Scroll through social media and you might notice fad-diet labels jumping off the screen- keto-diet, paleo-diet. Do they work? Fad diets promote quick weight-loss in little time. Most fantasy diets get that selling point out there quick because people want results with convenience. Cut out crucial food groups or devour the same menu for weeks. This fad may work for some people but as the fine print warns- results may vary and consequences may occur. For this one, why not consult an expert - your local Registered Dietitian.
1. The Ketogenic Diet aka “Keto diet”
Keto diets were designed to help children with epilepsy. The trend now, though, creates a high-fat, moderate-protein, low-carb strategy for weight loss. Decreasing carbs and increasing fats/proteins zaps your body into ketosis – the metabolic state that happens when carbs are lacking. Your body creates organic compounds (ketones) that are used in place of the missing carbs to help burn fat for energy needed in your body.
Sounds easy but then comes the fine print (or the lightning-fast warnings at the end of the commercials.) Keto-flu could occur causing fatigue, nausea, headaches, cramps, lightheadedness – all from carb-withdrawal. If you revert to your normal diet, back come the pounds. Your RD could have prevented this.
2. The Paleo Diet aka the “Caveman diet”
The Paleo diet is referred to as the caveman diet because it is so simple that “a caveman could do it.” Paleo focuses on foods that are unprocessed and non-packaged like meat, eggs, vegetables, and a small variety of fruits and nuts. The paleo diet claims that by eating like our ancestors (who lived to be about 25 years old) we will be leaner and avoid getting many diseases.
Here comes the bad news... Any significant dietary change can confuse your body and cause low blood sugar (hypoglycemia) from restricted carbs, the carb-withdrawal-flu as mentioned in the keto diet, strange cravings, and an overall lack of energy. Perhaps take a look at our friend Fred Flintstone before diving into this diet.
3. The Healthy Lifestyle Approach
We’ve all been told what foods to eat and what to avoid, but where do you begin? If you want a few tips, you’re in the right place. A healthy lifestyle includes fruits, vegetables, whole grains, dairy, and protein in your everyday diet. Yes, chocolate is allowed too. They don’t lie when they say “everything in moderation”, so have that cake and eat it too.
Making a few small changes can help you reach your goals. Start by checking food labels for added sugar and sodium. Aim for 100% whole grain products instead of refined foods like white bread. Eat leaner proteins like chicken and fish instead of a fast food burger. Venture out of your comfort zone and try new foods. You never know unless you try.
If you’re still convinced you need a “diet”, try the one made popular in Mediterranean. Though it says the word “diet”, the Mediterranean Diet is a healthy lifestyle that helps lower cholesterol and keep your heart and brain healthy. The MD is rich in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, beans, nuts, seeds, fish, and olive oil. Oh, and a glass of red wine. Cheers to that and a healthy lifestyle!