The Facts About Top Diet Trends
Anyone on a new diet this year, err lifestyle plan? New Year’s resolutions are all about losing weight, getting healthy and making changes. There is certainly no shortage of diet trends out there but picking the right one for you can be tricky. Not everyone has the same goals, or the same budget. So, I thought I’d help you narrow down the choices based on facts. Here are the top diet trends, a list of some important info, and a link where you can find more information. (*Disclaimer: this list is in no way comprehensive or meant to cure or treat any disease or illness. You should consult your doctor before beginning any new diet plan. Also, I do have my degree in dietetics and have studied food, nutrition and culinary arts for the entirety of my adult life. But I’m not a doctor. The statements below are a collaboration of my opinion (the list itself) and researched facts (specifics pertaining to each diet plan).) There are a zillion diets out there. If the one you are interested in is not on this list, email me and I can help!
The basic premise is to eat like a caveman. There are some conflicting ideas about whether the intention is to eat only foods found in the paleolithic era. But since woolly mammoths and cave lions are now extinct, we have to be a little flexible. While finding food is a smidge easier, i.e less hunting and gathering, more loading up the cart at Whole Foods- the idea is that the foods should be about the same; whole, nutrient dense, not-processed foods.
- Grass Fed meats, Eggs, Fish and Seafood, Vegetables, Fruits, Nuts Seeds, Healthy Fats and Oils (olive, walnut, coconut, flaxseed, grapeseed, and of course avocado). Organic, non-GMO as much as possible.
Foods to Avoid:
- Grains, Preservatives, Dairy (though some raw dairy is sometimes allowed), Refined Sugar, Refined Vegetable Oils, and even a few surprising foods like Legumes, Beans and Potatoes.
The various foods allowed and not allowed are not just based on what was available when our stone-age ancestors walked the Earth, but also about potential health benefits and harmful properties inherit therein.
Whole 30: whole30.com
You can do anything for 30 days. And 30 days is just enough time to cut out the junk, let your body heal, establish healthier habits with food and get to a better you.
- Moderate amounts of meat, seafood, eggs. Lots of vegetables. A few fruits. And plenty of natural fats. The idea is to consume whole, natural foods that are not processed, as minimally processed as possible, or to be able to read and understand every ingredient on a food label.
Foods to Avoid:
- Added Sugar- of any kind. So, no honey, agave, date syrup, coconut sugar, stevia or maple syrup. Basically, if it makes the food sweeter, it’s a no-go. I see you sneaky fruit juice!
- Alcohol, even for cooking.
- All grains. Glutenous or Gluten Free. Period.
- No one really knows what legumes are (just kidding, we do!), but things like beans, lentils, soy and peanuts qualify.
- Eggs of all forms-raw, pasteurized, fermented, frozen or soured. If it comes out an animals mammary glands, it’s dairy. And just to be clear, eggs are not dairy…they are just usually found in the diary section of the grocery store because that’s where the refrigerators are.
- Some popular preservatives like Carrageenan, MSG and Sulfites.
- And they also discourage the creation of “junk like foods” made from approved foods. Trying to make a chicken breast and broccoli brownie just misses the point altogether of avoiding junk food, doesn’t it?
Weight Watchers: www.weightwatchers.com
This oldie, but goodie, just got a face lift! Their new Freestyle program offers greater flexibility with food choices, but still keep the accountability and tracking features that have scientifically proven to contribute to overall weight loss success.
- All of them! Each food is assigned a point value, and based on your goals and current stats, you are assigned a certain number of points each day. Spend, or rather eat, the points as you like, but track it all for greater success.
Foods to Avoid:
- The usual- highly processed foods, added sugar and unhealthy fats.
Another classic, this diet has been on the top 5 list for decades. Developed after the eating habits of Mediterranean countries like Greece, Spain and Italy, it mingles moderation and foods proven to help reduce risks for chronic and acute illness.
- Eat primarily plant-based foods like fruits, vegetables, whole grains, legumes and nuts.
- Replace butter and other saturated or trans-fats with heart-healthy fats like olive oil.
- Limit red meat to a few times a month.
- Eat fish and chicken several times a week.
- Enjoy red wine in moderation (optional).
- Get plenty of rest and enjoy meals with friends and family.
Ketogenic (aka Keto) Diet: https://ketodash.com/ketogenic-diet
First, it is important to note that ketosis is not the same as ketoacidosis. They are related, but the latter is very dangerous and can lead to serious complications. Ketosis is the precursor to ketoacidosis, and while it is technically considered an adaptive nutritional state, it does have some important medical benefits. The diet first started as a treatment method for epileptic patients to reduce seizures in the brain. Previous therapies included outright starvation, which produced the same result. However, the body suffered greatly as there was no nutrition to support the rest of the body. What is now called “fed starvation”, the body gets the nutrition it needs thru the high fat, moderate protein, very low carb diet, and the brain gets the relief it needs thru the production of ketones.
So what if you don’t have epilepsy? Here’s where the science happens. I’ll try to keep it simple. Basically, the human body “prefers” glucose as a fuel source. Think sugar and carbohydrates. That’s why when you are hungry, I mean really really hungry, you unconsciously go for the sugary snacks and drinks. They work fast because it is an efficient fuel source. But what would happen if fat was the primary source of fuel for the body, and carbohydrates the last? Well, that’s the Keto diet! In a nut shell, the body doesn’t use fat directly as a fuel source, but instead has to convert it to glucose for use. In that process, ketones are produced, and the body uses them for energy.
So how does someone lose weight eating mostly fat, if they already have excess fat? Great question! The answer, it takes some time. Being in ketosis doesn’t happen overnight. It can take anywhere from 2 weeks to 2 months, depending on activity level and other factors. But once you reach that stage, your body has basically converted its primary fuel source from carbohydrates to fat. And just like ALL FOOD you consume, taking in too much will lead to the excess being stored as fat- so you have to find the ratios that work best for your body and your activity level.
- Fat, like olives, avocados, bacon, fatty meats, butter, full fat cheese and other dairy, nuts. About 70% of your total calories for the day should come from fat. (As good an excuse to by the Wagyu beef as any!)
- Moderate amounts of protein like red meat, chicken, eggs, fish and seafood. About 25% of your total calories should come from protein. (This can be tricky to calculate since most protein is not just straight protein, but also contains some fat.)
- Net Carbohydrates. Net, meaning total carbs minus the dietary fiber. You can find it on a food label. But remember, vegetables are technically carbs, albeit high fiber carbs. But only about 5% of your total calories should come from carbohydrate food sources.
Tracking is key until you find a rhythm. I suggest the My Fitness pal app, #notsponsored, because it does all the work and math for you. Also, it is really easy to select foods from a list or add your own with the barcode scanner feature.
Foods to Avoid:
- There isn’t a specific list of foods to avoid. Although high sugar foods like sweets, sodas, candies, etc. should just generally be avoided. Also, high glycemic index foods like potatoes, pasta, rice, etc. are going to be hard to factor in because of their high net carb value. That 5% will go fast!