Teenage dieting is very commonly practiced by teens due to many reasons. Some are at an unhealthy weight and need to pay closer attention to the eating and exercise habits while others play sports and want to be in top physical condition. Others may do it to look and feel better by losing a few pounds.
What is teenage dieting?
Dieting is a practice of eating food in a regulated way to decrease, maintain or increase body weight. Losing weight can help prevent and treat diseases like diabetes and obesity. Dieting to lose weight is recommended for teens with weight-related health problems but not for healthy teens.
Should teenagers diet?
Teens need to be careful about dieting. Extreme dieting can cause problems if they aren’t getting the right kind and amount of nutrients. But eating healthy meals and snacks and exercising can help to lose weight and support normal growth. Regular exercise can help teens feel healthier and better.
The best way to diet is to eat a variety of healthy food. Aim to eat more fruits and vegetables, whole grains, and drink water instead of sugary drinks like sports drinks or sodas. Cut back on meats high in fat like burgers and hot dogs, fried foods, sweets, and other junk food.
Benefits and disadvantages of teenage dieting
- Going on a diet can help mentally as food plays an important contributing role in the development, management and prevention of specific mental health problems. Such as depression, schizophrenia, and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. It was reported by a study that nearly two-thirds of those eating healthy like fruits and vegetables report less mental health problems.
- Prevents long-term illnesses like type 2 diabetes, breast cancer, heart diseases and osteoporosis.
- Dieting makes feel better and become attractive by improving confidence.
- Improves overall life expectancy and leads to healthier nutrition.
- More energy for work, school, and social activities.
- It affects mental health negatively also like depression
- Increased risk of eating disorders like eating too little (anorexia) or eating a lot (bulimia)
- It can lower metabolism rates
- Cause clogging
- Cause dehydration and acidosis
- Skin rashes
- Red eyes
Good diets for teenagers
A healthy diet should consist of more healthy foods like fruits, vegetables, nuts, beans and many more. Also, cut down on any sweet or sugar food like candy or ice cream.
Teens need enough calories to keep the bodies running well. Any diet which doesn’t provide enough calories and important nutrients can be harmful. Extreme low-fat diets also can be bad. Everyone needs some fat in the diet, so don’t eat a completely fat-free diet as some calories come from fat.
Don’t fall for diets that restrict food groups. Diets that say no to carbs like bread or pasta or advise the consumption of only fruits are unhealthy. They lack adequate vitamins and minerals present. And although one may lose weight at first, these diets don’t usually work in the long run.
Apart from dieting, exercise daily with also help. Be active every day and play sports in school.
Some great diets to find good health is –
- Drink fat-free, low-fat milk or water instead of sugary drinks
- Eat at least five servings a day of fruits and vegetables
- Choose a variety of protein foods like lean meat and poultry, seafood, beans, soy products, and nuts
- Eat whole grains like whole-wheat bread, brown rice and oatmeal which provide fiber to help feel full
- Eat breakfast before going out or school
- Don’t take diet pills or supplements
When to see a nutritionist?
The danger signs to contact a nutritionist are –
- Continuing to diet, even if not overweight
- Eating in secret, sneaking food, or feeling out of control when eating
- Thinking about food all the time
- Restricting activities or avoiding family and friends because of food, need to exercise, or fear of food
- Wearing baggy clothes as a way to hide thinness
- Vomiting after meals or using laxatives
- Feeling weak, lightheaded, or dizzy from not eating
Striving for a healthy weight and healthier eating habits is always a positive thing to do. If teens start watching their weight early in life and stick with healthy habits like eating whole foods and exercising, they may be able to avoid weight problems later in life.