In the profession of a dietitian, just like in many other professions, there are “specialists” who lack proper knowledge or attitude. I cannot imagine a specialist who would advise extremely low-calorific diet basing on products, such as instant soup or pepper bread spread. But here is such project of an “antidiet” and its short analysis.

You should definitely read:

Fixing an ‘anti-diet’ from a "nutritionist"

What should a reduction diet be based on

It's obvious that the basic task of a reduction diet is creating proper environment for the body to start using spare fat. That's the reason why calorific deficit is introduced. Thanks to that, the reserves stored in fatty tissue are stimulated and the body is able to cover its energetic demand with them. But that aspect is not enough in the matter of “well-thought reduction”. In practice, not everybody remembers about that.

It's good to know that the body, apart from energy, needs many other nutrient compounts of which there are few tens altogether. They include indispensable amino acids, vitamins, minerals and unsaturated fatty acids. Proper consumption of fibre is also important, as well as the layout of macro nutrients. Additionally, diet should be practical – it should be possible to realise it by one person, for whom it was designed, therefore, it should include many individual factors, such as time that a person is able to sacrifice for preparing meals. All of those issues have to be taken under consideration when preparing a diet.

A good dietitian should...

A good dietitian should prepare such diet, which alleviates the demand for all necessary nutrients despite energetic deficit (which should be adjusted individually), and if it does not provide that (which may happen), s/he should suggest proper supplementation to complete the gap. And so, in order to cover the body's needs, it is advised to base the menu on low-processed food products, because they are richer in non-energetic components and less calorific than other foodstuffs. Highly-processed food products are usually the source of “empty calories”, and basing on them when composing menu may cause or worsen nutrition deficits. I will just mention the fact that highly-processed foodstuffs are less filling and less thermogenic, which also matters in the context of reduction.

An “antidiet” from a “dietitian”

We already know what a slimming nutrition strategy should be based on. It's time to relate this knowledge to practical example of a diet prepared by a “specialist” for an overweight man who started regular physical activity. Below you can find an example of one day from the reduction menu, for which that man paid with his own money.

Breakfast: a sandwich with cold meat and vegetables

Content:

  • roll (100g)

  • cold meat (20g)

  • cucumber

  • lettuce

Snack: cucumber sandwich

Content:

  • roll (100g)

  • cucumber

Dinner: sandwich + soup

Content:

  • roll (100g)

  • processed cheese fit (1 piece)

  • instant soup (1 piece)

Dessert:

Content:

  • roll (50g)

  • instant soup (1 piece)

Supper:

Content:

  • bread (60g)

  • pepper bread spread (50g)

  • butter (5g)

  • cucumber

  • lettuce

The other days were similar, but instead of pepper bread spread there was pate, sometimes there was thin sausage, processed cheese, or jelly. Therefore, the diet was differentiated, but the quality of the used ingredients was poor. However, it's good to analyse this menu from the nutrient content point of view. It's a bit hard to do, because we don't really know what “processed cheese fit” really is, or what “cold meat” really means. But let's assume that cold meat is lean turkey ham, and the cheese is just one of the versions of cheese available on the market with decreased amount of fat. The dose of vegetables was set on the level of 250g (200g of cucumber and 50g of lettuce). Nutrient value of the presented menu is following:

  • energy: 1300 kcal

  • protein: 50g

  • fat: 20g

  • digestible carbohydrates: 230g

  • fibre: 9g

Below you can find the information on covering the demand for particular vitamins:

  • vitamin D: 5%

  • vitamin E: 40%

  • vitamin C: 20%

  • folic acid: 45%

  • vitamin B1: 45%

  • vitamin B2: 45%

  • vitamin B6: 35%

  • vitamin B12: 30%

  • niacin: 30%

It's not better in case of mineral compounds, for which the demand is covered in this diet in the following way:

  • calcium: 20%

  • magnesium: 20%

  • iron: 60%

  • zinc: 45%

  • potassium: 20%

For change, the intake of sodium is twice as high as it is advised.

All of that causes that realising the assumptions of this diet in practice will be connected with worsening nutrition insufficiency. It's worth adding that too low supply of calcium and vitamin D makes spare fat reduction harder, just like too low intake of fibre (the advised amount is not less than 25g per day). The deficit of vitamins from group B will disable the efficiency of metabolic change of carbohydrates and protein, lack of iron may decrease effort abilities and foster anemia, and the deficit of magnesium worsens the quality of sleep, increases proneness to stress and may contribute to painful cramps. At the same time, the imbalance between the intake of sodium and potassium, with the magnesium deficit, may be the factor of risk of developing high blood pressure. It's also worth mentioning that insufficient consumption of magnesium and potassium fosters the disorder of functioning the insulin-glucose economy. Low level of zinc (and vitamin D) almost guarantees the decrease of the level of testosterone.

Theoretically, the solution of the problem described above could be one capsule of a vitamin-mineral product. Unfortunately, it's not like that in real life. As far as the supply of vitamins could be completed with such multi-task pill, in case of minerals you would require separate products. You should add the following supplements:

  • magnesium (about 300mg over the amount from diet),

  • calcium (over 700mg of what can be found in diet),

  • zinc (about 6 – 8 mg),

  • iron (at least 5 mg).

There would be a problem with potassium, because there is about 3000-4000mg of it lacking in diet. Whereas, dietary supplements contain the range of 50 to 150 mg of this component. Higher doses are sold in a form of medicines prescribed by doctors. Even if you ommit potassium in this list, it would turn out that there are other compounds lacking from that menu, such as selenium, chromiun or copper. The situation with fibre and polyunsaturated fatty acids is no better, too, because there's too little amount of those components.

Does such diet reduce weight?

I should admit that the presented menu does fulfill the basic assumption of reduction program, because it introduces energetic deficit. Therefore, it should reduce weight. However, it's far from perfection, which is why the loss of weight could be non-optimal, or even pathological (big loss of muscles, inadequate tempo of progress to the depth of deficit), but it could also cause the worsening of general health condition of the body.

Conclusions

Unfortunately, nowadays if you go to a specialist, you cannot be totally certain that there will be one. Such situation is possible not only in the world of dietetics, but also in many other professions, but in case of medical professions, when the action is wrongly aimed, you can lose money and health. That's why it's good to use the help of specialists who have good opinions and whose knowledge and experience can be verified. Learning about the rules of healthy nutrition is also a good alternative. After all, it's not some secret knowledge, and every person, who has time and willingness, can find out about the basics on their own.

 

Let's improve the “antidiet” from a “dietitian”