Mono diet for weight loss: Is it really effective?

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

Health Shots reached out to Hari Lakshmi, Consultant, Dietitian, and Nutritionist, Motherhood Hospitals, Alwarpet, Chennai, to know 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 item such as bananas or a food group for several days and weeks. This diet has gained popularity among people who seek a simple approach to weight loss without the intense restrictions and exercise regimen. This diet’s main advantage is that it promises quick weight loss.

Is a mono diet effective for weight loss?

A monotropic diet restricts calories, which can effectively aid you in achieving 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 duration and many people often start this diet to begin the weight loss journey before transitioning towards other dietary patterns.

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Not diets for weight loss 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 consume a diet that contains foods of all kinds because of the nutrients they provide. However, in the case of the mono diet, a person’s food intake is limited, which may lead to deficiencies in nutrients.

Hence, you can also certainly suffer from malnutrition and muscle loss, and that muscle loss can slow down your metabolism. All of this means that you will have a tough time losing weight in the future, and the weight you lose on the mono diet will be regained once you start eating normally.

Side effects of monotropic diet

Mono diet have a range of adverse effects, including:

1. Short-term weight loss

Consuming one type of food reduces an individual’s calorie intake, which results in quick water loss and a decrease in 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 may lead to overeating or binge eating, especially when the person has a lower ability to maintain the strict dietary restrictions of a mono diet.

3. Dangerously restrictive

Mono diet has severe restrictions which may in future pose significant health consequences ranging from constipation, menstrual irregularities, dehydration, electrolyte imbalance, gallstones resulting in fatigue, decrease in metabolism, muscle loss, and malnourishment.

side effects of mono diet
Mono diet will also make you feel fatigued. Image courtesy: Shutterstock

4. Does not promote healthy habits

Weight loss is a process that includes maintaining a healthy weight. To achieve that, it is important to analyze your diet which fulfils the 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 develop an eating disorder. Besides a balanced diet, it is also important to take sufficient sleep and exercise for an effective result.

5. Nutrition deficiency

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

6. Loss of muscle mass

Following a mono diet can lead to a protein deficiency in your body. This may 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, it burns more calories, aiding in weight loss. But since you’re losing muscle mass, this can hamper your weight loss goals.

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

So should you try mono diet?

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

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