As far as fads go, even diets cannot hold their own against the fickle entertainment world. One minute everyone is fat-per-gram conscious, and then the focus has moved to our starchy friend, the carbohydrate. Wading through all the info on fad diets is hard, but should you be on a diet without consulting a doctor and should you diet at all? Three experts give us the lowdown on why not to diet.
Once you start to “diet,” there is a preoccupation with food instead of the idea of healthy eating. You need to be more aware of nutrition and proper food options. If you restrict the amount of calories consumed, you don’t get the proper nutrients needed for growth and development. Sometimes, you may use dieting to cope with pressures felt from society and peers, which can lead to a food fixation and eating disorders. Healthy weight can be measured by the Body Mass Index, which takes into account both height and weight. Twenty to 25 on BMI is a healthy teen. A lot of teens may appear to be thin or in good shape, but their eating habits are poor, which affects health in later life. So you should not be counting calories, but instead you should be aware of healthy nutrition — brown bread instead of white, high fibre, less sugar, etc. The Canadian Food Guide is a good starting point for making more informed eating choices.
Dr. Dorothy Ratusny
No one should be on a fad diet, the term fad meaning temporary and new. Media perceptions play into idealizing the unattainable body type. Not all prescribe to it, but some do. So now there is a preoccupation with achieving this standard. And as girls want to be skinny and boys, muscular, these perceptions cannot be achieved without drastic measures. You are setting yourselves up to fail, and it perpetuates the diet cycle. What you should focus on is whether your perception of self and being is really true and clear. During puberty, girls tend to gain weight, their bodies reshape, and boys have a sudden growth spurt, so you become selfconscious of these changes and can have feelings of inadequacy if you are developing at a different rate than your peers. After puberty, the body will adjust itself to the proper weight set point. There is a need to refocus on what’s beyond the surface, no matter what initial appearances dictate — what’s inside a person is important.
Healthy foods act as healing medicines in the body and are essential for proper growth and development. If you do not eat enough calories, you will wake up tired and not have enough energy to function throughout the day. Eliminating all fats from a diet can be catastrophic. Certain fats are essential to develop the sex hormones: estrogen, progesterone, and testosterone. Without these hormones, a teen’s body does not mature or develop properly. Fats are also important for healthy brain and nervous system maintenance. Eliminating ALL carbohydrates can also pose a problem because carbs are the body’s immediate fuel source used to make energy. If we do not eat carbs, our bodies will start breaking down fat to use as fuel. Once the fats are used up, our bodies start breaking down proteins to get energy. The problem is that metabolic byproducts of protein, which are toxic, need to be detoxified by our liver and kidneys. This puts a heavy burden on these organs, and over time, this will stress out the organs, causing irreversible damage. Rapid weight loss and gain also puts tremendous burden on the heart and causes serious cardiovascular problems later in life.