As she nears the end of her Nutrition Coaching studies, trainer Zuzana Vasailes talks us through the minefield of dieting!

Intermittent Fasting

What began with the 5:2 or two low 500-calorie days has now become the 16:8 where you eat all of your calories in an eight-hour time window or all of your meals between 10am and 6pm or 12pm and 8pm.

Pros: Time restricted eating also tends to limit calorie intake.

Cons: It won’t help with weight loss if your calorie intake is higher than calorie expenditure.

Flexible Dieting

Flexible dieting known as ‘If It Fits Your Macros’ or simply ‘Counting Macros’ is simply the counting and tracking of macronutrients (protein, carbohydrates, and fat) to achieve a body composition goal.

This way of eating provides dieters freedom in their food choices, which may help keep weight off over time and create a positive and healthy relationship with food

Pros: It allows you to eat occasional “naughty” food whether it is a chocolate or McDonalds and still be able to achieve your desired weight goal. 80 to 20 rules (80% healthy fresh produce, wholegrain, vegetables, fruit; 20% “treats”).

Cons: If a McDonalds burger meal fits your macros then it is allowed in this diet. However, junk food doesn’t give you the nutrients your body needs.


The paleo diet is a high protein, low carb diet which focuses on meats, fish, vegetables, nuts and seeds minus the dairy and grains. A regimen that has clear guidelines as to which foods can or cannot be included.

Pros: Results in relatively quick weight loss thanks to its relatively low carbohydrate content.

Cons: Long term the issue tends to be sustainability, as is the case with many diets, as dieters get sick of eating only proteins and salads teamed with coconut oil. The lack of dietary fibre can also cause gut discomfort.

Keto Diet

The keto diet is characterised by its high fat (75%), protein (10-30%) and no more than 5% or 20 to 50 grams of carbs per day. This reduction in carbs puts your body into a metabolic state called ketosis.

Pros: Fast weight loss if in calorie deficit

Cons: Same as Paleo diet it is not sustainable in the long term. Lack of fibre also causes gut discomfort and bad breath.

Conclusion: weight loss will occur only if we are in calorie deficit. I personally would not recommend Keto or Paleo as the cons make it difficult to adhere to the diet over time. Intermittent Fasting helps with diet adherence while Flexible Dieting allows you to enjoy some of your favourites whilst still dieting; but at the end of the day remember, it is a calorie deficit no matter what diet you choose, that leads to weight loss.