Bursting the diet culture bubble in 2023

Aspen Valley Hospital dietitians offer guidance on establishing a healthy diet during the new year. And it may be different advice than what you’re used to.
Getty Images/Malte Mueller

It’s “New Year, New You” season, when the wellness industry points out flaws and offers solutions. Through this marketing model, the biz expects to reach $7.6 billion by 2030.

The concept of physical self-improvement is always in the cultural zeitgeist. However, the discourse surrounding weight loss and “healthy habits” seems to explode around this time of year, according to Lauren Mitchell, a registered dietitian at Aspen Valley Hospital.

With the new year looming ahead, individuals may feel pressured by friends, family, or individuals online to try weight-loss practices like fad diets or unsustainable exercise regimes, she said.

A survey of 413 U.S. citizens found the top-three most common new year resolutions for 2023 are to exercise more, to eat healthier, and to lose weight.

While many earnestly wish to lose weight or establish healthy habits in the coming trek around the sun, the discourse this time of year can also place unnecessary burdens on people that are rooted in misinformation.

If you spend five minutes scrolling online, you may find yourself sifting through a labyrinth of quick-fix weight-loss regimens rather than sustainable healthy solutions. Influencers and marketers will try to sell you catch all supplements, detoxes, or diet plans that they claim will “empower you” but are really meant to profit them.

Mitchell said people should be wary of anyone selling something that will “jumpstart a diet.”

“It’s not always sustainable to do something like a keto diet or the paleo diet or these very-strict, fasting-diet fads,” she said. “I think one thing a lot of dietitians across the board will always preach is lifestyle change — something that’s attainable and realistic — that you can achieve.”

According to a study from the Journal of Food Research, “Fad diets have been linked with many physiological conditions, such as cardiovascular disease, renal dysfunction, and osteoporosis, as well as…

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