A Cheat Sheet to the Current Trendy Diet Plans

Taking care of your health has never been trendier. From lifestyles that work to diets that flop, the way we eat is on a spotlight. People all over the country are encouraging others to join what seems to be working for them, but what works for you?

 

Veganism

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The basic definition of a vegan would be no animal products whatsoever. Yes, that includes chocolates. Any product-related to or containing an animal is off limits. This includes dairy, eggs, honey, leather, silk, wool, cosmetics, and soaps. 

Reasoning

There are two major types of vegans: those that shut all animal products out altogether and those that only restraint from food-related animal products. The most common reason for going vegan is to help end animal cruelty and help our planet.

Recent news reports claim the milk industry has dropped significantly due to the shift towards plant-based milk options. Experts say that around 70% of our grown grain is used to feed livestock. Reducing the consumption of meat can practically help end worldwide hunger. 

Pros

  • Veganism has been shown to improve your health significantly. Making you less likely to develop heart disease, cancer, diabetes, and high blood pressure. 
  • It conserves water. Livestock has been linked to drinking most of and polluting our fresh waters. 
  • You play a role in diminishing animal cruelty. 
  • Can help in ending world hunger by clearing up some of the fields that are used as feeding. 
  • Helps reduce energy consumption. 

Cons

  • Can be pretty pricey. Of course, there are affordable options out there, but a fully vegan diet takes major time and work. 
  • Be cautious about eating out. It's recommended to stick to vegan restaurants because in most cases the food has already been contaminated by an animal product behind the scenes.  

 

Vegetarianism

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Vegetarians abstain from eating meat but will have animal-related products. This makes it a bit easier than going full vegan since you won't need to watch out for every single product you use on a daily basis.  

Reasoning

Most vegetarians use health as their reasoning. I can personally attest that cutting meat out of your diet can drastically improve all sorts of problems for your next doctor's visit. After going a full year of being a vegetarian, my fat percentage lowered, my acne cleared up, and I was no longer sluggish doing simple things like going up the stairs. 

Pros

  • Obvious health benefits from lower cholesterol to a healthier source of iron and protein. 
  • Aids in diminishing animal cruelty
  • Promotes a healthy weight/weight loss

Cons

  • You don't eat meat.

There are no real cons to transitioning into vegetarianism. All of the nutrients that we receive from meat can be easily replaced by a non-meat option.

 

Pescetarianism

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Pescetarianism is a diet revolving around seafood with no other type of meat involved. It's a stable way to transition to and from vegetarianism. 

Reasoning

Like vegetarians, most pescatarians use this lifestyle for health benefits. 

Pros

  • Healthier source of protein than red meats
  • Is better for the environment
  • A better nutritionally balanced lifestyle

Cons

  • Can hurt unsustainable seafood sources
  • Fish farming can damage ecosystems and introduce invasive species

 

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The Paleo Diet

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The Paleo diet is mostly known for the phrase, "if a caveman wouldn't eat it, neither should you." This means avoiding any processed foods, sugars, most dairy products and anything artificial. Meats should be grass-fed and organic, and if you cannot afford them, you should try to purchase the least processed option. 

Proof Behind Diet

Over the years, multiple studies have proven the effectiveness of the Paleo diet. It has been linked to multiple health benefits and healthy weight loss. In addition to clinical studies, thousands of fitness gurus support the Paleo choice as part of their diet. 

Lindeberg S, et al. A Palaeolithic diet improves glucose tolerance more than a Mediterranean-like diet in individuals with ischaemic heart disease. Diabetologia, 2007.

  • Lindeberg's study showed significant improvement in glucose tolerance and inches lost from their waists. 

Osterdahl M, et al. Effects of a short-term intervention with a paleolithic diet in healthy volunteers. European Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 2008.

  • Osterdahl's study showed markers in weight loss and blood pressure. 

Cons

  • Organic foods tend to be expensive
  • You can't eat grains or dairy (which are good nutrients)

Overall View

If you are looking for a diet that works and will keep you both healthy and reaching your physical goals, the Paleo diet is for you. This diet is backed up by countless doctors and studies, and not just by a random Instagram model claiming they lost 20 pounds in two weeks.   Small tip: follow all guidelines for the diet, but try to include a slight amount of grain into your daily intake. 

 

The Mediterranean Diet

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The Mediterranean diet emphasizes plant-based foods and limits the consumption of meats. You focus on fruits and vegetables, whole grains, legumes, and nuts. While eliminating kinds of butter and replacing them with olive or canola oils. 

Proof Behind Diet

In 2013, the PREDIMED study made headlines. It consisted of six papers all about the Mediterranean diet and its effect on our health. 

Estruch R, et al. Primary Prevention of Cardiovascular Disease with a Mediterranean Diet. The New England Journal of Medicine, 2013.

  • Estruch's study concluded that the risk of stroke went down by 39%

Salas-Salvado J, et al. Reduction in the Incidence of Type 2 Diabetes With the Mediterranean Diet: Results of the PREDIMED-Reus nutrition intervention randomized trial. Diabetes Care, 2011.

  • Salas-Salvado's study claims that the risk of developing diabetes 2 was lowered by 52%

Cons

  • Not very specific in regards to portions and calories
  • One of the most expensive diets

Overall View

If you're like me and need rules to follow for your diets, this diet won't fit your lifestyle and needs. It seems more like a natural "substitute this for that" diet, and there are clearer and cheaper alternatives. 

 

The Keto Diet

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The Keto diet is a low-carb and high-fat diet surrounding meats, eggs, dairy, different oils, and green vegetables. This is one of the newest trends that most people are against. Although proven to work in regards to weight loss, you are basing your diet on fatty foods. Doctors have admitted to knowing very little about this diet, and have not openly endorsed it since it's based on notoriously unhealthy foods. Multiple "I did it, so you don't have to" Youtubers reviewed the diet for about a week (some didn't even make it past three days because of pain), and all claimed to feel sluggish and "unhealthy." 

Overall View

Although the diet aids in weight loss in the beginning, it has proven to reduce its improvement over time. I have yet to see an individual fully endorse the plan, and there is little to no research compared to other diets. 

 

How To Figure Out What Works For You

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Nutrition and weight loss can be a rocky road for most people. The best way to figure out what works for you is trial and error.

You can start figuring it out by:

  • Finding your body type
  • Deciding whether you want to gain weight, remain the same, or lose weight
  • Finding your fat percentage: forget about your weight for a moment! Fat percentage is more important than the number on the scale. 
  • Figuring out your calorie count for the day
  • Counting macros: this is essential if you are counting calories. Find out what macros your body needs to produce the results you are striving for.
  • Preparing your own meals
  • Figuring out your workout routine

Once everything is set in stone, you can move toward your "diet" plan. Doing this ensures that you are not simply following another "get thin quick" diet and completely forgetting about your health!