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Diet Trends Demystified

four plates of different types of food

Health Notes by Dr. Liz

With names like “Keto” and “Whole 30,” the world of fad diets can be overwhelming (especially if you’re trying to get rid of any holiday weight gain). Picking a plan may give you a sense of control when attempting weight loss. Here’s a rundown on a few popular plans, along with a take on what really works when it comes to successful dieting.

Plant-Based: Perhaps the most sensible approach, this plan means eating more plant-based foods such as all sorts of fresh veggies eaten raw or prepared minimally with healthy fats (olive oil, nuts or seeds), vegetable proteins including beans and whole grains (chickpea-quinoa burger), fruits and other farm-to-fork foods. This approach to eating naturally cuts back on processed and refined foods, boosts fiber (to aid with weight loss) and cuts calories. To boot, this eating plan ultimately is earth-friendly as less packaging and food processing spares resources and the air.

Keto: This plan (the most challenging of all) omits virtually all carbs except leafy greens and a few specific veggies. Eating under 30-40 grams of carbs daily puts your body into a state of metabolic ketosis, which changes a host of metabolites in your body, translating to great news for folks with type 2 diabetes and other inflammatory conditions like heart disease. In place of carbs, consume more fats like butter, bacon and heavy cream (but not much cheese), and keep protein moderate. But not eating pasta, bread, quinoa, beans, fruit, sweets of any type is rigorous to say the least and most people find it difficult to stick with this plan for more than a few weeks. Following Keto does shed the weight and maintaining this loss works well while on the plan. If you give it a try, label reading is a must for carb counts. Once you get the hang of Keto, you may find the new you, especially if you suffer from type 2 diabetes or other chronic diseases.

Paleo: Think caveman—if your ancient ancestors didn’t eat it (chips or soda for example) then you shouldn’t eat it! The Paleo diet omits all refined and processed foods, all sugars, beans, peanuts, whole grains and dairy of any kind. The thought from the Paleo creators is that these foods cause weight gain and contribute to poor health. Science is lacking as to whether these foods specifically cause weight gain, but what does happen when you “go Paleo” is that you cut out many sources of empty calories and lose weight. Paleo helps people clean up their eating. The Paleo diet may be challenging for athletes who need more carbohydrates since grains and beans are omitted.

Whole 30: This plan’s premise is a diet reset for 30 days. Clean out all the “bad” stuff—any processed, artificial ingredients, sugars and alcohol—but also no tofu or other soy foods, grains of any kind, beans or dairy products. What’s left to eat? Pile on the veggies, fruits, eggs, fish, meats, nuts and seeds along with some healthy fats. This plan helps many lose weight but typically is so restrictive that once the 30 days are finished (phew!), old eating habits creep back in along with the lost weight.

Bottom line best diet plan?

Choose a plan that will help you curb unwanted calories and processed foods, and add health-boosting whole ingredients and foods derived mostly from plants. Whatever you choose, find an eating plan you can enjoy long term, that promotes optimal health and know that results may take weeks, even months.

  • four plates of different types of food