I’ve written in the past about dieting on this blog. Don’t be scared of sugar. Quick fixes aren’t quick. I could probably write a lot with my dietitian cap on. But I thought I would write a little bit about my thoughts on diets and do I think they are worthwhile and even doable?
We are all on a diet, regardless of what are intentions are. Some of us eat whatever we want, others meticulously calculate macros, some of us are veggies and others are are carnivorous as a T. rex. We are all following a diet, even though for many of us there is no specific label.
>However so many of us start to follow very specific diets in the request for something; this maybe to lose weight, to be healthier, to avoid animal products or to help with discomfort or intolerances.
>For some people a specific diet is the key to functioning and holding down a relationship or job. For some of my adult metabolic patients, following a low protein diet is vital for the above and for some they feel, they have very little choice. I don’t have any issues with trying a new diet as long as:
– It is safe. There are some very restrictive diets that do the rounds. The Grapefruit diet for example which cuts so many foods and essential nutrients out. There would be a risk of malnutrition if you continued with this for an extended period. Even diets like veganism need research and organisation. With cutting out large groups of foods such as eggs, meat and dairy, followers need to ensure they get enough protein and essential nutrients like vitamin b12, iron and calcium from alternative sources or supplements, or there is risk of deficiencies.
– It is sustainable. There is no point starting a diet plan where it is so restrictive and unmanageable that you will fail. For example a very low carbohydrate diet, for some they can keep to this and are very successful, for others it is too much and they fail. This has been shown in recent studies too.
Diets can be successful if can be followed long-term. I’m sure we all know a child on a dairy free diet who was banished all their gut symptoms by following this. We are all likely to know someone who has managed to lose weight and maintain it with weight watchers or by starting a training plan at the gym.
So in this respect diets can be successful. It often depends on the mindset of the person too. Some people are able to start something, stick to it and maintain it. They are motivated and have that drive. For others yo yo dieting is the norm. Trying something new, failing and restarting something else. Repeat.
As a dietitian, I am always going to say follow a healthy diet and everything in moderation. I would never really follow a “diet” as such, unless I had a medical reason for doing so. I enjoy food. I enjoy eating healthily. I enjoy chocolate and I love wine but not to excess. I don’t enjoy over eating and my body simply can’t handle it, as I found out on holiday after a couple of meals at the a la carte restaurants!! I know for some sticking with that mentality and eating plan is much harder and perhaps a more planned and even restrictive diet is needed.
This isn’t a problem but always ask yourself, is it safe? Can I stick to this? If the answers are no, failure is likely. If the answers are yes, then good luck!!
Diets CAN work for some and are manageable but it really is important to do your research, ask for support from your GP or someone trained in nutrition (best to use a dietitian!) if you are unsure, especially if you are trying something new to relieve any symptoms.
Whatever your goals, a diet has to be sustainable, safe and worth it!