• Body Image Task Force UCLA

Debunking Diet Myths Event

Over the years, there have been a number of diets that promise weight loss, increased energy, and so much more. Little evidence shows that diets can result in long-term weight loss. In fact, a study from UCLA found that while dieters tend to shed five to 10 percent of their starting weight in the first six months of a diet, up to two thirds of people on diets will regain more weight than they lost within four to five years. Contrary to popular belief and the media, diets are not only harmful to one’s well being as well as a waste of precious time, money, and emotional energy. 

This mini-event that throws a MASSIVE middle finger up at the false dream that if we could only modify ourselves to fit the perfect ideal (read: thin, white, able bodied etc) then we'd be happy. Well, we're not falling it for anymore…

Learning to accept our bodies, regardless of its size or shape, means that we can try and not let what our body looks like rule us or affect our mental experience of the world.  Absolute no diet chat or body shaming. AT ALL.

Disclaimer: This event was not intended promote diets or offer advice on how to effectively diet. We hope that you are able to see diet culture more objectively, and with your (hopefully) newfound information, are able to make self honoring decisions.

Juicing / Juice Cleanse


The benefits of a juice cleanse are generally marketed as a way to detoxify the body, restart the digestive system, improve the immune system and clear skin.

As with many fad diets, juice cleanses also claim to be a fast and effective way to lose weight quickly. Another perceived benefit of juice cleanses is the ability to boost a person's fruit and vegetable intake.


On a strict juice cleanse calls for you to eliminate all nutrients from you diets besides juices for a possible several days at a time.

This diet contains little protein, fat or fiber.

Fiber provides many health benefits, including boosting digestive function, metabolic health, and feelings of fullness

Eating a diet high in fibrous plants and unprocessed animal foods may help reduce blood sugar levels in people who have or are at risk for diabetes.

Juicing could lead to blood sugar spikes because you’re getting all the sugar of fruit without the fiber.

Drinking one or more daily servings of apple, orange, grapefruit and other juices increases the risk of developing type 2 diabetes by 21%.

In addition to promoting better overall health, real food nourishes and helps protect your skin. For instance, dark chocolate and avocados have been shown to protect skin against sun damage.


People who have done a juice fast have experienced some form of fatigue, dizziness, constipation and even dehydration.

Protein and fat are both essential for the building of new tissue.

Loss of muscle causes a decrease in your basal metabolic rate (BMR).

Metabolism happens in the muscle. Less muscle and muscle tone means a slower metabolism which means fewer calories burned 24 hours-a-day. Having a high (BMR) is your body’s natural way to keep you lean.

Removing fiber can have a detrimental effect on digestion.

Grapefruit also can interfere with drugs for high blood pressure, anxiety, allergies and other ailments. COMMON MISCONCEPTIONS

You will lose a significant/meaningful amount of weight. Much of the weight loss is due to water loss, which is gained back after the juice cleanse ends.

It will restart your digestive system: it will likely harm your digestive system more than help it. It is forcing your body out of its normal metabolism and can have detrimental effects

It’s a detox: we already have our liver, kidney, large and small intestines to detox and filter and detox our body.

Juicing is not meant to be a replacement for a normal diet, rather it could (only if you want to) be used as a way to get more fruit and vegetables in ones diet (only if you want to)


What are some other ways you could incorporate more fruits and vegetables into your diet besides juicing?

(Ex: eat a piece of fruit in the morning, veggies for a snack, chocolate covered strawberries for dessert :) )

Fat-Free/Low Fat Diet


Diets too low in fats may cause vitamin deficiencies, reproductive failure or stunted growth.

Eating dietary fat increases vitamin D3 absorption, according to a 2015 study.

Leptin is a hormone, made by fat cells, that decreases your appetite.

Many of the systemic effects of caloric restriction are related to decreased plasma levels of peptides, cytokines, complement factors and substrates that are produced in fat.


Fat is the macronutrient with the most calories per gram.

In one gram of fat, there are nine calories, but in macronutrients such as carbohydrates and proteins, there are four calories per gram.

Proponents of the low-fat diet avoid fats in an effort to lower their overall calorie intake.

Selling fat-free food substitutes.


