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The Past and Future of Diet Trends | Momental Nootropics

The Past and Future of Diet Trends | Momental Nootropics

Obesity is on the rise. It is estimated that over 70% of the adult population of the United States is overweight or obese, a trend that has been steadily rising since the 1960s. Rates of obesity among both men and women are now over three times as high as they were in the 1970s.

If you have ever tried to lose weight, you know how difficult it can be. Shedding unwanted pounds can be a struggle, both physically and mentally. It makes sense, then, that many people turn to fad diets that promise quick weight loss or convince dieters that they can achieve their weight loss goals with minimal effort.

Despite the relative newness of the nation’s obesity epidemic, dieting is not a new trend. Even in the past when rates of overweight and obesity were significantly lower, many people still had a desire to lose weight and thus fad diets were still around. Through the years, people have resorted to some interesting methods to try to lose weight quickly. Here’s a run down of some of the most popular diet trends of the last century, and a look at how we got to where we are today with more well-rounded, healthy diets and weight loss plans.

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Smoking as Dieting

Perhaps the most harmful diet trend in recent times was one of the first to be popularized. In the 1920s, Lucky Strike brand cigarettes perpetuated the idea that smoking cigarettes can help with weight loss in an advertising campaign. The company infamously told consumers to, “reach for a Lucky instead of a sweet.”

This advertising campaign aimed to convince women to simply smoke cigarettes instead of snacking in order to keep a slim body. Though the ads capitalized one society’s standards for female body type, women were actually not the only targets. Some Lucky Strike ads were even geared specifically towards men who may be struggling with their weight, showcasing a man who was overweight next to a slimmed down version of the same man, with cigarette in hand, of course. No matter the gender being targeted, the advertisements always advised consumers to “reach for a Lucky instead.”

Of course, Lucky Strike was not the only cigarette company to attempt to lure in customers with this type of advertising. The deceiving marketing tactics of essentially all cigarette companies throughout the 20th century are well known and discussed today. What makes it all the worse is that when these advertisements were in their heyday, in the earlier decades of the 1900s, the public was largely unaware of the many negative health consequences of smoking cigarettes and using other tobacco products.

Even if smoking can help someone reduce their snack cravings, hardly anyone would argue that it is worth the risk of lung cancer, emphysema, heart disease, and other illnesses that cigarettes often cause. If you feel that oral activity helps you reduce your tendency to snack, try keeping a water bottle around at all times and take a sip whenever you feel an unnecessary craving hit.

The Cabbage Soup Diet

Popularized in the 1950s, and still utilized by some people looking to drop extra weight extremely fast today, the cabbage soup diet is an extremely limited diet plan that promises to help dieters shed up to 15 pounds a week. This may sound appealing, other than the fact that you can only eat cabbage soup.

This diet is nowhere near the worst of the bunch. Soup is typically a good, healthy choice for dieters, as it feels hearty and filling while being low in calories and carbohydrates (as long as it is a broth based, and not cream based, soup). Cabbage is bulky in size while being very low in calories and fat, so you can eat a very high volume of it without consuming many calories which is key for weight loss. It also contains calcium, vitamin C, and vitamin K among other micronutrients, as well as a solid amount of fiber. As far as fad diets go, the cabbage soup diet is not as harmful to your health as many other popular trends over the years.

The problem with the cabbage soup diet is the lack of variety. If you eat the same thing every day, you will surely miss out on certain macro and micronutrients that your body needs to thrive. Over time, your body will begin to suffer from lack of these nutrients. You can take a supplement to make up for lack of nutrients, but nothing compares to getting these nutrients straight from the source by eating a variety of fruits and vegetables every day.

Such a restrictive diet also is not a sustainable way to eat in the long term. You may be able to stomach eating cabbage soup daily for a short amount of time, but at some point you will always crave, and need, other foods. If your weight loss was based solely on eating this one food, once you introduce other foods back into your diet, no matter how healthy, you will gain weight. Plus, you will not have actually learned healthy habits and how to eat to maintain a low weight for your body, so you will continue to gain weight.

It is better to take things slow and steady, and learn healthy habits and what works for your body in regards to weight loss and weight maintenance. The cabbage soup diet may help you lose some weight fast, but it will not stay off, and the diet is not a sustainable long term plan for living a healthy lifestyle.

Weight Watchers

In the early 1960s, Weight Watchers was founded by Jean Nidetch. In the decades since, Weight Watchers has undergone multiple changes to its diet plan, centered around a “points” system. The diet giant is one of the longest-standing diet companies, and still has millions of users, a testament to the positive impact it can make on the lives of members. Oprah even joined in as a part-owner in 2015 and has become a popular spokesperson for the brand.

