Popular diets: Does the diet provide nutrition essentials?
Published: October 12, 2018
It is hardly surprising that people are confused about what they should eat.
Almost daily media headlines extol the benefits of a certain food or a certain diet.
Commercial weight loss programs vie for your attention making claims about quick weight loss, safe weight loss, and sustainable weight loss.
Authors of some popular diets promote the health benefits of their particular diet whether it be anti-aging, maintaining alkaline/acid balance, anti-inflammatory, or reducing the risk of a range of chronic diseases such as heart disease, cancer and diabetes.
You may have tried several popular diets over the years perhaps to lose weight or improve your health, or both, but somehow you find you can’t stick to the plan for very long.
Any benefits you may have gained such as feeling better, more energy, or weight loss evaporate.
Why can’t you stick to the plan? Do you lack self-control or commitment?
Probably not, it is more likely that the diet did not provide you with nutrition essentials and after a week, a month, or 3 months, your body becomes nutritionally depleted.
When a diet plan excludes or severely restricts a certain type of food such as fat or carbohydrate you may find yourself craving those restricted foods.
Eventually you give in to your desire for the “off-limit” foods and that particular diet goes out the window.
Embarking on a new way of eating is challenging no matter how committed you are to achieving your goals, after all you are trying to create new habits and overcome old habits.
However, the new habits you are trying to create need to be habits that are healthful and sustainable.
In a previous review article “A healthy philosophy guide to eating for health” we discussed the nutrition essentials of an eating for health plan and how to develop your own personalised sustainable eating for health plan.
Here we look at how you can determine whether a popular diet will suffice as a sustainable eating for health plan by comparing some of the most popular diets with the nutrition essentials of the healthy philosophy eating for health plan.
An overview of nutrition essentials
Eating for health plans and weight loss plans should provide adequate amounts of carbohydrate, protein, fat and water (macronutrients) to meet your nutrient and energy requirements.
Energy requirements vary considerably between individuals depending on your age, gender, height, body composition and physical activity.
However, a very general guide to help you determine whether a popular diet will provide you with adequate calories is as follows...link to the full article to learn more.
Whitney, E. & Rady Rolfes, S. (2005). Understanding Nutrition. Belmont, CA: Thomson Wadsworth
Gropper, S.S., Smith, J.L. & Groff, J.L. (2005). Advanced Nutrition and Human Metabolism (4thEd.). Belmont, CA: Thomson Wadsworth.
Center for Science in the Public Interest Nutrition Action Health Letter ( May 2013, May 2007, April 2013)