Sunday, March 25, 2007
What is dieting all about? In nutrition, diet means the sum total of the food consumed by an organism or group. People do this deliberate selection of food to regulate their body weight or nutrient intake. The practice of ingesting food in a controlled fashion is always fueled by the achievement of a specific objective, and in most cases the goal is loss of weight. A minority such as certain athletes go on a diet to gain weight in the form of muscle while others doc dieting to maintain a stable body weight. There are several kinds of diet such as weight-loss diets and weight-gain diets but the most common dieting practices this paper will focus on include the popular South Beach Diet, Water Diet, Atkins Diet and plain exercise. As it involves human health, dieting is not without its posed risks, for there are some humans who are physically suffering because of the misconceptions that they have with the different dieting exercises.
Dieting not only involves controlling one’s food intake but it also involves other methods such as exercising and doing sports. Weight-loss diets limit the intake of particular foods, or food in general, to reduce body weight. What works to reduce body weight for one person will not necessarily work for another due to metabolic differences and lifestyle factors. Likewise, for a variety of reasons, most people find it very difficult to maintain significant weight loss over time. There is some thought that losing weight quickly may actually make it more difficult to maintain the loss over time. Meanwhile, there is more to dieting than just involves food; exercising is involved in dieting, too. Physical exercise is an important complement to dieting in securing weight loss. Aerobic exercise is also an important part of maintaining normal good health, especially the muscular strength of the heart. To be useful, aerobic exercise requires maintaining a target heart rate of above 50 percent of one’s resting heart rate for 30 minutes, at least 3 times a week. Brisk walking can accomplish this. There are also some easy ways for people to exercise, such as walking rather than driving, climbing stairs instead of taking elevators, doing more housework with fewer power tools, or parking their car farther and walking to school or to the office. Finally, sports can be a form of diet, too, for certain sports activities require key ingredients like carbohydrates, fluid and iron. Carbohydrates is a crucial fuel for exercise, drinking water is perfectly adequate in preventing dehydration that could be dangerous to health, and iron supplements in order to combat stresses of sports such as tiredness and poor recovery from the training.
People undergo diets to satisfy their own personal needs in life such as changing an unhealthy lifestyle so as to avoid getting diseases, entering a career that they want or simply just to feel good about themselves. Be them the ones who used to pig out on pork until they learned of the perils of coronary illnesses, or who are newly-promoted professional athletes, or who want to feel sexy despite the age, they are all fueled by the desire to be healthy hence the diet.
At this juncture, I will be talking about what the South beach diet is all about and what it has in store for the individual that practices it. I will then mention the misconceptions that people do with the diet that physically harms them. The South Beach diet was made by Dr. Arthur Agatston for his chronically overweight heart patients. Developed in Miami, Florida by the aforementioned cardiologist, the South Beach Diet stresses the consumption of “good carbs” or high in fiber for slower digestion and absorption and “good fats” or poly- or monounsaturated fats with omega-3 fatty acids for cardiac patients after Dr. Agatston’s study of scientific dieting research. The South Beach has three phases which are “the foods not to eat and foods to eat” phase, “foods to add back to your diet” phase and “maintaining the practice” phase. In all the diet phases, the cardiologist recommends reducing consumption of bad fats. In the two-week Phase I, dieters try to eliminate insulin resistance by avoiding high or moderately high-glycemic carbohydrates like sugar, candy, bread, potatoes, fruits, cereals and grains. Phase II comes after two weeks, when whole grain foods and fruits are slowly returned to the diet, in smaller amounts and with continued stress on foods with decreased glycemic index. After the dieter achieves the desired weight, Phase III starts wherein the diet widens to include three servings of whole grains and three servings of fruit per day. The diet stresses a permanent alteration in one’s habit of eating, a range of foods, and ease and flexibility.
There are a number of benefits from a low-carb diet, such as “severely obese subjects receiving instruction on a carbohydrate restricted diet achieved greater weight loss by 6 months when compared to subjects receiving instruction on a low fat/calorie restricted diet.” Also, “energy-restricted low-fat and very low-carbohydrate diets both significantly decreased several biomarkers of inflammation. These data suggest that in the short-term weight loss is primarily the driving force underlying the reductions in most of the inflammatory biomarkers.” Another is that “there’s more and more evidence that many fats are good for us and actually reduce the risk of heart attack and stroke. They also help our sugar and insulin metabolism and therefore contribute to our goal of long-term weight loss and weight maintenance.” Lastly, Dr. Agatson himself claims, “I created the Diet to help my patients lower their levels of harmful cholesterol and triglycerides and to lower their risk of pre-diabetes (the condition that precedes full-blown type 2 diabetes and that has been linked to risk of heart attack and stroke.”
