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A Brief Look At The Most Popular Dieting Trends

Every year, new dieting trends are surfacing since people are always looking for a weight loss or health improvement solution as a New Year’s resolution. Of course, your goals will determine which diets will benefit you the best.

Here is a basic breakdown for the most popular dieting trends:

1. Ketogenic diet

The Ketogenic (or Keto) Diet is a high-fat, low-carb diet which is considered the most difficult to follow. By eliminating or reducing carbs and increasing fats, the body goes into a state of Ketosis. This means that the body burns fat (ketones) instead of carbs (glucose). Since this is such an intense process, it is only recommended as a short-term diet.

The daily calorie intake is broken up into 10% carbs, 20% protein and 70% fats such as avocado, nuts, and oil.

While the focus of this diet is weight loss, other benefits include better sleep, more energy, and better concentration.

2. Vegetarian/flexitarian/vegan diets

Vegetarians eat anything except meats and seafood while vegans have a strictly plant-based diet and any animal products are eliminated. The flexitarian is mostly vegetarian to promote better health but allows meat to be added in moderation.

All of these are among the top five rated diets for weight-loss due to the lower calorie intake while also reducing the risk of several diseases including diabetes and heart disease. The downside is that these diets are low in nutrients (Vitamin B12, Vitamin D, Zinc, Calcium, Iodine, Iron and Omega-3) so maintaining balance and taking supplements is very important.

3. MIND diet

Also known as the Mediterranean-DASH Intervention for Neurodegenerative Delay diet. It reduces the risk of developing Alzheimer’s by 53%. According to a study done by Alzheimer’s & Dementia on 900 people, the MIND diet proved to have a significant effect on preventing brain decline and showed the cognitive function of someone 7.5 years younger.

The Mediterranean Diet takes the eating habits of communities around the Mediterranean Sea. This consists of plenty of fruits, vegetables and healthy fats like fish, nuts and olive oil. While DASH refers to the Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension and includes food such as fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean proteins, and low-fat dairy. The MIND diet combines the successes of these two diets to create 10 brain-healthy food groups:

  • Green leafy vegetables
  • Other vegetables
  • Nuts
  • Berries
  • Beans
  • Whole grains
  • Fish
  • Poultry
  • Olive oil
  • Wine

And 5 unhealthy groups:

  • Red meat
  • Butter/stick margarine
  • Cheese
  • Pastries/sweets
  • Fast foods/Fried foods

4. Paleo diet

The Paleo diet is also referred to as the “caveman” or “hunter-gatherer” diet as it sticks to the principle of going back to the way early humans ate during the Palaeolithic era. By eliminating gluten and consuming plenty of vegetables, it endorses better health and nutrition. Inflammation has been linked to many diseases such as cancer, diabetes, and arthritis. The processed foods and refined carbohydrates that are typically found in the western diet have been linked to the increase in such inflammation within the body, whereas the Paleo diet has been proven to reduce inflammation. This diet focuses on increasing meat, seafood, vegetables, low-sugar fruits, most nuts, and healthy oils while decreasing grains, legumes, dairy, sugars, potatoes, peanuts, vegetable or hydrogenated oils and all processed foods.

The benefits include improved body composition (percentage of fat, bone, water, and muscle), increased energy and improved metabolism. Studies have been done to show that the Paleo diet can lead to significant weight loss by eating fewer carbs, more protein and fewer calories per day. [1]

5. Whole30 diet

The main idea of this diet is to eat nothing but vegetables, fruit, nuts, and meat for 30 days. This is an elimination diet where you eliminate whole food groups to identify the physical or mental improvements. This very strict, short-term diet eliminates foods that are considered inflammatory, such as sugars, grains, dairy, alcohol, and most legumes and allows your body to hit the “reset” button. It is best to avoid or at least reduce processed ingredients as far as possible. You can eat as much as you want from the allowed food groups, no calorie counting or set fat-carb-protein ratio to follow. The only rule is to keep the food as close to its original whole food source as possible.

6. Low-FODMAP diet

FODMAP is an acronym for Fermented Oligosaccharides (few sugars), Disaccharides (two sugars), Monosaccharaides (one sugar) and Polyols (sugar alcohols). FODMAP is a type of carbohydrate or sugar found in certain foods.

In layman’s terms, it refers to the carbs that do not get absorbed well in the small intestine. They then travel to the colon where they are fermented by bacteria. This entire process results in bloating, digestive distress and all other symptoms of Irritable Bowel Syndrome. The point of this diet is to determine which foods are having which effect on the body.

Carbohydrates considered as FODMAPS include Fructans and Galactans (Fructose, Lactose, Fructooligosaccharides, and Galactooligosaccharides) and Polyols (Sorbitol, Mannitol, Xylitol, and Maltitol).[2]

As with the Whole30 diet, you are able to identify which food groups have a negative impact on your body by the process of elimination. Thereby allowing you to know what to avoid in future. The typical food recommendations for this diet include meat, poultry, eggs, butter, hard cheese, fish and oils. This diet is typically recommended for people with Irritable Bowel Syndrome or any other digestive problems.

Whether it be for weight loss, health improvements, or a lifestyle change, you will always find a diet to cater to your needs. There are no clean-cut diets for any particular problem. Since all body types are different, what works for one person may not necessarily work for the next.

Please always remember that diets are not meant to be a short term instant fix, but rather a healthier lifestyle change. There is no such thing as an “easy diet”. They will all require dedication and determination, but the key is to plan ahead. It can be a stressful and overwhelming task, but planning your meals ahead of time (and even preparing them) will save you so much time, stress and effort later on while helping you keep on track. Of course, the safest option will always be to consult your health care professional before making any big changes to your diet.


[1] https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/5-studies-on-paleo-diet

[2] www.GInutrition.virginia.edu

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