Why Subtracting Instead of Adding May Be Better for Your Health

Medically Reviewed by Dan Brennan, MD on September 09, 2021

People tend to add rather than subtract in all types of situations, even when solving problems. In some cases, however, it's better to deduct. Your health choices may affect your work, relationships, diet, finances, and body fitness. Subtracting something negative from these can help you live a healthier life.

When it comes to health-related adding or subtracting calculations, a deduction is the most difficult. It may force you to give up a favorite meal, habit, or daily routine, like exercise. To succeed in a planned subtraction, you must focus on healthy objectives.

What to Subtract for Better Health

Processed foods and beverages. These are becoming increasingly popular, with new recipes and formulations emerging. Some items to eliminate from your diet can include sweetened drinks, chocolate, certain kinds of milk, cookies, and various processed foods, such as quick noodles. The consumption of some of these foods has been found to cause stunted growth in children as a result of malnutrition. The reduction of sweetened drinks can help reduce your waistline and boost the health of your heart and liver. On the contrary, their consumption leads to weight gain, which has links to heart disease.

Unhealthy habits. These include characteristics that you pick up and add to your personal day-to-day life. The patterns could be harming your work routine, social life, or even your physical health. Some habits may be acquired from association with someone else or an activity you have experienced or heard about. In the end, it may become subconsciously embedded in your life. Although some may appear to be good, not all copied habits are beneficial. It's OK to eliminate some of these unhealthy habits and replace them with healthier ones.

Toxic relationships. Unhealthy relationships can cause stress that, in turn, negatively impact your health. Any relationship that is based on selfishness is unhealthy. Fear, greed, abuse, and poor self-esteem are symptoms of toxic relationships that may result in depression, self-harm, or death. If a work, friend, or romantic relationship isn't working out for you, you'll need to find an option or cut it out entirely to live a healthy life. Decreasing your social life gives time to recover and to plan new strategies for facing situations.

Unplanned spending. Lack of a budget can leave you with a financial burden. When you overspend, you risk experiencing stress as a result of debt. There are different types of money spenders: recreational, avoidance, impulse, esteem, and therapeutic spenders. You need first to determine the kind of spender you are to find out how to cut your spending. When you spend wisely, you find peace and comfort, which will improve your mental and physical health. You will also learn how to make more money and save after realizing the causes of overspending.

Living With Subtraction

It's necessary to get on track and subtract the unnecessary issues that affect your health. You don’t need to cut out everything, but you can control some to increase your efficiency and health. There ought to be a limit to the number of goals that you are trying to accomplish. These goals will help you focus and maximize on the process of subtraction

Good dietary guidelines. These are essential for limiting the intake of saturated fats, excess salt, and sugar. It's encouraging to remember that the little efforts you put in will help you achieve success. Your body requires a diet that replaces dessert, dairy, and meat with less fat-saturated foods like beans, fruits, vegetables, whole grains. 

Your diet guidelines should help you eat healthy foods containing valuable minerals, vitamins, and fiber. When you make these changes, the healthy diet will sustain your body's metabolic changes and help lose weight.

Create new routines. Create routines that add something small but good for your health. Try some simple balance exercises to improve agility and mobility. Take the stairs to your office and walk to the store or dinner for lunch. Work on building your self-esteem by walking with your head high and shoulders back. Sitting straight with good posture can help you avoid muscle pains, weariness, and backaches. Sleep for at least seven hours to boost your energy levels and aid digestion. Before going to bed, make sure to turn off everything that can disturb your sleep.

Based on your needs and lifestyle, you may need a therapist to help you manage subtraction. It's good to loosen your mind and see the positive changes of reduction that improve your health. Stay focused on your goals and treat yourself to avoid the feeling of deprivation.

Show Sources


Becoming Minimalist: “ Ways to Improve Your Life Through Subtraction and the Science Behind It.”

Cleveland Clinic: “11 Simple Health Habits Worth Adopting Into Your Life.”  

FullLiving: “Add and Don’t Subtract Foods for your #WeightlossResolutions for the New Year."

HealthyPlace: “The Impact of Being in an Unhealthy Relationship.”

SAN DIEGO FINANCIAL LITERACY CENTER: “Avoiding Bad Spending Habits that Affect Your Budget and Get You Into Credit Card Debt.”

UX Collective: “To add is expected, to subtract is design.”

Wiley Online Library:  “High use of commercial food products among infants and young children and promotions of these products in Cambodia.”

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