Diets are something that can be looked at in many different ways. Some diets change the way we live our lives, such as becoming vegetarian and vegan, and another reason could be for health purposes. Either way, knowing how they work, and what works for your body, will help you take the next step to a healthy lifestyle. Let’s take a deeper look at whether or not diets are healthy, and if so which are the best options. Here is our Health 101: Diets for Dummies.

What is a diet

Following a balanced diet will do wonders for your health, which should in turn result in your body receiving all the nutrients you need to function correctly. To ensure your body is getting the nutrients required, try to focus your daily calorie intake on the following food groups.

  • Fruits
  • Vegetables
  • Whole grains
  • Legumes
  • Nuts
  • Lean proteins
  • Healthy fats

To maintain a healthy diet, one would need to be aware of the importance of calories. The number of calories you consume directly affects your energy levels as well as your weight control. To maintain a healthy weight, the average human needs around 2000 calories per day. This amount depends entirely on the age, weight, sex and physical activity of an individual. 

Where you get your calories from also makes all the difference. Eating a meal that is filled with calories but lacks in nutrients are called empty calories, and do not maintain sustenance for long. Empty calories refer to foods such as sodas, ice cream, processed foods, cakes and many more. 

Health 101: Diets for Dummies

Why people diet

The word diet can be confusing and the reasons to diet are just as complex. Let’s look at some of the reasons why people choose to diet.

Ways of eating such as veganism, and vegetarianism are continuing to become more and more popular. With new information constantly being brought to our attention about what is good for our bodies. There is also concern over the health implications due to the over demand in the food industry causing companies to pump their products with toxins to help keep up with demand. 

Another reason why so many people are converting their lifestyles is to help fight the environmental damage that has been caused over the years. Meat-based diets use more natural resources to produce food, while vegan diets require less cropland. With the decline of the environment in recent years, people are starting to feel the effects that unconscious behavior has resulted in. This has directly impacted the quality of the food we eat, which eventually leads to unhealthy eating. 

Health factors are another big reason as to why people may change the way they eat. With obesity, heart disease, diabetes and cancer on the rise, there’s no getting around the fact that people need to change what they are putting in their bodies. A lot of health issues can be improved through the change in lifestyle, increasing exercise and adding in some healthy calories.  These factors can reduce your risk of many lifestyle orientated illnesses. 

The last reason we will be looking at is weight loss. There are many healthy ways to lose weight without depriving your body of nutrients you need to maintain good health. Weight loss can be achieved through a healthy eating plan that caters to all the food groups that sustain your body over a long duration of time, combined with some exercise. 

Avoid any diets that disregard the fundamentals of good nutrition and only focus on weight loss. A healthy body is a healthy mind, but that works both ways. 

Health 101: Diets for Dummies

Are diets healthy?

Diets that focus on a balanced approach to food and nutrients, that only limits calories, is the way to go. By maintaining a balanced diet and sticking to a frequent exercise routine you can increase your health and reduce your risk of chronic diseases. 

What diets are there

The right diet depends on what you would like the outcome to be. If the issue you want to address is related to a health issue, it is best to consult your doctor to ensure you are taking the right steps. Do some research about your issue at hand, and do a little bit of research about what foods benefit your condition. You never know, a new diet may be all you need to set your health back on track. 

Keto Diet

Keto Diet is used in the medical profession to treat many illnesses including epilepsy. The basic outline is sticking to a diet that consists of high-fat, adequate-protein and low-carbohydrates. This way of eating forces your body to burn fats rather than carbohydrates.

Banting 

Founded by a man named William Banting, Banting has been one of the leading diets for years. Focused around-consuming low-carbohydrate and high-fat. This diet works because it shifts the body from burning carbohydrates for energy to burning fat. 

Atkins

The Atkins diet focuses on the idea that by restricting carbohydrates, you will achieve healthy and satisfactory weight loss. The Atkins diet has always been one of the more popular diets, but some believe that it could lead to heart disease. 

Vegetarian

The vegetarian diet is an incredibly popular way of eating, with around 375 million people subscribing to the lifestyle around the world. Vegetarianism focuses on eating foods derived from plants, as well as certain animal by-products like dairy, eggs, and honey. No meat is consumed. 

Vegan/Plant-based 

The vegan way of life is by far one of the most well known diets in the world, with an estimated 75,300,000 vegans worldwide. Vegans refrain from consuming animal products. This goes far beyond just what you consume but rather disassociating yourself from any aspect of the consumption or cruelty of animals.

Plant-based is a way of eating that revolves entirely around foods derived from plants, including vegetables, grains, nuts, seeds, legumes and fruits. A plant-based diet is essentially a stricter version of vegetarianism, which is plant-based foods as well as few or no animal products. 

Fruitarian

Fruitarian is a way of eating, that consists primarily of fruits, and occasionally nuts and seeds, but no animal products. This is not a very popular way of eating, more people steer towards veganism, as an alternative. 

Diets and Mental Health 

Dieting that is too strict can lead to a variety of mental health issues. Eating disorders are one of the most prevalent psychological conditions amongst teenagers today, and individuals are becoming affected younger and younger. This is, of course, in part because of the unrealistic standards of beauty that are placed upon people today, of any and all genders. 

Unrealistic beauty standards are a major contributing factor to body dysmorphia and eating disorders, and it’s something that is becoming more and more prevalent. Rather than shaming yourself for your body type, embrace your body and a healthy diet so that you can feel your bet. There is no right weight or right shape, rather you should eat so that you can fuel your body, and feel strong and energized. 

With that being said, research has suggested that there could be a correlation between mental health and type of diet. People who eat traditional diets, like a Japanese diet or a Mediterranean diet, have a 25% to 35% lower chance of depression than those who eat a typical Western diet. Scientists argue that this is because traditional diets are higher in nutrient-dense foods like vegetables, fruits, seafood, and unprocessed grains, and small amounts of dairy and lean meat. They tend to eschew processed foods and sugars. 

Serotonin, which is a neurotransmitter that works to regulate sleep and appetite patterns, control moods, and inhibit pain, is produced predominantly in your gastrointestinal tract. So, it makes sense that the more nutrient-dense the food that you put into your body is, the more serotonin you will produce. This is hardly a full science, and obviously mental health is vastly more complicated than just diet, but it is interesting to note that diet can play a role in one’s mental wellbeing.  

Again, there’s no right and wrong way to diet. All you need to do is find a way of eating that is balanced and suits your needs and your lifestyle. Don’t allow anyone to shame you into feeling like you have to eat a certain way – everything is perfectly acceptable in moderation, and no ultra-restrictive diet is sustainable in the long-term in any case. 

Healthy Body, Healthy Mind 

Many people say your body is your temple, and that could not be more true. If you are looking to live a long and healthy life, consider investing some time into figuring out a healthy eating plan that benefits your health. Putting effort into your health will be beneficial in both the short and long term. It is never too late to start changing the way you treat your body in a way that will benefit you throughout your life. 

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