Fats are actually a necessary macronutrient for proper hormonal and cognitive functioning as well as nutrient absorption of fat-soluble vitamins.

Fats are amazing aspects to include in a meal in order to feel satiated.

Studies also show that eating fresh vegetables with a little fat, such as oil-based salad dressings or cheese, helps the body absorb valuable nutrients found in vegetables, such as lycopene and beta-carotene, which have been shown to help prevent heart disease and cancer.

In contrast, eating a salad without any fat in it may deprive your body of these healthy nutrients, which are known as carotenoids.

ie. baby carrots, really need to be eaten with a source of fat for us to absorb the beta carotene


Foods high in fat are “fattening.”

Actually, fat is a necessary macronutrient and no one can survive without fat in their diet.

All dietary fats are the same.

Actually, there are a myriad of dietary fats, including polyunsaturated, monounsaturated, saturated, and trans fats. The current consensus is that only trans fats are to be avoided for health related reasons.


Write down three fats that you plan to incorporate into your diet on a daily basis!

If stuck, look to the list below for some ideas:

Peanut butter, olive oil, eggs, meats such as chicken thighs or beef, milk, yogurt, cottage cheese, chia seeds, dark chocolate, oily fish, avocado, or cheese.

Raw Food Diet

WHAT ARE THE PERCEIVED BENEFITS? HOW IS THIS DIET SOLD? Possible weight loss Makes your body immune to/prevents diseases More Vitamin B and C More energy Clearer skin Better digestion Lower risk for heart disease


Cooked food tastes better and reduces the risk for food based illnesses such as salmonella (in chicken).

Some foods have more nutritional value when cooked, such as tomatoes. Cooking kills harmful compounds in food.

Cooking can also kill bacteria, which is one of the central concerns of eating raw foods.


Many plants can be poisonous when raw

Raw meats and eggs can be very dangerous to consume

Digestive problems could arise

Hard to maintain
People are at risk of not getting enough vitamins and nutrients

Lower bone mass

Often this diet is expensive

Time consuming and inconvenient

The uncertainty your body experiences due to the yo-yo effect of making sudden drastic changes can actually lead to weight gain in the long run. Because your body learns that it can’t be sure when it will suddenly be deprived of something, it starts to store fats just in case.


It is the same as being vegan. It is simple and safe. It is how we are supposed to eat the foods.

A raw food diet consists of much more than fruits and vegetables. Seeds, nuts, nut "milks", sprouted grains, seaweeds and juices are all included on a raw diet, as well as some fermented and processed foods such as raw soy sauce (nama shoyu), kimchee, miso, raw nut butters and cold pressed raw oils.

One of the biggest, most pervasive raw food myths is that all foods are healthier when eaten raw. People sometimes make this assumption because it seems intuitively correct that foods that are processed less must be more “whole” or “natural.” While many raw foods can offer beneficial nutrients, raw isn’t always better!


Write down your favorite cooked meal.

What do you like about that meal? How does it being cooked make it better tasting and better for you?

Low-Carb/Carb Free Diet


Paleo Diet -

The “caveman diet” or eating of foods presumed to have been available to humans during the Paleolithic era (lean meats, fish, fruits, vegetables, nuts and seeds)

Keto Diet - high fat, low carb diet (promoting healthy fats such as nuts, avocado, and fish) The ketogenic diet is a diet that causes the body to release ketones into the bloodstream. Most cells prefer to use blood sugar, which comes from carbohydrates, as the body’s main source of energy.

Why are they so popular? Low carb diets are often advertised as a “healthy” method for fat and weight loss

When hearing “carb” most people imagine bread, pasta, or pizza, but there are a variety of foods containing carbs, such as whole grains, fruits, legumes, and starchy vegetables.


Carbohydrates are your body's main source of energy: They help fuel your brain kidneys heart muscles and central nervous system.

Carbs can help boost your mood. In a study from the Archives of Internal Medicine, people who followed a very low carbohydrate diet for a year experienced more depression, anxiety and anger than those without a diet.

Carbs leave you feeling satisfied After all, they provide long-term energy.

Carbs containing fiber reap numerous health benefits Fiber promotes good digestive health and may lower your risk of heart disease and diabetes.Fiber also aids in digestion, helps you feel full, and keeps blood cholesterol levels in check.

