Addressing your diet is one of the most powerful things you can do for your health. There is nothing more we do on a regular basis (for the exception of breathing) that has such profound impact on your cognition, immunity, mental, emotional health, and overall wellness.
Our journeys towards health can start as early as the next time we take a bite. Whether you’ve thought about going on a “healthy diet”, or have done so unsuccessfully in the past, the following list can be reasons why you aren’t getting the results you want:
You aren’t getting the proper nutrients your body needs
Many diets involve being very restrictive and eating things you wouldn’t usually eat (or at least, in a higher quantity). Without the support of a licensed healthcare professional with good training on clinical nutrition (such as a naturopathic doctor, holistic nutritionist, dietician, etc), you run the risk of depriving your body of the essential nutrition that it needs to function optimally. Some diets require additional supplementation or should be done in a certain way to reduce this risk. For example, vegans are at increased risk of protein deficiency because plant based proteins are incomplete (i.e. is low in or doesn’t provide all the essential amino acids). However, if you pair your proteins in a certain way, for example, brown rice and black beans, this does provide a complete amino acid profile. A good general rule of thumb is to combine grains and legumes together to ensure you get all the essential amino acids.
Did you know that there are many hidden sources of gluten in our everyday groceries? Or that legumes/beans are a great source of protein, but are also high in fiber due to their carbohydrate content? Diet is one of the key foundations of health, and the more it is discussed with patients, the more evident it is that basic concepts such as what is a carbohydrate, a fat, or a protein are not necessarily common knowledge.
3. You have been on this diet for too long
The evidence behind many diets is usually targeted towards a specific condition or population group, such as the ketogenic diet to enhance recovery post-traumatic brain injury. Though the ketogenic diet does have health benefits, it’s also very restrictive (as most “healthy” diets are), and are not recommended to continue long term due to risk of nutrient deficiencies. Even the low FODMAP diet (which is recommended for people suffering from IBS) is only meant for short term, symptomatic relief, yet many continue this for months and years on end. There is a correct way of doing these types of diets, and an important thing to remember is more isn’t necessarily better.
4. You aren’t addressing the root cause of your symptoms
A common reason why people do different types of diets is to lose weight. While diet is one of the top things to address for this goal, there are other factors that come into play. For example, hypothyroidism (having an underactive thyroid), chronic stress, and insulin resistance, are all reasons that you may be having stubborn weight gain. Unless these are also taken into account, any amount of dieting will not result in sustainable change.
5. It isn’t the right diet for you
There are a million articles that can claim a “x” diet is great for “y”. But, diet prescription should be very targeted in order to have sustainable results. We are all individuals with different susceptibilities, family history, genetic makeup, etc. Each body is different in the way they digest food and has different requirements based on your lifestyle. What may have worked for one person may not work for you. A prominent example is fasting, touted as a great way to prolong life, help you lose weight, and detox your body. BUT this can be very dangerous if you are diabetic, because this can cause your insulin levels to go way out of range, putting you at risk for ketoacidosis (which can result in a coma). It’s important for you to consider all aspects of yourself before you embark on any radical changes.
With all the trendy diets out there, it can be overwhelming to determine what’s right for you. That is where a licensed naturopathic doctor can come into play – to ensure you’re meeting your nutritional needs and that you’re doing the diet safely, while still helping you to achieve your health goals.
Have more questions? Dr. Priscilla Tang offers free 15-min consultations for new patients. Call or book online 24/7 today!