Dieting Makes People Fat
Dieting involves selecting the types of foods to eat as a means of reducing calorie intake and body weight in general. Through dieting, one struggles to deal with the negative feelings of feeling hungry while at the same time trying to avoid hustles of calorie monitoring. Many people fail to realize that dieting only puts stress on their bodies in the long run. While several individuals believe that dieting helps people lose weight, it is now clear from evidence that dieting increases the body’s ability to gain weight, thereby making people fat in the long run.
In 2012, Pietilainen et al. conducted a study to investigate the ability of dieting to increase weight. These researchers used more than 2,000 sets of twins divided into two groups: dieting and non-dieting groups. This study revealed that non-dieting individuals are three times less likely to gain weight than their dieting counterparts. The risk of becoming overweight is therefore accelerated by dieting, independent of genetics. From this research, it can be concluded that the more a person engages in genetics, the more he or she becomes fat in the long run.
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As Tomiyama et al. (2010) explains, at any given time, more than 45 percent of adults living in the United States try to lose weight. Majority of this population use dieting as a weight-loss technique. Unfortunately, this technique is normally effective only in the short run. According to Tomiyama et al. (2010), in the long term, approximately 30 to 50 percent of people who use dieting as a method of weight reduction gain more weight than they lost when on diet. The amount of weight gain resulting from dieting for quite a long time has no relationship with ethnicity, age, and gender.
According to Field et al. (2003), depending on dieting to control weight is very ineffective in the long run because it may make a person fat. To prove this claim, Field et al. (2003), conducted a research using about 17,000 kids aged between 9 and 14. Kids of both sexes who dieted frequently were five to twelve times more likely to gain weight than those who did not diet. These arguments are similar to that obtained from open discussion with people who use dieting as a weight loss strategy. Many people state that they normally los pounds a few days after they are exposed to the first diet. The first dieting experience has been found to be the main trigger of weight gain (Field et al., 2003).
Physiologically, the human body understands the dieting process as a starvation method. Body cells are not always aware that a person is restricting his or her food intake. The dieting process makes the body to forego its primary survival mode of ensuring that there is a balance between metabolism and hunger. Eventually, the rate of metabolism is lowered and a person’s craving for food increases. After a person’s body has been exposed to a given diet for a few days the body begins to adapt contributing to overall weight gain. According to Mann et al. (2007), dieting is a very good predictor of weight gain. While a person may think that the rate of weight loss during initial dieting stages may continue for a long time, they become disappointed after realizing that their expectations never come true after prolonged use.
Tomiyama et al. (2010) emphasize that, dieting is highly disastrous to biological functioning and psychological well-being. In their study, these researchers revealed that dieting increases perceived psychological stress as well as total daily cortisol output. One of the main functions of cortisol is to make energy available to body tissues and anything that tends to block its functions acts as a biological stressor. With prolonged dieting, the body’s need for energy increases. Cortisol output will therefore increase in order to help release energy stores (Tomiyama et al., 2010). In the process, a person becomes fat as more and more energy stores are released.
In the past two decades, there has been a sharp increase in the prevalence of obesity and its related health problems (Field et al. 2003). Many developed nations are now trying to revise their healthcare policies as a move towards finding the most effective drugs for obesity treatment. Majority of people suffering from obesity rely on dieting as a way of treating obesity. According to Mann et al. (2007), more than half of those individuals who use dieting as a method of treating obesity regain more weight than they had before they were placed on restricted diet. Dieting is not effective as a method of weight loss maintenance. Mann et al (2007) also point out that there is not enough evidence to support the notion that dieting leads to lasting weight loss.
Dieting can cause weight gain in three different mechanisms. One of the mechanisms through dieting may cause an increase in weight is by increasing the metabolic efficiency of the body. An increase in metabolic efficiency means that the body will only require small amount of calories in order to maintain weight. For this reason, when dieters later consume a diet that had proved capable of maintaining their weight, they end up gaining weight instead of losing it (Field et al. 2003).
