What Exactly Is Dieting?

What Exactly Is Dieting

What Exactly Is Dieting?

Dieting is the controlled consumption of food in order to lose, maintain, or gain weight, as well as to prevent and cure illnesses such as diabetes and obesity. Because weight reduction is determined by calorie intake, several types of calorie-reduced diets, such as those focusing on certain macronutrients, have been found to be equally successful. Regardless, the results of a diet might vary dramatically depending on the person.

"Banting," named after William Banting, was the first fashionable diet. He explained the parameters of a particular low-carbohydrate, low-calorie diet that contributed to his own significant weight loss in his 1863 booklet, Letter on Corpulence, Addressed to the Public.

Dieting to reduce weight is recommended by some guidelines for persons with weight-related health concerns, but not for people who are otherwise healthy. According to one poll, over half of all American people try to reduce weight via dieting, with 66.7 percent of obese adults and 26.5 percent of normal-weight or underweight individuals doing so. Dieters who are overweight, average weight, or underweight may experience a higher mortality risk as a result of their weight loss.

George Cheyne, an English doctor, was one of the earliest dietitians. He was quite overweight and would consume copious amounts of fatty foods and beverages on a regular basis. He went on a vegetarian diet, simply drinking milk and eating vegetables, and he quickly recovered his health. He began openly suggesting his diet to everyone who was overweight. He authored An Essay on Health and Long Life in 1724, in which he recommends exercise and fresh air as well as avoiding fancy meals.

In 1797, John Rollo, a Scottish military surgeon, published Notes on a Diabetic Case. It discussed the advantages of a meat-based diet for diabetics, citing Matthew Dobson's discovery of glycosuria in diabetes mellitus as a source of information. Rollo devised a diet that worked for what is now known as type 2 diabetes using Dobson's testing technique.

"Banting," named after the English undertaker William Banting, was the first fashionable diet. In 1863, he published a pamphlet titled Letter on Corpulence, Addressed to the Public, in which he detailed the diet regimen he had successfully followed. 

His personal diet consisted of meat, greens, fruits, and dry wine, and he ate four meals every day. Sugar, sugary foods, grain, alcohol, milk, and butter were all discouraged. For years to come, Banting's booklet would be famous, and it would be used as a model for current diets. 

Because of the pamphlet's popularity, the phrase "Do you bant?" became synonymous with his practice, and later with dieting in general. As of 2007, his pamphlet is still available.

Diet and Health: With Key to the Calories, published in 1918 by American physician and journalist Lulu Hunt Peters, was the first weight-loss book to encourage calorie counting and the first weight-loss book to become a bestseller.

Up to 2014, it was believed that over 1000 weight reduction regimens have been produced.



Protein and lipids are abundant in low-carbohydrate diets. Low-carbohydrate diets can lead to ketosis.

"The glycemic index factor is a ranking of foods based on their overall effect on blood sugar levels; the Low GI diet is based on this research. Low glycemic index foods, such as lentils, provide a slower, more consistent source of glucose to the bloodstream, thus stimulating less insulin release than high glycemic index foods, such as white bread."

The high-carbohydrate, low-glycemic index diet was shown to be the most beneficial in a randomized controlled study comparing four diets since it resulted in significant weight reduction and a decrease in low-density lipoprotein.

The glycemic load is calculated by multiplying the glycemic index by the amount of carbohydrates consumed. The Cochrane Collaboration found that diets with a low glycemic index or a low glycemic load resulted in higher weight reduction and improved lipid profiles, but did not distinguish between the effects of the load and the index.



Low-calorie diets often result in an energy deficit of 500–1,000 calories per day, resulting in a weekly weight reduction. Weight Watchers is one of the most popular low-calorie diets. To establish the effectiveness of low-calorie diets, the National Institutes of Health looked at 34 randomized controlled studies. 

They discovered that following these diets for 3–12 months reduced total body mass by 8%. Crash dieting is extremely harmful since it can result in a variety of health problems. Crash dieting can result in weight loss, but without constant expert monitoring, the drastic drop in calories and probable imbalance in the diet's composition can have negative consequences, including death.


Fasting occurs when there is an extended period of time between meals. Fasting over an extended period of time can be risky owing to the risk of malnutrition, and should only be done under medical supervision. 

The body depletes its glycogen reserves during extended fasting or very low-calorie diets because blood glucose, the brain's main energy source, is reduced. When glycogen is exhausted, the body switches to ketones to power the brain, while simultaneously metabolizing body protein to create sugars for the rest of the body to consume as energy.

Although some specialists disagree, most experts feel that a prolonged fast can cause muscular atrophy. Short-term fasting, also known as intermittent fasting, has been utilized as a way of dieting to avoid the problems associated with protracted fasting.


Unsubstantiated claims that detox diets may eradicate "toxins" from the human body are pushed. Many of these diets include herbs, celery, and other low-calorie veggies like celery.

