Food & Nutrition

2019 Diet Review

Navigating diet trends can be overwhelming. There are plant-based diets, elimination diets, fat-heavy diets, "caveman" diets, points-based diets, carb-based diets, and the exhaustive list goes on. If you're finding yourself in uncharted diet waters, reflect on your objectives before setting sail. Then, determine which way of eating—like any of the trends below—will get you to your destination.

Elimination Diet
An elimination diet, like Whole30, is best described as emphasizing clean foods while eliminating sugar, grains, legumes, soy, and dairy. It can also leave individuals with a wealth of knowledge about their bodies. Expert
Sonza Curtis, ND, PAC, IFMCP, of
Three D Wellness, agrees. "An elimination diet empowers individuals to discover which foods work best for them," Curtis says. However, she also notes preparing for a diet like Whole30 might be its demise. "It takes more time to prepare meals and pay close attention to food labels when shopping." Another con might be your social calendar. "Individuals can feel left out or isolated during social outings when eliminating alcohol, sugar, gluten, and dairy from their meals," she explains. The most important pro, however? "Consuming 'real' food in place of processed foods. Whole foods decrease toxic burden, which improves overall health and makes people feel better."

P1Ketogenic Diet
The ketogenic diet (keto) is perhaps the buzziest diet on our list. Dubbed as 2018's most Googled diet, keto is a low-carb, moderate protein, high-fat diet that puts the body in a metabolic state known as ketosis—a ketones-producing, fat-burning zone. Most participants eat 50 grams (or fewer) of carbohydrates, but some adhere to an even tighter carbohydrate count. O'Neil says, "We've had a version of the ketogenic diet for decades. It's something that really does work—even in a medical or weight management supervised setting—to jump-start fat burning." However, despite popularity, O'Neil cautions about its longevity. "It's not something that you can continue for the long haul because it's not a natural state of affairs to stay in a state of ketosis," she explains.

P2Plant-based diets
Plant-based diets, sometimes more widely known as veganism, are expected to continue to trend. Leslie Graham, owner of 3:8 Juice & Eatery, says there are two schools of thought here. "Veganism is abstaining from any animal products such as dairy, meat, shellfish, and eggs, as well as purchases of leather products due to animal cruelty. A whole food
plant-based diet is the vegan diet but limited to no oil and no processed foods and is more for your health." The concept of eliminating processed foods is an integral part of distinguishing between vegan and plant-based diets, especially for weight loss. "Going vegan, you may not experience a significant amount of weight loss because vegan food is heavily processed and full of oil and sugar. Oreos are vegan," she says. Instead of veganism, Graham suggests focusing on the whole foods plant-based approach.

P3Intermittent fasting
Intermittent fasting is defined as a specific window of time when zero to a few calories are consumed. This period could range from a few hours to a full day, but it is ultimately a cycle of alternating eating with fasting. While participants will inevitably be taking in fewer calories,
Carolyn O'Neil, MS, RD, says that intermittent fasting also encourages mindfulness. "It gives you pause. When you do eat, you're really paying attention, and it's going to matter more," she says. The downside? "Experts say when you fast, and then you eat again, your body thinks you may be in a state of starvation. The fear is that when you do begin eating again, your body holds onto every single calorie," O'Neil explains. If you think you might want to give it a try, consider this: most of us are already practicing intermittent fasting naturally—through sleep.

P4Mediterranean
Another popular way of eating that is not so much a diet but more of a
nutrition-focused lifestyle is the Mediterranean approach. Continually noted for its ability to not only lead to weight loss but to also aid in the reduction of diabetes, high cholesterol, heart disease, and stroke risks, this approach promotes the consumption of primarily
plant-based foods. Its followers are encouraged to load their plates with fruits, vegetables, and whole grains. Fish and seafood should appear a few times a week, while meats and sweets are limited. Butter, coconut and palm oils get the boot for healthy fats such as extra-virgin olive oil, nuts, and seeds. O'Neil notes, "This is not a vegetarian diet because it includes fish and meats, but enjoyed in moderation with plant foods as the star of the plate."

Whether you're seeking weight loss for medical or cosmetic reasons, there is certainly a course for you. Curtis says it best. "The key to maintaining a healthy lifestyle is to take a personalized approach. The days of one size fits all are over. It's time for people to discover what works for them to achieve
long-lasting results."

Sources
Three D Wellness | ThreeDWellness.com
3:8 Juice & Eatery | 38Juice.com
Carolyn O'Neil, MS, RD | CarolynONeil.com

 

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