A fork and spoon, with a tape measure wrapped around them so as to convey someone measuring their waistline during a diet.

Medical diets are becoming mainstream for all the wrong reasons

Like a lot of people, I was very nervous when the COVID-19 pandemic hit in March 2020, especially as someone with an autoimmune disease. My anxiety manifested itself in physical ways, and I started getting sick after I ate anything. After I saw my gastroenterologist, he recommended I try the low FODMAP diet, which cuts food and drinks together with fermentable oligosaccharides, polysaccharides, monosaccharides, and polyols, to see what types of food make me sick. Because of not eating enough, I was very tired and light-headed.

It turned out that dairy was the culprit, and after following this diet for a few weeks, I was able to gain the weight back because I wasn’t drinking and eating the things that made me sick. My medical diet helped me get better. Getting off the FODMAP diet was easy for me emotionally because I hated how restrictive it was. This was also the first diet I ever ate, when I was 22. This diet is meant to be only temporary, even under medical supervision. After a while of stopping all FODMAP foods, people try different types of them — one at a time — to see what they react negatively to. Then the diet is finished. I’m still out of dairy.

But, when I went blogging to learn more about the low FODMAP diet, as advised by my doctor, I saw people recommending this diet for weight loss. It confused me at the time, as this diet was created to sort out the intolerance problems of people with irritable bowel syndrome and similar conditions. Due to potential malnutrition with uncontrolled low-FODMAP diets, people who do not need to follow them may feel as weak as I did Before that happens.

Celebrities, influencers, and the people in our lives talk about a medical diet like Keto, gluten-free meals, and whole liquid meals to lose weight. But losing weight has never been the goal of these medical diets. Also, losing weight is not a sign that a person is in better health. In fact, it can be the opposite for some people. The popularization of these diets not only promotes diet culture, but can endanger people’s lives by encouraging disordered eating, leading to malnutrition and other potential health problems.

Low FODMAP It was created for people with irritable bowel syndrome and/or those with small intestinal bacterial overgrowth. The Ketogenic diet It was created to help manage seizures in children who have not responded to other treatments. gluten free It was created for people with celiac disease, who by nature have gluten intolerance. Losing weight is not a cure for any of these health conditions, and the diets that were designed to manage them weren’t created with weight loss in mind either.

A major red flag with the popularization of medical diets is if someone continues to follow one diet without being monitored by a doctor and/or dietitian. Like most medical treatments, oversight of medical diets is needed. “The higher risk of malnutrition from diets like keto and FODMAPs is why they are only intended for short use with medical monitoring,” said Thulia Davila, a registered dietitian based in California.

Medicinal diets can be beneficial for people with conditions that may benefit them. However, any type of restricted eating can be complicated for people who have a history of an eating disorder or are at risk of developing an eating disorder, according to the American College of Gastroenterology.

The relationship between celebrities and diet culture

In 1988, Oprah Winfrey boasted about her show that she had lost a significant amount of weight to her fans while on a liquid protein diet. to me The New York Timescredit, when She had reported this at the timeThe paper included the fact that “at least 60 deaths were attributed to undernourished early formulations”. People who follow a full liquid diet often do not contain enough fiber, vitamins, and minerals. Medline Plus.

Oprah is just one of the many celebrities, and now influencers, who tout ambitious lifestyles and perfect bodies. But restrictive diets aren’t something to aspire to, and there’s something inappropriate to portraying weight loss as an achievement. How a celebrity looks in a photo after following a medical diet to lose weight also doesn’t tell fans anything about energy levels, possible anemia, and possible digestive issues.

Some celebrities have talked about the negative effects of trying medical diets for weight loss purposes. in 2018, Dancing with the stars Professional Dancer Whitney Carson Tell women’s health This, “I dId lose weight on it, but my skin broke out while on the keto diet. Then she had to get her eczema under control, because that diet triggered her immune response.

And not only can strict medical diets be harmful to our health, other diets can also be. Kim kardashian She revealed after she changed her diet to lose weight before the Met GalaShe had psoriatic arthritis so bad that she “couldn’t really move.” [her] hands. “

It’s also important to remember when celebrities talk about their weight, health, and/or diet, they’re actually not “just like us.”

“There are often paid partnerships or money behind these endorsements, and a mix of genetics, photography, plastic surgeries, private chefs, and personal trainers, along with the pressures of being in the public eye, are all parts of a celebrity’s food and exercise routine,” Brenna said. O’Malley, a registered dietitian who manages Hassan.

according to National Eating Disorders AssociationWeight stigma and the internalization of an ideal appearance are two risk factors for developing an eating disorder. Every time the media and celebrities talk about how certain diets have given them their “best looks,” it may be sending the wrong message to the public.

Changing the way we look at food

When there are articles about the latest medical diet circulating, there is often no mention of how these diets affect people with eating disorders or anyone else who may have an eating disorder.

“For people who may be predisposed to an eating disorder, starting these diets leads to a switch to a full-blown eating disorder,” Davila said. “Eating disorders are deadly, they are the deadliest mental illness, and they are a neglected epidemic in the United States.”

An epidemic where BIPOC people are overlooked. People of color who have eating disorders are also less likely to ask about eating disorder symptoms and are half as likely to be diagnosed or receive treatment than their white peers, according to National Association for Anorexia Nervosa and Comorbid Disorders.

With the risks posed by eating disorders, why is diet culture being promoted? The truth is, diet culture sells, and companies that sell cookbooks and other items that promote medical diets to the masses will likely know it. Or they may not know enough about medical diets, which is a problem, too.

“[Diet culture] overemphasizes stress on bodies to constantly strive to get smaller, look younger, and fit the ever-changing standards of beauty and fitness that create a hierarchy of people and bodies,” O’Malley said.

Just like exercising, eating foods that make you feel physically good isn’t necessarily a bad thing. For example, make sure you have Enough protein is good for you. Punishing yourself for looking a certain way by starving yourself is a problem, and it can have both physical and mental side effects.

Diets can be good for some, but diet culture is poor, and you should probably be exposed to the sun. Medicinal diets work when they help people feel better, as they did after following a low-FODMAP diet, not research in a particular way.

O’Malley recommends that an effective way to do this is to present the food in a neutral way. If you have a food intolerance or a food group is one thing, we should view foods as inherently ‘good’ or ‘evil’.

If we view food as morally neutral, and don’t see certain eating patterns or restrictions as ‘better’ or ‘enviable’, we probably won’t feel pressured to jump on any diet we see someone else follow, and we will be We are better able to find ways to eat that support feeling good about our bodies and ourselves.” O’Malley said.

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