Diets that lose weight usually include a restricted diet. The 5:2 diet relies on limiting calories, and the ketogenic diet relies on limiting certain types of food. However, studies have shown that over time, strict dieting leads to higher body mass index (BMI) and greater likelihood of overweight in the future. There is also evidence that limiting diet leads to concerns about food, guilt about eating, and higher levels of depression, anxiety, and tress. So, if diet can’t always help you lose weight and can lead to psychological problems, is there any other solution?
Recently, the concept of “intuitive diet” has received increasing attention. The intuitive diet was promoted by two dieticians, Evelyn Tribole and Elyse Resch, who published a book on the subject and developed a website dedicated to the subject. The purpose of eating with intuition is to listen to your body and let it guide you when you eat, not by environmental, emotional or dietary regulations. This concept is similar to the mindfulness diet, and these two terms are often used interchangeably. The mindfulness diet includes cultivating awareness of internal hunger and satiety and consciously choosing food. It emphasizes the importance of paying attention to the emotions and physical feelings of eating.
Unlike other diets, intuitive diets encourage you to eat whatever you want – no food is taboo. Although some may think that this may lead people who insist on this diet to eat more high-fat or high-sugar foods, studies have shown that this is not the case. In fact, supporters of intuitive diets believe that the more you limit yourself, the more likely you are to overeating in the future. The concept of intuitive diet is simple, it does not involve complex eating rules. But what does the evidence show?
Have a positive impact on mental health
In terms of weight loss, it is unclear whether an intuitive diet is more effective than a calorie restriction. The results of observational studies have found that people who eat intuitively have a lower BMI than those who do not intuitively eat. However, because people who limit their diet may be because their BMI is already high, it is difficult to determine the true effect of an intuitive diet. In addition, the results of intervention studies for overweight or obese people are less clear.
For example, one review found that only two of the eight studies they evaluated found that an intuitive diet can reduce weight. In a recent study, only 8 of the 16 studies found weight loss. Of the 8 studies, only 3 showed significant weight loss. Unlike other diets, the focus of an intuitive diet is not on losing weight, but on the reasons people eat. Therefore, even if its effectiveness as a weight loss method is uncertain, it can still provide benefits by promoting healthy eating behavior. This possibility is supported by research that suggests that an intuitive diet may lead to overeating symptoms and a reduction in eating for external and emotional reasons.
Intuitive diets are also associated with a more positive body image, physical satisfaction, positive emotional function, and higher self-esteem. Finally, a recent study found that higher levels of intuition intake predicted lower symptoms of eating disorders than calories and frequent self-weighing. This is in contrast to the typical restrictive diet, which is associated with an increased risk of eating disorders, which may be greater for those with depression and inferiority. Although more research is needed to determine whether an intuitive diet can lead to weight loss, its positive impact on mental health and healthy eating behavior is promising.
Listen to yourself
One problem with intuitive eating is that it assumes that we can accurately determine how hungry or full we are. Studies have shown that those who are more adept at perceiving inner feelings are more intuitive when eating. However, because there is evidence that people with eating disorders have difficulty recognizing signals from within the body, some people may have difficulty responding to an intuitive diet simply because they have difficulty listening to their body.
In addition, while it seems logical to simply feed on the basis of internal rather than environmental cues, for many it is not a practical solution. The time you eat is often beyond your control, such as adhering to a specific family meal time, or having lunch at a designated time during your work. Although in principle it seems ideal to eat when you are hungry, in practice this is not always possible.
Intuitive diet may be an effective way to lose weight, but so far there is not enough evidence to suggest that it is more effective than traditional calorie-restricted diets. However, the benefits of diet for mental health intuitively indicate that it is a healthier way of eating. It may not be for everyone, especially those who have difficulty feeling the feeling in their body.
But when everything around us seems to tell us what to eat and how much to eat, take the time to listen to your body and find out what you need, perhaps valuable.