The Benefits of DietingBefore entering into the debate about whether or not diets are beneficial to the individuals who undertake them, it is important to first understand what is meant by the term. Although the word began as a term to describe that which a person or animal generally eats, it is also commonly used to describe the restriction or prescription of these foods (Oxford Dictionaries). By conforming to a planned diet in this sense, a person may be aiming to lose weight, gain weight, achieve a healthier physical balance, or be required to do so for medical reasons. As it is indisputably beneficial to diet for exceptional medical reasons or conditions, this aspect of dieting will be largely excluded from this essay.
In order to explore the benefits of dieting, this essay will first look at the health benefits of dietary restriction and balance and, conversely, the dangers associated with being seriously overweight. Further, the essay will then examine the impact of dieting on individuals’ quality of life, especially with regards to potential alternative methods of weight loss, and will then discuss the psychological impact of dieting and the dangers involved.The population of the world today is experiencing extremely high levels of obesity and weight-related health issues. This is in part due to the ever-increasing accessibility and affordability of ‘junk food’—processed and ready-to-eat foods that contain more sugars and preservatives than anything most people would cook for themselves. It has been reported that as of 2017, over a third of adults in the United States are believed to be obese, as well as approximately 17 percent (12.5 million) of children and adolescents living in the United States.
A poor diet that causes obesity will also cause other serious medical conditions such as heart disease, high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes, osteoporosis, and some kinds of cancer (HHS). This is aside from the other dangers that poor diets and obesity will put an individual at risk of, such as heart attacks, strokes, gout, trouble breathing and high cholesterol levels. By restricting one’s diet, it is possible to counteract or prevent many of these issues before it is too late. Cutting down on foods that are high in sugar, high in salt, or high in saturated fats can contribute to the prevention of obesity and many of these health risks. In this way, it is clear that a diet can be highly beneficial to an individual who is overweight or at risk of becoming overweight. Indeed, even for people who are already a healthy weight but eating unhealthy foods, dieting can help to enhance physical wellbeing and prevent these issues.Although dieting is by no means the only possible method by which one can lose weight, it is by far the healthiest option—especially when structured in a balanced way.
In recent years, the demand for other procedures, such as weight loss surgery, has risen exponentially. This includes procedures such as gastric sleeves, gastric bypass, and other types of bariatric surgery. Although these surgeries often prove useful and beneficial, particularly in cases where the weight loss needs to take place over a relatively short period of time, they can still cause a number of issues and pose a health risk to the individual. Some bariatric surgeries may require revision in the period following the initial surgery.
In addition to this, some of these surgeries have permanent effects, meaning that they alter a person’s physical well-being and ability to balance their own diet for the rest of their lives. This can affect a person both physically and psychologically. This is in stark contrast with the flexible and balanced method of dieting, which a person can tailor to their needs at any time, allowing themselves more of certain foods or restricting them as time goes by and their needs change. It is also possible to eat a substantial amount of healthy food and live well, as opposed to restricting one’s appetite and ability to eat ‘too much’, which may result in a lesser consumption of unhealthy foods. Because of this, dieting and eating healthily are the most sustainable and balanced ways to achieve a healthy weight and lifestyle, especially over the long term.
However, despite these benefits of dieting, there are also potential risks and dangers which are associated with dieting. These most often result from either dieting for an extended period of time, or so-called ‘yo-yo’ dieting. Yo-yo dieting occurs when the restriction of a certain food causes a person to crave that food, resulting in the reversal of weight loss as soon as they stop dieting.
Having a frequently fluctuating weight can cause many health issues of its own, making this a serious risk of unsuccessful dieting. There are also psychological risks associated with the diet mentality, as caloric restriction in particular can become a fixation for many people, leading to eating disorders (Choose Help). Despite these risks, dieting has proven beneficial to many individuals when it is undertaken seriously and in a way that supports the natural nutritional needs of the body. Rather than restricting caloric intake, a healthy way of dieting would involve a balance of food groups and types, making sure that food is both a source of enjoyment and nutrition throughout the diet period.
Furthermore, this kind of diet will evolve into a healthier lifestyle, especially when coupled with regular exercise, meaning that it is easily sustainable.