If you are considering improving your overall diet or committing to one of the many popular diets followed by thousands, it is important to learn more about each diet in order to choose one that is right for you.
Focusing on diet and proper nutrition can have numerous positive outcomes for your body, including weight loss or gain, increased energy, lowered cholesterol and a lowered risk for various chronic illnesses.
However, some popular diet plans do come with drawbacks as most of these diet plans do restrict or limit some form of food or macronutrient. Therefore, it is important to familiarize yourself with these drawbacks in order to determine if a diet is the right choice for you, as well as how long you should remain on a particular type of diet.
The paleo diet is a call back to your hunter-gathering ancestors. It is based on the belief that humans were genetically designed to eat certain foods prior to the development of agriculture. The diet is also based upon the theory that many modern diseases are linked to the consumption of processed foods, grains and dairy products.
Related Article: Managing Diabetes
As part of the paleo diet, you would be limited to whole foods such as lean proteins, fruits, nuts, seeds and vegetables. Intake of sugar, grains and dairy are severely limited, which offers its own advantages and disadvantages.
Studies have shown that a paleo diet can lead to a significant loss of weight in a short period of time. Dieters often eat far more protein, which a dieter may have been previously lacking. Not only does the paleo diet offer weight loss benefits, but a reduction in risk factors for various ailments such as high blood sugar, high blood pressure, high cholesterol and heart disease.
However, the paleo diet is not without its drawbacks. The paleo diet eliminates the consumption of whole grains, dairy and legumes, which are considered by many to be healthy and necessary nutritional food groups.
The vegan diet was initially created by a group of vegetarians who did not wish to consume meat or animal byproducts. A vegan diet is considered the strictest form of vegetarianism due to the elimination of dairy, eggs, gelatin, honey, albumin, whey and casein.
This diet can be very effective at achieving weight loss goals and dieters do not often need to count calories. Hunger is generally curbed due to high fiber content foods, which provides a “full” feeling for a longer period of time. This diet has also been linked to the reduction of type 2 diabetes, heart disease, cancer and Alzheimer’s disease. However, the vegan diet comes with one significant drawback. The elimination of meat and animal byproducts can mean that the dieter will be very low on several important nutrients, such as vitamin D and B12, iron, calcium, zinc and omega-3 fatty acids.
If you have been researching various diet plans, you have likely come across low-carb diets, such as the Keto diet. These diets have been popular and effective for decades as it comes to achieving weight loss goals. While there are several types of low-carb diets, each type focuses on one central goal: the reduction of carbohydrate intake.
Most diets will limit carb intake to just 20-150 gram of carbs each day. The idea behind the diet is that your body will be forced to burn through more fat as fuel instead of using carbs as the body’s main energy source. There are numerous scientific studies that have shown that low-carb diets are extremely efficient in weight loss, especially for those who are obese. Additionally, low-carb diets can provide additional benefits such as the reduction in cholesterol levels, blood sugar levels and blood pressure.
Related Article: Managing High Cholesterol
However, a low-carb diet is not the right choice for everyone. While some dieters have reported feeling great and less hungry, other dieters have reported nausea and an overall miserable feeling, which can lead to an increase in calorie consumption. In very rare cases, low-carb diets can also lead to a serious medical condition known as ketoacidosis, which can become fatal if left untreated.
The ultra-low-fat diet focuses on the consumption of fat. The goal is to only consume about 30 percent of calories as fat. Therefore, the diet is mostly a plant based diet with limited intake of meat and animal byproducts. Generally, the diet is very high in carbs and low in protein.
While this can lead to initial weight loss, studies have shown that the ultra low-fat diet is an ineffective way to lose weight long term. However, studies have also shown that this diet can lead to an improvement of risk factors for heart disease, high cholesterol and high blood pressure. There are also links between an ultra-low-fat diet and a slower progression of multiple sclerosis.
However, this diet is not wise to remain on for a long period of time as fat plays an important role in your body, such as building cell membranes, maintaining hormones and aiding your body in the absorption of some vitamins.
You have probably heard of the Atkins diet, as it has gained a lot of popularity in the last decade. The Atkins diet focuses on consuming protein and fat while avoiding carbohydrates. The diet generally begins with a reduction of carbs until you are consuming under 20 grams of carbohydrates each day for a set period of time. In later phases of the Atkins diet, carbs are slowly reintroduced back into a diet as you approach your goal weight.
Studies have shown that the Atkins diet can lead to weight loss faster than many other common diets, especially when it comes to reducing belly fat. The diet may also reduce your risk factors for numerous medical conditions such as high cholesterol, high blood pressure and high blood sugar.
Intermittent fasting is a type of diet that controls eating patterns and cycles between a period of fasting and eating. While most diets restrict the foods that you eat, intermittent fasting diets restrict when you can eat food during the day.
There are numerous intermitting fasting diets that are commonly practiced. One such diet involves skipping breakfast and only consuming food within an eight hour period each day. Another involves fasting for a full 24 hour period once or twice per week. Others focus on eating one very large meal each day with small amounts of fruit and vegetables throughout the day.
This diet is generally successful for weight loss, so long as you do not overeat during eating periods. Compared to other common diets, there is also less muscle loss and your metabolic rate may actually increase for a short period of time.
Like many other diets, intermitted fasting is not for everyone. Studies have shown that this diet is far more beneficial to men than women and individuals who are sensitive to a drop in blood sugar levels should not commit to intermittent fasting. Additionally, this diet is not meant for pregnant women, women who are breastfeeding, children, teenagers or individuals who are underweight or malnourished.
Related Article: Senior Diet Recommendations