Is Teen Dieting Healthy?

While many teens are tempted to try extreme diets to lose weight, there are much safer ways to stay healthy.


Image courtesy of Cheshire Food Pantry

Julia Tucker, Columnist

Many teens try dieting; about 50% of teen girls and 25% of teen boys try dieting. However, dieting, when done wrong, can be very harmful, especially for teens. Eating healthy and exercising are safer and more effective ways to help you lose weight and live a long healthy life.

According to TeensHealth, many teens who go on diets do it the wrong way, causing serious health problems. It can be tempting for people to blame the problems in their life on their weight. This is horrible and can cause long-lasting damage on your mental and physical health. You may think that going on a small easy diet will help you lose weight, but even an easy diet can lead to eating disorders. There are many different types of eating disorders, but some of the most common are anorexia ( eating too little), bulimia (eating and then throwing up), and binge eating disorder (constantly eating and never feeling full). Eating disorders are not something to joke around with, and it can all start with a small simple diet. If you think you may be developing, or already have one, you should talk to a trusted adult. If you don’t have a trusted adult in your life, you can consider talking to Teenline and they will help you take your next steps.

According to the National Center for Biotechnological Information (NCBI), teens who diet are more unhappy with their weight, tend to ‘feel fat’ even if they are not, have lower self-esteem, feel less connected to their families and schools, and feel less in control of their lives. Dieting may exacerbate these problems, and also makes you feel hungry and preoccupied with food, distracted, tired, sad, unmotivated, cold, dizzy, and deprived of foods you enjoy. Many know this information but still attempt dieting. Over time you may be more likely to gain weight because your body feels deprived of nutrients. 

Extreme dieting is bad, but eating healthy is good. NCBI also says that if you want to lose weight, or just be healthier in general, you can do the following: eat a wide variety of foods, eat a healthy breakfast everyday, eat only when you are hungry and stop when you are full, and enjoy all four food groups every day (fruits, grains, proteins, and vegetables). 

Many teens feel uncomfortable about their weight, and those same teens go from eating chips to eating nothing. There are many healthy habits you should develop as a teen that may even help you lose those few pounds you don’t want. However, always remember that humans aren’t perfect and all have different body shapes and sizes. Don’t try extreme dieting unless it’s prescribed specifically by a doctor.