The other mechanism through which dieting may result into development of overweight is inability of the dieter to maintain the restrictive diets for a long time. In several instances, dieters fail to maintain their restrictive diets for a long time. According to (Tomiyama et al. 2010), dieting may cause restrictive dieting cycles that are coupled with binge eating or overeating. This results into repeated cycles of overeating that is responsible for the weight gain. The third mechanism through dieting makes people fat is physiological response towards diet with high percentage of carbohydrates. Many dieters demonstrate a physiologic response to foods with high glucose concentrations. They therefore consume foods rich in glucose of carbohydrates leading to development of overweight (Field et al, 2003).
A high number of children and adolescents have associated weight loss to dieting. However, majority of those who lose weight during the first days of dieting present with obesity and eating disorders (Tribole and Resch, 2012). Even though many people believe that dieting is a good solution to the increasing obesity pandemic, several researchers have proved that dieting is ineffective in preventing weight gain. Moreover, dieting is directly linked with increased cases of obesity among adolescents and children. It is true that dieting makes the body to adjust to dietary intake, physical activity, body mass index and pubertal development, but these impacts are always short-lived (Tribole and Resch, 2012).
Polivy and Herman (1985) developed a dietary restraint model to explain how dieting makes people fat. According to their model, any person in restrictive diets must acquire a cognitive style of dieting unlike in normal situation where an individual who is not on restrictive diet eats in response to fullness and hunger which are both directed by physiological cues. Cognitive controls that required in dieting prevents an individual’s ability to avoid overeating. The person loses cognitive control over eating which increases vulnerability to overweight development. Haines and Neumark-Sztainer (2006) supports that dieting leads to metabolic efficiency making a person’s body to respond very fast to variations in calorie intake.
Majority of those who use dieting a weight loss technique rarely engage in exercise that is highly effective in reducing and maintaining weight. When the body is restricted from getting the required amount of energy that it needs like in the case of dieting, cell become tired and a person fins if difficult to engage in exercise (Neumark-Sztainer et al. 2006). Some dieters may also feel that they are reducing their dietary intake yet the amount of calories consumed remains the same. Tribole and Resch (2012) state that there are increasing cases of obesity associated with dieting because majority of dieters engage in self-dieting without seeking for advice from a professional nutritionist. Self-dieting is also the main reason behind variability in dieting behaviors if adults, adolescents and children (Haines and Neumark-Sztainer, 2006).
In order to find out whether dieting adolescents are likely to experience an increase or decrease in eating disorders, overweight status, body mass index, eating disorders and binge eating, Neumark-Sztainer et al (2006), conducted an investigation with 2,516 adolescents observed for a period of five years. From the study, the researchers concluded that unhealthy weight control behaviors such as dieting produces negative outcomes related to obesity, eating disorders, overweight development, and binge eating five years later. Therefore, obesity among adolescents can effectively be prevented by shifting away from dieting as a weight-control measure (Neumark-Sztainer et al., 2006).
Several factors can be linked to idea that dieting makes people fat. Dieting causes a disconnection between eating and the body’s natural signal of satiety, fullness and hunger. Though the influence of dieting, people learn to ignore their body’s needs in favor of restrictive diets where certain foods are ignored making the body to develop feelings of deprivation. These feelings of deprivation later lead to overeating. The pattern of overeating and restriction leads to weight cycling: periodic changes in body weight, which causes serious emotional and physical consequences (Pietilainen et al., 2012).
The fact that dieting makes people fat does not mean that restrictive diet is not healthy for the mind and body. Ideally, people are informed that they need to use dieting together with other methods of weight-loss in order to successfully prevent weight gain. Physical activity has been associated with positive results when it comes to weight loss. Dieter are therefore advised to take their diets in accordance with the nutritionist’s advise and engage in vigorous exercise for improved results. Since many researchers have revealed that dieting is effective in preventing weight gain only in the short run, being a chronic dieter may help one to maintain weight (Tribole and Resch, 2012).
A chronic dieter is therefore a person who is able to create a balance between physiology and inner-oriented process, a process known as Intuitive Eating. Creating this form of balance is always next to impossibility. There are ten principles of Intuitive Eating that can be summarized into three characteristics. First, a chronic dieter has unconditional permission to eat desired food and when hungry. Second, he or she does not eat for emotional reasons but for physical reasons. Third, a chronic dieter relies on satiety cues and internal hunger to determine how much and when to eat. People are therefore advised to make healthy food choices and engage in exercise in order to control their weight (Tomiyama et al., 2010).
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