The Harmful Effects of Diet Culture

A few days ago I was scrolling Instagram, as most of us do and I came upon a post by a very well-known influencer in the UK. Their picture was a bikini body one (of course) that captioned “After this weekend it’s going to take a good while to get back to this”. By this, I think she means a toned, flat stomach.

Now as someone who has struggled with their weight, their eating portions, eating “right” in terms of enough fats, carbs and proteins. I saw this as damaging and feeding diet culture.
Diet culture is centred around how you look physically, it values weight, shape, and size over well-being. Diet culture includes restrictions of food intake, what sorts of food you intake and is often very restrictive. A prime example today is the keto diet where you eat high fat and low or no carbs.
Just to be clear, I’m not talking shit about diets, I’m talking shit about the way diets are portrayed, promoted and used as gateways for many to waste their money, time and effort on something that is essentially a “get slim quick scheme”.

The problem with diet culture today is that it can lead many people to restrict themselves of nutrition that their body thrives on, become obsessive in the way they track their food intake and can lead to the development of eating disorders.
Research has shown that weight cycling (periods of losing weight and gaining weight) is associated with a variety of adverse health outcomes, including metabolic disturbance, Type 2 diabetes, depression and cardiovascular events. What this means is that diets can make you more unhealthy in the long run not only physically but mentally as well.
Research has found that diets also affect the way your brain functions. If you have a lack of nutrients in your body your brain is unable to function properly which can cause disturbances with cognitive functioning and emotions. It affects the way you interpret information/events and how you behave accordingly.

I’m not going to make this a lengthy, drawn-out post. There are references at the bottom for that.
This post is primarily to get you thinking about the damage diets can do to us and take the necessary steps to tune them out, which is what my next post will be about so stay tuned.
Please, do your research on diets; by that I mean SCIENTIFIC RESEARCH like those below. Stop listening to people who aren’t qualified and don’t know what they’re saying. Listen to science because its fact and knowledge is power.

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Park, K. Y., Hwang, H. S., Cho, K. H., Han, K., Nam, G. E., Kim, Y. H., … & Park, Y. G. (2019). Body weight fluctuation as a risk factor for type 2 diabetes: results from a nationwide cohort study. Journal of clinical medicine8(7), 950.

Gómez-Pinilla, F. (2008). Brain foods: the effects of nutrients on brain function. Nature reviews neuroscience9(7), 568-578.

3 thoughts on “The Harmful Effects of Diet Culture

  1. Well said and I liked that you called out the fact the being against diet culture doesn’t mean you are against dieters. I feel like people I know feel attacked when I am vocal about being anti-diet, it’s more that’s diet culture is an industry that makes money off of shaming (mostly) women… we should all be upset about this. 🙌🏻

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