The fish diet - how to follow it and for how long

People who want to lose weight are confronted with lots of different (and sometimes conflicting) options. There are many diets competing for attention, including the white meat diet, the fish diet, the cabbage soup diet, Atkins, the Zone diet... and the list goes on. Here at Excite Health we often receive questions about the fish diet – how to follow it and for how long. Weight loss magazines have claimed that by following the fish diet you can lose around 2.5 kilos within 7 to 10 days.

Most fad diets are not recommended because rapid weight loss is unsustainable and unhealthy. In addition, most of these diets are not nutritionally balanced. When a diet requires you to cut something out - as the fish diet does - it's important to realise that you are going to have to get the nutrients you are missing from another source.

More extreme versions of the fish diet dictate that you should eat nothing but fish for 14 days as a "detox". Any diet that tells you to only consume one thing will certainly not be beneficial to your health - and there's no point in losing weight if you are going to damage your body in doing so.

If you are considering starting the fish diet, talk to your doctor or see a dietician for professional advice. Relying on information you find online can often cause more harm than good. A medical professional can recommend a diet plan that is more suited to your personal circumstances and also provide actionable advice on food intake and physical activity. Before starting any new diet, your GP or nutritionist is the best person to consult about how long you should follow it.

Losing weight can be a long journey, and the fish diet has no "one size fits all" programme. The most important thing to remember is that healthy weight loss should incorporate nutritional balance including all the essential food groups.

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