The Scary Truth About Dieting

Let's face it, diets don't work...but did you know they actually cause significant damage to our overall health and wellbeing?

Stop. If you or someone you love has been or is currently on a diet you must read this now.

News flash, not only do diets not work…they are actually hazardous to your health! I wish I was reporting a brand-new study, but the truth is this has been public knowledge since the early 1990’s.

Despite the scientific evidence, new diets have littered bookshelves, magazines, and now social media for the last 3+ decades, while medical doctors and dieticians alike prescribe calorie restrictive diets to “help” their patients lose weight.

If you have been on diets yourself, or maybe you have watched someone try several diets over the years, you may have realized by now that diets don’t really work in the long term. They are not sustainable. Not only are they not sustainable they are both biologically and psychologically damaging and create several negative side-effects.

Biological Effects of Dieting

When looking at weight-gain it is important to remember that our human bodies did not always have access to the grocery store or restaurant when they needed energy. There are certain biological mechanisms that kept us alive during periods of famine and starvation, such as storing fat. The ability to store fat meant you lived, and the more fat you could store the better because your body didn’t know when the next time it was going to get more food.

Those biological mechanisms are still at play in our modern world. So, when you restrict calories, or diet, you are signaling to your body that you are starving, and that it is time to turn on the survival mechanisms. The problem is chronic dieting, or dieting again and again, signal these responses repeatedly, causing some significant biological health issues.

  • Chronic dieting causes the body to retain more fat each time you diet. A low-calorie intake automatically triggers the production of twice the number of enzymes used to make and store body fat, helping the body to store more fat (energy) for when the starvation period (diet) is over.
  • Metabolism decreases with each diet. A study from the reality weight-loss show, The Biggest Loser, revealed that at the end of the contest the participant’s leptin levels were almost nonexistent which left them constantly feeling hungry. In addition to the low leptin levels, the thyroid and other bodily mechanisms were slowed creating a perfect storm for a slow metabolism. Six years following the contest, the participants gained most, if not all, of their weight back (most lost a staggering 100 pounds in just 30 weeks!). Their leptin levels never rebounded which made the weight gain inevitable. Losing weight too quickly has long term effects (Godman, 2018).
  • Dieting increases binges and cravings. In research studies, both humans and rats have been shown to overeat after a chronic restriction of food. The restriction stimulates the brain to send a cascade of signals to eat more because the body is trying to survive the self-imposed starvation.
  • Dieting increases the risk of premature death and heart disease. The Farmington Heart Study, a 32-year-long study found that people whose weight repeatedly goes up and down (yo-yo dieting, weight cycling, or losing weight and gaining it back repeatedly) have a higher overall death rate and twice the normal risk of dying from heart disease. This is independent of the weight of the person and cardiovascular risks (Lissner et al., 1991).
  • A Harvard Alumni Health study found similar results and reported that people who lose and gain at least 11 pounds within a decade don’t live as long as those that maintain a stable weight (Lee, 1992).
  • Dieters lose the ability to listen to satiety cues. Eating at self-imposed limits instead of your inner satiety cues of hunger and fullness conditions you to ignore your own cues and eat increasingly larger amounts of food.
  • Dieting causes you to store fat in your abdomen. Yo-yo dieters usually regain wight in the abdominal area, this type of fat storage that surrounds vital organs increases the risk of heart disease.

Psychological and Emotional Effects of Dieting

If the negative biological effects to our health aren’t enough to make you swear off dieting, then the psychological and emotional effects will send you running for the hills. The sad truth about dieting is that it diminishes our self-worth, validates that we are inadequate the way we are, and is the breeding ground for eating disorders and disordered eating behaviors.

At the National Institutes of Health Weight Loss and Control Conference in 1992, it was reported that:

  • Dieting is linked to eating disorders. Dieters were 8 times more likely to develop an eating disorder by the age of 15 than non-dieters.
  • Dieting can cause stress and make the dieter more vulnerable to the effects of stress.
  • Dieting is correlated with feelings of failure, low self-esteem, and social anxiety. This is independent of the person’s weight.
  • Dieting can make the dieter vulnerable to losing control and overeating when they feel they have violated the “rules” of the diet, even if it was just a perceived offense instead of an actual one.

Another report published in the Journal of the American Dietetic Association revealed that dieting gradually erodes confidence and self-trust. Larger individuals believe that they have a fundamental character deficit otherwise they would not have become large. While it is common for larger individuals to experience depression and binge eating, the authors argue that these are behavioral symptoms of dieting. Unfortunately, these people view these symptoms as the reason for the “failure,” when in reality it is the dieting that is the problem (Wooley & Garner, 1991).

That’s some scary shit, right? When I discovered all of this info, I wanted to rush out and tell everyone I knew, because why make ourselves miserable and hurt ourselves in the process? I was blown away by the effects even though I have experienced them myself.

Its unnecessary harm done with no benefit.

There’s a better way to live than to be a slave to counting calories or macros and learning to hate yourself in the process while cultivating behavioral patterns that do not serve your wellbeing.

It’s my mission to end dieting by helping people to embrace their intuitive knowing of what their bodies need to thrive and be nourished. It is a journey to heal from a life of dieting and one that goes beyond the plate and deep within.

You are not the problem.

Food is not the problem.

Dieting is the problem.


Godman, H. (2018, January 24). Lessons from “The biggest loser”. Harvard Health. Retrieved February 15, 2022, from

Lissner, L., Odell, P. M., D’Agostino, R. B., Stokes, J. S., Kreger, B. E., Belanger, A. J., et al. (1991). Variability of body weight and health outcomes in the Framingham population. New England Journal of Medicine, 324(26), 1839-1844

Nutrition Reviews. (1992, November). National Institutes of Health Technology Assessment Conference Statement: Methods for Voluntary Weight Loss and Control, March 30–April 1, 1992. Retrieved February 15, 2022, from

Wooley, S. C., & Garner, D. M. (1991). Obesity treatment: The high cost of false hope. Journal of the American Dietetic Association, 91(10), 1248–1251.

Leave a Reply


About Me

I’m Nicole! A Nutritionist with a BS in Nutrition & Dietetics, Certified Life Coach specializing in mindfulness and the law of attraction, and a Certified Meditation Coach.

I take a no-diet, holistic approach towards nutrition by fusing functional nutrition methods with intuitive and mindful eating practices and principles. I guide and teach my clients to love their body, make strategic and lasting behavioral changes, and reach their optimum health and their body’s natural weight WITHOUT diets. 

Want to know why I will never prescribe a diet to any of my clients? Read The Scary Truth About Dieting.

Recent Posts

Order supplements through my Fullscript store.

Weekly Podcast



Wellness Meditation

That’s right…take 15 minutes for yourself today, you deserve it! Fill out the form below and find your meditation in your inbox.

Did someone say cookies?

Sorry, not that kind of cookie! We use cookies to enahnce your browsing experience, send requested materials, and to analyze our traffic. By continuing to use this website, you consent to our cookie policy, Privacy Policy.