Why do DIETS Fail?
Every hour there are new diet plans that crop up and promise drastic body transformations. Some diets claim to burn fat while others claim to build muscle. Some claim to have detoxifying effects on our bodies while others claim to cure diabetes. Some claim to help in spot reduction while others promise to increase testosterone. We have made a lot of progress in understanding the diets of animals and birds but, sadly we are confused about the human diet. Is it fruits & vegetables or meat or probably pulses? When all other animals have only one type of diet, why do we have so many diets and why do most diets fail?
Focusing only on One Aspect:
Think about this, truly speaking there should be only one diet – the human diet that works for all of us. Thus, in the first place, having more than one diet is incorrect. Diets are designed taking into consideration some aspects and challenges. Some focus on weight loss, some on fat loss, some on muscle gain etc. The biggest problem with such diets is that they focus only on one aspect and ignore the other aspects. The success or failure of the diet plan solely rests on measuring only one factor of success. For example, in a weight loss diet plan success will be measured by the absolute weight that has reduced and not the fat that has decreased or the basal metabolic rate (BMR) that increased. Measuring only one aspect is one of the major reason why diets fail.
A diet has to improve all aspects of life rather than just one aspect. That’s where most diets fail.
Many diets are created by FMCG companies for brand promotion and PR. For example, if a company manufactures breakfast cereal, granola bars etc. they come up with a diet plan centred around their products. If we observe closely, their diet plan will even mention the names of their products that we need to consume to achieve our goals. Although a lot depends on the product itself, a diet formulated to increase product sales/ trials is very likely to fail.
Sometimes, celebrities endorse and popularise diet plans for a fee from the brand. Hence, social media platforms are filled with different diet plans promoted by celebrities. Brands also partner with influencers like nutrition consultants and doctors to promote their products and increase sales or trials. Other influencer tactics include partnering with popular magazines, blogs, news agencies, sponsoring events etc. all aimed at pushing their products to us and making them a part of our daily diet. Such diets are likely to fail.
Fad rather than Science:
Trends come and go. Fads come and go. Science stays forever. The philosophy of a diet being based on a trend or fad is completely wrong. Following fad diets or trending diets is foolish and a waste of time & effort. These kinds of diets are not based on science and hence fail to deliver desired results. Such diets not only fail but may also cause irreversible damage to our bodies.
The Psychological side:
Food and taste are heavily dependent on our psychology. Some of us are brought up thinking certain foods like meat, egg yolk etc. are bad for health. Some of us are addicted to sugar in different forms like honey, jaggery etc. Some think that supplements are bad. Nutrition should be based on nutrition science. Just because we have heard something being good or bad for our health may not mean that it does harm or good to our health. There is nothing like I believe in this or I believe in that. Science does not care about anyone's belief.
We do not have an option to not believe in nutrition science.
A nutrition counsellor prepares a diet plan for us based on many factors like our age, goals, lifestyle, activity levels etc. If we are to edit the plan ourselves because of our psychological factors, the entire plan goes for a toss. It takes a lot of focus and dedication to get out of years of addiction to certain foods like sugar and simple carbs. The focus should always remain on the goals to achieve and a diversion in the diet plan will only divert us from our goals.
Completely banning certain foods like candy, chips, popcorn etc. may not work for all. Most people may not even be able to imagine a life without their favourite foods. The nutrition counsellor should consider this, play the role of a psychologist and introduce small changes (challenges) every week. That will make it psychologically easier to accept and adjust to small corrections rather than big changes.
It is also important to understand that goals like fat loss, muscle gain, increasing endurance, increasing flexibility etc. can take months or even years to achieve. It is more about achieving smaller goals each day that takes us closer to our bigger goal. As long as we stick to our plans and ignore cravings, results are inevitable. It may be frustrating sometimes but, it is important to get over it and continue working towards the ultimate goal. This approach will ensure our diets enhance our lifestyle, health and increase our fitness levels.
There are many reasons diets may fail including a wrongly designed diet, bad nutrition counsellor, psychological aspects, designing a diet by yourself, following unscientific diets promoted on social media or by celebrities etc.
Most diets fail because they are not based on science and are designed keeping in mind only one aspect.
For diets to be successful they should be based on science and we should be able to follow them. No point in following fad diets or trending diets. It is useless trying to follow a diet we can’t even imagine ourselves following.
Hoping we have understood why do diets fail.