A fitness expert with clients including the actors Saoirse Ronan and Michael Fassbender says he is seeing an increasing number of people presenting with "serious metabolic damage" caused by the extreme diet advice from social media influencers.
Paul Byrne received a standing ovation at the Health and Fitness Awards at the Mansion House last week when he called for regulation to protect young people from unqualified bloggers dispensing dangerous advice on fitness and nutrition.
Mr Byrne told the Sunday Independent that people coming to see him had done serious metabolic damage to their bodies. Metabolic damage is the permanent metabolic slowing after dieting. He said: "They are seeing influencers putting photos of their six-pack on Instagram but that is the kind of body a competitor has when they are on a 12-week rigid food plan, competing in fitness competitions. It is completely unsustainable and unhealthy long term.
"That's what I look like when I am going to compete for one day - but then I go back to normal healthy life.
"Everyone now seems to think you can look 'contest ready' all the time but it is not realistic. They are eating turkey and broccoli around the clock and then the binges are biblical. It's like putting on a pair of high heels to look taller. Sooner or later, you're going to have to take them off again.