Why fad diets are wreaking havoc on your gut
Fad dieting is where my journey began. In fact, during my teenage years I tried and tested more fad diets than I can count, jumping from one to the next in the hope that one would help me achieve my weight loss goal.
What I did achieve, through constant dieting, was damaged digestion and metabolism. I swung from nearly starving myself to all-out bingeing. My digestion suffered, I was uncomfortably bloated, I felt heavy after meals, I had no energy and I had intense sugar cravings.
Everything was out of whack; I gained weight and was highly stressed and anxious. In desperation, I eventually sought help from a nutritionist, who immediately advised me to stop the fad dieting and taught me how to eat for good health rather than weight loss. As a result my digestive issues slowly improved and low and behold, the weight came off.
So what is it about fad diets that causes digestive problems?
It disrupts your natural metabolism
If you look at the majority of fad diets, many require you to eat a set amount of food at a set time on a structured schedule. Believe it or not, this can disrupt your metabolism because you’re not listening to your body’s natural cues and learning to eat when you‘re hungry and stop when you’re full.
The negative effects that fad dieting can continue long after the diet finishes. We are better off learning to listen to our bodies and developing eating patterns that suit our individual needs.
They’re overly restrictive
Think about the purple diet, the Atkins diet, the 5 Bite Diet. All of these diets are eliminating entire food groups (or food in general when it comes to the 5 bite diet), which can potentially lead to a nutritional deficiency.
The people who put many of these diets together are essentially trying to sell a magic bullet – AKA a quick-fix remedy that is not real or not really going to do any good in the long-run. They make the diet a digestible idea, but in doing so they cut out important nutrients that your body needs to function. While you may lose weight initially, once your body gets used to operating on a reduced amount of fuel, your metabolism will most likely slow down and your body will start storing fat.
They contain low-fat products
This isn’t the case for all diets, but some recommend eating low-fat products because of their reduced carb or fat content. The problem with many low-fat products is that they often contain highly processed sweeteners and artificial ingredients. If you look at the back of a package and don’t understand the ingredients on the list, then how do you expect your digestive system to know what to do with them?
They’re not sustainable
Most fad diets are not sustainable. In other words, when the diet is finished you may find yourself binge eating, or putting the weight back on because your metabolism has slowed down. The best ‘diets’ aren’t really diets at all. Rather they’re a long-term, lifestyle choice to eat wholesome foods that will nourish the body.
It is important that we start listening to our bodies and noticing how certain foods make us feel. If something you eat leaves you feeling unwell, don’t eat it just because it is included in a diet plan. Choose foods that leave you feeling light and energised after meals, and avoid those that leave you feeling sluggish, foggy in the head or produce any digestive discomfort.
That is the only ‘magic bullet’ that is real.
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