Sugar-free diets, high-protein diets, carb-free diets, juice detoxes, tea cleanses...scroll through Instagram and I guarantee you will come across thousands of fad diets that the latest trendy influencers are trying. What’s more, the majority of people have tried at least one diet in their lifetime. But why do we do it in the first place and are they effective?
Why Do People Diet?
There are plenty of reasons why someone might choose to go on a diet. Of course, there’s the obvious reason - to lose weight. But other people may want to make muscle gains, fuel themselves for marathon training, lower their blood pressure and cholesterol, feed their gut bacteria, or even control a long-term illness.
Are Diets Healthy?
It’s one thing that a diet is effective, but is it always healthy in the long-term? Diets often require us to cut down on calories, but it’s important to remember that our bodies use these for energy. Some diets, such as Keto and Paleo, encourage you to create an imbalance by cutting out entire food groups, even though these often contain essential macro- and micronutrients.
For example, missing out on carbohydrates means that you are not ingesting your body’s main source of energy. Plus, food groups that contain carbs can be a great source of fiber! Additionally, many fad diets get you to lower your fat intake, but healthy fats are required in order to digest fat-soluble vitamins, such as vitamins A, D, and E.
What’s more, dieting may be a quick and effective way to lose weight, but they are often unsustainable in the long-term and can lead to an unhealthy mentality regarding food.
What is a Fad Diet?
Similar to fast fashion, a fad diet is an eating regime that experiences a temporary rise in popularity. They usually promise unattainable and/or unsustainable weight-loss and health improvements. Fad dieting is a very transient field, where the evidence and support are ever-changing.
How Can I Lose Weight Safely?
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, if you are overweight and lose just 5-10% of your body weight, it can significantly benefit your health. However, there are risks if you lose weight too quickly, including nutritional deficiencies, muscle loss, hair loss, and gallstones. Consequently, choosing a safe and sustainable method of losing weight is incredibly important.
The only way anyone can lose weight is by creating a calorie deficit, meaning that the calories burnt through exercise and daily activity exceed our intake through food. Most people eat too much and burn too little, so the best way to effectively lose weight is by making permanent changes to our lifestyle.
Eating a healthy and balanced diet is the top priority because eating a variety of foods ensures we are getting a good mix of macronutrients and micronutrients, which are essential for our health, including our mental well-being. Consuming foods that are rich in nutrients and that haven’t been heavily processed will help us to lose weight.
Secondly, making regular exercise a part of our daily routine not only aids weight loss but is also a highly effective way of boosting our mental health and increasing our body positivity. Reducing stress and adhering to healthy sleeping habits are also influential factors.
Are All Diets Bad?
We’re not saying that you shouldn’t diet, they can be highly effective in the short-term, but they are often not sustainable and, if you’re not careful, can induce unhealthy attitudes surrounding food. Of course, there are some people who have no choice but to follow diets, such as celiacs and diabetics, but the threat of serious health consequences makes them much easier to adhere to long-term.
Check out our blog on healthy gluten-free snacks for celiacs
So are all diets bad?
Well, there is one balanced diet (more of a lifestyle really) that doesn’t make you cut out food groups and can be adapted to meet individual needs...
Balanced Macro Diet (IIFYM): The Most Effective Diet?
The Macro Diet allows you to eat anything you want If It Fits Your Macros (IIFYM). It focuses on ensuring that you consume all three of the essential macronutrients: carbohydrate, fat, and protein. By counting your macros, you can eat foods that you enjoy - the odd donut or pop tart is allowed, as long as you hit your macro targets. Allowing yourself to indulge occasionally means that you are more likely to stick to the diet long-term, so it’s not just a fad.
In addition, the Macro Diet encourages you to eat a variety of food groups, without cutting out anything essential. Consequently, as long as you are sensible and eat a balanced diet, IIFYM is healthy, sustainable, and safe. Your macro ratio can be adjusted to suit calorie requirements, so it’s an effective way to lose weight, maintain it, or bulk up.
Of course, there is the risk that you might make bad snack choices, maxing out your macro targets and leaving you to go hungry for the rest of the day. Which is why Macro Snacks were invented. We were fed up with boring healthy snacks that failed on flavor...so we created chips that deliver on balanced nutrients AND flavor, without jacking up our calorie tracker.
Don’t just take our word for it, avoid fad diets and get your crunch on with a packet of our munchable Macro Snacks!