As soon as Christmas passes, the number of ‘diets’ that will be featured in the media as the magic cure-all for healthy eating in the New Year will hit a fevered pitch. And I have to admit, diets do work.
Yes, based on research, almost all diets work for the following reasons:
- They are restrictive and eliminate calorie dense and nutrient poor foods and beverages (usually alcohol too).
- Diets are typically nutrient dense so the body has food that nourishes it and the gut.
- They are less expensive than eating out.
- People only need to commit to a limited time on a diet.
However, research also shows that diets don’t work because:
- They feel foreign and don’t take into consideration the foods that are associated with identity or culture.
- Are too restrictive or too complicated to do over the long haul.
- Focus too much on the scale when there are many more important ways to assess progress.
- Diets are associated with something that is done temporarily. Sadly people don’t recognize that the results are temporary too.
- They can create a feeling of deprivation or punishment. When the diet is over, people may indulge to soothe these negative feelings.
- Because skill building is rarely part of a diet, most people return to their pre-diet eating habits.
There are more reasons for why ‘diets’ do and do not work, but I think you get the picture. So if a ‘diet’ is what you want, then there will be plenty to choose from as the New Year approaches. But if you are looking to change your approach to food for 2019, tune in next week for part 2, and throughout 2019, for additional ways to move toward more nutrient dense eating!
Merry Christmas to those who celebrate!
Happy and healthful eating,
Donna G. Pertel, MEd, RD, LDN
Want a fresh food start in the New Year? Contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.