However, the common misconceptions of these diets are that it is a low-carb diet and one must lessen food intake leading into the weakening of the body. South Beach is not a low-carb diet because it does not focus on the carbs present in the food but rather it is focused on what the food can do to your body. To begin with, in the first phase of the diet, water weight becomes the initial loss after carbohydrates get eliminated from the system. “Consuming a high-fat diet for as little as five to ten days significantly alters the body fuel selection from carbohydrate to fat,” which potentially weakens the body. Since people believed that South Beach diet is a low-carb diet, people tend to avoid carbohydrates but what they don’t know is that the body needs carbs for energy. Another danger is that “untested alternative weight loss diets, such as very low carbohydrate diets, have unsubstantiated efficacy and the potential to adversely affect cardiovascular risk factors.” In yet another account, “very low carbohydrate diets are popular, yet little is known about their effects on blood lipids and other cardiovascular disease risk factors.”
This time, I will be talking about the Water Diet and how it is done. I will also mention about the common misconceptions of individuals regarding this diet that leads them to physical suffering. The Water Diet was developed for cleansing the body of individuals because water carries nutrients to the cell thus cleansing our body. The Water Diet is done by taking in water every meal so that the nutrients contained in the food will then be distributed to the body. As it is, “Water plays an enormous role in how well our body functions. Simply put, the more fresh water we drink, the healthier we become. Weight loss can also be achieved by drinking the right amount of water daily.” This heedless placement of importance in water resulted in “[s]everal novel water treatment products [appearing] on the market with claims to promote better health and to energize and purify the body by adding oxygen to water or by changing the molecular structure of water.” Nevertheless, the common misconception here is that people believe that the water diet is all about drinking water thus leading to the unhealthiness of the individual because man cannot survive on water alone. Some drinking water get fouled by added minerals, fluoridation and chlorination. Furthermore, non-distilled water is impure and may contain contaminants that will harm the drinker’s body. Economically, water can offer disadvantage since bottled water, for one, can be an additional expense and is not sometimes not readily available. Moreso, some drinking water have indispensable metals and, worse, trapped bacteria that does not get effectively removed however treated.
I will be talking about the Atkins diet and how it is being practiced by people. I will also mention about the misconceptions of people regarding this diet and how it physically affects them. The Atkins diet was made by Dr. Robert C. Atkins telling individuals to take in less carbs in their meals. The Atkins diet is done by eliminating foods that have high carbs in them and only taking those that are low in carbs. It promises that not only will one lose weight and never feel hungry with a low-carb diet, but also inherit better heart health and memory function as well as other wellness benefits. It is based on the theory that obese people eat too many carbohydrates. The human body burn fat and carbohydrates for energy, although carbs get consumed first. By seriously limiting carbs and consuming more protein and fat, the human body naturally loses weight by burning stored body fat with more efficiency. On top of the weight-loss objective, Atkins dieters follow the diet for weight maintenance, good health and disease avoidance. It is good for diabetics in that “Short-term use of the Atkins diet in patients with type 2 diabetes caused weight loss due mainly to reduced calorie intake, improved insulin sensitivity and glycemic control and reduced plasma cholesterol and triglyceride levels.” Likewise, “When relative energy intakes were similar, regardless of dietary macronutritional content, mean changes in weight anthropometric inidices were similar. These results suggest that an Atkins diet produces no more weight loss than an energy-matched LF diet.”
Nonetheless, the misconceptions in this diet is that people are too concerned with taking foods that have few carbs that they don’t realize anymore that what they are eating is dangerous to their health. Other disadvantages of this diet include its very restrictive nature, tolerance of high consumption of saturated fats, and risks of bad breath, nausea and headaches particularly in the early period. By default, Atkins diet reduces many valuable nutrients. It also relies heavily upon proteins from meat, fish and dairy products. Therefore, it practically bars vegetarians from trying it. There are equal concerns about the effects of high levels and fat upon vital organs like the kidneys and the heart.
