Diet culture is everywhere. It has been normalized for many people, as they try to meet unrealistic standards by unhealthy means. Are those popular diets scientifically effective? Or is diet culture a snake in the grass for your mental and physical health?


By Schuchen Hu 

Yo-yo dieting, low-carb diets, low-fat diets…it seems like there are always new diets coming out to “help” people achieve their health and wellness goals. It can feel impossible to stay on top of the latest trends. The stress and damage of following these fad diets causes more harm menatlly and physically than good. Research has consistently reported the detrimental effects of dieting, such as promoting eating disorder onset induced by body dissatisfaction. 


Moreover, diet culture is ingrained as a part of the health and wellness industry in wellness magazines, social media, and beyond. This is especially dangerous because dieting and disordered practices have become increasingly normalized.  The reality is, dieting is not the solution that will provide you with happiness or health, instead you must learn to reject diet culture.

How Does Diet Culture Present Itself?

Diet culture shows up in the  messages on food packaging that says “low fat,” “guilt-free,” or “low carb.” Or when Instagram influencers show their “clean” eating and what they eat daily. Diet culture is present when friends or loved ones talk about the new diets they have been trying or encourage you to try. It can feel impossible to reject diet culture when it is immersed in every aspect of your life.

How Does Diet Culture Play A Role In The Development of Eating Disorders?

Diet culture is not just about trying out different new diets but the conversations we have around dieting, body image, and societal expectations. It is a culture that is so focused on thin ideals and beauty standards, that it forgoes mental and physical health to achieve them. Dieting, especially due to diet culture’s influence, is a strong predictor of eating disorder behaviors and negative body image. Many factors could influence such interaction between dieting and eating disorders, including family and peer pressure, media influencers, and food companies’ advertising strategies, which all contribute to diet culture.

Learn To Reject Diet Culture

So, what can we do to reject diet culture? First of all, be aware of your language regarding diets and bodies. Bodies naturally come in different sizes, and it is crucial to recognize that size does not equal health. Additionally, eating can be a mindfulness practice to appreciate food and nourish your bodies. Learn to approach food and your body from a neutral or compassionate place. This will position you away from diet culture, and allow for a more intuitive perspective on your well-being. If you feel that you have fallen victim to diet culture’s schemes, it is not your fault. Diet culture is insidious and predatory. You deserve help and support to get out of diet culture’s trap.

Redefine Wellness is a virtual coaching platform that helps clients reject diet culture and cultivate a life free of guilt and shame around food and their body using an Intuitive Eating and Health at Every Size® framework. Join us today and discover the power of intuitive eating and the anti-diet movement with Redefine Wellness. Embark on this transformative journey with us, take your first steps towards a more fulfilling life, and help others do the same. Click here to speak with our team to learn more about our programs. 

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Meet Schuchen

This post was written by Blog Contributor, Schuchen Hu (she/her).


Shuchen is a master’s student majoring in clinical psychology at Teachers College, Columbia University. She holds a Bachelor of Science degree in food science and psychology from Rutgers University and developed a strong passion for the intersection of both fields, which led her to research eating disorders. In her free time, she enjoys cooking, weightlifting, and traveling. She is planning to get a Ph.D. degree in clinical psychology and focus her professional career on eating disorder research and treatments.


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Stice, E., Marti, C. N., & Durant, S. (2011). Risk factors for onset of eating disorders: evidence of multiple risk pathways from an 8-year prospective study. Behaviour research and therapy, 49(10), 622–627. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.brat.2011.06.009