If you have ever thought about changing up your diet, whether its for weight loss or to just get healthier, you have probably noticed there are quite a few "diet" options out there. In fact, there are so many, it's hard to know which ones have good science behind them, and which ones are just a fad. Let's tackle the most popular ones out there now, and learn more about what could work for you!
The Whole30 Program:
The premise of the Whole30 is that certain foods induce cravings, deplete energy, create digestive issues, and increase harmful inflammation in the body. By eliminating these foods for thirty days, you essentially "reset" your body, your tastes, and learn how putting real food in your body changes the way you feel.
There are rules to this program, and many food groups are eliminated. The Whole30 eliminates grains, sugar, dairy, legumes, alcohol, MSG, baked goods, artificial additives and flavorings, soy, etc. While this many seem incredibly restrictive, by getting rid of all of these foods, you are essentially performing an elimination diet and only eating real and whole foods for the thirty days. This helps you to manage your blood sugar, reduce body-wide inflammation, give your gut a break and heal, and teaches you how to cook and consume only "whole" and healthy foods. Once you've done the first thirty days, continuing with this "food makeover" is actually pretty easy!
The Paleo Diet:
So the concept behind this diet is simple - if cavemen didn't eat it, neither should you. It's creators hypothesize that our digestive systems weren't designed to handle much of what we put in it now days, and we need to return to our "food roots".
The food rules here are fairly simple, with an emphasis on high protein, lower carbohydrate and glycemic index fruits and veggies, higher fiber (not from grains) and good fat intake, more alkaline foods, and getting plenty of vitamins, minerals, anti-oxidants, etc. By following these rules, the Paleo diet claims to help eliminate or improve chronic diseases, promote weight loss and optimize health.
The Ketogenic Diet:
The Ketogenic Diet is a low carb, moderate protein, and high fat diet which puts the body into a metabolic state known as ketosis. When you're body is in a state of ketosis, the liver produces ketones, which become the main energy source for the body, and this all revolves around the consumption of fat. Now this throws some people off, because we've all been told for years that fat = BAD, but that's not exactly the case.
When you eat something that is high in carbs (say a donut, for example), your body will produce glucose and insulin. Glucose is easy energy for your body to use, and insulin is produced to transport and utilize the glucose in your body. The problem with this is that when glucose is used as a primary energy source, fats are not needed for energy and therefore are stored. With the average person's diet, glucose is the main energy source because there is an over-abundance of it in the modern American diet. This initially doesn't seem like a problem until you realize that the body can't store that much glucose. This becomes an issue for YOU because the extra glucose gets converted into FAT which is then STORED, and you gain weight.
The Ketogenic Diet aims to switch this energy process up, and by retraining your body to recognize fats as the preferred energy source instead of glucose, you will become a "fat burner" instead of a "sugar burner". When you lower your carb intake, glucose levels, along with blood sugar levels, drop, which in turn lowers insulin levels. This allows the fat cells to release the water they are storing (it's why you first see a drop in water weight) and then the fat cells are able to enter the bloodstream and head to the liver. Many people mistakenly believe you have to starve yourself or do significant fasting to enter a ketogenic state - with this diet, you only starve your body of carbohydrates, not food or energy at all.
There are some cautions with this diet, and you should consult with a physician first if considering this diet knowing you have any metabolic conditions, such as diabetes.
The Mediterranean Diet has long been recognized by researchers and doctors as a very healthy and balanced approach to food. Studies have shown following this diet leads to a reduction in cancer, heart disease, a whole host of other issues (such as Parkinson's and Alzheimer's) and a reduction in overall mortality.
The Mediterranean Diet emphasizes the following:
Eating primarily plant-based foods, such as fruits and vegetables, whole grains, legumes and nuts
Replacing butter with healthy fats such as olive oil
Using herbs and spices instead of salt to flavor foods
Limiting red meat to no more than a few times a month
Eating fish and poultry at least twice a week
Enjoying meals with family and friends
Drinking red wine in moderation (optional)
Getting plenty of exercise
All of these diets have their good points and are based in good science, but it's about finding what's right for you and making it work long-term. The average American diet is loaded with too much sugar and artificial ingredients, and our health overall is on the decline, with an upward trend in obesity, diabetes, heart disease and cancer. What we put into our bodies is important, and it's never too late to start making good changes for yourself today. You are the only one who can do it!
Interested in getting help with diet and lifestyle changes? Call us at 651-232-6830 and learn more about how our providers could help!