One’s own individual health can be arguably one of the most important things throughout life. Without sufficient health, it can be extremely difficult to lead a vibrant life. Whether an individual already leads a healthy life or is looking to become healthier, it is ultimately about living a healthy lifestyle rather than fad diets here and there. The public advertising of fad diets can be dangerous because many consumers may not individually understand the molecular analysis of food. Consumers should first take the time to understand biology, specifically animal cells of humans to further learn about how foods break down in their body and how this can help them. The first thing they should take the time to do is understand basic biology of macromolecules.
The four macromolecules are proteins, DNA, carbohydrates, and lipids. These are the four main things humans need to survive. It’s not easy asking consumers to learn molecular microbiology, but having them take the time to understand that carbohydrates and lipids are crucial to a human’s development is important. Many fad diets actually do an over intake on certain things or they remove certain necessary molecules that humans need. Many consumers see it advertised that carbohydrates when broken down to into sugars and are stored as fat cells on the body. Although there is partial truth to the previous statement, that’s not how all carbohydrates function. Carbohydrates in things like breads and pastas or flour-dense foods are more of the food types high in carbohydrates that converts to energy storage/fat. Consumers will claim that they cut out bananas or other fruits because they are high in carbohydrates, but really, not all carbohydrates are bad. If it comes from the earth, it can be good for you. Fruits and vegetables are some of the best things for humans to consume.
Too much protein can actually be a bad thing for human kidneys. So many consumers who claim to be into healthy lifestyles that are all protein all the time with very little carbs may look good on the abdomen, but internally, it’s terrible for their organs. Overloading on protein and cutting out all carbohydrates is bad for the kidneys because the kidneys are having to filter too much protein and the brain isn’t getting the carbohydrates it needs to survive and function.
The calorie intake-obsessed consumers need to have a further understanding when reading the food label. Many consumers will read the caloric intake on a food label without even reading the ingredients or the percentage of sodium, fat, sugars, and proteins. A calorie is actually a unit measurement for energy, particularly heat. Although it is important to meet the calorie goal for the day, it is just as important to make sure consumers aren’t over doing the recommended percentages of sodium, fats, or sugars. Cutting calories or cutting carbs isn’t going to make consumers lose weight automatically. Weight loss is much more of an entire lifestyle change.
One of the most recent trends in fad diets has been the ketogenic diet. This diet is supposed to be high in fats, low in carbohydrates, and adequate in protein intake. This can be alarming to food scientists because the overconsumption of fat can be particularly difficult for the heart, arteries, and cholesterol. The ketogenic diet was actually aimed at children with epilepsy that have difficulties controlling it with other medicinal efforts. Consumers are seeing direct side-effects from the diet, just as with any other fad diet. Although consumers report a weight loss, it’s very plausible they may gain it back again. Some of their symptoms include something with a coined term ‘the keto flu’ where they are feeling increasingly tired and sick due to the lack of carbs in their diet. Some of keto dieters say they suffer from constipation as a direct consequence of lower fiber and many report an increase thirst. Even though the keto diet is supposed to be centered around higher fat content that protein like the Atkins diet, some consumers say they experience kidney stress due to overloading on protein.
The entire trend behind fad diets can be frustrating for food scientists trying to make the world a healthier place, but they are constantly faced with the dilemma of marketers and advertisers making certain diets and foods seem healthy by not completely explaining what is going on. Rather than advertising the percentages and ingredients in food, they advertise weight loss. Advertising weight loss is advertising beauty. Attaining beauty is obtaining societal acceptance, and even more so, desire from others. Humans are social creatures who year for societal acceptance. By becoming what society wants, it’s really just a psychological ploy for beauty standards in the marketing industry when it should be about the physical health of person, not their appearance.
By asking the food science industry to work with the marketing industry to actually frame messages around health rather than weight loss and beauty, it will benefit public health, and clarify discrepancies in the media when it comes to fads and trending diets. Food is the most important thing as it fuels our body. It’s a mechanism for daily survival. Eating a balanced diet with fruits, vegetables, fresh seafood, and whole grains promotes good health. It’s not about cutting out things, rather making sure an individual’s body is actually putting the right formula of foods into it. Nutritionists can also help industries understand that health is individual, and marketing to an entire audience of people isn’t going to help everyone. All bodies are different.