Sample Essay on the Origin of Diets: Are They for Health or Figure?

vegetablesHere is a sample essay on diets. This sample essay is intended to give students an understanding of how their essay should be outlined.

Food has always been one of man’s basic needs. Even before civilization, before prehistoric man discovered the wonders of fire, hunting, and farming, they were the first gatherer of fruits, nuts, and seeds to eat for survival. This simple story shows that man ate for survival first, before anything else.

These days there are so many reasons for eating. Diets are based on religion, culture, social norms, food taboos, food fads and just about anything that can make men find an identity with food. This poses a big question that we hope to answer in this piece.

So what is the purpose of diets? Do we eat to stay healthy or eat to feel comfortable in our bodies?

The dictionary has about two distinct descriptions of diet. The first describes diet as food and drink an individual habitually eats, while the second describes diet as a regimen of eating and drinking sparingly to lose weight. These definitions show the two primary reasons people eat: for health or weight management.

We can see clearly that there is no specific answer to this question. It is difficult to say directly if a diet is for health or weight management. The simple reason because individuals define the reason why they eat or prefer a certain selection of food to the other.

However, history shows that the original intent of diet was to stay healthy and alive. Before the discovery of fire, people ate mostly raw foods that made them fall ill. When they discovered fire, they learned other things – the heat from the fire could be used to cook foods and preserve them. Fortunately, they discovered that cooked food tastes better.

The more enlightened and knowledgeable a man became, the better choices they made about food. Consequently, death tolls decreased and population expanded. For example, somewhere in the 18th century, vitamin C was discovered to prevent scurvy, and naval officers were encouraged to eat lots of citrus fruits and leaves to prevent scurvy.

However, as centuries went on, a visible shift was noticed in the purpose of food choices. People became more conscious of their body images and figures, and thereby, generated diets that were intended to make them shed or gain weight.

The 21st century is fraught with diets and food choices that no longer intend to improve health, but preserve societal perceptions of body images. The Ketogenic diet, alkaline diet, fruitarianism, and other forms of food fads are just a part of the spectrum. On the other end of the spectrum are eating disorders that disrupt physical and mental health. Disorders like bulimia and anorexia are examples of such extreme ends of the spectrum.

In conclusion, we want to take a stand with history and insist that diet was initially created for health purposes. This intent should be placed back into focus. This will go a long way in abolishing harmful and dangerous food practices and diets that are not only harmful to an individual’s health but also the society at large. After all, you are what you eat.


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  2. “diet.” 2017. (5 December 2017)
  3. Organ, Chris (22 August 2011). “Phylogenetic rate shifts in feeding time during the evolution of Homo”. PNAS. Retrieved 17 April 2012.
  4. Lind J (1753). A Treatise of the Scurvy. London: A. Millar. In the 1757 edition of his work, Lind discusses his experiment starting on page 149. Archived March 20, 2016, at the Wayback Machine.
  5. “Fact Sheet—Fad diets” (PDF). British Dietetic Association. 2014. Retrieved 12 December 2015
  6. Sachs KV, Harnke B, Mehler PS, Krantz MJ (2016). “Cardiovascular complications of anorexia nervosa: A systematic review”. Int J Eat Disord. 49 (3): 238–48.doi:10.1002/eat.22481. PMID 26710932.
  7. “You are what you eat.” The Phrase Finder 2017. (5 December 2017).
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Posted in Essay Sample, Writing Blog at February 12th, 2018.
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