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26th Jan 2022

Is the term “diet” outdated?

It’s the age-old maxim, a new year means a fresh start; a new look at the way we live our lives. After an indulgent festive period, for many of us, New Year’s resolutions mean one thing – diet.

 

You would be forgiven for thinking of a gruesome regime when we mention the term diet. It’s what we’ve come to perceive of modern diets. Losing weight = unpleasant restriction. And the results don’t last.

 

Thanks to popular fad approaches to dieting and new narratives surrounding the topic, which has been amplified by social media, many of us have moved away from associating dieting with a healthy, active lifestyle. As a society, we have shifted towards a culture of short-term instantaneous results and quick wins. This categorically shouldn’t be how we approach our diets.

 

With access to online health resources and information, we are more aware than ever of the need for sustainable ways to manage our health, and that healthy eating is more than just a means to lose weight.

 

So has the term ‘diet’, in the modern perception of the word, become outdated?

 

At Diabetes Lifestyle Doctors, we would argue that yes, it has. When someone is diagnosed with type 2 diabetes, many people will have to make significant changes to their lifestyle, with diet and exercise at the top of the list.

 

Changes do not have to be drastic or rushed, they should be planned so that they are effective and directed at addressing the root causes of the problem. Structured moderate lifestyle changes made over time are just as effective and have been shown to be more sustainable over the long-term.

 

Let’s go back to basics. Fundamentally, the term diet refers to the food and drink a person consumes daily, but it also incorporates the mental and physical circumstances connected to a person’s eating1. So, ‘diet’ should really be the overall term of how we approach our eating behaviours throughout life rather that denoting a change in how we eat. If we change our mindset to take everything we do in moderation, then there is no need to severely alter our consumption when we feel  we could lose a few pounds.

 

Diets shouldn’t be about drastic change; it is something that should be a guiding principle of our lives day-in-day-out. So what if you enjoyed Christmas a little too much this year? If you get back to a healthy active lifestyle, things will get back to normal. But, forcing our bodies to drastically and rapidly adapt to severe diet restrictions, can lead to nutrient deficiencies, slow metabolism, headaches, gallstones, and even menstrual issues for women.2

 

Changing our overall approach to our lifestyle, embracing everything in moderation, will provide greater benefit in the long term.

 

For those of us with type 2 diabetes, losing weight is pivotal to controlling our condition. Our diets must be rich in nutrients with the right balance of protein, fat and carbohydrates for managing our blood sugars, satisfaction levels and long-term wellbeing.  While this does mean swapping out some types of food,  this isn’t to say that we cannot enjoy nice treats,  occasionally. When it comes to diabetes, our diets, and losing weight in general for that matter, it’s not a quick conversation, it’s a journey. A marathon, not a sprint. Diet is one of the largest components of health, specifically our metabolic health, along with other lifestyle pillars such as movement, exercise, sleep, psychology and mental wellbeing.

 

Our metabolic health is something that affects every system in the body, and here at Diabetes Lifestyle Doctors, we believe over 80% of metabolic health can be managed through lifestyle. It’s not just about dieting and weight loss, it is about effective weight loss in a managed and sustainable way, alongside many other lifestyle factors.

 

We believe in a holistic approach to our lifestyles, especially for those with prediabetes and type 2 diabetes, ensuring that we are doing everything in moderation is the best option for a healthy future. Provided you are making conscious and intentional choices for your health and lifestyle, there’s no need to focus on outdated ‘dieting’.

 

Make the move to a manageable approach to modern dieting and enjoy your food, your body and your health.

 

If you suffer from prediabetes or type 2 diabetes and need a little extra help, you can find out more about our programmes here.

 

 

References

 

  1. University of Minnesota: What is diet and nutrition? What Is Diet & Nutrition? | Taking Charge of Your Health & Wellbeing (umn.edu) Accessed January 2022
  2. Paras HMRI Hospital: Common Side effects of Longterm Dieting Dieting Side Effects – Common Risks of Long Term Dieting – Dr. Sanjay Kumar MishraParas HMRI Hospital Patna (parashospitals.com) Accessed January 2022