If cutting down on extra flab is on the New Year resolution's list, take the healthy way out and ditch fad diets.
A recent survey, conducted by the Dietitians Association of Australia (DAA), rated "lemon detox diets" as the worst of its kind, followed by the celebrity-endorsed "blood type diets" or choosing foods based on one's blood type.
The online survey spoke to more than 50 nutritionists and asked them rank nine fad diets, in a bid to discourage young women from following unrealistic dietary regimens.
Meanwhile, a second survey (conducted by the DAA), polled 200 women aged between 18 and 24, to find that 60 percent of them tried to lose weight last year; 25 percent of those women resorted to fad diets. In addition, a reported 40 percent plan to shed extra kilos in 2012.
An alarming 80 percent of participating dietitians viewed "the lemon juice detox diet", which maintains the consumption of nothing but lemon juice, maple syrup, water and cayenne peppers, as the worst. The "blood type diet" was not all that far behind either, returning a whopping 63 percent of the votes. The top three was rounded off by the "acid and alkaline diet," which concentrates on fruits, vegetables and legumes and found 31 percent of the votes.
Essentially, detox diets, which claim to remove toxins from the body, generally include a period of fasting and a strict diet, usually consisting of herbs and supplements for a period of 7-10 days. Although there are not many scientific studies backing its efficacy, detox diets have become disturbingly popular among young women looking for a quick-fix slimming solution.
Images of celebrities like Beyonce, Anne Hathaway and Gwyneth Paltrow flaunting their finely-crafted bodies after a detox session have also led to the diet's popularity among youngsters.
"Some women will end up blaming themselves for not being able to stick to the 'diet' - but the truth is it's simply not an option to eat nothing but raw foods or sip a lemon drink for any length of time. These diets are unrealistic and unsustainable," DAA spokesperson Melanie McGrice said.
The most commonly observed side-effects of detox diets are dehydration, headache, nausea, constipation and dizziness.
McGrice has a simpler solution to detoxification - drink lots of water. The association advised women to ensure they ate a properly balanced diet, exercised well and limited take-away meals to once a week.
"We're urging young women to forget magic powders, awful-tasting drinks and starvation plans, and to be wary of any diet that promises quick or dramatic results," she added.