Have you ever been tempted to padlock your fridge shut - Biggest Loser style - in a desperate bid to phase out binges and poor eating habits? Perhaps there's a diet out there on the market that will really work for you. Or, perhaps diets aren't really the answer. Sarina Lococo considers and assesses the latest diet trends.

Diet review

High protein, low carbohydrate, low fat, no fat, detoxing, low energy and the list goes on for popular weight loss diets. So, which diet is best? No one diet is going to suit everyone. However the one you choose should be easy for you to follow and maintain long term. It should also be nutritionally balanced and healthy.

As a nutritionist, I'm on the lookout for any new weight loss diet. In particular, those that make strong claims and promises about weight loss. There are many weight loss diets on the market, but what I find is that most follow similar principles. In the end, they all manage in some way to reduce energy or kilojoule intake. This is generally the main reason they work. However, not all are safe or balanced nutritionally. Here is a review of the some of the more popular diets.

AITKINS DIET

Type of Diet: This diet advocated by the late Dr Robert Atkins is basically high in protein and fat and low in carbohydrates such as cereals, bread, pasta, rice, fruit and potatoes.

How the Diet Works: Dr Atkins believed low carbohydrate intake lead to ketosis, which is the production of ketones from body fat stores. He also claimed eating fat causes the body to metabolise it for energy, rather than store it, while eating carbohydrates encourages the body to store fat. Most of the high protein diets on the market are based on Atkins' theories.

Results: This diet certainly works in the short-term but experts believe this is due to the restricted energy intake, rather than because of Atkins' theories on fat metabolism. Studies have shown that in the short-term this diet is effective at reducing weight. There have been limited long-term studies, but so far there has been no evidence of greater weight loss after 12 months compared to a more conventional diet (i.e. low fat, high carbohydrate).

Nutritionist's Comments: While this diet may be useful and relatively safe for short-term weight loss, its effectiveness and safety, long-term, remains suspect. Most nutritionists would not recommend it on the basis of nutritional imbalance and lack of dietary fibre.