Readers’ Forum Feb. 20, 2018

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BYU dietician and nutritionist Rachel Higginson works in her office. Higginson has helped a number of athletes overcome eating disorders. (Maddi Driggs)

Fad diets: miracle or myth?

Cut grain from your diet. Go “Paleo.” Drink this cranberry juice from Mauritania.
Many students seem to fall prey to fad diets that claim to give miraculous results. Do these diets actually help one reach their weight loss goals, or are they a cheap replacement for hard work?

A recent meta-analysis, done by experts in the field of gastroenterology, has shown that fad diets do tend to lead to weight loss. The drawback is the rebound effect. This is a phenomenon where someone will lose a significant amount of weight in a short period of time but will gain back more weight than was lost.

If these diets are causing weight gain, rather than weight reduction, what is one to do? The answer: exercise. Studies show that short, high intensity exercise has a positive correlation with weight reduction and improvements in cardiovascular health. In fact, consistent exercising is the highest correlating factor with weight loss. When one quits exercising, some of the weight tends to come back. So, don’t stop.

Next time a friend recommends drinking water with curry powder, take a stand. If you want lasting results you need to put in the effort and the exercise.

—Trevor Campbell
Brandenburg, Kentucky

Remembering Charlottesville

Roughly six months ago, a rally was held to protest the removal of a statue of Gen. Robert E. Lee. The rally was attended by white nationalists and other right-wing groups, some of whom were racist, hateful, bigoted people. Counter protesters arrived to combat these extremists, and violence ensued. A car was intentionally driven into a crowd of counter-protesters, killing a 32-year-old woman.

The response from our president was weak to say the least. He condemned “violence on both sides,” without directly declaring his disapproval of white supremacists, one of whom was responsible for the death of an innocent woman. In this instance the “violence,” which is more appropriately termed murder, was one-sided.

The president’s initial remarks made no explicit reference to this, obviously upsetting a large portion of the country, including myself. David Duke, a former grand wizard of the Ku Klux Klan, was supportive of the president’s comments. “Thank you President Trump for your honesty and courage to tell the truth about Charlottesville…”

In the wake of a national tragedy, it is the president’s responsibility to console, uplift, and unite. By refusing to outrightly acknowledge this murder, our president created a greater divide. If we are to move forward as a people, we cannot allow the extreme partisanship of politics to continue. We must readily condemn evil in all forms.

—Trevor Gaebler
Irvington, New York

Non-academic achievements

Some children value non-academic achievement over academic excellence; therefore, parents should be supportive of their non-academic aspirations, rather than force sole academic excellence upon them.

Although academia offers countless benefits, there is much more to a child’s education than books alone. Non-academic experiences such as dance, theatre and music are also forms of education that can be exceptionally beneficial.

For example, dance not only assists in physical development, but emotional maturity, social awareness and cognitive development. You cannot receive these advantages from a book alone.

Why, then, are children principally pressured to excel academically and judged almost exclusively on their academic merit? Perhaps this explains why many children experience parental pressure to excel academically, in some cases being forced to disregard their leniency towards non-academic success.

Even though a traditional education consisting of books and writing is important, non-academic success, to those who cherish it, is just as valuable. When parents support their children in their non-academic aspirations, they cultivate happiness and a desire for further success. When kids are forced to focus on school, and neglect their natural inclinations towards other occupations, they are susceptible to unhappiness and discontent.

Although children are judged almost exclusively on their academic decoration, many children find excellence and confidence in non-academic activities.

—Eliza Clark
Corvallis, Oregon

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