Image: unsplash

Dieting and Weight Loss Culture Explained

Did we understand dieting wrong all this time?
Did we understand dieting wrong all this time?

We all have some standard understanding of dieting and weight loss culture in general. However, experts have a new definition of what dieting is and the best way of losing weight. We have followed the same rules for many years, but the new research might give you a new insight.

Michael Lowe, PhD, a professor in Drexel University’s College of Arts and Sciences, is helping us understand the real problems and how to overcome them. Despite what we have previously known, dieting itself is not the issue. The real problem is modern food and our strong desire to eat it whenever available. Therefore, becoming obese is very easy in today’s environment. 

According to the new study, there is a genetic predisposition toward excessive weight gain. Not to say, in today’s society, food is accessible for most people. We are prone to gaining weight, and it is linked to our dieting, explains the experts. Together with its students, Joanna Chen and Simar Singh, Lowe published the research in Appetite and Physiology & Behavior

“Research regarding the definition and consequences of dieting has generated controversy for years. This controversy has spilled over into the public domain, especially as eating disorders and obesity have become more prevalent. One of the earliest and longest-lasting controversies involves the restrained eating framework created by University of Toronto professors Peter Herman and Janet Polivy in the mid-1970s,” said Lowe.

Lowe and his team found that dieting is a consequence of a toxic food environment. Previous researches point out the link between weight and emotional connection with food as chronic dieting. However, in the mid-1970s, researchers didn’t know that western societies were heading to obesity and eating disorders. 

“Stated differently, asking whether dieting is ‘good or bad’ is analogous to asking if taking methadone is good or bad,” Lowe said. “If someone goes on a weight loss diet because of unwanted weight gain or loss of control eating, then dieting will at least temporarily improve these conditions. Just as taking methadone is a consequence of a pre-existing susceptibility to drug addiction, dieting is usually a consequence of a pre-existing susceptibility to obesity or loss of control eating.”

The new research shows that changing our food environment is the best way to lose weight. Dieting is just a short term cure for weight loss. Experts explain that the actual cause is the food we eat. An unhealthy food environment is like the “tobacco environment” from the 1950s.