Tips to stay healthy this summer: Ditch the summer detox.

  • By Rebecca Kesner
  • 7 minute read
Tips to stay healthy this summer: Ditch the summer detox.

5 reasons why fad diets will ruin your vacation.

The countdown started weeks ago.

This time in 3 months…This time next month...This time next week, we’ll be on a beach!And with that countdown came all of the questions: Who’s going to look after the dog? Does sun cream go off? Where the hell did we put the passports? And then it hits.One month to go and you’re nowhere near ‘beach-ready’.

How did this happen? You’ve been so busy. But only a fool ignores @TheSavageShredder’s advice that, “SUMMER BODIES ARE MADE IN WINTER”.

Male gym instructor shouting "No pain no gain!" through a megaphone.

Oh, the shame…Listen, take that head out of your hands, and before you sign up for the ‘intensive excavation cleanse’, here’s a word to the wise:That summer detox…it’s going to ruin your vacation. And here’s why. You’ve seen those photos. The before and after ones…The ‘before’ is always intentionally shameful. Headless and unhappy. Shoulders hunched, in their pants with a sad, "What have I done to myself?’ feel about them. The ‘after’ picture - far more upright. Shoulders back, everything taught, with an assertive, stoic "I feel GREAT!” air to it. And to be fair - they do look good. And thus, the seed is sewn. Whatever they’re doing, it works.Ok so even if we put aside the questionable authenticity of some of these images, there is research out there to show a few of these fad diets do work. At least in the short term. There’s also evidence to show why long term, they’re not great. There’s also a complete lack of evidence either way about the majority of these diets. Mostly due to high dropout rates in related studies. Which says a lot in itself.

The Effects of Fad Diets on Our Body

Anything that involves knocking out an entire macronutrient has never been championed long term by health professionals. But people are still keen to take them up for the quick fix.Studies show that whilst you may be putting all efforts into looking buff for the beach, you might be sabotaging yourself not only for that vacation you’re about to have, but longer term too.

5 Short Term Effects of Fad Diets

Woman looking unhappy stabbing a single piece of broccoli on an empty plate with a fork.

The short-term effects of fad diets can be noticeable straight away. You've probably seen a change on the scales - which is what you want - right? The reality is, rapid weight loss is often temporary. And mostly consists of water weight rather than fat loss. Many of the side effects are pretty unsociable too. And when you pictured yourself this summer, it probably didn’t include the following:

Hunger and Food Cravings

Many fad diets restrict food choices or limit calorie intake, leading to increased feelings of hunger and intense cravings for ‘forbidden foods’. This can make it difficult to sustain the diet and may lead to overeating or binge eating episodes.

Fatigue and Weakness

Carbohydrates are the body's primary source of energy. Drastic calorie reduction and nutrient deficiencies in fad diets can lead to fatigue, weakness, and low energy levels.

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Irritability and Mood Changes

Severely restricting calories or certain food groups can affect neurotransmitter levels in the brain, potentially leading to irritability, mood swings, and difficulty concentrating. Low blood sugar levels resulting from restrictive diets can also contribute to mood disturbances.

Constipation or Digestive Issues

Some fad diets may lack sufficient fiber, leading to constipation, bloating, and other digestive issues. Sudden and drastic changes in dietary habits can disrupt the normal functioning of the digestive system.

Nutrient Imbalances

Fad diets that eliminate entire food groups can result in imbalances of essential nutrients, including vitamins, minerals, and macronutrients. These imbalances can have negative effects on overall health and may lead to deficiencies or other health issues.

5 Long Term Effects of Fad Diets

A green to red scale for metabolism with the needle at red, indicating bad metabolism.

The catch 22 with a fad diet, is they’re usually unsustainable. And there’s no cheating with them. Especially with diets such as the Keto diet, which only works if you keep your body in ketosis. So that unplanned meal out with friends, or just one regular beer or margarita - is a no go.This unrealistic way of eating can lead to ‘falling off the wagon’ which in turn, can start a brand-new round of punishing crash dieting. It’s an unhealthy cycle to get into, and over longer periods of time can lead to certain health issues:

Slower Metabolism

Calorie restrictive diets can be a shock to the system. Which can cause our bodies to go into starvation mode. Our metabolism slows in an effort to conserve energy. Which makes it difficult when we return to normal eating habits. And if those eating habits aren’t necessarily ‘normal’ because we’re on vacation, your body will struggle to process even more. You may start to slow your metabolism in as little as 3 days, meaning by the time you’re away, you’re about to undo all of that ‘good’ work you did pre vacation. As your resting metabolic rate slows, so does your body’s ability to burn calories.