Environmentally sustainable 

Another type of diet focuses on the environment rather than the dieter's health. The BDA's One Blue Dot initiative makes recommendations for decreasing the environmental effect of diets by:

  • Limiting meat consumption to 70 grams per person each day.
  • Plant proteins should be prioritized.
  • Promoting fish from environmentally friendly sources.
  • Dairy consumption should be kept to a minimum.
  • Emphasis on starchy wholegrain meals.
  • Using seasonal, locally sourced fruits and vegetables as a marketing tool.
  • Limiting high-fat, high-sugar, and high-salt foods.
  • Make tap water and unsweetened tea/coffee the default options for hydration.
  • Food waste reduction.


Obese people can lose weight by following a variety of diets. Because weight management is based on calorie consumption, A meta-analysis of six randomized controlled trials indicated no difference in weight reduction between low-calorie, low-carbohydrate, and low-fat diets, with all studies showing a 2–4 kilogram loss over 12–18 months. Extreme diets can lead to malnutrition in certain people.

Compliance is a big issue when it comes to weight reduction and dieting.

According to some research, short-term dieting leads to a "significant" long-term weight loss, albeit this is restricted due to progressive weight recovery of 1 to 2 kg each year. Participants in organized weight-loss programs kept an average of 23 percent of their initial weight loss after five years, resulting in a sustained 3.2 percent drop in body mass, according to a 2001 meta-analysis of 29 American research.

Adverse Effects

Increased Mortality Rate 

Intentional weight loss has been linked to an increase in mortality in adults who do not have weight-related health issues, according to a number of studies. "Intentional weight loss had a small benefit for individuals classified as unhealthy, especially unhealthy obese," according to a meta-analysis of 26 studies published in 2009, "but appeared to be associated with slightly increased mortality for healthy individuals, and for those who were overweight but not obese." Supplements should not be used to substitute meals that are essential to a balanced diet.

Dieting and poor weight-control practices were linked to obesity and eating disorders five years later, according to a 2006 research, with the authors urging a "move away from dieting and harsh weight-control methods toward the long-term implementation of healthy food and physical exercise."


When the body expends more energy than it consumes, the cells turn to internally stored energy sources such as complex carbohydrates and lipids for fuel. Glycogen is the body's initial go-to energy source. Glycogen is a complex carbohydrate that is stored 65 percent in the skeletal muscles and the rest in the liver. It is made up of an excess of macronutrients, primarily carbs, that have been consumed.

When glycogen stores are nearly depleted, the body initiates lipolysis, which involves the mobilization and breakdown of fat reserves for energy. Fats from adipose tissue, or fat cells, are broken down into glycerol and fatty acids, which may be utilized to create energy, in this process. Carbon dioxide and water are the principal by-products of metabolism; carbon dioxide is excreted through the respiratory system.

Set-Point Theory

The Set-Point Theory, initially proposed in 1953, proposed that each body has a preprogrammed predetermined weight that is compensated by regulatory processes. This notion was soon taken and applied to the shortcomings of producing effective and long-term weight loss techniques. A comprehensive study published in 2019 identified consistent "energetic mistakes" in several weight-loss treatments, including alternate-day fasting and time-restricted meals, as well as exercise and overeating.

This contradicts the Set-Point Theory by demonstrating that the body cannot exactly correct for mistakes in energy/calorie intake, potentially explaining both weight loss and weight increase, such as obesity. Because this study focused on short-term trials, such a mechanism cannot be ruled out in the long run, as data for this duration is currently absent.


Meals timing 

The timing of meals is well-known to be an important aspect of any diet. Recent data suggests that innovative scheduling methods, such as intermittent fasting or skipping meals, as well as carefully positioned snacks before meals, may be beneficial in lowering cardiovascular risks as part of a larger lifestyle and nutritional adjustment.

Food diary

Dieters who kept a daily food diary lost twice as much weight as those who did not, according to a 2008 research published in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine, implying that if a person record their eating, they are more conscious of what they consume and so eat fewer calories.


According to a 2009 assessment, there is insufficient evidence that promoting water intake and swapping energy-free drinks for energy-containing beverages will help people lose weight. Drinking 500 mL of water before meals during a 12-week period resulted in higher long-term weight loss, according to a 2009 study.


At any one time, it is believed that one out of every three Americans is dieting. Women account for 85 percent of dieters. Every year, around $60 billion is spent in the United States on diet items, which include "diet foods" such as light sodas, gym memberships, and particular diet regimens. Eighty percent of dieters begin on their own, while twenty percent seek expert help or enroll in a paid program. The average dieter makes four attempts each year.

Weight loss groups

Some weight reduction organizations are for-profit, while others are non-profit. Weight Watchers and Peer Trainers are two of the former. Overeaters Anonymous, TOPS Club, and local organization-run groups are among the latter.

The conventions and procedures of these groups are vastly different. Some groups are structured on 12-step programs, while others are more casual. Some organizations promote certain prepared foods or menus, while others teach dieters how to make healthy choices from restaurant menus, grocery shopping, and cooking.

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