The company’s diet plan, in which a point value is assigned to foods and memers track their points throughout the day, has gone through many revamps over the years. While the specific numeric value assigned to every food has changed over the years, their philosophy has remained the same. Weight Watchers has always been about a way of eating rather than a specific set of food guidelines, which is a smart way to go about dieting. Learning about how to eat in order to feel satisfied without overeating is an important skill for everyone to learn to maintain a healthy weight for life. Weight Watchers promotes eating a balanced diet, incorporating exercise, and reducing emotional eating in order to lose weight and keep it off. Members can also attend weekly meetings with other people trying to lose weight and learn and discuss healthy habits, recipes, or any victories or struggles they have had throughout the week.

Weight Watchers is a game-changer for many people trying to lose weight. It does not promote completely cutting out any food group or severely restricting calories, which is a good thing. But, someone following Weight Watchers may still not be eating the healthiest diet. Under their diet plan, you can essentially eat anything you want as long as you do not exceed a certain number of calories per day. This can help people lose weight, but also still promotes eating overly processed diet smoothies, shakes, and bars, as well as other processed snacks, which are not healthy in the long run. Newer Weight Watchers plans increased the focus on whole foods such as fruits, vegetables, and lean protein, which is certainly a step in the right direction.

Still, unless you feel you really need the support of attending weekly meetings, Weight Watchers is probably not worth it. It is better to focus on eating a whole foods, unprocessed, plant based diet with the smallest amount of processed foods possible. At the end of the day, Weight Watchers helps dieters lose weight by having them track the foods they eat, so if this is effective for you, you can save your money and accomplish the same thing by using a free calorie counting application such as MyFitnessPal.

The Low Fat Diet

Once upon a time, Americans freely ate meats and other foods cooked in butter without a second thought. This changed in the 1970s, when a popular study by Dr. Ancel Keys, known as The Seven Countries Study, spread the idea that saturated fat is harmful for health. The Seven Countries Study certainly contained some important information, and even introduced many people in the West to the idea of the healthy Mediterranean diet. But, the study should not have been taken as fact, and it unfortunately sparked dietary reform that shaped the way Americans ate for decades.

Still, Dr. Keys is not responsible for the low fat craze that started to sweep America in the following decades. The Seven Countries Study, regardless of whether or not you agree with its claims, did not demonize all fat. It purported that unsaturated fat was health-promoting, while saturated fat was harmful for health. Though this claim in itself is problematic, it did not specifically call for the popularity of low fat foods that followed.

The first obvious things to be demonized by the anti-saturated fat dogma were overt fats, like butter, which was commonly used in cooking. Butter began to commonly be replaced by things like vegetable oils and margarine. In the long run, foods like margarine are actually worse for you, as they are artificial and filled with ingredients not naturally found in a whole foods diet.

Over time, the anti-saturated fat sentiment began to translate to a fear of all fats, and the trend of producing artificial foods with the fat removed became increasingly popular. Processed snacks began to fill the pantries of Americans, who falsely believed they were “healthy” because of the low or absent fat content. However, these foods were typically high in sugar, artificial sweeteners, and processed carbohydrates.

Clearly, given the obesity trend that ensued in the following years, this trend did not end well. Eating low fat simply drew people to eat more processed foods and sugar, which in turn typically causes weight gain. These types of foods are not filling, and thus people must eat a higher volume and higher number of calories in order to feel full and satisfied, which leads to weight gain, not loss. It is almost impossible to eat a very low fat diet for weight loss and still maintain enough energy to sustain you throughout the day. Fat is essential for brain health and building muscle, so even if you stay away from the super-processed foods that became part of the popular low fat diet, it is ultimately still not the best route to take for weight loss and overall health.

The Atkins Diet

Around the same time as many people began severely limiting their fat intake, others became enamoured by The Atkins Diet. The Atkins Diet was actually developed by cardiologist Robert Atkins in the 1960s, but experienced a resurgence in popularity in 1992 when Dr. Atkins published the book Dr. Atkins New Diet Revolution.

Dr. Atkins’ approach rightfully denounces the low-fat, high carbohydrate diet that many people believed was the right way to go. Rather, Atkins advises people to eat a low-carbohydrate, high protein diet. The claim with this diet is that dieters will lose weight as long as they severely restrict carbohydrate intake; they can do this while eating essentially as much protein and fat as they wish.

The upside of the Atkins diet is that it does not ask dieters to track calories with every meal, which can turn some people off and ultimately cause them to not follow a diet whatsoever. However, the severe restriction of carbohydrates is difficult for many people. Additionally, eating too much protein may actually not be a good thing, as excess protein can turn to sugar.

Another problem with the Atkins Diet is that it claims it will help dieters lose weight fast. Though this is an appealing idea, you should actually stay away from diets that make this claim. Unfortunately, there is no fast track to weight loss, especially weight loss that you want to maintain. Any diet company that makes this claim is either lying or promoting a way of eating that is unsustainable over time. In the long run, it is better to lose weight slowly and actually be able to keep it off.

The Atkins Diet also claims that exercise is not necessary as part of its diet plan. While it is true that what you eat, particularly caloric intake, is significantly more important for weight loss than exercise, exercise is a crucial part of a healthy lifestyle. Exercise helps prevent chronic diseases, builds muscle (which in turn burns fat), maintains cellular function, and is great for mental health and energy. Any diet that tells people that exercise is not important does not have the health of its followers in mind.

