Terese Foster



Document Type


Faculty Advisor

Dr. Jacqueline Van Hoomissen


College of Arts and Sciences




“I’m on a diet.” How many times have you heard that phrase, or thought it to yourself? Society has often emphasized diets as a positive practice to be “healthier”, especially if one is deemed “overweight” or “obese”. Yet, current literature provides evidence that weight does not need to be scrutinized so critically. Extra weight is not the cause of health problems, and dwelling on the “fat” itself only holds to increase stigma and shame around something of which one should not be shameful. The falsity and lack of scientific evidence behind diets can be helpful for those selling diets, but is it beneficial to your health? What are you really doing to your body when you go on a diet, and do diets even work? An analysis of the history of food behavior shows how common habits and understanding of health developed. While understanding the biological mechanisms involved in satiety and hunger, such as ghrelin and leptin, increase understanding of how our bodies respond to food. To assess the current diet climate, I analyze how diets came about, and how food interacts through biological mechanisms in the body. Then I will acknowledge the eating behaviors that are backed with sound research versus what may not be fully understood or may just be false. This will help to develop a deeper and more full understanding of food and how it plays a role in health, and the problems to which a disordered relationship with food might lead. Evaluating literature available on food, feeding behaviors, and diets allow us to understand what is truly sustainable health, and how society’s common practice of short term dieting will not benefit ones health in the long term, and can even effect the body negatively through the development of disordered eating or by misbalancing our body’s natural functions through periods of restriction.


Diet--Health aspects; Diet--Physiological aspects; Health--Nutritional aspects

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BIO342: Senior Honor's Project