Modern-day diet trends seem to have taken hold as people look for ways to better manage their lifestyles in this fast-paced world of ours.
Low-fat, low-carb, keto, paleo, detox and vegan diets are just some of the words that float around in the news, online and that flow out of the mouths of celebrity gurus.
Understandably, trying to figure out which ones work and which ones don’t (or which ones are suitable for you) can all get a little confusing (and overwhelming), to say the least.
Dr Naras Lapsys is a clinical dietician with more than 14 years of experience (as well as 10 years of research on diabetes and obesity). He has helped people address dietary patterns, sleep, exercise and well-being.
He shared some tips on DoctorxDentist and weighed in on common fad diets. Here's what he had to say.
The keto diet is very good but not for everyone
Keto has become a very popular diet option (especially among the fitness crowd). It relies on the body using mostly fat as fuel by producing small fuel molecules called 'ketones'.
People find it an effective way to achieve their goals and there are certain health conditions for which keto may be highly appropriate. Naras notes that keto might not be for everyone as it's a highly argued diet with good points on both sides.
The paleo diet is good but might be missing out on some foods
A paleo dietary plan is based on foods that are similar to what may have been eaten by our ancestors during the Paleolithic era.
There are some very beneficial aspects of the paleo diet. Naras notes that if a person were following the dietary plan, it would be better than what they were eating before and their health should improve.
However, its many rules might mean you end up unnecessarily missing out on certain foods but it's no big deal.
Juice cleanses are good for weight loss but only temporarily
Juice cleanses generally involve low calories, so you will definitely lose weight initially. This is only temporary though. If your juice cleanse results inspire you to switch to a healthier eating pattern, then that's perfect.
However, if you go right back to your normal eating habits after the cleanse, there isn’t really any point.
Intermittent fasting can improve longevity
From a longevity perspective, intermittent fasting (the practice of fasting for hours at a time) holds interesting promise. From a weight loss perspective, it's considered a simple and effective strategy.
Fewer calories are consumed when limiting the hours that you eat in a day. Just make sure that your key meals consist of nutritious food.
Low-fat vs Low-carb diets; which one is better?
Dr Naras stated that most of these diets work well in the short term as long as you practice them consistently.
What's important is this. If you want to see long term results, it's best to put the diet you choose under scrutiny and practice due diligence to see if it's sustainable for your health.
Pescatarian diet is fine as long as you have sources of iron
If fish and seafood are your main sources of protein, it's important to think about your iron intake and absorption. Red meat isn't the only source of iron but if you're abstaining from it then it's time for a strategy.
Beans and legumes are good sources of iron and protein while leafy greens, tomatoes and lemons can provide the vitamin C you need for good absorption.
A vegan diet does not necessarily make you healthier
You can be a vegan and eat a terribly unhealthy diet, putting yourself at risk of all sorts of health issues. Similarly, you can be vegan and be very healthy.
Whether you're a vegan for ethical or for health reasons, you'll need to have a plan and carry it out in an informed manner for longterm success.
At the end of the day, it's always good to have a dietary plan. However, with that being said, Dr Naras believes that proper management involves a combination of being well-informed and careful strategising.
Whether you’ve opted to try out any of the aforementioned diets or not, maintain a well-rounded nutritional spectrum and seek additional advice from your dietician.
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1.Masood W, Uppaluri KR. Ketogenic Diet. [Updated 2018 Oct 27]. In: StatPearls [Internet]. Treasure Island (FL): StatPearls Publishing; 2018 Jan.
2. Manheimer, Eric W et al. “Paleolithic nutrition for metabolic syndrome: systematic review and meta-analysis” American journal of clinical nutrition vol. 102,4 (2015): 922-32.