NHS Fitness Studio apps.

Quitting smoking is the second most popular new year resolution, and the NHS Smokefree app can help those wanting to cut down.

Drink Free Days app is also recommended by the NHS for people wanting to try Dry January.



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