Doctor’s Diagnosis Of Wellbeing Trends

Close up of vegan vegetarian take away food in different bowls

There’s often confusing information around the latest health trends, diet fads and whether too much of this or that is really good – or really bad – for you.

Giving us a quick insight into the predicted health trends for this year is Dr Sara Kayat, a founding GP at GPDQ – the UK’s first GP-on-demand-app and resident GP on ITV’s “This Morning’s” Second Opinion. Here she reveals her top predictions and gives her opinion on each one:


A softly-softly approach to veganism, with a gentle introduction into it via “Veganuary” has meant that it has started to take over our Instagram and Twitter feeds and is now an option on nearly every London restaurant menu. I suspect this year there will be more people binning the short-term slogan-led vegan-January for a longer-term plan of a plant-based lifestyle.

What I make of it:

I am a fan of a plant-based diet in terms of its potential health benefits, animal welfare and reduced burden on the environment. But like most things, there are ways to make it unhealthy. In order to ensure a vegan is getting all the nutrients they need without the need for supplements, meal time requires prepping and preparing. You must also remember that fries are vegan, so don’t assume that taking on a vegan diet will automatically make you healthier. I am excited however to see a flurry of innovative ways to make that jack fruit taste even more like pulled-pork!


Archaeological research suggests that humans have been using mind altering drugs since prehistoric times, and these substances naturally attract considerable attention in science, the media and law. In the last year we have seen the laws change in terms of the medical use of cannabis, and with this has come new interest in CBD. Cannabis plants are made up of several cannabinoids, each with different effects on the body. The most well-known cannabinoids are THC and CBD. THC is the psychoactive cannabinoid which allows recreational users to get “high”, but CBD does not have this psychoactive effect and as such is one of the few cannabinoids that is not considered a controlled substance under the Misuse of Drugs Act.

What I make of it:

CBD has been hailed a cure all, with claims of improving Alzheimer’s, anxiety, arthritis. However, the studies thus far are minimal in terms of human trials. I suspect that the public’s perception of the efficacy of CBD in managing the many health problems it has been claimed to resolve is significantly unbalanced compared to the systematic reviews and studies that have thus far been conducted. So, before you pick up every juice, lotion and supplement containing CBD, remember we need more robust data to understand its properties and how they affect humans to be able to assess its future therapeutic success.

Digital Fitness

Peloton was a health innovator of 2018, providing spinning to the masses in their home with interactive live streamed classes, and awakening people’s competitive streaks as they can see their performance compared to the others in the “class” on a leader board. I suspect this digital fitness home environment boutique gym trend will continue into 2019 with other sports like rowing.

What I make of it:

Having recently joined the Peloton craze at my local gym, I am all for this. Anything that encourages and inspires people to get moving can only be a good thing, and if you can do so from the comfort of your own home, then why not? But not everyone is into cycling so I am eager to see what 2019 offers with companies like True Rowing.

Personalised Diets

One size does not always fit all, and with the take-off of personalised vitamin supplements, there is also a rise of the “DNA diets”. There are companies offering a mouth swab to analyse your DNA – and then they recommend a food plan based on your body shape, fat storage and cholesterol level.

What I make of it:

There is a lack of evidence to show these DNA tests really work, so I wouldn’t rely on this to determine your diet. You don’t need a DNA test to make a diet work for you. The usual reason that diets don’t work for people is because they are unsustainable, forcing you to remove all carbohydrates, only eat green vegetables or juice everything to within an inch of its life. Ultimately, we know that for most people (health conditions permitting) it is a simple matter of input versus output, and the skill of losing weight is about finding a diet that matches your needs rather than necessarily matching your DNA.

Do remember, “The People’s Friend” health writer, Colleen Shannon, always has top advice each week in the magazine, so be sure to pick up your copy.

Yvonne McKenzie

Yvonne works on the Features team and admits to being nosy, so loves looking after the Between Friends letters and finding out all about our lovely readers. She also looks after our health copy and enjoys writing about inspiring people that help make the articles in the magazine so interesting.