Nutrient Deficiency

Fad diets tend to cut out entire food groups such as carbs or fats. Both of which are needed to maintain a healthy body. Not all fats are bad. Omega-3s are responsible for toughening bones, supporting soft, supple skin, protecting against sun damage as well as improving cognitive function. The same goes for carbs. Diets like Atkins and Keto seriously restrict carb intake - but not all carbs are bad. The key difference between simple carbs (bad) and complex carbs (good) lies in their molecular structure and how the body processes them. Simple carbs are rapidly digested and absorbed, leading to a quick energy boost - but providing fewer nutrients. Complex carbs take longer to digest and provide a steady release of energy while offering more fiber and nutrients.

Muscle Loss

Rapid weight loss associated with fad diets can lead to muscle mass loss. If the body is consistently in a caloric deficit, in an effort to meet its energy needs, it may break down muscle tissue to access amino acids for fuel. Muscle is metabolically active tissue that helps maintain a healthy metabolism. Losing muscle mass can lead to a decrease in metabolic rate and difficulty in maintaining weight loss in the long term.

Cognitive Function

The brain needs energy. And it gets it from glucose. Glucose is the end product of digested carbs. If your diet has less than 100 grams of carbs a day, there’ll be a shortage on glucose for the brain leading to impaired memory, concentration, and attention levels.

Gut Health and Digestion

If you’re not getting enough fiber, you may start experiencing a few digestive issues. Lack of fiber can lead to constipation and not enough support for the good bacteria in your gut. Fiber serves as a prebiotic, providing nourishment for beneficial gut bacteria. Insufficient fiber intake can negatively impact the diversity and abundance of these beneficial bacteria, potentially leading to imbalances in the gut microbiota. This can have implications for overall gut health, immune function, and even mental health. We’re not here to rain on anyone’s summer parade. Summer is brilliant. - all we’re saying is summer, is not without its challenges.Anyone who’s found themselves uttering the sentence, “I need another vacation” when returning from the one they've just had, understands the effects a ‘lovely-little-break’ can have. Think about it…

5 Ways Your Vacation Can Affect Your Health

Woman in airport leaning on a yellow suitcase looking exhausted.


Traveling can be physically demanding, long flights, sightseeing, and exploring new destinations. The last thing you need to feel is fatigue.


Being in new environments exposes you to different germs and potential illness triggers. Strengthening your immune system can help protect you from falling sick. Post flight flu is not to be sniffed at. Low cabin humidity means our noses and throats dry up leaving an open goal to bacteria and illnesses.


You often want to try new foods whilst you’re away. Eating at different times, and generally being out of routine, can all have negative effects on your digestive system.


Traveling, delays, and being in unfamiliar environments, can raise your stress levels and anxiety. Managing stress is crucial for overall well-being and enjoyment of your trip. Certain supplements, such as adaptogens like ashwagandha or rhodiola rosea, have been traditionally used to support the body's stress response and promote a sense of calm.


Changes in time zones, unfamiliar sleeping environments, and disrupted routines during vacations can impact sleep quality. Jet lag and irregular sleep patterns can leave you feeling fatigued and affect your overall well-being.

Healthy Alternatives to Fad Diets

Rather than depriving yourself, nourish your body so it’s prepped for all the good times you're about to have. If you’re the type of person who benefits from having a plan to follow, then the Mediterranean diet comes out tops. It’s a way of eating that emphasizes plant-based foods and healthy fats. In a study comparing the most popular and trend driven diets, the Mediterranean diet triumphed. Showing no adverse effects, and rather, it showed “preventive and therapeutic potential for many chronic diseases.”

A colourful collection of fruit, veg, wholegrains and fats against a natural wooden backdrop

The key to Staying Healthy This Summer

If you’re looking for a quick fix - you’re going to hate this. Because the key to staying healthy is exercise, hydration, a balanced diet, and a multivitamin to fill in any nutritional gaps. It’s as simple as that. Maintaining a healthy diet is vital for overall well-being - all year round. Opting for good fats, such as those found in avocados, nuts, and olive oil, while avoiding bad fats like saturated and trans fats, helps support heart health and provides essential nutrients.

Similarly, choosing good carbs like whole grains, fruits, and vegetables, over bad carbs found in sugary drinks and processed snacks, provides sustained energy and important fiber. Putting an emphasis on fresh, plain whole foods over processed food means we benefit from all their vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. A good-quality multivitamin can bridge any nutritional gaps and give peace of mind you’re getting everything your body needs. That’s the best way to stay healthy this summer.

4 people on a beach at the sea's edge silhouetted by the sun, splashing and having fun.