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Diet Culture

We live in a decade where a group of unresectable societal values and thinness of your waist has become an optimal evaluator of health. People spend years believing that dieting and weighing less will solve all their problems and lead to inaccessible health and happiness. Diets and weight obsession are entrenched in the deep roots of our society. The ones who don’t fit into this unrealistic and nuanced idea of health are rather shamed for it.

So how to stay sane with google bombarding you with pills and "fad diets for weight loss" notifications every day? For, nutrition week 2021, we wanted to focus on just eating right and educate people about the diets that are actually very harmful to their wellbeing. Wouldn’t it be great to live in a society where there are fewer rules and rigidity around eating? Some diets could have a lot of adverse effects on your physical and mental wellbeing says our lead nutritionist, Dr Shweta, if you’re looking for a list, here goes!

Acid-Alkaline Diet

It is based on the philosophy that the food we eat influences the PH level in the body. This eating plan focuses on vegetables and fruits. The foods are categories into alkaline, neutral and acidic - people following this diet swear off acidic foods and eat only foods that fall under the alkaline category. There is little to no evidence to support the health claims of this diet and it eliminates major food groups like whole grains and eggs that are incredibly healthy. Our bodies are smart enough to regulate the ph levels automatically and it also depends on other mechanisms concerning the lungs and the kidney to maintain the ph level of the body. Since this diet encourages a higher intake of fruits and vegetables, it is not entirely harmful.

What To Do Instead - Follow a healthy balanced diet that does not eliminate macro and micronutrients. Science has not yet proven that certain foods increase your PH, but they have enough evidence to suggest a blanched diet will decrease your chronic disease.


Keto Diet

In the impression of going into ketosis, people have found an excuse to binge on chicken wings and buttery delights. Sounds like heaven, right? A keto diet is a low carb and a very high fat diet. It involves replacing all the carbohydrate intakes with high-fat foods. The drawback is that it does not exactly focus on the quality of the food, which means that unhealthy choices like full-fat ice cream and butter dipped greasy bacon is completely acceptable. These foods contain saturated fats that raise blood libido levels. Forcing your body into ketosis can also activate a starvation mode that could lead to fatigue and muscle loss. It’s hard to say how long a person can safely be in ketosis since excess ketosis build-up causes kidney malfunction and chemical imbalances in the blood. It is such a strict and restrictive diet, many people are not able to sustain it for a long time. Remember, a few digits down the scale does not necessarily mean you are healthy.

What To Do Instead - Instead of depending heavily on processed meat, fatty and salty treats that are notoriously unhealthy consume good fats. Like monosaturated fats found in salmon, nuts, seeds, peanut butter, olive oil. You can also add polyunsaturated fats found in sunflower seeds, walnuts, corn oil that are heart-friendly and reduces cholesterol.


Juice Cleanse

A juice clean is a short-term fast that involves drinking vegetable and fruit juices only for a certain period of time. Advocators believe that it aids the body in flushing out toxins and, of course - the benefit of dropping down the pounds. Research backing this claim is lacking and whatever weight loss occurred during this period is quickly regained once the fast ends. Keeping hands off real solid food has adverse effects on the digestive system and deplete energy. While it may provide you with short-term benefits that are very negligible, it does not teach you anything about meal planning, health and sustainable weight loss.

What To Do Instead - Don’t do it! opines Dr Shweta, fasting yourself for 3 or more days just to fit into the jeans for one day is not worth it. “Although I do recommend fasting once every week by eating only fruits and vegetables - it helps to let your system rest”. Eat real food with nutritious juices and smoothies in the mix. Restricting yourself to liquid calories will leave you in an emotional and physical deficit with a negative relationship with food. Have one to two servings of fruits and vegetables. Get your proteins from yoghurt, milk, eggs, soya, pulses and greens. Do eat your whole grains and cereals for fibre intake.


3 Day Military Diet

Another one on the list of quick weight loss programmes is the 3-day military diet. It includes eating 3 days of very, low-calorie eating followed by 4 days of less restrictive but low-calorie eating. It mainly focuses on portion control and calorie restriction. The irony of this diet is - it is not related to any military or army, nobody knows how it originated. Our nutritionist says that the weight people lose on this diet is just water weight. One can lose up to 5 pounds of water weight in a day. There is no research to support the claim that the military diet can rev up your metabolism. To make matters more bizarre, there is no official source for this diet. Most science-backed websites and nutritionists don’t recommend it.

What To Do Instead - This diet leaves the dieters deprived, igniting a severe binge eating cycle and serious effects on slow metabolism, hormonal issues and more. The motive behind following these diets is an undying desire to be a perfect size propagated by marketing specialists. Change your mindset and follow a balanced lifestyle that does not let diets like this dictate over your emotional and physical wellbeing.


7-day Oat Meal Diet

This is one of the most extreme forms of diet that has you eating nothing but oatmeal. While there are plenty of benefits of oatmeal to consider, anything in excess leads to complications. Oats can cause intestinal gas and bloating. This type of extreme restriction can cause dizziness, weakness, and muscle loss. The first-week weight loss is due to the unhealthy dip in calories. Fatigue, restlessness, lower energy levels and, well, boredom might follow the second week. Our nutritionist does not recommend following this diet and regards it as an unhealthy, dangerous and unreliable way of losing weight. Big servings of oatmeal every day can lead to weight gain as well.

What To Do Instead - Don’t let fed diets backfire, You can eat oats with nuts, seeds and fruits for breakfast and have legumes, pulses, carbs, veggies and yoghurt for lunch. Lighter dinner 2 hours before sleeping says, Dr Shweta.


Approaching your nutrition is pretty straightforward and fulfilling. A Nutritious based eating plan with fibres, good sleep, hydration, stress management and intuitive eating is the best approach for weight loss says, Dr Shweta.

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