The Negative Social Media Impact on Fad Dieting and Unhealthy Weight Loss

healthy weight loss

Get to know more about a healthy – eating – lifestyle with expert Dietician, Dana Al Shakaa, AL Zahra Hospital Dubai

Common Misconceptions About Nutrition & Dieting

Maintaining a healthy diet should not be complex. All you must do is find the right balance between acquiring your nutritional needs and satisfying your cravings. However, with the rise of the internet and the media, a large amount of information is obtained from non-scientific articles, social media, reviews and other unofficial information which spread false data. With all the information we receive from different outlets, it has become difficult to identify false details from those that are true, making diets sound like a complex almost impossible practice.

Nutritionists receive numerous nutrition-related health misconceptions from patients, mostly derived from the internet, promising to receive unrealistic results through simple and tempting methods. These misconceptions have become so popular that they are believed by almost everyone.

“Some of the misconceptions that are common include those that carbohydrates are bad for health, green tea helps in burning fat, Gluten-free is a healthier choice, detox diets work efficiently, people with high cholesterol should not eat eggs, and that milk or dairy is bad for health” – Dana Al Shakaa, Expert Nutritionist at Al Zahra Hospital Dubai

In some cases, after struggling to stick to a healthy lifestyle, people feel desperate in finding a cure to their issues which drives them to try any recommended remedies that sound promising. Social media also plays a very big role in promoting misconceptions about diets through uncertified practitioners who are looking for fame, unfortunately people believe their claims hoping for quick fixes for their health issues.

Additionally, there are numerous diets that have come to fame recently including the Keto diet and Veganism. When it comes to such diets it is important to remember that a healthy diet is one that serves all your needs in terms of nutrients and promotes normal body functions. It does not necessarily have to be labeled or have a specific name. Diets like Keto, intermittent fasting and veganism are dietary patterns that do not necessarily work for everyone and might be very restrictive making them less sustainable.

For instance, ketogenic diet requires large amounts of fat intake, initially established to help control the symptoms of epilepsy. In the past few years, the ketogenic diet has been promoted for weight loss only. In reality, it is not recommended in combination with many health conditions and should be followed up by a dietitian or doctor. 

A vegan diet can be nutritionally adequate only if all nutrients are properly compensated from plant-based foods and others are provided through supplementation.

It is also important to highlight that people should avoid being on and off diets all the time, which is what is known as “yo-yo” dieting. This practice reduces your metabolism in the long run and makes it even harder to lose weight. If you find a dietary pattern that you are comfortable with which provides you with all essential nutrients, it is better to turn it into a lifestyle. You can still lose weight by reducing your intake of calories without the need to follow many different approaches.

If you are looking to find information on health, always look into health organizations and licensed practitioners, rather than articles written by uncertified individuals, if the title is too good to be true, then the content probably is as well.    

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