03 Aug Why Diets Don’t Work.
This might seem a pretty harsh statement, but dieting just doesn’t work. In-fact it can do more harm than good. This might be hard to hear, particularly when you might have been hoping for a ‘quick fix,’ desperate to achieve rapid weight loss and fit into those skinny jeans!
There are so many conflicting messages about food; what we should eat, what we shouldn’t and it is easy to feel confused and overwhelmed. We know we need to eat fresh and nutritious ingredients, we know we should eat often, avoid sugar and processed foods and drink plenty of water. But every day there seems to be a new health food, miracle ingredient or superfood breakthrough that makes us wonder if we should give it a try…just in case!
Let’s Take a Look at What’s Out There.
This diet essentially excludes all grains, starchy vegetables and dairy. Its premise is that we should eat like cave men did and not eat any processed food. This high-protein diet will supply you with essential fatty acids, dietary fibre, antioxidants and important vitamins and minerals. However why give up wonderfully nutritious foods such as beans, quinoa, wholegrain bread and yoghurt? It is restrictive and cuts out some major food groups, so it may be difficult to maintain long term for the average person.
This diet involves removing all sugar from the diet including fructose sugar found in fruits, some starchy vegetables and honey. Not only can this diet be hard to maintain, but by removing fruit from the diet altogether reduces our vitamin and mineral intake and can increase the development of constipation. A more balanced approach which is less extreme is where we cut out fruit juices, refined sugars and processed food from our diets. This is a positive step towards good health.
In more recent times carbs have got a really bad rap. A low-carb or no-carb diet involves eating high amounts of protein and cutting out carbohydrates. This diet will often result in short term weight loss. However, our bodies need a certain amount of complex carbohydrates to function properly. Diets that are too low in carbohydrates can leave you feeling fatigued and moody. This happens because carbohydrates are the body’s preferred form of fuel needed for immediate energy (particularly for the nervous system). Additionally, carbohydrates stimulate the production of the neurotransmitter serotonin, which helps boost mood. A healthy eating plan includes balanced amounts of protein, fat and carbohydrates in a portion controlled manner to ensure no major food group is eliminated and health is not put at risk.
This involves eating whatever you choose, followed by two days of fasting (reducing your kilojoule intake dramatically to 2090KJ for women and 2500 for men) Intermittent fasting can be quite a natural way to eat for some people, however this way of eating teaches us nothing about how to eat a healthy, balanced diet, not to mention fasting for two out of seven days in the week!
This diet involves replacing one or more meals with a low-calorie, high protein shake. Although this diet will result in short-term weight loss, it is not sustainable and in the long-term can quickly result in regaining lost weight once normal eating resumes.
This involves eating a lot of alkaline-promoting foods such as fruit, vegetables, soy beans and lentils, and avoiding acid-causing food. Acidity has been attributed to the development of some chronic diseases. Acidic foods include dairy, eggs, meat, grains and some fruit and vegetables. The issue with this diet is that it excludes major food groups and restricts a lot of protein rich foods that help us stay fuller for longer and balances our blood sugar levels.
This diet is dramatically reducing calorie intake. Whilst I’m all for cutting out empty calories from high sugar and processed food, it’s important to keep in mind that our body needs a certain number of calories each day just to maintain normal metabolic functioning. Every system in our body require calories to work properly. If you drastically cut calories (as people often do when they diet) your body thinks it’s starving and slows your metabolism because it’s trying to conserve energy. Then, as you return to your old eating habits which you inevitably do because eating like a bird is not sustainable, the weight can quickly pile back on.
Why Dieting Fails.
There are so many fad diets out there that report amazing results, but these claims are usually quite misleading. The main problem with diets is that many simply don’t work long-term. People on fad diets often find that they achieve some immediate weight loss but can’t stick with the diet for a long period of time. This is likely due to the fact that many diets aren’t realistic, are too restrictive, too costly, too complicated, or too inconvenient to maintain. Whilst there is no one type of diet that suits everyone, the best diet is the one you are not on.
We need to reconsider the way we think about food. Rather than thinking about temporarily going on some hot new diet to shed excess weight or achieve some other aspect of wellness, we should be thinking about making achievable, realistic changes that we can sustain for a lifetime.
Help is here!
So the first step towards permanent healthy weight, somewhat ironically, is to lose the diet and the diet mindset. Instead, think about a healthy eating plan that you could live with and enjoy for life.
If you would like some help creating an eating plan that works for you and is both sustainable and enjoyable please reach out. I would love to help work towards a healthier you. http://www.chasingsunrise.com.au/contact/