Can the mono diet help you lose weight? What experts would you like to know
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When famous magician Penn Jillette lost a whopping 75 pounds in just three months from dieting alone, he began his weight loss efforts by eating only potatoes for two full weeks. And he’s not the only one who has tried this extreme approach – known as “mono diet”. Essentially, the mono diet means sticking to only one food group and it’s slowly but surely growing in popularity as a way to lose pounds without having to follow complex rules.
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A quick search on Instagram for the hashtag #monomeal reveals more than 48,000 posts with single-food meals, from papaya to tomatoes. However, it’s worth noting that while he was just eating spuds, Jillette followed the mono diet under medical supervision. So the real question is: can the mono diet alone really help you lose weight? And more importantly, is it healthy? After all, consuming just one food or group of foods, if only for a few weeks, can mean that certain important nutrients are missing.
Whether you’re looking to kickstart your weight loss or just looking for a simpler eating plan that eliminates all the guesswork, here’s what experts you want to know about the mono diet before trying it out.
What is the mono diet?
True to its name, the mono diet involves just one food – some popular picks include eggs, chicken, potatoes, bananas, and apples. A looser interpretation, however, is the consumption of only one food group such as fruit, legumes, vegetables or meat.
Typically, the mono diet is only used for a week or two to boost weight loss before gradually introducing additional foods.
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Benefits of the mono diet
There are many mono diet benefits to consider including:
Convenience: Just having to buy one grocery item in bulk from the supermarket can definitely make your life easier. Plus, there is no need to prepare and prepare multi-ingredient meals, which makes it more convenient, especially if you have a busy lifestyle.
Simplicity: There’s no need to count calories or macros, measure portion sizes, track your food intake, or check ingredient labels while on the mono diet. This is an attractive aspect for those who don’t want to grapple with the complexities of other popular diets like Keto, Paleo, or Whole 30.
Reducing caloric intake: It is very likely that if only one food is allowed you will eat fewer calories – after all, how many bananas can you eat in a day? It is important to note, however, that any resulting weight loss from the mono diet is often temporary. Since you are obviously not going to cut out all other foods forever, the weight you lost during the restriction can easily be put back on after resuming your normal eating habits.
Can Help Detect Food Allergies: “In rare cases of people with extreme digestive problems or food intolerances, temporarily following a similar approach could potentially be useful in identifying food reactions and culprits,” said Samantha McKinney, a registered nutritionist with Life Time. Dr. For example, Josh Ax – DNM, CNS, DC, founder of Ancient Nutrition, DrAxe.com, and author of new bestseller Ancient Remedies – notes that if you only eat meat while following a mono diet, you may find that yourself Your digestion improves because you omit refined carbohydrates, sugars, or other potentially problematic foods.
Does the Mono Diet Work For Weight Loss?
Whether or not you lose weight – and exactly how much you lose – depends in part on what foods you eat on the mono diet, how much you eat, and how you prepare it. Lots of people lose pounds following the mono diet, but there aren’t a lot of scientific studies to back it up – just anecdotal evidence.
“The biggest advantage of the mono diet is that it is restrictive and therefore an easy way to reduce caloric intake,” says Dr. Ax. “That means it’s likely to lead to weight loss, often pretty quickly.”
However, it is important to remember that since the mono diet is not sustainable in the long run, if you resume your normal diet, you may gain weight again.
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Potential Risks of the Mono Diet
If you’ve ever struggled with an eating disorder, highly restrictive diets like this one can get you into dangerous territory. But that’s not the only risk to be aware of. You could also be more prone to nutritional deficiencies.
“There is no single food that can provide all of the macronutrients, vitamins and minerals needed to function properly,” explains certified nutritionist Gina Keatley. “Also, this is an eating disorder and it is important to determine why you only want to consume one food.”
McKinney adds that nutritional deficiencies can be serious and lead to multiple health problems – from cardiovascular disease to brittle bones, hormonal imbalances, and more.
For example, let’s say you only eat chicken. While you are getting plenty of protein and B vitamins, you won’t get your fiber or vitamin C needs.
Not only is there a risk of missing certain essential nutrients on the mono diet, but you can also struggle to get enough calories – research has shown that it can slow your metabolism and even cause muscle wasting, reducing your Attempts to lose weight are actually sabotaging (especially if you are consuming less than 1,000 calories a day).
How to Follow the Mono Diet Safely
Experts agree across the board that the mono diet should only be taken for a very short period of time. For your safety, you should also consult your doctor before making any such dramatic change in your diet.
Additionally, experts say that some foods may be better suited to the mono diet than others because they provide a wider range of nutrients. Dr. Ax says eggs, potatoes, and meat are good choices because they contain amino acids, potassium, B vitamins, and protein. He also points out that organic yogurt or milk can work if you can tolerate dairy products.
“Eggs would be the best option for a mono diet,” adds Keatley. “They contain energy, protein and fat in a very bioavailable package. They also contain some of the essential vitamins and minerals we need to function properly. ”However, Keatley cautions that just eating eggs can mean consuming large amounts of cholesterol, which can be problematic or even dangerous for some.
Overall, experts say the safest, healthiest way to try the mono diet is to take a more flexible approach. For example, you could have only one food group at each meal (e.g. only bananas for breakfast, only potatoes for lunch, and only chicken for dinner).
“There are still concerns that you may be missing some vitamins and minerals, but the greater the variety of foods you eat, the better you can meet your needs in general,” said Dr. Ax. “One way to approach the mono diet this way would be to focus on eating one type of protein, vegetable, and carbohydrate with each meal so that you at least increase your intake of those nutrients.”
Regardless of what foods you eat, Dr. Ax also urgently needs a multivitamin, collagen protein, and probiotics to aid digestion and maintain healthy energy levels during the mono diet.
And if you’re looking for a similarly simple weight loss strategy that isn’t quite as restrictive, McKinney recommends time-limited eating (a form of intermittent fasting) that discourages pointless nighttime snacks. This means that you limit your eating window to 8-12 hours a day – e.g. B. between 12 p.m. and 8 p.m.
“Ultimately, for most people, a certain amount of meal planning and preparation is important to long-term health and success,” she says. “Any sustainable program must have plenty of high-quality protein, lots of colorful products with an emphasis on starch-free vegetables, and healthy, minimally processed fats.”
The final result? The mono diet is only a short term solution, and even if it does help you lose weight, the only way to maintain that weight is through a healthy diet and lifestyle that you can actually sustain for the long term.
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