Is fad dieting going to kill us all?

I was reading that some of our runners are being accused of over training and under eating. Under-fuelling, if you're a runner, is obviously dangerous, and according to one run coach, is a huge concern for the sport.

International research suggested that 37 per cent of female middle distance runners and 40 per cent of males have what's called RED (Relative Energy Deficiency).


But it made me think about the amount of pressure that not just athletes, but all of us these days, appear to be under in terms of how much we exercise, what we eat, and actually how much we're supposed to not eat.

It feels like every second day there's a new fad telling us to take something out of our diet. No dairy, no gluten, no carbs, no fat, no sugar, low salt, low cholesterol, high fibre, low protein - it's so confusing it almost makes you afraid to eat.

How did our grandparents get by on the meat and three veg every night, followed by lashings of whipped cream and apple crumble? Luncheon sausage sammies for lunch, biscuits and tea with sugar, scones and butter, baking done with full fat milk, butter, and cream - I seem to remember my Nana living on full butter shortbread, coffee with cream, and cheese scones.

My granddad's favourite dinner was stuffed curried sausages and they had those once a week. Both were whippet thin.

So how much does the modern food marketing industry play into our insecurities - and our social media feeds which constantly tell us what we should look like and what we should eat?

How much of it's just selling a fad, versus what we actually need? 5:2, Keto, Atkins, Mediterranean, Paleo, Raw - I bet you know at least one person on at least one of these diets.

Eating has become so complicated these days.

I used to drink protein shakes and take lots of vitamin supplements, believing it would balance out any zinc or iron I was lacking elsewhere. But when I stopped doing all that and just started eating whole real food, including full fat milk, I found I'd never had more energy and never felt healthier.

No I'm not (obviously) a high performance athlete or running a marathon anytime soon… but I can tell you I feel better for it. Even if it does mean I'm not a size 6 anymore.