Detox treatments on the rise among men in UAE
'Mantox': An unprecedented number of men in the UAE are investing in wellness therapies.
This year is on track to become the year of the 'Mantox' as more and more men in the UAE invest in detox treatments to improve overall well-being. 2015 may have been the year of the smartwatch and the hover board, but health is pushing technology aside in 2016, if statistics from the American Academy of Cosmetic Surgery Hospital (AACSH) are anything to go by.
From December 2014 to December 2015, the hospital reported a 19 per cent increase in male bookings for the usually female-dominated detox plans - and it expects the trend to flourish in 2016. The top three treatments favoured by male patients are colonic hydrotherapy (21 per cent increase), variations of the 14-day detox programmes (12 per cent growth) and nutrition counselling services (a year on year increase of 11 per cent in male patients).
Speaking to Khaleej Times, clinical dietician Nadine Aoun said, "I think these weight loss alternatives give people fast results, since detox diets are usually based on liquids or on low caloric intake. People hate waiting for long periods to lose weight."
Indian expatriate Ridhan Assadi observed his friend follow a detox diet plan, which saw him completely cut out meat and fish. The results, Assadi said, were impressive. "He and I would run the treadmill together for about 45 minutes. But when he did the detox, he could last well over an hour. He had more energy."
But the detox also took its toll, he said. "On week two, he had to give up the detox as he was quite ill. I am open to following a detox plan but I would seek the advice of a professional. My friend found his plan online so he didn't go about it in the right way."
For Aoun, people shouldn't only rely on diet changes alone to see body changes. "Working out is really important since it helps you gain muscle mass and lose body fat. Following detox diets for long periods with no exercise is not healthy and will make you lose muscle mass." For those looking to get in shape this year, she said exercise must take place "three to four days a week".
Although January is traditionally seen as the official 'month of the detox' (because of all the partying that takes place at the end of December), the last six months of 2015 still saw a steady growth of male patients at AACSH, showing a commitment in men choosing healthier lifestyle changes over the course of the year.
Rashi Chowdhary, nutrition and inch loss expert, counsellor at Emirates European Medical Centre, and owner of The Protein Bakeshop, agrees with this. "At my clinic, I have seen a 20 per cent increase in men coming for nutrition counselling in the past year. A lot of my male clients have been diagnosed with Impaired Glucose Tolerance (IGT), which is a pre-diabetic stage, so many want to alter their nutritional intake as a result of this to better their health. Better nutrition is a big draw for people nowadays."
Talking about this trend, Dr Jenna Burton, GP and aesthetic physician at AACSH said men tend to be more disciplined (than women). "In my experience, when men decide they want to do something, they usually see it through to the end. They demonstrate more discipline than women and say less but do more. Men can be susceptible to fads as much as women when they want to be though."
She said this increased interest is happening now because "it has to happen". "Our diet and unhealthy eating behaviour has resulted in extreme obesity, diabetes, cardiovascular disease and depression. Something just had to change. We have been living through an epidemic of sugar-fuelled illness."
But the general public, including a huge majority of men in the UAE, are becoming more aware of the importance of healthy eating. As a result, many medical centres have noticed a general shift in increased patient knowledge on wellbeing; they are more willing to come forward for 'cleansing' holistic treatments.
Emirati national Ahmed Mufta isn't too familiar with detox plans in the UAE, but said he has many friends who are opting for a simple blood test to identify which diet works best for them.
But at a cost of between Dh1,500-Dh2,000, not everyone can afford such wellness therapist on a regular basis.
"If you can afford it, though, I think it's good. It has worked really well for my friends. It's surprising because you may be able to eat something that normally makes other people fat, but in your case it makes you lose weight," said Mufta
So whether your best friend swears by the Paleo Diet, or your dad goes carb-free, it will be interesting to see if the 'Mantox' takes centrestage this year.