Sorting Through The Clutter of Fad Diets

We are always looking for new ways to lose weight while also keeping our health in a balanced state. Many of us can get caught up in “fad” diets, which can be best characterized by a diet consisting of highly restrictive or unusual food choices. But how sustainable and scientifically sound are these diets? After analyzing and searching through social and news media, we came up with the top three diets that have the largest following of 2016 so far:

 

The Raw Food Diet

Typically, this diet will be 70 – 80% plant-based foods that are never heated above 115 °F. The other percentage consists of unpasteurized milk, cheese, raw fish and certain kinds of raw meat as well as seeds and raw nut butter. Since this diet is extremely restrictive and requires proper planning and preparation, this diet is not recommended as a long-term lifestyle diet.(4).

 

Detox/Cleanse/Juice Diet

Gaining recent popularity, this minimalistic diet consists of juiced veggies and fruits with guidelines to follow such as completely eliminating solid foods. Juicing is a great way to introduce new fruits and vegetables into your diet and can give your digestive system a rest as well. Juicing will not provide the daily amount of nutrients needed; protein and fat will only be present in very small amounts. If you choose to juice, incorporate it into a healthy eating plan that includes foods from a variety of sources such as whole grains, dairy and lean meats (5).

 

The Paleolithic (Paleo) diet

Going back to our ancestral roots, this “Stone age” diet is centered around the idea that our bodies will perform best on the diet of our early ancestors: meat, vegetables, eggs, roots, and fruits. No grains, dairy, legumes, sugar, or salt. Even though this diet is high in protein and vegetables, eliminating whole grains and dairy are also not necessary the way to prevent all diseases and loss weight (7).

 

Next time you are navigating through the social media posts about these diets, remember to always consult with your physician or a registered dietitian first before considering the change. Since our bodies are all unique, remember to take an intuitive eating approach to food as well. This will allow you to become more attuned with your body’s natural hunger signals and have a healthy relationship with your food without the need of dieting.

 


References

(1) http://www.eatright.org/resource/health/weight-loss/fad-diets/staying-away- from-fad-diets

(2) http://www.eatright.org/resource/health/weight-loss/fad-diets/should-we-eat-like-our-caveman-ancestors

(3) http://www.todaysdietitian.com/newarchives/0116p8.shtml

(4) http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/10436305

(5) http://www.nutrition.gov/shopping-cooking-meal-planning/juicing-101-nutrition-tips-consumers

(6) http://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/nutrition-and-healthy-eating/in-depth/paleo-diet/art-20111182?pg=2

(7) http://wholegrainscouncil.org/whole-grains-101/health-benefits-of-barley