Updated: Dec 14, 2021
With obesity on the rise throughout the United States, new dieting fads are becoming popularized. As such, it is often hard to tell which are actually healthy, leading many people to be concerned about their nutrition. So, are these popular diets actually healthy according to science? And if not, what should we be eating?
Many of the popular diets are misleading and harmful for our health. Cleansing diets, for example, will not provide adequate nutrition and can even worsen overall health. Our bodies naturally detox with organs such as our colon, liver, and kidneys, so a diet is not required to remove toxins from our bodies. These diets lack the nutrients we need to function and often contain a dangerous amount of liquid, leading to fatigue, slower metabolism, and unbalanced electrolytes.
Another harmful diet is the Atkins diet. The Atkins diet focuses on limiting carbohydrates and encourages fat consumption. Although this diet may successfully cause weight loss, it excludes necessary nutrients and may cause deficiencies. It also encourages consumption of processed foods which may lead to obesity, heart disease, and diabetes.
Despite many diet plans being harmful, the Mediterranean and vegetarian diets are good options. The Mediterranean diet is beneficial because of its focus on whole and minimally processed foods such as fruits, vegetables, grain, nuts, and beneficial fats like olive oil. This diet can reduce the risk of heart disease and cancer, as well as help maintain a healthy weight. The vegetarian diet is also healthy because it encourages more consumption of necessary nutrients and less consumption of processed and red meats. Vegetarians generally have a lower blood pressure, and a lower rate of type 2 diabetes, cancer, and chronic illness.
Though these diets are good options, it is still important to remember general tips for good nutrition. Red meats and processed foods should be avoided as they contain too much salt, sugar, and fat. Deserts and sweetened foods should also be kept to a minimum, as well as refined grains such as white bread. However, nutrition is not all about avoidance. Many people lack nutrients such as whole grain, fruits, nuts, vegetables, and fiber, so it is important to consciously add these to your diet. Whole foods and plant-based foods should be the primary part of a healthy diet, in addition to protein, vitamins, and plenty of water.
Though some specified diets can be beneficial, many can lead to even worse health. A diet is not always the answer, but it is important to be conscious of what we eat. As always, stay healthy!
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