The Skinny on Diet Fads
It seems like every day, a new diet fad is taking the world by storm, making lofty promises to help you achieve the body you want in the quickest time possible. While there are many tried and true diets that have been shown to be successful in helping you pursue a healthier lifestyle, others are unfortunately mistaken for being a quick fix to something that takes time and dedication to achieve. We’ve rounded up some of the most popular diet fads and broken them down to help you get to the bottom of which works and which are better left alone.
Most Popular Diet Trends
Just about everyone has heard of someone who has gone on a juice cleanse and swears by the results. Juicing is a great way to add more fruits and veggies into your diet, especially if you aren’t the type to eat them throughout your day. Juice-only diets can provide a wide range of essential vitamins and minerals, but in the end, the biggest downfall of a juice diet is that you might not get enough fiber or protein to make you full. This will cause you to crave those carb heavy foods like cake or doughnuts since you’ve restricted yourself. The lack of protein also means you’ll quickly lose muscle mass, which is the opposite of what you want to shed. In the end, juicing is a great accessory to add to an existing balanced diet, but juice-only diets are something you’ll want to stay away from in the long term.
Bottom Line: Juice-only diets are not effective for a long time period
Gluten Free Diet
One of the newer diet fads to go mainstream, gluten free diets are typically followed by those who have Celiac disease, an autoimmune disorder that can appear at any age and is caused by an intolerance to gluten. Gluten is a protein found in wheat, barley, rye which is used to make countless food products like bread and pasta. For those who do not have Celiac disease, going gluten free can be a fairly tough challenge, as it is present in so many food products nowadays. According to a study published in British Medical Journal, it shows that a lack of gluten can actually increase the risk of cardiovascular disease. It suggests that those who are not sensitive to gluten should not avoid it, as it could result in potentially long-term health risks as opposed to short term gain. While some swear by the diet, saying it makes them feel less sluggish and more energetic, it may be wise to continue on with at least some gluten present in your diet. For those looking to lose weight, going gluten free won’t be the most effective option.
Bottom Line: Unless you have Celiac, I’d stick to gluten
Following a vegan diet has a large number of health benefits. Cutting out all animal meat from your diet reduces your risk for colorectal and prostate cancers. Eating a higher volume of legumes, fruits, vegetables and fiber are believed to protect against a variety of cancers. Your bone health can also increase, as eating figs, kale, peas, and turnip greens are an excellent source of calcium, the primary nutrient for healthy bones. It has also been shown that vegans absorb calcium better. People on a vegan diet also seem to have healthier hearts, as they typically eat fewer calories, which results in a lower body mass index, and reduces your risk for obesity. It’s important to understand that a vegan diet can cause a deficiency in other critical nutrients, including omega-3 fatty acids, as well as vitamin b-12, both of which can result in developing anemia and dementia.
Bottom Line: A solid diet for health and weight loss, just make sure you get those extra vitamins
If you think a diet rich with foods like fish, nuts, legumes, fruits, vegetables, and olive oil sounds good to you, the Mediterranean diet is another diet fad that actually has some credibility to back it up. This heart-healthy diet is full of staple foods that are commonly eaten in countries surrounding the Mediterranean Sea, hence the name. Rich in unsaturated fats and omega-3 fatty acids, this diet is one of the best out there for helping prevent major chronic diseases, like heart disease, cancer, and Alzheimer’s. The diet allows for great flexibility, while still adhering to a core structure of food that contains all the good nutrients and none of the bad. In fact, studies have shown that those who Mediterranean diets with high levels of olive oil and nuts lost more weight than those on a low-fat control diet.
Bottom Line: One of the best diets out there when it comes to health benefits and weight loss.
The Paleolithic diet, or commonly known as the “caveman diet” calls for eating only food that humans would have eaten during the prehistoric times of the planet, over half a million years ago. These include fish, lean meats, non starchy veggies, and nuts. Say goodbye to starchy veggies, diary foods, grains, and processed foods. The diet focuses on these nutrient rich foods, and places a huge emphasis on exercise as well. The paleo diet gained more attention due to CrossFit, which counts it as the main nutrition guideline. Many loyal fans have said that the diet has helped them lose weight and stay healthier. However, experts say the long-term results just haven’t been proven, and the diet is quite difficult to maintain due to the restrictions of the food you can eat.
Bottom Line: Very effective in both weight loss and increase of health, though it is tough to keep up.