The truth about diets: does dieting really work?

By Anita Parker – on in Food
Approaching summer, starting a new year, going through a breakup... all the more reasons to start a diet, right? But does dieting really work?

We all know better than falling for miraculous diets that promise us to lose 5 kilos in one week. On the other hand, sometimes it’s less obvious whether or not a diet is legit. These days, we hear a lot about low-carb dietsintermittent fasting and raw-food diets. Are they really going to help us lose weight?

Experts agree on this issue: to lose weight, we should change our relationship with food instead of dieting, at least in the long term. Yes, diets can be successful in the short term, but it’s really difficult to maintain our weight over time. Most people will regain the weight they lost during dieting after a few months.


The yo-yo effect

Our body can adapt to anything, including diets we undertake to lose weight. Metabolism slows down during dieting, and will still work slower than before even when we go back to our old habits. Since our body will remember lacking certain foods during that time, it will store energy more than before, just in case we would lack them again. We will, therefore, gain back the weight we lost, if not more. We might then feel bad about our weight and start dieting again, hence bringing us full circle.

In the end, we have to avoid modifying our habits for a few weeks only and instead adopt good habits in the long term. Keeping ourselves from eating certain foods isn’t the solution. Restraining ourselves can be a solution among others, though.



In order to avoid diet-related guilt, we should try other approaches. For instance, we could learn to recognize signs of hunger and satiety. We could be more physically active. We could also consult a nutritionist to change our behaviour when it comes to food, and talk about our relationship with our body image.

If we still want to follow a diet, we should at least do substantial research to see what experts have to say about it. Just remember there is no perfect weight loss diet. Everyone reacts differently to dieting, which is why we should consult a specialist if we want to diet.

Cover photo: Jan Sedivy | Unsplash