Health writing: rethink the word ‘diet’

When I read the word diet, I always think of weight loss.

The word diet actually means what you eat every day. Your breakfast, your snacks, lunch and dinner.

This can also be a problem when we’re talking about health to a general audience.

Telling someone to have a ‘healthy diet’ or ‘have a varied diet’ can mean different things.

A ‘healthy diet’ is so hard to define, it often gets tossed out of your brain as soon as you read it.

Everyone has their own take on what a ‘healthy diet’ is and it’s our job to make sure we are crystal clear on what it means.

I believe having a ‘healthy diet’ means that you’re eating what you need to support your body and be free from disease or ill health.

For some people this might mean they cannot have dairy or nuts.

For people who do a lot of sports and move around a lot, this means eating more to support your body repairing itself so you can recover.

Pushing the same set of rules for everyone on what their ‘diet’ should be is not healthcare.

A ‘varied diet’ can mean having potatoes one day and having broccoli the next day.

But that’s not quite right – a varied diet means trying to fit in as many types of nutrients (carbohydrates, protein, fats, vitamins and minerals) each day.

That sounds like a huge effort, so people want an easy way out – a shortcut.

We need to normalise eating and see people for what they are when it comes to their diet.

This means taking the time to understand what they believe about food, how they can use food to get the energy they need for life and keep disease away.

I hope you enjoyed reading this 🙂

I’ll catch up with you about my thoughts on sleep next time…

Published by Virginia Chachati

I am a UK GPhC registered Pharmacist from London. I love to write easy to understand health and wellness content. My goal is to help empower people to better their own health.

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