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What Is a Therapeutic Diet?

September 14, 2015

It is necessary in our society, in identifying destructive patterns in dieters, to be able to identify what is a therapeutic diet and what is a fad diet.

A therapeutic diet is a special diet that has been prescribed by a health professional such as a doctor, naturopath, dietician, or nutritionist. This diet may be designed to treat or prevent allergies or the symptoms of a disease. In any case, a therapeutic diet is as important to the person as medication is coming from a physician. It can, and should be adhered to.

Therapeutic diets can avoid scary consequences, such as a child ending up in the emergency room from eating something they are allergic to. They help us realize what nutritional behaviors should be integrated into the social setting. People who have to eat gluten-free, for example, may choose not to eat certain foods, but if you desire, you may also have a gluten free alternative for them. It helps to note that many people these days have sensitivities to foods that cause unpleasant symptoms or are associated with diseases, and they must follow their therapeutic diet to live a normal life. This enables them to go to work and school with other people. They should not just be viewed as finicky or fussy eaters.

A fad diet is a diet that is found in a book, magazine, or on the internet that sounds like the next “big thing” that is good for weight loss, etc. It is not created for an individual with their health history, condition, and nutrient needs in mind. It is usually self-prescribed and may be the result of wanting fast weight loss that could be harmful. A fad diet should be observed with caution, as it may promote vitamin or mineral deficiencies. The far end of a fad diet is the person may be severely restricting caloric intake, all carbs or all protein. In response the body may feel severely restricted, and eating disordered behaviors and thinking may emerge. You may wonder if a person can start to think like an anorexic if they loose too much weight. It is true that if a person falls too far below their ideal weight, they may start to fear gaining weight, eating, or have anorexic thoughts.

A fad diet can be disregarded for more traditional ideas such as following a balanced diet if deficiency occurs. A therapeutic diet will balance and promote well being over the long-term if adhered to with supervision.

What is a balanced diet?

Following the Canada Food Guide doesn’t mean eating all five food groups at one meal, as it used to. Quite the opposite. You can obtain all the nutrients you need by eating three meals and three snacks in a day. Having healthy food available to kids helps them realize when and what they are hungry for. Kids actually love brightly colored, crunchy and chewy foods with interesting textures and tastes. What an opportunity to help them get the required amount of fruits and vegetables in a day instead of eating sugary foods colored with food coloring.

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