What Should Teen Diets Be?
Healthy, Well-Balanced, Nutritious Diets
Well, teen diets should be healthy and nutritious; not fad diets, "starvation diets", very low-calorie diets or diet pills that can cause you serious health troubles.
I advocate teen diets that are based on these 3 main healthy eating habits:
- Eat in moderation - not too much or too little of any particular food or nutrient
- Eat a variety of food - as wide a variety as possible from each and within each of the main food groups: grains; fruits; vegetables; dairy products(milk, cheese, yogurt....) and protein rich food (meat, eggs, poultry, fish, beans, nuts...)
- Eat a balanced diet - it comes when you follow the moderation and variety habits plus the balance of calories consumed vs calories burned
The Required Calorie Intake
As a teen, you need lots of calories and good nutrients, especially calcium and iron, which are important for your growth and development.
Your calorie requirement varies but on average a teenage girl needs between 1,800 and 2,000 calories a day (while a boy needs between 2,200 and 2,700 calories a day).
That seems a lot, but hey, you grow fast and your body needs a lot of energy to support healthy growth and to get you through your hectic schedules.
It's unrealistic to think you'll always choose healthy food to eat. You don't. Most of the times, you'll just eat whatever food you fancy or whatever your mom cooks.
But do you know you could still get to eat healthily?
Teen diets, I stress here, are no different from adult diets. Besides the 3 healthy eating habits mentioned above, you might want to go for food low in fat for your heart's health.
According to studies, men who were overweight teenagers are more likely to suffer heart attacks and strokes and women who were overweight teens are more likely to develop clogged arteries and arthritis.
Granted that these studies linked teen obesity to health problems decades down the road, you'd be surprised to find that some adverse effects show up much earlier.
Have you come across your teenage friends who develop high blood pressure, high cholesterol levels or conditions that precede diabetes?
So, don't take for granted that you won't have these kinds of diseases (because they don't normally happen to teens). Or you think you can eat absolutely anything or eat like there is no tomorrow......
Sickness and disease are no respecters of age or person, if I can put it that way.
Healthy teen diets are a must. I also strongly urge you to do exercise regularly , say at least 3-4 times per week, to look and feel your best.
If you want to lose weight, increase it to 4-5 times per week.
The beauty of exercise is that it increases your lean body weight. You also appear slimmer as you develop lean muscle mass that gives your body shape and form.
Teen Diets = Fad Diets?
It's an unusual equation but I do find some truths in it because lots of young girls go for fad diets, hoping to get quick fix to their weight problems.
Let's see what's a fad diet.
It's a diet that:
- Promises a fast weight loss (e.g. weight loss of say, 10 lbs a week....!)
- Eliminates certain food groups or concentrates on just a limited selection of foods
- Sounds too good to be true
- Depends on special products, supplements or treatments
- Provides way, way too low calories than what you normally need
- Offers rigid menus that don't take into account your likes, dislikes and lifestyle
- Features "dubious" testimonies rather than scientific evidence
- Does not guarantee permanent weight loss
These kinds of diets come and go but their health effects can be permanent, especially for teens.
They can keep you from eating the calories and nutrients you need to grow properly.
The diets can retard growth. I'm serious.
Some cases of severe dieting may cause girls to stop menstruating (and prevent boys from developing muscles).
The worst is this - if the diet doesn't provide enough calcium, phosphorous and vitamin D, your bones may not lay down enough calcium to help reduce the risk of osteoporosis later in your life......
So whatever teen diets out there you want to consider, don't go for fad diets. It could destroy your health.
Starvation Diets; Diet Pills, Skipping Meals?
Or are you skipping meals, starving yourself, taking diet pills or inducing vomiting after eating?
You think it's OK and somewhat "cool" to do these things because everyone of your friends is doing them?
Diet pills pose serious health risks. Some of them contain substances which supposedly swell in your stomach to provide you with a feeling of fullness.
But, do you know the swelling can cause blockages in your throat and stomach?
Some may even increase the risk of stroke if you take at or over the recommended dosages.
What about those teen diets that are very, very low in calories that are equal to what we call "starvation diets"?
Don't touch them! They not only don't give you enough vitamins, minerals and nutrients, they cause serious effects like hair loss, weakness, gallstones and diarrhea.
How scary to know all these "diets" are actually silent killers of your health!
Then some are appetite suppressants.
All said, diet pills are NO NO for you because you're still growing and if you suppress your appetite, you won't get proper nutrition to grow properly.
As with everything else, there's a right way and a wrong way to teen diets.
The wrong way?
Well, like I said - skip meals, resolve to eat nothing (but on bread and water,say), take diet pills or make yourself vomit.
You may make it through the end of the week and may even lose 1 or 2 lbs but you aren't likely to keep the weight off for more than a few months, if that.
And inducing vomiting can lead to an eating disorder known as bulimia, which can land you in serious health troubles.
The more you deprive yourself of the foods you love, the more you'll crave those foods.
Inevitably, you'll break down and binge.....
Sad. You'll not only gain those lbs back, you'll likely add a couple more.
Experts call this cycle of weight loss and weight gain "yo-yo" dieting, and they believe that the repeated stress on your body of losing and gaining weight could be as bad for long-term health as being overweight.
Think about it.
Teen Diets are Important
So go for healthy and nutritious ones that promote your growth and well-being.
Reject fad diets, "starvation diets", very low-calorie diet and diet pills.
They are woes to your health. Nothing good at all.
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