MP Jo Swinson warns against fad diets

LOCAL MP Jo Swinson is urging magazine editors to make a New Year’s resolution - to avoid promoting irresponsible diets.

The East Dunbartonshire Woman and Equalities minister wants editors of men’s, women’s health, celebrity and gossip magazines to stop promoting ‘miracles’ so she has sent them an open letter.

It asks them to think twice about the effect that coverage of ‘miracle diets’ has on the health of women and girls.

Ms Swinson said: “Surely by now we’re all aware that there are no miracle diets or if there are, they are miracles that come with a cost.

“Given that most diets fail within a very short time, it is irresponsible for magazines to offer ‘tips’ ‘tricks’ and ‘simple steps’ so that people can be thin. Not healthy or vibrant, just thin.

“One resolution that is actually worth making, for all of us, is to resolve with friends, family, and colleagues to challenge the default setting of self-criticism, and help each other to do so.”

Her letter reads:

Dear editors,

Every January readers are treated to articles reminding them that they have overindulged during the end-of-year festivities and must resolve to lose their holiday weight.

I am sure that you want to promote a healthy lifestyle for your readers but at this time of year in particular far too much of magazine coverage tends to focus on irresponsible, short term solutions and encourages readers to jump on fad diet bandwagons.

As editors you owe more to your readers than the reckless promotion of unhealthy solutions to losing weight. If your aim is to give practical, sensible advice about losing weight – and not how to drop a stone in five days – you should encourage reasonable expectations, instead of dangerous ones, along with exercise and healthy eating.

So may I suggest a New Year’s resolution for 2013? Shed the fad diets and fitness myths on your pages and instead celebrate the beauty of diversity in body shape, skin colour, size and age. I think your readers will appreciate it.