The definition of a diet is simply, what we eat. Over the past decade, fad diets have become a popular topic on social media, the news, etc. The marketing for fad diets has increased dramatically, which draws attention to eating habits that are often unhealthy and makes them difficult for some individuals to ignore.

A fad diet is considered the new popular “diet” out there that provides “promising” results. Fad diets typically involve cutting out food groups from your diet. For example, the keto diet involves cutting out most carbohydrate sources from your diet. In order to maintain a healthy diet, you have to listen to your body and understand what food is going to result in the best fuel for your body.

Here are a few reasons that carbohydrates are important for our mind and bodies:

  • Glucose (breakdown of most carbohydrates) is what our brain utilizes for energy
  • Glucose (breakdown of most carbohydrates) is what our brain utilizes for energy
  • Fiber (source of carbohydrate) plays an important role in digestive health
  • Your brain and gut communicate – the brain is part of the control system for the gut
  • Complex carbohydrates can increase healthy gut bacteria
  • Gut bacteria is associated with mood and mental disorders
  • Carbohydrates are essential for the production of serotonin – serotonin is a neurotransmitter that regulates mood
  • Inadequate carbohydrate intake can increase cortisol levels, the stress hormone
  • Carbohydrates regulate blood sugar – without carbohydrates, your blood sugar can drop too low and cause lethargy and irritation

Cutting out one or more food groups from your diet often means your body is now cutting out a variety of vitamins and minerals. Not getting enough of an important vitamin or mineral is detrimental to your health and has the potential to cause bigger issues down the road. Making sure you have a complete diet and maintain healthy eating habits is essential.

Fad diets sold as easy solutions do not truly understand the needs of every individual. Maintaining a healthy diet and finding the right balance of indulgences such as cookies, cake, etc. is ideal as this allows you to eat healthy, avoid any restriction and helps you develop a healthy relationship with food. Restricting foods from your diet can lead to deprivation and potential binge eating behaviors, which in turn can lead to restriction behaviors as well.

Identify a Diet that Works for You

Food is something we as humans enjoy for a variety of reasons. Some reasoning being: individual nutritional needs, taste, smell, hunger, satiety needs, social events, culture and pleasure. In fact, food is a part of many social events.

Many can relate to how much you can’t wait to start going back out again while in quarantine due to the current pandemic. Being able to go back out to eat with family and/or friends is the first thing a lot of people will do when things get closer to normal.

Food is an important component of our health, overall wellbeing and social life so finding a diet that works for your individual needs is important. Maintaining a healthy diet that doesn’t cut out important vitamins and nutrients will allow you to incorporate some of your favorite indulgences in moderation. Feeling comfortable with your diet and eating healthy consistently will improve your overall well-being, health and reduce fear/anxiety around food.