Fad diets and miracle weight loss programs are something we can never eliminate. But, unfortunately, these “special” diets are everywhere, from magazine pages to grocery isles. From the Palaeolithic diet to the cotton ball diet and whatnot, a new one is coming up daily that guarantees nourishment and weight loss.
The common people are bombarded with these recent weight loss trends through commercials, social media, magazines, and books. Sometimes, all these messages might seem overwhelming, and advice from every direction can conflict. Therefore, it is natural to need clarification about what to follow and avoid, especially regarding your health.
One day, eggs are hailed as the secret ingredient to getting the summer beach body; the next day, people tell you to avoid them. Red wine is good for health, and then again, drinking is not. So, what are these fad diets, and is it worth following them?
What Are Fad Diets, and How Can They Harm Our Health?
Fad diets are the shiny new toys of the diet world, promising quick and easy weight loss without effort or sacrifice. However, they are characterised by strict rules, severe calorie restrictions, and often the elimination of entire food groups. Examples include the juice cleanse or cabbage soup.
Fad diets could work in the short term, but they are unhealthy in the long run and are not sustainable. For one, they can lead to nutritional deficiencies, often cutting out essential nutrients our bodies need to function properly. They can also cause metabolic damage, making it harder for us to lose weight in the future.
Fad diets can also emotionally affect our well-being, leading to guilt, shame, and failure when we inevitably “cheat” on them or don’t see the promised results. In short, fad diets are a quick fix that may do more harm than good.
What Is Sustainable Eating?
Contrary to fad diets, a sustainable and healthy meal plan is one where your diet has a low impact on the food supply and the environment. A sustainable eating plan will help you maintain your health and preserve resources for future generations.
While this might seem like a complex idea with a lot of socioeconomic implications,
Simply put, a sustainable diet aims to positively impact the individual and the environment, both now and in the future.
Regarding sustainable eating, there are no hard and fast rules governing this idea. However, some diets and food items are considered more sustainable than others. Therefore, choosing those would help reduce the environmental impact.
How Do Fad Diets Differ From Sustainable Healthy Eating?
Fad diets may seem like a tempting shortcut to weight loss, but they are not a sustainable or healthy way to eat in the long run. The main difference between fad diets and sustainable healthy eating is that the former is a quick fix, while the latter is a lifestyle.
Fad diets are characterised by their extreme and often bizarre rules. They usually involve eliminating entire food groups or severely restricting calories, which can lead to nutrient deficiencies and metabolic damage. Fad diets are also often not based on sound scientific evidence and are not sustainable in the long run.
On the other hand, sustainable healthy eating is a lifestyle that involves making healthy food choices that you can maintain over time. It is not about depriving yourself of or following strict rules but rather about incorporating nutrient-dense foods into your diet while allowing occasional indulgences.
Sustainable healthy eating also involves:
- Listening to your body’s cues and eating when you are hungry.
- Stopping when you are full.
- Honouring your cravings in a balanced way.
Quick and Easy Tips That Will Help You Prepare a Healthy Meal Plan
- Follow A Plant-Based Diet And Minimise Meat Products
If going completely meat-free seems overwhelming, don’t worry! Small steps can still make a significant impact. For example, consider setting aside just one day a week to go plant-based, like the popular “meat-free Monday” initiative. In addition, cutting back on meat consumption reduces your carbon footprint and can lead to improved health.
Fruits, vegetables, and grains contain essential nutrients and vitamins that benefit our well-being. They are also less resource- and environmentally intensive than meat and animal products. Likewise, plant-based proteins, like tofu, legumes, and beans, are a great alternative to meat and are more eco-friendly.
- Fill up the plate with food.
Want to eat more sustainably? Flip your plate! Try to fill half your plate with seasonal vegetables and the remaining quarter with grains. This can make a big difference for both your health and the environment.
- Shop Local And Eat Local
A walk around your local farmer’s market will help you get all the locally grown produce you need for your daily cooking. This will not only help you eat fresh, seasonal fruits and vegetables but also help you form a rapport with the farmers.
Building relationships with local farmers can be an excellent opportunity to learn where your food comes from, when it was harvested, and how to prepare it. It’s an educational experience that’s both fun and delicious!
Adopting a sustainable and healthy meal plan doesn’t have to be manageable. You can significantly impact your health and the environment by making small changes to your diet, like incorporating more plant-based foods and cutting back on meat.
And with resources like healthy meal plans, it’s easier than ever to make these changes. Remember that every little bit counts, so begin modestly and expand. Your body and the environment will appreciate it!