Fiona Outdoors logo My independent guide to the best of Scotland outdoors

The advantages and disadvantages of the latest diet trends

Written by Fiona

May 01 2023

Whether you need to lose a significant amount of weight or you have a few stubborn pounds that you can’t seem to shift, it may be beneficial for you to consider the different diets available to you. From calorie control to carb-free and weight loss drugs such as Orlistat, it can be hard to know what is right for you, especially as every diet promises to get you long-lasting results. 

Trawling through the different options is enough to work up a hunger, so we have gathered the key information on 2023’s hottest diets so that you can see, at a glance, what might work for you. 

Keto diet

The basis of the ketogenic diet is that you will encourage your body to go into ketosis, which is the point at which it burns fat for fuel. In a nutshell, the keto diet involves ditching carbs and loading up on fat and protein. As counter intuitive as it may seem, eating a fatty bit of streaky bacon is, apparently, the way forward.

The pros: People who have tried the keto diet – and stuck to it – often lose weight to start with, however, this may be down to restricting calories and cutting out sugar and carbs rather than achieving the holy grail: Ketosis. 

The cons: Aside from the fact that people are at risk of yoyoing, losing weight quickly and putting it back on (plus a bit extra) as soon as they eat normally again, the keto diet is high in fat, which is not great for cardiovascular health. What’s more, the restrictive nature of the diet could lead to deficiencies in other vitamins and minerals. Side effects include upset stomach, dizzy spells, extreme fatigue, headache and, thanks to the low fibre intake, constipation.

Intermittent fasting 

Referred to by those in the know as IF, intermittent fasting involves a cycle of zero food, followed by an “eating window”.  Plenty of water is encouraged through the fasting period and black tea and coffee are allowed. Come eating time, there are no restrictions as such, making it a good option for people who don’t enjoy restrictive diets.

The pros: Although there isn’t extensive research, what research there is indicates that the IF diet can help to boost metabolism and help with hormone balance. At the very least, missing a meal allows for a reasonable drop in daily calories. To see results, a healthy diet is needed during the eating times. 

The cons: The tendency to binge eat, loading on high carb and sugar food from the second the eating window is open can lead to health complications. Likewise, not getting enough nutrients during the eating window can leave fasters lethargic. 

Plant based diet

The plant-based diet is not only a relatively straightforward way of eliminating fats from meat and dairy from your diet, but it will help to save the world, too. Choose from vegetarian (which just cuts out meat) or vegan (which eliminates meat, dairy, and eggs) and gain halo points while, allegedly, losing weight. 

The pros: Animal-based products are among the highest in chemicals and as such, eliminating them from your diet can help reduce your cancer risks. 

The cons:  If meat products are replaced with manufactured alternatives, the health gains might be minimal. From an environmental perspective, imported, processed non-dairy milk or tinned jack fruit is no better than cow or goat milk or local meat. Finally, the temptation to cut out those foods without replacing them with nutritious alternatives can leave meat-free dieters lacking in nutrients. 

Weight loss aids

Prescription weight loss drugs are usually recommended to those with a BMI over 30, or whose BMI is over 27, and they have a serious health complication. Weight loss drugs work differently, but most (including Orlistat) work by preventing your body from absorbing all of the fat from the food that you eat. 

The pros: Orlistat offers fairly good results, with people losing around 5% of their body weight in three months. It is also useful for helping people who have lost weight to maintain their new weight. 

The cons:  All medications have side effects, so if you are considering a weight loss drug, speak to a medical professional beforehand so that they can take a thorough medical history and help you to find the right treatment for you. 

With 2023 the year of body positivity, it might be time for you to love you and love your body. If you want to lose weight for yourself, and your physical as well as mental wellbeing, be sure that you do it in a way that is healthy and sustainable, and which allows you to enjoy your life to the full. 

More Like This


Review: New ‘traceable activewear’ collection from BAM


Review: Berghaus 3D Freeflow 30+5L daysack


Beinn Ghobhlach: Fiona bagging on the Scoraig peninsula


Fiona bagging: Three summits from Luss


Anna Wells is first female to complete Winter Munro Round


Review: Harrier Lomond insulated jacket