- Advertisement -

Why (crash) diets often don’t work, but we should eat less

2 14

Why (crash) diets often don’t work, but we should eat less

Maintaining weight is one of the most important things you can do to grow old healthily and to reduce the risk of various diseases. ‘Just don’t do that with the latest crash diet,’ says Angelika Beich, professor at Wageningen University & Research.

- Advertisement -

One in two Dutch people over the age of eighteen is overweight and therefore runs an increased risk of cardiovascular disease, diabetes or certain forms of cancer. It therefore seems promising to lose five kilos in six weeks with a diet. Simply following a diet in the long term often does not make sense. Angelika: ‘A diet stops again and with that there can also be a relapse. However, the key does lie in eating and drinking less.’

Less temptation

Because we overeat, says Angelika: ‘It is also difficult. Everywhere you walk, food is offered. At the gas station, on the platform, at the cash register. You don’t have to make any effort. That temptation should be less as far as I’m concerned. Because many people automatically choose the unhealthy option. And those unhealthy options, such as hamburgers and soft drinks, are not filling, but they do contain a lot of calories.’

- Advertisement -

That is why it starts with awareness: what are many calories in and what are unhealthy products? ‘You don’t have to read a hip diet book for that. Moreover, the effects of many of those diets are not always well substantiated scientifically. For example, that fasting reduces the risk of cancer has so far only been shown in mouse studies.’

Know what works

Fortunately, we know from science what does work, says Angelika. ‘And that’s simple. A diet in which you eat fiber-rich and plant-based products more often, drink less soft drinks and alcohol (an average glass of Gin and Tonic contains about 175 calories and is also unhealthy), plus by leaving red meat a little more often. If you stay below a BMI of 25 with that ‘simple’ diet, you are doing really well.’

- Advertisement -

Filling yourself with good nutrition will also make you less likely to fall for the unhealthy options. ‘Dietary fibers are the crux of this. They are found in whole-wheat bread and whole-wheat pasta, brown rice and in vegetables and fruit. For example, if you eat a whole wheat sandwich with peanut butter, you are quickly satiated. Then you don’t fall 1-2-3 for something else.’

By changing your behavior step by step, the pounds may go off more slowly than with a (crash) diet. ‘But you do change your lifestyle that way and you’re really good. Many lifestyle diseases can be prevented by eating healthy. Fifty percent of colon cancer can be prevented with it. Eating less and healthy makes a real difference.’

Show Comments (2)