Finally, I will be talking about people who simply exercise and practice their own diets. In this part, there are a lot of misconceptions regarding dieting. Anyway, physical exercise is the performance of certain activities in order to enhance or sustain physical fitness and overall health. Frequently, it is directed toward polishing athletic ability or skill. Regular and frequent physical exercise is a vital component in the prevention of some diseases like heart disease, cardiovascular disease, Type 2 diabetes and obesity. Appropriate nutrition is as significant to health as exercise, When exercising, it becomes even more significant to have good diet to ensure the body possesses the accurate ratio of macronutrients while providing adequate micronutrients in order to aid the body wit the recovery process after a rigorous exercise.
Exercises are mainly classified into three types depending on the general effect they incur in the human body. First are flexibility exercises such as stretching which improves the range of movements of muscles and joints. Next are aerobic exercises like cycling, walking and running which center on upgrading cardiovascular endurance. Lastly, anaerobic exercises like weight training, functional training or sprinting which increases brief-term muscle strength.
This diet is the most common of all because it is not found in any books but can only be found in an individual. In this diet, each individual practices one’s own diet that one believes best suits one’s lifestyle. One of the benefits that may be had from exercise is its importance in the maintenance of physical fitness. Physical exercise contributes positively to the maintenance of a healthy weight; building and maintenance of healthy bone density, muscle strength and joint mobility; the promotion of physiological well-being; reduction of surgical dangers; the fortification of the immune system. Likewise, frequent and regular aerobic exercise has been able to help prevent and cure serious and life-threatening chronic conditions like high blood pressure, obesity., heart disease, Type 2 diabetes, insomnia and depression. Strength training seems to have constant energy-burning effects that recurs for about 1 day after the training, even as they do not offer the similar cardiovascular benefits of aerobic exercises. Exercise can also intensify energy and reduce one’s risks to pain. “Exercise is very useful for minimizing the 'plateau' effect of dieting, which occurs within a few weeks of starting a diet, as the body 'adjusts' to a lower calorie-intake.” “If [caloric restricting program and energy expenditure program] factors were equal, exercise alone can be as effective as caloric restriction for weight loss.”
The misconceptions in this form of dieting are that people tend to exaggerate it since they want fast results and some even risk their health to attain their goal. People tend to exaggerate this form of dieting by skipping meals and exercising too much, therefore endangering their health. People risk their health by going through drastic dieting such as not eating at all and taking pills so that they burn more fats without taking in any. The stress of exercise also creates a catabolic effect on the body—contractile proteins within muscles are burned for energy, carbohydrates and fats are likewise consumed and linking tissues are stressed. Excessive exercise can be harmful in that exercised body parts need at lease 24 hours of rest, which is the reason some health experts advise three times a week or every other day. Without appropriate rest, the chance of stroke or other circulation dilemmas increases, and muscle tissue may develop gradually. Improper exercise can do more harm than good. Many activities incur serious injuries with poorly regimented exercise schedules. Over-exercising, in desperate circumstances, creates serious performance loss. Sudden overexertion of muscles leads to damage to muscles seen most often in new army recruits. Overtraining is another danger wherein the intensity or volume of training surpasses the capacity of the body to recuperate from bouts. Halting excessive exercise abruptly can induce a swing in moods. Feeling of agitation and depression can happen when withdrawal from the natural endorphins generated from exercise occurs. Whereas one set of joints and muscles may have the tolerance to endure multiple marathons, another body may be damaged by half an hour of light jogging.
In conclusion, I will be summarizing all the diets and will question which diet would be the safest and most effective of all. I will also give recommendations on how to practice these diets better for a safer and more effective result. The cardiac patients’ consumption of good carbs and good fats in the South Beach diet may be well-intentioned, but the reduction of carb and the loss of weight water pose danger to the body by weakening it. Similarly, the Atkins diet which take away high carbs and patronize only low-carb also threaten the body with loss of energy due to the minimal consumption of energy-giving carb. Meanwhile, The intake of water each meal helps spread food nutrients around the body, which diet seem less harmful than the cut down of carb in the two previous diets. Ultimately, physical exercise that complement controlled food ingestion develops physical fitness and overall health, but with the necessary physical and related risks. Of these diets, the safest is apparently Water diet because it does not subject the body to torturous activities like the reduction of energy-supplying carbohydrates as in South Beach and Atkins diets, and the strenuous performance of the physique. This diet only entails the regular intake of water and the only major risk about it is if the water is contaminated.
