3 Popular Diets Decoded

Fiona-Tuck-Expert-Image

Fiona Tuck

Nutrition Expert

There is always some new diet craze promising us an easy way to lose those extra kilos. You only have to hop online to discover what the Hollywood stars are doing to keep fit and healthy. If you want to know their secrets here is the low down on some of the most frequently asked about popular celebrity diets.

dietsimage via pinterest

Paleo

The paleolithic diet is founded on the belief that we should be eating like our caveman ancestors and eat a strict diet that consists of meat, fish, eggs, vegetables, fruits, nuts and seeds. Foods that are not allowed on the paleo diet include wheat, corn, rice, quinoa, peas, legumes and all grains. Bread, pasta, flour are off the menu. The diet is high protein and low in highly refined carbohydrates which is most likely why so many people lose weight when eating the paleo way as it has similarities to the Atkins or Ketogenic diet. Many people claim an improvement in their health after following a paleo diet although a true paleo diet is quite strict a more flexible approach to paleo is becoming popular which includes foods such as peas and quinoa.

Pros –

The diet is free from processed foods and consists of fresh natural produce which is always a win in my book. Cutting out refined carbohydrates such as wheat flour and refined sugar will have health benefits so on the whole the philosophy of eating fresh, wholefoods free from artificial additives can only be a good thing.

Cons –

The diet tends to be high in animal protein, nuts and concentrated forms of nuts such as nut butters, nut milks and raw whole nuts so there is potential for nut toxicity and raised IGF 1 from the animal produce and saturated fats. Cutting out all grains and legumes can lead to nutritional deficiencies and trying a vegan or vegetarian pale diet would simply be dangerous. In my opinion a more balanced approach of including some legumes and grains such as quinoa or buckwheat would give a more well-rounded nutritional profile.

Fodmap

The Fodmap diet whilst originally designed to bring relief to the irritable bowel crowd, is now growing in popularity amongst Hollywood celebs. Fodmap is an acronym that stands for Fermentable Oligosaccharides Monosacaccharides and Polyols. Basically this refers to types of sugars that are poorly absorbed in the intestines which some people are more reactive to. When these sugars reach the large intestine the bacteria in the gut can begin to ferment them which can cause bloating, pain and wind. The fodmap diet eliminates fodmap foods thereby reducing abdominal discomfort. In theory this all sounds wonderful however following a fodmap diet can be extremely restrictive as it does limit many foods.

Fodmap foods to avoid include –

– Dairy products
– Grains – Barley, rye, wheat, semolina, couscous, bread, pasta, cake etc.
– Many fruits and vegetables
– Legumes

There are a lot of foods that contain these sugars therefore sticking to the fodmap diet as a way of life is restrictive.

Pros –

Many people find relief from uncomfortable tummy problems by following a fodmap diet.

Cons –

A very restrictive diet that can become mundane and limited. Cutting out foods could put you at risk of nutritional deficiencies if you do not ensure you are eating a variety of different nutrient containing foods every day.

Vegan

Another very popular diet trend is the vegan diet. Vegan diets completely cut out all animal derived products including butter, milk, cheese and eggs. Plant based diets have been associated with a myriad of health benefits which may be due to plants being high in phytonutrients, antioxidants and fibre all of which lower our risk of disease. Excluding animal based products completely from the diet can put you at risk of becoming deficient in several important nutrients particularly Vitamin B12, protein, taurine, zinc, choline and iron.

Lacto vegetarians eat a plant based diet that includes eggs and dairy which will provide a broader array of nutrients and putting them less at risk of nutritional deficiencies than a completely vegan diet.

A vegan diet needs to be meticulously planned for to avoid becoming nutritionally deficient. Unfortunately, many vegetarians simply cut out animal foods without carefully planning their foods which does put them at risk of becoming malnourished.

Pros –

High plant based diets have a lowered risk of disease

Cons –

Cutting out food groups completely may put you at risk of nutritional deficiencies.

Many factors need to be taken into consideration prior to starting any new diet, particularly if the diet is cutting out complete food groups. It is advisable to seek professional advice to ensure that you are following the most appropriate eating plan for your body and lifestyle and this will minimise any potential side effects or nutritional deficiencies.

 

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