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The True Meaning of the Word "DIET"

The True Meaning of the Word “DIET”

We are what we eat!

Certainly food plays a major part in our life, punctuating nearly our every move.  Often what we eat and drink determines how we organize our time, plan our social outings, and even sometimes it tells us what emotions to feel.

(It’s that powerful)

As part of our relationship to food, we often talk about being on a “DIET.” But have you ever wondered where the dreaded word originates?

(Don’t worry I’ll nerd out for you on that one)

The word “DIET”, as it’s used in society today (the food and drink that we habitually consume) did not appear in the English language until the thirteenth century. Funny enough, the context and the negative connotation associated to the word have evolved over modern times.

Because prior to present day, the roots of the word “DIET” were quite positive, and designed to celebrate, “A way of life.”

This dates all the back to ancient Greek civilization, as it comes from the Greek word, diaita . Diaita was a noun that meant a way of living, and also had a more specific meaning (diaitan), signifying a way of living as advised by a physician, which could include food, drink and other daily habits.

Switching from Greek and moving to Latin roots, “diaitan” was a verb which meant “to lead, govern, or arbitrate one’s life.” The Latin word “diaeta” came from these roots.

It wasn’t until the Middle Ages, that the word “diet” more often had a connotation of a food /drink (or other) regimen. Such “diets” were often fasts, or other strategized ways of eating done for a specific purpose or ailment.

This of course, survives in the popular use of the word “DIET” to describe a way of eating (by a nutrition specialist) specifically done to achieve a weight loss or body composition goal.

Ultimately though, it’s just a word… And words are useless without action. 🙂

Act today and discover the power of using food for fuel, and not pleasure.

See you in the gym,

Riley Phelps, MS CSCS