Diet’s association to the welfare of human health makes it somewhat improbable to think that misconceptions about diet may have destructive results to the human body. However, it is imperative that whenever and whatever activities humans subject their bodies in, prudence should be practiced in order to avoid risks that may be fatal at its extreme. The body is the human cultural and spiritual temple, and the reason the mind is attached to it is to decide wisely the body’s best interest.
Agatston, Arthur, Ph. D. The South Beach Diet: Good Fats, Good Carbs Guide. London: Rodale, 2004.
Boden G., et al., “Effects of the Atkins Diet in Type 2 Diabetes: Metabolic Balance Studies.” 64th session of the American diabetes Association, June 8, 2004.
Brehm, B. J. et al., “A Randomized Trial Comparing a Very Low Carbohydrate Diet and a Calorie-Restricted Low Fat Diet on Body Weight and Cardiovascular Risk Factors in Healthy Women,” The Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism, 2003.
Foster, G. D., et al, “A Randomized Trial of a Low-Trial of a Low-Carbohydrate Diet for Obesity,” The New England Journal of Medicine, 2003.
Goedecke, J. H. et al., “Metabolic Adaptation to a High-Fat Diet in Endurance Cyclists,” Metabolism, 1999.
Ingram, Colin. The Drinking Water Book: How to Eliminate Harmful Toxins from Your Water. Berkeley: Celestial Arts, 2006.
Paez, Christina J. and Len Kravitz, http://www.unm.edu/~lkravitz/Article%20folder/exandwtloss.html
Sharman, M. J., et al., “Very Low-Carbohydrate and Low-Fat Diets Affect Fasting Lipids and Postprandial Lipemia Differently in Overweight Men,” Journal of Nutrition, 2004.
Sharman, M. J. and Volek, J. S., “Weight Loss Leads to Reductions in Inflammatory Biomarkers after a Very Low-Carbohydrate and Low-Fat Diet in Overweight Men,” Clinical Science (London), 2004.
Stadler, D. D. et al., “Impact of 42-Day Atkins Diet and Energy-Matched Low-Fat Diet on Weight and Anthropometric Indices,” FASEB Journal, 2003.
Stern, L. et al., “The V.A. Low Carbohydrate Intervention Diet (VALID) Study,” Journal of General Internal Medicine, 2002.
 Agatston, Arthur, Ph. D. The South Beach Diet: Good Fats, Good Carbs Guide. London: Rodale, 2004.
 Stern, L. et al., “The V.A. Low Carbohydrate Intervention Diet (VALID) Study,” Journal of General Internal Medicine, 2002.
 Sharman, M. J. and Volek, J. S., “Weight Loss Leads to Reductions in Inflammatory Biomarkers after a Very Low-Carbohydrate and Low-Fat Diet in Overweight Men,” Clinical Science (London), 2004.
 Agatston, Arthur. The South Beach Diet: Good Fats, Good Carbs Guide. London: Rodale, 2004.
 Foster, G. D., et al, “A Randomized Trial of a Low-Trial of a Low-Carbohydrate Diet for Obesity,” The New England Journal of Medicine, 2003.
 Goedecke, J. H. et al., “Metabolic Adaptation to a High-Fat Diet in Endurance Cyclists,” Metabolism, 1999.
 Brehm, B. J. et al., “A Randomized Trial Comparing a Very Low Carbohydrate Diet and a Calorie-Restricted Low Fat Diet on Body Weight and Cardiovascular Risk Factors in Healthy Women,” The Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism, 2003.
 Sharman, M. J., et al., “Very Low-Carbohydrate and Low-Fat Diets Affect Fasting Lipids and Postprandial Lipemia Differently in Overweight Men,” Journal of Nutrition, 2004.
 Ingram, Colin. The Drinking Water Book: How to Eliminate Harmful Toxins from Your Water. Berkeley: Celestial Arts, 2006.
 Boden G., et al., “Effects of the Atkins Diet in Type 2 Diabetes: Metabolic Balance Studies.” 64th session of the American diabetes Association, June 8, 2004.
 Stadler, D. D. et al., “Impact of 42-Day Atkins Diet and Energy-Matched Low-Fat Diet on Weight and Anthropometric Indices,” FASEB Journal, 2003.
 Paez, Christina J. and Len Kravitz, http://www.unm.edu/~lkravitz/Article%20folder/exandwtloss.html