When freelance writer Tara Goodrum let her healthy lifestyle slide, she thought she’d deal with dreaded weight gain. Her weight actually stayed the same, but that didn’t mean her body wasn’t changing in other ways.
Eating Gone Wild
Tara’s move from New York to London, followed by a trip to Asia caused her to throw all dietary caution to the wind. After all, what better way to celebrate a life transition than with food? However, diets and food restrictions often lead to binges. Food has physical effects, but also mental ones. While discipline is good, obsession isn’t and can lead to thought behavior that mimics that of eating disorder patients.
Mental Effects of Eating Anything
Using food as a reward – or as a reason for punishment – just isn’t healthy. Nothing’s wrong with having dessert every now and then; a healthy diet includes some treats. Yet when it becomes a daily occurrence, those high-calorie treats tend to replace essential fresh produce, healthy fats, and lean protein.
Fatigue, moodiness, and irritability are some of the most obvious negative mental effects. Disrupted sleep, obsessive thoughts about food, and higher stress levels also come into play. Tara experienced all of these side effects when her diet consisted heavily of alcohol, refined starches, and fried foods.
It’s Not Just About Weight
The adverse effects of these foods led to some nasty physical problems as well. Tara’s diet wreaked havoc on her digestive system, making constant bloating and stomachaches the norm. She also experienced skin breakouts, weak joints, and body aches and pains.
Once she returned to her regular healthy lifestyle, her body was weak, her muscles out of practice, and exercise was a huge struggle. Her symptoms began to fade, but it took months to feel back to her regular self. It goes to show that the number on the scale doesn’t reflect how the internal systems suffer.
The Poor Nutrition Epidemic
The typical American diet consists of excess calories, carbohydrates, sodium, and added sugar. It contributes to an epidemic of poor health including tooth decay, high blood pressure and cholesterol, cardiovascular diseases, osteoporosis, depression, eating disorders, and cancer. It’s expensive to treat these diseases, too. The treatment of type 2 diabetes alone costs $245 billion annually.¹
Overconsumption of processed foods overloads the liver with sugar, causing fat accumulation in the body. This can lead to cardiovascular diseases². These foods also cause ghrelin, “the hunger hormone,” to light up the pleasure center in the brain, which encourages overeating.
The keto diet actually decreases the risk of heart disease because it reduces triglycerides, LDL cholesterol, and blood sugar. The diet emphasizes portion control and whole, natural foods. Perhaps it’s one piece of solving the nutrition puzzle in America.
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