What it the best diet? How long a diet should last? What should I do to maintain it?
Questions such as these torment the lives of many around the world everyday.
And if people have the tendency to quickly jump on the next “miracle diet” ship that promises quick results; they tend to forget that a not well-targeted diet not only could fail to bring the desired outcomes but it may, instead, severely compromise their health.
These were the findings of a study - published yesterday in BioMed Central's open access journal Nutrition Journal - conducted in Sweden for a period of time of 25 years. The data collected and reviewed is impressive and points in one clear direction: people should be really careful with dieting, because they might prejudice their health.
During the 70s Sweden’s government noticed that incidence of cardiovascular disease was higher in the Northern Sweden than anywhere else in the country, and that for men it was amongst the highest in the world.
In order to address this, the government set up a programme in 1985, that included better food labeling, health information, cooking demonstration and health examinations and counselling (such as diet advice).
The programme managed to change/influence the population’s eating regimen with particular focus on the general intake of fats and carbs.
At first it was successful, in the way that the fat intake was reduced by 3% in men and 4% in women, with a considerable impact on cholesterol. And such levels remained stable for almost a decade.
However, after 2005 the levels of total and saturated fat intake began to increase again, returning to almost the same levels at which the programme started in the 80s.
How did that happened?
The population switched their diets to match promotion of low carbs diets in the media. In a nutshell,low-carbs diets became a hit and everybody jump on the bandwagon without careful consideration.
The researchers from Umeå University, University of Gothenburg, and The National Board of Welfare who collaborated to review this information were able to clearly assess that following the switch to the popular low carbohydrate diet, cholesterol levels began once more to increase and, as a consequence, cardiovascular diseases.
But that’s not it, starting in 1986, they were also able to notice that over the entire 25 year period the population body mass index continued to increase, regardless of either diet.
And the increase in BMI paired with increased cholesterol levels are indicators of increased cardiovascular risk.
It is well settled that “diets” that seek to restrict a person’s overall calorie intake (or just the consumption of certain foods) for a determined period of time, tend to fall short of long-term results.
The objective of any eating regimen should be towards general health not only weight loss. Because being healthy is what it really matters and losing weight and getting into shape are the “natural result” of being healthy!
We should never forget that the association between nutrition and health is a very complex one. It involves specific food components, interactions among those food components, and interactions with genetic factors and individual needs.
“Never ever compromise your health just because you follow diet, always look at bigger picture: your well being!” That’s my saying...
The Iron You