For some, dieting is a huge part of today’s culture where individuals create a specific routine for their eating habits and look for ways to incorporate healthy eating.There is a plethora of diets to choose from, but the debate still stands on whether or not heavy dieting is actually healthy.
Taylor Highbloom, a junior studying strategic communication, went on a paleogenic diet the summer before her freshman year of college as a way to become overall healthier. Though she saw some results, she discovered dieting to be a lot less helpful than she planned.
“I personally feel like it’s more harmful to diet, and that’s just because after I decided to go paleo, I lost weight and I got some results but the more into it that I got, the more it messed with my head,” Highbloom said. “It became my only focus and I just think that certain diets can get really obsessive, and people should focus on finding a healthy lifestyle rather than doing a short-term diet.”
A paleogenic diet models after the Paleolithic period, also called the Old Stone Age. The paleogenic diet includes lean meats, fish, fruits, vegetables, nuts and seeds — any foods in the Paleolithic period of time that could be obtained by hunting and gathering. To find success with a paleogenic diet, one would just eat whatever people would’ve eaten during the earliest of years.
Not everyone has the same reaction to dieting that Highbloom did, but to truly understand if a diet is healthy or not, it’s important to understand each diet and what foods they entail.
Arguably, the two most popular dieting options are vegetarianism and veganism. Vegetarianism consists of a meat-free diet. Veganism takes vegetarianism a step further and practices abstaining from eating any animal products, including dairy and eggs.
Another popular diet is the ketogenic. A ketogenic diet is a high-fat, an adequate protein and a low-carbohydrate diet. The medical purpose behind the diet is primarily used to treat epilepsy in children because the diet forces the body to burn fats rather than carbohydrates.
Ketogenic diets can also be good for acne, diabetes and heart disease. Foods to eat while on a ketogenic diet include meat, fatty fish, eggs, butter and cream, cheese, nuts and seeds, healthy oils, avocados, low-carb vegetables and condiments.
There are plenty of other diets that exist, and each person can pick a diet that suits them or curate their own diet to fit their needs. However, the debate is whether or not these strict and intense diets are truly healthy.
Maddie Binder, a senior studying applied nutrition, is a member of the Ohio University nutrition club. She believes that most diets are unhealthy and people should focus more on getting the nutrients they need to keep their bodies healthy.
“It depends on specific dietary needs and specific illnesses that people deal with, but I believe diets like keto and paleo are unhealthy because they’re restrictive and cutting out specific food groups,” Binder said. “I think it’s healthier to include all of the food groups in your diet in a well-proportioned way.”
OU also takes time to curate its menus at dining halls and at marketplaces to provide options for people who participate in all different kinds of diets. In every market and dining hall, there are always vegetarian and vegan options, and people can use all of the foods offered to create a meal that works best with their specific diet, whether it be paleogenic, ketogenic or a different option.
More than anything, Highbloom and Binder believe it’s important to find a truly healthy balance that works for the individual rather than trying to stick to a specific restrictive diet plan.
“I think, honestly with diets, if you want to become healthier, it’s so much trial and error,” Highbloom said. “Paleo and keto and other diets have many health benefits, but I don’t believe in any diet, personally, because I feel like if you’re going to do it to become healthier, then choose something you can stick with over a long period of time because it’ll be so much more worth it in the long run.”