Dieting is the practice or habit of eating (and drinking) in a regulated manner, usually for the purpose of weight loss. It is also used in some cases to gain weight or to regulate the amount of certain nutrients entering the body.

Diet History

The practice of dieting to lose weight is ancient in its origins. Throughout the 17th and 18th centuries, doctors and patients carefully regulated their diet to prevent disease. The scientific classification of foods was broken down into proteins, carbohydrates, starches and lipids. Doctors and scientists began experimenting with targeted diets in the 19th century. William Banting was one of the first people known to have successfully lost weight by following a diet around 1863, targeting carbohydrates (the low-carbohydrate diet, marketed today as the Atkins diet, remains popular today).

This diet is not

Some religions, such as Judaism and Islam, impose strict restrictions on food choices and preparation. These restrictions, however, are generally not considered "diet". Vegetarianism is generally not considered a "diet" because it is most often adopted for religious, spiritual or ethical reasons, or in some cases because other food choices are not available. Anorexia and bulimia, which are psychological and neurological disorders CauSant victims endanger their lives with caloric restriction, should not be confused with diet.

Dieting techniques

More often than not, "dieting" means eating in a carefully planned manner, trying to reduce excess body fat and reducing body measurements, such as clothing size. There are a multitude (sometimes confusing) of weight loss techniques, many of which are ineffective. What works for one person may not necessarily work for another, due to metabolic differences and lifestyle factors.

Scientific Principles of Dieting

The successful weight loss diet is all about energy besides energy. If a person takes in less food than they spend for a period of time, they may burn fat and lose weight afterwards. Diets affect energy in the energy balance component by limiting or altering the distribution of food. Techniques that affect appetite can limit energy intake by affecting the desire to overeat. This can be attempted by focusing on foods that fill up, by the use of certain appetite suppressant medications, or by activities such as light exercise that affect appetite. Other techniques deal with usual or emotional eating. Allocating the energy component is central to fitness and exercise programs. These could also be included as part of a complete "diet". Dieting to lose weight does exactly that: you lose weight, water, fat and muscle. Since the muscles are denser, you lose a lot of weight but little height. Fat is bigger, so a fat loss of three pounds can cause a loss of height. To lose one pound of fat, you need to create a caloric deficit of about 3,500 calories (37,600 kJ per kilogram of fat); therefore, if a person creates a deficit of 500 calories per day, the person will lose about 1 pound of fat per week (5,400 kJ per day to lose one kilogram per week). Weight loss during weight loss can be controlled by regular lifting weights and a high protein intake (0.8 to 1.0 g of protein per pound of body weight (1.76 to 2.20 g/kg) per day is said to be sufficient).

Weight Loss Groups

There are for-profit and non-profit weight loss organizations that help people in their weight loss efforts. Overeaters Anonymous and a multitude of unbranded support groups run by local churches, hospitals or like-minded people are examples of these practices. The practices and customs of these organizations are very different, but most take advantage of the power of group meetings to provide counseling, emotional support, problem solving, and useful information. Some promote certain prepared foods or special menus, while others teach how to make healthy choices from menus and while grocery shopping.

Fashionable plans

Many "trendy" diets become widely popular for a short period of time, only to disappear. Although some wither from popularity because of their ineffectiveness, some simply lose public interest. Judging their nutritional merits can be particularly difficult as most plan sponsors find medical professionals to support their work. Examples include the grapefruit diet, low-fat diets, and Atkins.