When people hear the word diet, they immediately assume the worst. There are so many misconceptions about diets because people don’t understand what a healthy diet consists of. Today, we’re going to break down some of the most common misconceptions about diets that we hear all the time. And why a healthy diet is so important for our overall well-being (physical and mental).
1. Diets are unhealthy
When you look up diets on the internet, especially for weight loss, you’ll find all sorts of fad diets. Most of these fad diets aim to help you lose weight in an extremely short time. To be able to lose weight fast, these diets require you to eat extremely few calories a day. Lower than the recommended amount for a caloric deficit. Causing you to lose a ton of weight in just one week. This kind of weight loss can do more harm to your body than good. First of all, you aren’t providing your body with the proper nutrition it needs. It can also make you feel quite miserable because starving leads to binge-eating and guilt which can harm your mental health. Eating extremely low amounts of calories can also ruin your metabolism, making losing weight harder in the future.
The thing about diets is that they’re supposed to be healthy. And a healthy diet is all about balance. For every gender, age, and activity level there is a certain number of calories required to consume. The average male, between the ages of 21-25, need to eat 2,400 to 3,000 calories a day, depending on their physical activity level. If you want to know how many calories you should be eating, check out this dietary guideline. The recommended number of calories to subtract to lose weight is 500 calories. This is the most sustainable way to lose weight without harming your health.
2. The same diet gives the same result to everyone
Certain diets don’t always work for everyone. That’s because every person is built differently. You may not know it, but you might have an intolerance to certain food. Food intolerance, unlike food allergies, is not often talked about. Food allergies are easier to identify since they form instant physical symptoms such as itching or swelling. Food intolerance, on the other hand, has symptoms that some would just overlook. It also usually develops slower than allergic reactions. Bloating, excessive gas, headaches, or a runny nose are some symptoms of food intolerance. More severe symptoms of food intolerance are diarrhea and stomach pain. It’s also hard to identify which food you’re intolerant to unless you get it tested. So, diets that may work for some people, might cause others more problems.
3. Diets are only done to lose weight
Diets are done for many reasons, not just for losing weight. Believe it or not, people diet to gain weight as well. It’s also done for medical reasons. Take people with PCOS for example, many of them have insulin resistance, so they need to have to avoid sugary food. There are also diets for people with fibromyalgia and down syndrome. People shouldn’t automatically associate diets with weight loss because it’s done for other reasons too.
4. You don’t have to go on a diet as long as you exercise
If your goal is to lose weight or gain weight, exercising and going on a diet with a caloric deficit or caloric surplus, respectively, is still important. If your goal is to maintain weight, exercising with a healthy balanced diet is still important. The only difference is you don’t need to be at a caloric deficit or surplus since you‘re maintaining your weight. If you’re exercising, but only eating unhealthy food, that’s impossible. People who eat unhealthy food usually perform badly and will have a higher chance of getting sick or hurt while exercising. A healthy balanced diet, together with exercise is important. To be at your peak performance you have to balance diet and exercise together. It’s not one or the other, it has to be both.
There are plenty of misconceptions about diets. This is also why there are so many unhealthy people in the world. If you want a healthier lifestyle maintaining a balanced diet together with exercise is key. You don’t have to restrict yourself so much to the point that you’re starving. Just make sure to have a balanced mix of greens and meats. If your goal is to lose weight, subtracting 500 calories from your usual diet is all it takes.