The Healthy Source - Katie Penman


Our Savvy Birds contributing Dietitian (and all round clever girl), Katie Penman, shares more with us this week on living a sustainable, satisfying and healthy life - as she debunks the myths of fad diets!

Read on for more....

Rebecca Knight

CONFESSION ALERT: hands up, who has tried a fad diet before? Come on, we’ve all been there at one point or another. There might have been that upcoming special event that you wanted to lose weight for.... weddings, birthdays, balls...they all spring to mind. Other times we've reached for the fad diet to break a rut, find a quick fix, or in an effort to kick start our healthy eating plan...again!

I hate to put a dampener on it guys, but fad diets are not good news. They’re alluring as they offer that ‘quick fix’, however, in reality, they are not sustainable. Initially you will lose weight quickly (which is usually just fluid), but at that first sniff of the ever so tempting cupcake, or the lure of bubbles in a gorgeous glass, that weight begins to creep right back. 

CAUTION: Not only will you start to regain your lost weight, but it will be at a rate that is quicker than ever before. So now, not only are you gaining unwanted weight, but you're also messing with your metabolism, which makes weight loss that much more difficult.

We’ve all experimented with the extremes (no fat, no sugar, no carbs, no food!), but it’s time to come back from the brink and bring the balance back. It makes good sense that good health is the epitome of good balance – that includes full fat, a little sugar, whatever your preference. We need to trust ourselves to treat our bodies with respect and care. There is absolutely no need for denial or punishment. Let's try to find more joy in our bodies and more joy in our food. It’s about forgetting calorie counting and instead, embracing wholefoods – foods as minimally tampered with as possible- and that includes dairy. Food is our body’s fuel and all food has the potential to nourish our body. Some food provides more nutrients for the body, and other foods provide nourishment for our souls through pleasure and social connection. In short, no food by itself is unhealthy.

It’s not rocket science, but moderation with a healthy approach IS sustainable. We’re finally catching on that vegan, paleo, gluten free, fat-free and sugar-free are not the answer to our problems. It is a consensus that the fundamentals of healthy eating include a diet that emphasises vegetables, fruit, wholegrains, nuts and seeds, beans, lentils, lean meats, water for thirst, and food that is minimally processed.


FOCUS INWARD, to keep our bodies healthy and energetic. Good health must start from within before we see the outer benefits (clean skin, shiny hair, strong nails, and external glow). For this to happen, the body needs to be able to detoxify itself. If we want to be the healthiest version of ourselves, we need to go back to the fundamentals of healthy eating to enhance this process.


THE SECRET- whole, real foods that have been minimally processed encourage the liver to work its magic!

The liver plays a major role in detoxification. It takes substances that would harm if in excess, and changes them to substances that are less harmful to be excreted. Substances that influence detoxification processes include alcohol, caffeine, synthetic substances, trans fats (found in bought cakes, biscuits, muesli bars and deep fried food) and refined sugars. It is an absolute must to minimise these ‘liver loaders’ to enable the body to detoxify. This is essential to produce amazing skin, overall vitality and wellbeing.

What we eat will impact on the efficiency of the detoxification process. B vitamins are essential for detoxification to occur and they are mainly found in whole grains. Does this ring any alarm bells for you yet? You know what I was saying before about those fad diets? Well, if we are following one of those fad diets that eliminate whole grains (and many of them do), what impact will that have on our bodies ability to detoxify? We need to rethink how and what we eat and the impact that has on our overall health. Bring it back to the basics and choose a wide variety of whole and real food to assist these vital cleaning systems in our body. The liver loves, and is stimulated by, bitter foods and there is no better way to stimulate the bitter taste buds than with green leafy veggies. So just remember the fundamentals of healthy eating. Avoid fad diets, and your liver will love you!


WARNING- the more often you try fad diets, the more damage you do to your metabolism, making it harder and harder to maintain a consistent healthy weight. The time to stop is now. So long fad diets – au revior, sayonara, adios, goodbye!!

To speak with our local Dietitian, Katie Penman, and for more about your health and well-being, contact us at Savvy Birds at to pass on details. In the meantime, definitely keep an eye out for more posts by Katie and follow her Instagram - "Puff + Pantry"!