26/07/2016 09:13 BST | Updated 27/07/2017 06:12 BST

Food Intolerances, Dieting & Shaping Up For Summer: Believe It Or Not, There Is A Difference!

I was on my way home from work the other day and I have to share what I heard. A slim young professional, was sharing her day with a colleague when they both said they are going to go wheat free, gluten free and dairy free and before they start, both wanted to follow a ten day detox diet. Their main aim? To shape up for summer.

It was at this point that I wanted to turn politely and interject asking....why were they thinking of following something so strict? Especially if they didn't have any known intolerances. However I thought they may not appreciate my comments. One of my many daily mantras is to wonder that although our bodies are the most precious tools we have, why do people want to deny themselves of key foods in their daily diets when they really do not need to? I must declare now - there is no evidence that avoiding dairy, gluten or wheat will directly help you lose weight safely. In fact, what will happen is that the avoidance of fundamental food groups will result in the lack of key nutrients such as calcium, protein and phosphorus, which are essential for healthy skin and bones - exactly what these ladies want!!

So many people I have met along the years have avoided the above and not replaced anything with a suitable alternative. This is a huge problem. Whilst avoiding key food groups will most likely lead to a reduction in calories resulting in weight loss, it's an extremely unhealthy way to go about it.

Gluten free diets are only meant for those diagnosed with Coeliac Disease - less than 1% of the population. If you're lucky enough to be able to eat wheat, rye and barley, don't deny your body of these important grains. Wheat intolerance does seem to be on the rise slightly; however, self diagnosing this is not recommended. And, as for avoiding dairy long term, my advice is please don't without seeking specialist advice!

If you think you may have an intolerance, the answer is to get it check out by a specialist. Ask your GP for some advice, or look to a dietitian for some help. We're the experts in nutrition and will guide you to the right path.

What's my advice to you if you want to shed a couple of pounds before the summer?

Make small but realistic changes that will keep you looking healthy and feeling energetic.

  • Cut out snacking
  • Cut back on alcohol
  • Chose low GI foods which help regulate your blood glucose control and help keep your appetite at bay
  • Be more active. With all of the lovely sunshine, you can go on long country walks, play games of rounders and tennis at picnics, go swimming or rowing... the opportunities are endless. So getting in shape doesn't need to mean depriving yourself.

Remember, we all lose weight at different speeds and summer is also about embracing the good weather (when it comes!), enjoying ourselves, eating Al Fresco and enjoying the outdoors by keeping active.

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