Whether it’s because you’re trying to lose weight, you’re trying to figure out if you have food allergies, or you want to incorporate certain foods into your diet, what you eat can play a huge part in your physical health.
But how do you figure out which diet or eating plan is right for you? It can sometimes feel like everyone has their own opinions as to what is best for you, but before you pick a specific plan, there are several things you should consider:
1) What is my main reason for trying this diet?
2) Is this something I can incorporate into my current lifestyle, or will I have to make additional changes?
3) Is this diet healthy for me?
Before starting a new diet or eating plan, it’s important to check in with your doctor to make sure that you won’t be doing more harm than good. They can give you tips and tricks to succeed, from recommended nutritional supplements to advice on how to balance your new lifestyle.
Keto, Whole 30, and intermittent fasting are popular diets at the moment, learn more about them below.
The main focus of the ketogenic, or keto, diet is helping the body enter a state of ketosis. According to its followers, when the body enters ketosis it is able to burn fat at a faster rate, and thus can help with weight loss.
The diet focuses on foods that are rich in healthy fats while restricting carbohydrates. However, the diet is not without its critics – because it eliminates almost all fruits and vegetables, there can be deficiencies of vital vitamins and minerals.
Kathy McManus, director of the Department of Nutrition at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston, says that while the diet “has been tried for weight loss, only short-term results have been studied, and the results have been mixed. We don’t know if it works in the long term, nor whether it’s safe.”
The idea behind the Whole 30 diet is that for 30 days, people only eat “whole” foods. In other words, you eliminate all processed foods from your diet while avoiding dairy and legumes, as well as added sugar. Naturally-occurring sugar, like in fruit, is allowed.
Part of the reason why the Whole 30 diet has become popular is because it can also be an effective tool for determining whether someone has certain food allergies or sensitivities. After 30 days of not eating certain foods, if you feel better, you can investigate further to see if you should eliminate certain items from your diet completely. However, there is no scientific backing for the Whole 30 diet as an effective weight loss strategy.
However, a University of California, San Francisco study found that a similar diet, the paleo diet, improved glucose and lipid levels for people with type 2 diabetes.
What about a diet in which you can eat as much as you want of whatever you want? With intermittent fasting, there’s only one restriction, but it’s a big one – you can only eat during very specific timeframes.
There are two main schools of thought for intermittent fasting. One is the 5:2 plan, in which you eat whatever you want for five days out of the week, and you fast on the other two. You can pick whichever days you’d like as your fast days, but they shouldn’t be back to back.
The other version, 16:8, allows you to eat every single day, but only during an 8-hour window, and you fast for the other 16 hours of the day.
Krista Varady, an associate professor of nutrition at the University of Illinois, Chicago, told Business Insider that it’s important to remember to drink water while fasting, as around 20% of our daily water consumption comes from food.