Monodiet to lose weight: Is it really effective?

Losing weight may seem easy, but it is not. It requires a lot of effort on your part in terms of your diet, training, and lifestyle. However, it has been seen that people may not be able to follow the exercise routine but try to reduce their weight by following different types of weight loss diets. While there are a wide variety of diets available, choosing the right one can be overwhelming. A famous diet to lose weight is the monotropic diet or monodiet. It is a simple diet plan that requires you to eat a single item from the food category at each meal of the day. But the question is, can it really help you lose weight? Let’s find out.

Health Shots contacted Hari Lakshmi, a consultant, dietitian and nutritionist at Motherhood Hospitals, Alwarpet, Chennai, to find out if a monotropic diet is good or bad for weight loss.

What is a monotropic diet?

The mono diet, also known as a monotropic diet, is a simple diet in which a person consumes only one food, such as bananas or a group of foods, for several days and weeks. This diet has gained popularity among people who are looking for a simple approach to lose weight without the intense restrictions and exercise regimen. The main advantage of this diet is that it promises rapid weight loss.

Is the monodiet effective to lose weight?

A monotropic diet restricts calories, which can effectively help you achieve short-term weight loss. So if you’re asking if it can lead to weight loss, the answer is yes. However, it is not a healthy way to lose weight. This form of diet is difficult to follow for a long time and many people often start this diet to start their weight loss journey before moving on to other dietary patterns.

No weight loss diets are healthy. Image courtesy: Adobe Stock

Lakshmi says: “A monotropic diet does not have a set of rules to follow, but it is restrictive and excludes beneficial food groups. It is generally advised that people eat a diet that contains foods of all kinds because of the nutrients they provide. However, in the case of a monodiet, a person’s food intake is limited, which can lead to nutrient deficiencies.

So you can also suffer from malnutrition and loss of muscle mass, and that loss of muscle mass can slow down your metabolism. All of this means that you will have a hard time losing weight in the future, and the weight you lose on the mono diet will come back once you start eating normally.

Side effects of the monotropic diet

The mono diet has a variety of adverse effects, including:

1. Short-term weight loss

Consuming one type of food reduces an individual’s calorie intake, resulting in rapid water loss and decreased bloating. This process even reduces muscle mass; however, this form of weight loss is short-lived.

2. Increased Cravings

Avoiding certain food groups can increase food cravings that can lead to overeating or binge eating, especially when the person is less able to maintain the strict dietary restrictions of a mono diet.

3. Dangerously restrictive

The mono diet has severe restrictions that in the future can have significant health consequences ranging from constipation, menstrual irregularities, dehydration, electrolyte imbalance, fatigue-inducing gallstones, decreased metabolism, loss of muscle mass, and malnutrition.

mono diet side effects
The mono diet will also make you feel fatigued. Image Courtesy: Shutterstock

4. It does not promote healthy habits

Weight loss is a process that includes maintaining a healthy weight. To achieve this, it is important to analyze your diet to cover nutritional needs in adequate portions. But in the case of a mono diet, a single item or type of food is not a healthy way to approach weight loss. This could even lead to an eating disorder. In addition to a balanced diet, it is also important to get enough sleep and exercise for an effective result.

5. Nutritional deficiency

Your daily diet should be rich in various fruits and vegetables because your body needs a variety of nutrients to function. A deficiency in a certain vitamin or mineral could have detrimental effects on your health. Therefore, eating only one food all day when on a mono diet is not a good idea.

6. Loss of muscle mass

Following a mono diet can lead to protein deficiency in your body. This can lead the body to break down muscle mass into amino acids due to a lack of protein. Compared to fat mass, muscle mass has a higher resting metabolism. As a result, you burn more calories, which helps you lose weight. But since you’re losing muscle mass, this can get in the way of your weight loss goals.

muscle mass
A mono diet can cause a loss of muscle mass! Image courtesy: Adobe Stock

So should you try the monkey diet?

The answer is a big NO. Following a mono diet is not recommended due to its restrictive nature and inadequate supply of essential nutrients. According to Lakshmi, restricting essential macro and micronutrients that the body needs to function properly can cause health problems. So avoid this diet.

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