What to expect as you transition to a healthy diet

For many people, the road to a healthy lifestyle begins in the kitchen. People make changes to the diets of their own volition or at the recommendation of their doctors, and those changes can have a profound effect that might surprise even the most devoted of healthy eaters.

According to the Center for Advancement in Cancer Education, 90 percent of all cancer cases can be prevented through environmental and lifestyle choices like deciding to eat a healthy diet. In addition, the Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion, a division of the U.S.

Department of Health and Human Services, notes that a history of poor eating is one of the biggest contributors to the various nutrition- and physical activity-related health challenges that now face the U.S. population. By simply altering their diets to make them more nutritious, millions of people across the globe can significantly reduce their risk for various chronic diseases, including cardiovascular disease and type 2 diabetes.

People who are committed to eating healthier should know that changing diets can produce some adverse, but typically temporary, side effects. The CACE notes that such side effects are predictable, as they are essentially just manifestations of the body’s adjustments as it responds to eating better. People adopting healthier diets should discuss the appearance of the following side effects with their physicians while recognizing that they are not necessarily a cause for concern.

Skin rashes

The CACE notes that people who have histories of recurring skin rashes or eruptions may experience such rashes as they adjust to healthy diets. That’s because the skin is becoming more active and alive due to the healthy diet and expelling toxins that could potentially prove hazardous down the road. Doctors unfamiliar with patients’ histories may mistake these rashes for food allergies, so it’s important that patients be open and honest about their medical histories and remind their doctors that they are in the process of changing their diets for the better.

Colds or fevers

Colds or fevers can be another way the body indicates it’s working hard to cleanse itself. Fevers should always be monitored closely, even while in the midst of changing one’s diet for the better. But the CACE notes that colds or fevers, while unpleasant, can serve as a natural form of housecleaning as the body adjusts to a healthy diet. Persistent colds and fevers should be brought to the attention of a physician.

Additional symptoms

Some people may experience withdrawal symptoms like headaches and irritability as they transition from unhealthy diets to healthy ones. Such symptoms may be more likely to occur among people who suddenly adopt extreme diets.

A gradual transition may help mitigate these symptoms, as can choosing a less extreme, balanced diet as opposed to one that demands certain foods be avoided entirely right off the bat. Choosing to eat a healthier diet is a smart move that can pay long-term dividends. But the transition may require people to confront potentially uncomfortable side effects as their bodies adjust.

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