By Devonna Dang
Going on a diet means to restrict or minimize oneself from consuming certain types of foods or products. In our modern, sedentary culture, we no longer have to physically work for our food. Because of this, people are now restricting their diets in different ways to gain various health benefits, lose weight or help the environment.
The Paleo diet, short for the Paleolithic diet, is the predominant consumption of foods presumed to have been available to humans during the Paleolithic era, which began about 40 thousand years ago.
These foods include meat, fish, eggs, vegetables, fruit, nuts, seeds herbs, spices and healthy fats and oils.
Those on the paleo diet avoid sugar and high-fructose corn syrup (soft drinks, fruit juices, ice cream), grains (bread, pastas, wheat, spelt, rye, barley) and highly processed foods (everything labeled “diet” or “low-fat”). Essentially, if the food looks like it was made in a factory, they avoid it.
Benefits of this diet include the following: increased weight loss, improved glucose tolerance, better blood pressure control and better appetite management.
However, there are dietary concerns with this diet.
“The primary difference between the paleo diet and other healthy diets is the absence of whole grains and legume, which are considered good sources of fiber, vitamins, and other nutrients. Also absent from the diet are dairy products, which are good sources of protein and calcium,” writes Mayo Clinic on their website.
The high-protein diet is exactly what it sounds like. The diet includes eating mostly beans, meat, nuts, grains, eggs, seafood, cheese and vegetarian sources like soy. Things that should be avoided are carbs (cereals, grains, fruits and possibly vegetables).
“When you cut out carbohydrates, you lose weight quickly because you lose water. Then, with no extra carbs, the body begins burning more fat for fuel. This can lead to ketosis, which may make losing weight easier because you feel less hungry,” writes Webmd on their website.
However, some negative effects of ketosis include headaches, irritability, nausea, bad breath and sleeping problems for certain people.
The ketogenic diet is a high-fat, adequate protein, low-carbohydrate diet. The diet forces one to burn fats rather than carbohydrates. In medicine, it is used to treat difficult-to-control epilepsy in children.
This diet typically includes a lot of meats, eggs, processed meats, cheeses, fish, nuts, butter, oils, seeds and vegetables. However, this diet is generally restrictive and thus hard to follow through with in the long run.
“We also do not know much about its long-term effects, probably because it’s so hard to stick with that people can’t eat this way for a long time,” according to health.harvard.edu.
This diet raises concerns among health professionals, as it could also actually worsen health, especially if one has kidney issues.
The vegan diet has been getting increasingly popular for ethical, environmental and health reasons. Essentially, this diet excludes all animal products such as meat, fist, dairy, eggs, bee products and animal-based ingredients (whey, lactose, fish-derived omega-3 fatty acids).
Some foods that are included in their diet are tofu, legumes, nuts, seeds, fruits, vegetables and whole grains.
“Vegans tend to be thinner and have a lower body mass index (BMI) than non-vegans,” writes Healthline on their website.
However, the risks of nutrient deficiencies may increase, in some cases, because it is a diet based exclusively on plant foods.