If you keep up with diet trends, you’ll know that there are lots of trending diets out there and you may be tempted to jump on the latest diet bandwagon.
Many have moved on from Paleo to the Ketogenic, or Keto, diet. Long used as a therapeutic diet for children with epilepsy, Keto has become the diet du jour, alongside Intermittent Fasting and The Whole 30.
Let me let you in on a little secret. Pretty much any diet will work in the short term if you’re trying to lose weight (or improve blood pressure and diabetes management), and herein lies the problem. The most successful diets are those that you can stick with over the long haul. Believe me, after counseling hundreds of clients trying to lose weight, I’ve found that most have tried pretty much every diet out there. And they do lose weight! But then unfortunately gain it back and then some.
So, here’s some advice if you’re thinking about trying one of the many diets out there. Know yourself, your limitations, and strengths when it comes to changing habits. And think about long-term solutions as well as short-term ones.
- If you’re a fan of carbs, you’re probably not going to do well on the Keto diet, which is extremely low in carbs and has a pretty tough adjustment curve while your body gets used to using ketones for energy. In the long term, people report increased energy and stamina and improvements in cholesterol and blood sugar. But there are some negatives—the keto diet doesn’t necessarily encourage healthy fats or unprocessed foods, so you may be reaching for high salt foods like bacon and other high fat meats– not the best for overall health. And for most people, this is not a diet to follow for a lifetime.
- Whole 30 diet is promoted as a diet reset of sorts. It discourages all processed foods including grains of any kind for 30 days. Dairy and legumes are also not part of the diet, along with any kind of sugar (even honey). The diet consists of veggies, fruit, nuts, seeds animal protein, and some healthy fats. The positives of this diet are that it gets your body used to a completely unprocessed diet and accustomed the taste of whole foods. Could you do it for 30 days? Maybe, maybe not. I do wonder about the omission of legumes, as they contain such a healthy mix of nutrients, protein and fiber.
- Intermittent fasting is also trending. If you hate diets per se, this could be a good option for you. Basically, you make the typical fast from dinner to breakfast longer—increasing it to 14-20 hours. So, you may eat during the day from 12-5 instead of 8 to 6. In these diets, there are no foods you can’t eat. The longer fasting times focus on the amount of time you eat, not the types of foods to eat. Both have shown promising results for losing weight, reducing abdominal fat and improving insulin resistance.
- I think of the “5-2” diet as a cousin of Intermittent Fasting. On this diet, you have 2 fasting days in a week, when you eat just 25% of your calorie needs—usually just 500-600 calories. On the other days, you eat your typical diet. The 5-2 diet is good if you have trouble sticking to a diet more than a day at a time. On the negative side, you could eat a really poor-quality diet and still lose weight, but again, that wouldn’t be good for overall health. A recent study at the University of Sydney found that the 5-2 diet improved blood pressure and also changed how fast the body metabolized fat.
If you want to stay away from fad diets and go for long term fixes, check out the DASH Diet and the Mediterranean Diet, which similarly focus on eating nutrient-rich foods which fight inflammation and are suited to help with blood pressure, weight loss and cancer prevention. Combining one of these diets with Intermittent Fasting or 5-2 could let you have the best of both worlds for short-term as well as long-term health.
Other thoughts on diet from Bridget
- Surprising Nutrition Advice from a Registered Dietitian
- Avocado-Slice One Today
- Main Dish Salads for Supper
Other articles you may be interested in:
- Eating Your Way to a Healthy Brain by Jaime Cobb
- High Cost of Unhealthy Habits by Sarah Webb
- Jump Into Healthy by Allison Byrd-Haley
- Take Care Of Yourself So You Can Take Care Of Business by Judy Hoberman