Today: Whole Foods and Brain Health

Over the years, the general public has hopped on the bandwagon of some questionable diet trends. Today, things are different. After years of trendy, oftentimes expensive, diets only led to a growing obesity crisis, dieters have become more wary of what plans they decide to follow. Finally, most people are following diet plans based on what actually works in terms of weight loss, and makes them feel good while they diet. When it comes to the diets that will stand the test of time, it really comes down to common sense. Severely limiting yourself will not make you feel good over time; you need variety, you need to eat enough to fuel your body and have energy, and you need to eat real food.

Rather than simply losing weight, there is now a strong emphasis on healthy lifestyles. Every time you log on to social media, it is likely that a picture of a salad or healthy breakfast plate, or a status update about a great run will be one of the first things to pop up. A positive shift has taken place where people are more focused on fitness and general health than being thin or fitting into a certain size of jeans. The most popular diet trends follow the same pattern.

Today, many people, especially those in fitness circles, are interested in whole foods, plant-based eating. This is not to be confused with a plant-based vegan diet, which excludes all animal products. Rather, the popular plant-based diet of today simply focuses on vegetables and fruits, with a healthy dose of nuts, meats, fish, and occasional full-fat dairy products. Most people have realized that following a very strict “diet” that severely limits caloric intake or the intake of a major macronutrient group does not help them in the long run.

One of the most positive aspects of today’s diet trend is the return to eating fat. As previously mentioned, fat, especially saturated fat, has been wrongly demonized for decades. Now, fat is once again an important component of diets, as people have realized how essential it is for energy levels, cognitive functioning, and fitness. This is why diets such as the paleo diet, the keto diet, and the nootropic diet are so popular today, and for good reason.

All three diets are relatively similar, but with some key differences. All of them focus on eating real, whole foods, and recommend eliminating processed foods from the diet as much as possible. They all focus on fat and protein as important components to feel your best and maintain a healthy body composition. But, paleo and keto diets are based on ideologies that can be limiting for some people. They also restrict carbohydrates to a point that is difficult for many people to maintain, and beyond the point of necessity.

The nootropic diet is a perfect balance of healthy eating principles. Like the paleo and keto diets, the nootropic diet focuses on eating whole, unprocessed foods, including fat from sources like fatty fish, plant oils, whole eggs, nuts, and avocado. But, unlike paleo and keto diets, the nootropic diet supports people eating carbohydrates, as long as they are from the right sources. This is where many people have their downfall with carbohydrates; they consume them from the wrong sources, like breads, pastas, and processed snacks, where most of the nutrients such as fiber have been stripped in processing. Rather, the nootropic diet recommends eating carbohydrates from sources such as oats, lentils, cruciferous vegetables, and sweet potatoes.

The reason the guidelines of the nootropic diet differ from those of the other two lie in the focus of the diet. Paleo and keto diets, along with many diet plans, focus mainly on fitness and body composition. These two things are certainly important, but they are not the only things that matter. The nootropic diet focuses on the most important organ in the body: the brain. The brain needs a well-rounded diet full of a variety of micronutrients so it can run at its best, and keep you feeling your best day after day. Eating clean, and making sure to eat a variety of all the macronutrients is essential for brain health as well.

Another advantage of the nootropic diet over the paleo or keto diet is that it is not based on a certain ideology. Rather, its goal is for optimal brain health by eating a well-rounded diet free of ingredients that are harmful for both the body and mind. The goal is to focus on eating healthy, whole foods, and definitely eating enough fat for a neurological protective factor. Other than that, it is in the hands of the dieter to decide specifically what they want to eat.

This flexibility is very appealing to most people. The nootropic diet provides guidelines on how to eat to best fuel your brain and body, but when it comes down to it, it is about feeling your best. In addition to eating whole foods, nootropic supplements can help you achieve your goals on a brain health-focused diet. These supplements help keep energy levels stable and provide an extra boost of nutrients and healthy fats, and help keep you on track with your diet and lifestyle goals.

Diet trends come and go, but staying healthy is always important. Now that people have discovered the simplicity and effectiveness of a whole foods, plant-based diet, this trend likely is not going anywhere. Future diet trends are more likely to be based on slight tweaks to this solid idea, with more emphasis on brain health rather than only physical health. Similar to what happened when this trend got started, once people catch wind of eating for both cognitive performance and physical health, the popularity is sure to spread.

Try to find an eating plan that not only helps you achieve weight loss goals, but also helps you feel your best in body and mind. Trust your body and eat foods found in nature that make you feel good and fuel you with enough energy each day for your professional goals, social obligations, and exercise. If you follow these simple guidelines, you will find the diet that helps you look and feel your best for life.

Mind and Mend are the perfect day and night nutrition solutions while on a ketogenic diet. Both products contribute to natural brain and body processes while remaining keto friendly. 

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