Diet or Lifestylediet??
Just What Does Diet Mean?
Webster’s Dictionary has 4 variations of meaning for the word ‘diet’. One is food and drink regularly consumed. Two is habitual nourishment. Three is the kind and amount of food prescribed for a specific reason (goal). Fourth is a regimen of eating and drinking sparingly so as to reduce one’s weight. All these refer to eating food but has no definition of what types of food are to be consumed. So, the word ‘diet’ is pretty much up for grabs by anyone who wants to use it to apply to a way of consuming food.
What you eat regularly in the first use is more relevant to how you live and consume nourishment to stay alive. Diet seem to define the necessary nourishment to provide nutrients required by our bodies to survive, do work and live/exist in a healthy active format. I prefer to call this Lifestyle; but that too can be confusing.
Lifestyle is defined as a typical way of life or living for an individual, group or culture. Wow, culture, in the aspect of eating or food opens up a Pandora’s Box of alternatives by itself. How does ‘diet’ pertain to a cultural way of eating; such diversity and variations in choices, selections and regional/climatological variations. What a cultural group eats to survive depends on location, availability and climate; what is available as a food source.
We are really getting into the weeds, so to speak, here. I’m getting confused writing this! Defining what we eat on a regular/daily basis involves both diet and lifestyle. Lifestyle seems like it would encompass diet with how and what you eat has both cultural and regional variations. Are you as confused as I am? Let us proceed.
Today there are hundreds of books dealing with ‘diet’ promoted as healthy or functional ways to eat that often conflict with a basic dietary lifestyle that an individual or group may traditionally consume. It often is at variance with what is or was regularly consumed (Websters first definition). So, in this usage, diet has now been re-defined as eating and consuming food that is NOT in line with what was ‘regularly consumed’ so it is a behavioral change. Now that impacts our typical way of eating that was defined as lifestyle. Boy, what a mess.
So, are we talking diet or are we talking lifestyle? Wait, if you read a ‘diet book’ it often refers to a defined period of time to eat in a different manner. Diet now seems to be a temporary way of eating and closer relates to Webster’s version three of the definition of ‘diet’. In this way then the ‘diet’ is temporary and NOT part of the lifestyle of the individual (or group) and not typical as part of the way of life previously experienced. Usually associated with a goal/objective of losing weight or to address a medical condition that may be remediated by this change in diet/lifestyle. So, is diet and lifestyle now the same thing? Only in terms of this temporary span of time it seems.
We now have a temporary eating pattern that impacts both diet and lifestyle so is it still a diet and is it still part of a lifestyle for the individual or group? It seems not to be the case; so, shouldn't’t we define a different term to refer to this temporary way of obtaining nourishment that is neither part of the person or group’s regular eating pattern or consistent with their lifestyle or way of living as culturally defined?
Or, should we coin a term to replace the word diet as it has been so badly compromised that it no longer has any real/true meaning? Has it become so bastardized as to become a useless term? I think so. The word ‘diet’ has been so misused and abused as to be virtually meaningless. I have a suggestion for a suitable replacement term in the English language, how about Lifestylediet. A new noun definition that truly defines how a one lives and eats on a regular, long-term basis. It combines two of the existing words into a more meaningful one that better defines the way one obtains nourishment on a regular basis for the rest of their life (or at least until the next major shift in eating pattern).
We will use Lifestylediet in the future to refer to that way of eating and living that encompasses the rest of our lives!