We all know that eating a healthy balanced diet is essential to get our bodies from A to B, and eating the right foods can even reduce your risk of getting certain diseases and illnesses. People diet for all types of reasons, but usually with the same goal; to live a healthier life.
That being said, there’s a huge variety of diets out there with different components and benefits. However, that miracle diet your friend swore changed their life may not do the same for you; everyone is different, and it’s essential that your body is receiving all the nutrients it needs.
So, let’s take a closer look at some popular diets.
The paleo or primal diet consists of whole ingredients and eliminates processed foods, sugars, dairy products, grains, starchy vegetables and high-fat meats. Benefits can include weight loss, higher immune function, increased energy levels and lowered risk of heart disease, diabetes and cancer. However, this diet can get expensive as it requires you to eat a lot of meat and nuts. It’s also a good idea to keep an eye on your cholesterol levels if you are eating lots of meat.
The raw diet involves eliminating foods that have been pasteurised or produced with additives or synthetics, such as refined oils, coffee, pasta, and cooked or processed foods. The diet includes fruit, vegetables, nuts, and seeds, and may also contain eggs, fish, meat, or dairy products. While this diet may help you improve digestion, lose weight and lower the amount of antinutrients and carcinogens in your diet, eating raw foods can come with the risk of contamination.
The vegan diet is fully plant-based, therefore eliminating all meat and animal products including dairy, eggs and honey. The diet is abundant with magnesium, iron, folic acid, vitamins B1, C and E while being low in cholesterol and saturated fats, and can be great if you’re wanting to lose weight. As with any diet, poor planning can lead to deficiencies, which is why it’s important to thoroughly research and ensure you’re getting the nutrients your body needs.
The ketogenic diet takes a high-fat, moderate-protein and low-carb eating approach. Following the diet for a few days causes your body to enter ketosis, meaning it’s using fat to create energy and this can lead to weight loss. Some keto-friendly foods include cheese, nuts, leafy green veggies, eggs and meat, but you can’t have numerous whole fruits, whole grains or desserts. There are some risks however, including kidney stone formation, acidosis (high levels of acid in the blood), and nutrition deficiencies.
The Low GI (Glycemic Index) diet minimises spikes in your blood sugar and insulin levels, and therefore may help with weight loss. The diet involves eating a lot of non-starchy vegetables while limiting refined-grain products and eating a healthy protein with most meals. However, the diet may not work for everyone as the body’s response to glucose varies from person to person.
If you’re considering trying out any of these diets but aren’t sure if it’s the right one for you, discuss the matter with a dietitian or nutritionist first.