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by Robert MacKay, Monday, January 4, 2010 | Categories: Weight Loss

A leading obesity charity has issued a warning against fad diets, saying that they are ‘unsustainable’ and can lead to dangerous weight regain around the internal organs.

The National Obesity Forum said that quick-fix diets can actually cause more harm than good, putting people at risk of developing visceral fat,hidden fat that develops around the abdominal organs.

When present excessively, it can put people at greater risk of developing heart disease and other conditions, such as type 2 diabetes. In a survey commissioned by the pharmaceutical firm GlaxoSmithKline, of the 2,000 adults questioned in Britain 90% did not know what visceral fat was.

The survey was part of a Europe-wide poll, which showed that across Europe people were not aware they needed to watch out for fat around their waist, an early indicator of visceral fat.

The survey also showed that 64% of people were determined to lose weight in the new year, but 86% if those who had previously resolved to do so failed. However, there was good news when 2 of out of 3 people said that learning more about the associated dangers of viseceral fat had motivated them to shed the pounds.

One of the authors of the report, Professor David Haslam of the National Obesity Forum, advised that steady and sustainable weight loss was the key to reducing the risks. He said that crash diets ‘can do more harm than good’, while his co-author Dr. Terry Maguire from Queens University Belfast said that overweight people needed to understand the health benefits as well as the cosmetic impact of weight loss.

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