Research shows that people who eat more whole grains (think brown rice, bulgur, quinoa) also tend to have lower LDL cholesterol and higher "good" HDL cholesterol.


A carbohydrate-deficient diet may cause headaches, fatigue, weakness, difficulty concentrating, nausea, and vitamin and mineral deficiencies.

When low carb diets are taken to the extreme, the body finds other sources for its required nutrients. For example, when glucose from carbohydrates is lacking, the body begins to break down muscle to generate energy, leading to loss of muscle mass.

Low-carbohydrate diets might be useful in the short-term to lose weight, lower blood pressure, and improve blood glucose control, but new meta studies have suggested that in the long-term they are linked with an increased risk of death from any cause, and deaths due to cardiovascular disease, cerebrovascular disease, and cancer.

COMMON MISCONCEPTIONS While these diets are advertised as “healthy” there are no long-term clinical studies about their benefits and potential risks. According to MayoClinic, “You can achieve the same health benefits by getting enough exercise and eating a balanced, healthy diet with a lot of fruits and vegetables.”

That the keto diet doesn’t work at all.

There is a substantial amount of evidence suggesting that a ketogenic diet reduces seizures in children, sometimes as effectively as medication.

I’ve eaten low carb and lost 5 pounds. How can you explain that?

Each gram of glycogen is associated with 3-4 grams of water. So, as your body burns its way through the reduced dietary carbs and into the glycogen stores, the water attached to the glycogen is lost as well resulting in the phenomenon commonly known as “losing water weight.”


Share your favorite carb and explain any positive memories associated with it.

How does it make you feel? Why is it your favorite? What does it remind you of?

How can you honor your cravings when you want to eat this food?

Sugar-Free/Low Sugar Diet

WHAT ARE THE PERCEIVED BENEFITS? HOW IS THIS DIET SOLD? A sugar free diet eliminates sugar-filled foods that can be high in calories and provide little to no nutritional benefit

By eliminating sugar, one may perceive that they will avoid weight gain, will be able to substitute sugary foods for nutritional foods instead, and/or perceive they will be less subject to increased aging, heart disease, high blood pressure, and/or dental issues

Grocery stores sell sugar-free alternatives to, or reduced sugar snack foods.


"Cutting all sugar from your diet would be very difficult to achieve. Fruits, vegetables, dairy products and dairy replacements, eggs, alcohol and nuts all contain sugar, which would leave you with little other than meat and fats to eat - definitely not very healthy." -Leah Fitzsimmons, Biochemist at the University of of Birmingham

Sugar makes foods more flavorful, which adds satisfaction and variety to healthy eating habits

Sugar allows us to enjoy celebrations, holidays, and time spent with family and friends; it is as much social and emotional as it is physical.

American Heart Association (AHA) suggests that sugar should not be eliminated completely.


Muscle glycogen depletion followed by a period of a low carbohydrate diet impairs high-intensity exercise performance.

Won’t have the energy that all food sources provide.

May start to become fixated and stressed over social settings or events that serve desserts and/or other sweet treats.

May be depriving yourself of your favorite foods, and thus not honoring your cravings.


“All sugar is bad sugar”

Added sugar is different than the sugar that occurs naturally in some foods, like fruit or milk. For one, natural sugar comes with a package of vitamins, minerals, and nutrients that help offset some of the negative aspects of the sugar content. To your body, all sources of sugar are the same.

Eliminating sugar is easy to do, when in fact, it is quite hard because our bodies desire it Avoiding something our body craves and obsessing over eliminating it causes stress, and stress can lead to weight gain.

Myth: You Need to Cut Back On Fruit

Fact: The fruit bowl is safe. Yes, it’s true that fruit contains sugar, but that sugar is naturally-occurring fructose.

Eating sugar causes Type 2 Diabetes. Research suggests that sugar consumption alone isn’t a risk factor for diabetes. A study on 355 overweight and obese individuals showed no difference in diabetes risk factors when consuming either 8%, 18% or 30% of their calories in added sugar.


Share your favorite sweet treat and explain any positive memories associated with it.

How does it make you feel? Why is it your favorite? What does it remind you of?

How can you honor your cravings when you want to eat this sweet treat?


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