cartoon image looking down at bathroom scale with fast food in a thought bubble

11 Reasons Why Diet Culture Fails

1) Unsustainability: Many diets promote drastic and restrictive eating patterns that are difficult to maintain in the long run. These extreme changes can lead to feelings of deprivation and frustration, causing individuals to eventually revert to their previous eating habits.

2 )Metabolic Adaptation: Severely restricting calories or following fad diets can cause the body to adapt by slowing down metabolism, making weight loss harder over time. This is often referred to as the “starvation mode” effect.

3) Emotional and Psychological Impact: Diets that emphasize weight loss as the ultimate goal can contribute to poor body image, low self-esteem, and a negative relationship with food. The constant focus on appearance and weight can lead to anxiety, depression, and other mental health issues.

4) Lack of Individualization: Every person’s body is unique, with different nutritional needs, preferences, and health considerations. Diet culture often promotes a one-size-fits-all approach, ignoring these individual differences.

5) Short-Term Focus: Many diets prioritize rapid weight loss rather than overall health and well-being. This approach often results in “yo-yo dieting,” where individuals cycle between weight loss and weight gain, which can be harmful to the body.

6) Overemphasis on External Factors: Diet culture tends to place too much emphasis on external factors like appearance and weight, rather than focusing on internal markers of health, such as energy levels, blood pressure, and overall vitality.

7) Ignoring Hunger Cues: Some diets encourage ignoring natural hunger cues and strictly adhering to set meal plans or eating schedules. This can disconnect individuals from their body’s natural signals and lead to disordered eating patterns.

8) Lack of Nutritional Education: Many diets promote specific foods or food groups while demonizing others. This can lead to a skewed understanding of nutrition and may result in nutrient deficiencies or imbalances.
9) Potential for Disordered Eating: Extreme dieting and rigid food rules can contribute to the development of eating disorders or disordered eating behaviors, such as orthorexia (obsession with healthy eating) or binge eating.

10) Focus on Weight, Not Health: Diet culture often measures success solely by changes in weight, without considering overall health improvements. This can lead to unhealthy behaviors and attitudes, as health is a complex interplay of physical, mental, and emotional well-being.

11) Unrealistic Expectations: Many diets promise quick and dramatic results, setting unrealistic expectations. When these results don’t materialize as promised, individuals may feel discouraged and give up.

To counter the negative effects of diet culture, it’s important to shift the focus to a lifestyle approach that prioritizes balanced and sustainable eating, a physical activity that you enjoy, and developing self-acceptance, and self-value within your inner dialogue.

Dr. Chris Hoelscher

Chris is our science guy.  Chris founded Eastland Chiropractic & Lifestyle Center in 1984 and retired from active practice in 2017.  During his time in practice, he opened several clinics in the midwest and one in Saipan, a US commonwealth in Micronesia. He has always maintained an active interest in biology, chemistry and physics and how they affect our bodies. He knew there had to be a reason why some people could eat almost anything and still not gain weight, while others only had to look at food and their waistline would start to expand. He became interested in how and if genetics play a role in weight management and how foods can affect us all differently.  

He also believes that you have to be able to measure anything you want to manage and that starts with knowing where you’re at.  THe INbody scale we utilize in The Nourish Lifestyle program is what gives us the measurable data needed to chart progress. It’s not just the number on the bathroom scale but what the pounds are made of that’s important. With the Inbody scale we can assess the changes in body composition to make sure we are making progress. 

He is also fondly known as our on-call tech guy, fixing our computers, printers and most anything else that needs a fix at our office.