Dieting, What’s Your Plan?

Beverly Yirenkyi, J1 Staff Writer

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Raw Foodism.


Weight Watchers.


Calorie Restrictions.

Those are just a few of the diets in the world that both help and hinder people from having the body and the healthy diet they wish to have.

According to the American Heart Association, an overall healthy diet consists of “a variety of fruits and veggies, whole grains, low-fat dairy products, skinless poultry and fish, nuts and legumes, and non-tropical vegetable oils.” Additionally, a healthy lifestyle is one that has people aim for “150 minutes of moderate physical activity.” In regard to one’s intake of specific foods, they call for a limit on “saturated fat, trans fat, sodium, red meat, sweets and sugar-sweetened beverages.”

In addition to healthy foods is a healthy sleep cycle. According to, “studies show teenagers need exactly 9¼ hours of sleep,” while adults only need at least 7 hours at night.

How people attain this healthy lifestyle depends on their interests and what they enjoy eating. One form of healthy eating that many Americans, including teens, have taken on is a vegan diet.

The Vegan diet has been on the rise in popularity since 2006 in the US, especially in the teen population.

The vegan diet, according to the Vegetarian Resource Group, is based on a diet that avoids all animal products. This includes all dairy products, eggs, honey, the use of: wool, silk, leather and other animal-based foods and products. When you only have a vegan diet, technically you’re not fully vegan, because a vegan lifestyle means you don’t eat or use anything from animals.

Like the majority of people in the U.S., Paint Branch sophomore Luana Rojas is an omnivore, one who eats both meat and plants. While she enjoys a good burger now and then, Rojas does see the positives of veganism. “I would definitely attempt to go vegan,” she says. “I don’t know if I’ll succeed; I think it is difficult for people with busy lives, but it’s totally achievable.”

Sophomore Hebron Admassu, who is a vegan, admits that it can have its challenges. “Veganism can be difficult because it’s just my sister and I in a house full of non-vegans. I became vegan because I did it wanting to not be a part of animal cruelty, while at the same time being able to say I love animals,” says Admassu.

The Vegetarian Diet includes three main different types; Lacto-Vegetarian, Ovo-Vegetarian, and Pescatarian. Lacto-Vegetarian is basically a plant-based diet, but with milk. Ovo-vegetarian is also a plant-based diet that includes eggs, and excludes meat and seafood. A pescatarian diet is when you don’t eat meat, but everything else.

The rise in multiple diets over the years proves that Americans realize the problem, and they are slowly trying to fix it, except the approach that they take does not always support healthy eating habits.

According to Madeline R. Vann, an MPH from, fad diets such as the Atkins diet, Weight Watchers, DASH Diet, Whole30, and diets that focus on  calorie  restrictions tend to be more harmful than beneficial. Moreover, once you stop the diet, you will most likely gain the weight back fast.

According to an online article, Nutritionist Judy Penta, a certified holistic health counselor and personal trainer in New York, explains  “the sad fact is that fad diets set the individual up for failure. When the diet fails, the dieters may blame themselves and develop a feeling of demoralization and hopelessness that they are unable to lose weight.”

In turn,  fad dieting leads to the cycle of Yo-Yo Dieting, which is  weight cycling – the process in which a person diets, losses weight, quits diet, and gains it all back.

Wash. Rinse. Repeat.

But this is all for just a regular, grown person. So, of course, teenagers have a little extra.

As teens, we go through many life-changing things, puberty, school-related stress, sport teams, relationships, and more. And one thing we can control and manage is our diets. Your parents eventually won’t be able to tell you to eat your fruits and veggies everyday. Your eating habits will most likely be a major factor of your health as an adult, so you might as well start now.

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Dieting, What’s Your Plan?