Before you start that next fad diet, read this.
Changing your eating style to include healthier foods and balanced nutrition is a very good thing. Dieting, for the most part, is not. In this blog post, we’ll look at the downsides of dieting and the benefits of working to create permanent eating habits that include a variety of healthy foods, being mindful of portion sizes, and making good choices.
Fad Diets Come And Go
It’s certainly true that diets come and go, all the while finding favor in the media—if not always among nutritionists. In fact, there are many diets that actually pose health risks. The paleo diet, for example, puts adherents at risk for calcium and vitamin D deficiencies—and at an increased risk for kidney and heart disease, as well as cancer. In addition to potentially causing nutrient deficiencies, the popular keto diet can lead to low blood pressure, kidney stones, and heart disease, and is especially risky for people with pancreas, liver, thyroid, or gallbladder conditions.
Not all diets are so dangerous, though. Some are simply odd. The werewolf diet, for example, limits followers to water and freshly squeezed fruit or vegetable juice during full and new moons. Perhaps not so surprisingly, this diet has been popular in Hollywood and reportedly popular among stars such as Madonna and Demi Moore.
Unfortunately, many people are constantly looking for their next diet. Google’s Year in Search 2019 listed the top diet-related lookups for the past year, and it’s an interesting bunch. Here are the top five diets searched:
- Dr. Sebi Diet—A vegan option of specific vegetables, fruits, grains, nuts, seeds, oils, and herbs. Intended primarily to promote health (rather than weight loss), it disappointingly lacks protein and other essential nutrients.
- 1200 Calories Diet—Based on the minimum calories needed daily (on average), this 7-day diet has drawbacks including nutritional deficits and other risks associated with crash diets.
- GOLO Diet / The Metabolic Plan—Focusing on hormone imbalances as a source of overeating, the makers of the GOLO supplement claim their product is integral to weight loss. The jury is still out.
- Dubrow Diet—Straight from a reality TV power couple, this diet employs intermittent fasting along with sensible eating. Not a terrible combination, but it would be better if the Dubrows’ focus on body image was replaced with a greater emphasis on overall health.
- Sirtfood Diet—Another short-term diet centered on reducing caloric intake while consuming greater amounts of the protein sirtuin. Again, there are clear risks to yo-yo dieting.
Yo Yo Dieting Is Bad For You
Let me be clear: Not all diets are unhealthy per se (although some definitely are because they don’t provide the proper balance of nutrients). But any scenario in which you follow a diet for a period of time and then return to your normal eating habits is a bad idea in the long run.
Short-term diets—or really any diet that you don’t stick with for the long haul—can lead to an unhealthy ongoing cycle of weight loss alternating with weight gain. Research published in The New England Journal of Medicine revealed that body-weight fluctuation is a risk factor for death and coronary events—even for people who do not have cardiovascular disease.
Focus On Eating A Well-Balanced Diet
Instead, people should focus on eating a well-balanced diet that is rich in vegetables and lean meats and includes healthy carbs and fats. Too many diets avoid fats altogether, which is a bad thing. Healthy fats help in speeding up your metabolism and keeping you feeling satisfied.
What’s important is your health. It’s not about starving yourself or going hungry, it’s about eating the right food in the right amounts, and making good choices.
Even Healthy Desserts?
Desserts are definitely a struggle for many people. It’s not that you can’t eat decadent desserts ever—but you do need to be mindful of your choices.
It helps to be aware of all your options. A sumptuous yet healthy choice, for instance, is a bowl of ricotta and berries (mix 1 cup of the berries of your choice with a quarter-cup of low-fat ricotta) for a dessert of less than 150 calories and 2 grams of fat. A less healthy choice would be a slice of The Cheesecake Factory’s Oreo Dream Extreme Cheesecake, which has a whopping 1,630 calories and 98 grams of fat.
When you lie down to go to sleep that night, which would you feel better about having chosen?
The Pickled Beet incorporates all essential dietary elements into many tasty recipes for our Miami clients—customized for you, whether you want to lose weight or just eat healthy and delicious food. We work with individuals, couples, and families. Contact us for a free consultation.