A dietitian has warned against following food fads such as cutting out whole food groups this January.

Independent dietitian Sarah Keogh of Eatwell said there have always been food “fashions”, but they are not backed by science.

“There are always fashions around and foods that people cut out - in the 1990s it was fat, 10 years ago it was carbs, today it's dairy.

“What so-called ‘experts’ on social media don’t tell you is that food groups have more than just their main nutrient. Carbs have fibre, antioxidants, minerals and B vitamins. Dairy has calcium, but is also a key source of iodine, as well as vitamin B12 and protein.

“Cutting out whole food groups always means you are missing out on more than you think and there is no science behind these fashions,” said Keogh.

Healthy habits

The dietitian also encouraged people to work on creating healthy habits in a slow, sustainable way.

“Avoid big changes and crash diets. Try picking one or two areas of food to really work on. You might decide to get more fruit and vegetables into your diet.

“You might decide now is the time to make sure you're getting enough calcium and vitamin D. Whatever it is that you want to do, make a plan, buy the foods and do one or two things at a time.

“Once you have one good habit bedded in, you can move on to the next one. This might be a slower approach than the promised ‘lose two stones by February’, but it is more sustainable and you are much more likely to still be following those habits this time next year.”

Mindful eating

Keogh was speaking as part of a National Dairy Council (NDC) campaign which is encouraging people to nourish and not deprive their bodies if they are aiming to lose body fat this January.

The campaign, for which a number of dietitians gave their tips for eating well, also highlighted getting dietary information from reliable sources.

Aveen Bannon, a dietitian at the Dublin Nutrition Centre, said 2024 should be the year people nurture a healthy relationship with food and listen to hunger cues from their bodies.

“Taking time over meals, avoiding distractions and chewing well gives us time to savour what we are eating, but also detect when we are satisfied or may need to eat more.

“Something else to be mindful of is how we speak about food and weight to ourselves and others. Watch your language. Focus on the positive, what you can add to your diet and what nutrition can do for you,” said Bannon.


There was advice given on healthy eating for families. Bannon advised people to be careful when discussing diets in front of children.

“Discussing body dissatisfaction or commenting on others' weights in front of children can make them overly aware of their bodies and food choices. Food is morally neutral and does not need to be judged,” she said.

Louise Reynolds, a dietitian at the Irish Nutrition and Dietetic Institute, said families should eat together as much as possible.

“Family mealtimes allow you to lead the way and model healthy eating practices. When your child sees you eating lots of different foods, they are more likely to do the same,” said Reynolds.


Professor Sharon Madigan, a sports nutritionist at the Sport Ireland Institute, encouraged people to fuel their training for sports adequately.

“Look at the days you are training and maybe aim to have your larger meal earlier in the day and refuel after the session, especially night sessions.

“This avoids fatigue setting in towards the end of the week and you get better consistency with your training.

“Avoid fatigue or tiredness. When we are tired, we are less resilient and often this is when the fast-food options slip in,” added Madigan.