Get the facts on the latest diet trends
High fat, low carb. Low carb, high protein. Six small meals per day versus three larger meal per day. Macro counting, calorie counting. It’s all very confusing, isn’t it? We live different lifestyles, have varying food preferences and tolerances as well as individual nutritional and caloric needs. Therefore, there is no one magic diet or meal plan that will work for everyone. Below we explore three popular diets or ways of eating that have recently gained attention. Like anything, they all have their pros and cons, particularly when examining healthy eating, sustainability, weight loss, muscle building, and lifestyle.
The Ketogenic Diet
The ketogenic diet, also known as the keto diet, has been the hot topic for fast weight loss. It is a very low-carb, high healthy fat diet that aims to put the body in a metabolic state of ketosis. While in ketosis, your body will burn fat instead of carbohydrates and turn fat into ketones to supply energy for the brain. There are a few variations of the ketogenic diet including the standard ketogenic diet, the cyclical ketogenic diet, the targeted ketogenic diet, and the high-protein ketogenic diet. For the standard keto diet, 75 percent of your daily calories come from fat, 20 percent from protein and only 5 percent from carbohydrates. The positives that this diet is known for are rapid weight loss, increased energy levels and health benefits for people suffering from chronic diseases. The more challenging aspects of the keto diet include the strict limitation of carbohydrate and sugar consumption. This is the essential part of keeping your body in a state of ketosis. Eating enough healthy fats to reach your daily caloric goal can be tough too. For some, the ketogenic diet is a no-brainer and for others, it just doesn’t fit with their lifestyle.
The Paleo Diet
While this diet made its breakthrough to popularity a few years ago, it remains at the top of the list as one of the trendy diets. But is it a trend, or does it actually make sense for our bodies? It really depends on how you approach it. The paleo diet is considered to be a way of living that is similar to that of our ancestors. Hundreds of years ago items like chocolate flavoured cereal and processed cheese slices didn’t exist. Today, processed foods continue to evolve. Ingredients lists continue to grow with words we can’t pronounce. And now everything from fake chicken to rainbow-coloured granola bars are on the shelves of every grocery store. The paleo diet takes a giant step away from processed foods and focuses on whole foods that were said to be consumed by our ancestors. A strict paleo diet encourages eating high-quality meats and vegetables as the main sources of nutrition. Grains, dairy products, refined sugars are all avoided. The paleo diet is great for those that want to and can keep it simple. However eating a lot of high-quality meat products can become expensive and may not be ideal for everyone, nor for the environment.
The Alkaline Diet
On to the alkaline diet. This one is also known as the alkaline ash diet or the alkaline acid diet. High-level athletes such as (6-time Super Bowl winner) Tom Brady and Hollywood celebrities like Gwenyth Paltrow, have brought this diet to the forefront of social media. The alkaline diet focuses on creating an alkaline state in the body by choosing foods that fight acidity and promote alkalinity. Items that are avoided on this diet are caffeine, alcohol, grains, conventional meats, eggs, processed foods, flour, refined sugar, and most dairy products. So then what do you eat? Alkaline promoting foods. Most fruits and vegetables, soybeans and tofu, and some nuts, seeds, and legumes make that list. Alkaline living may be for you if you want simplicity. You don’t have to count calories or measure your meals. It is said to reduce overall inflammation and may help better immune and metabolism function. But before jumping on the alkaline diet bandwagon, consider how many foods and food group you have to eliminate. No caffeine, no alcohol, no dairy products. Can you do it?
To add to the mix of all of these popular diets, the updated Canada’s Food Guide has just been released. Out with the measured portions of specific food groups, and in with more general guidelines to suit your nutritional needs. The tagline is “eat a variety of healthy foods each day”. Recommendations include having plenty of vegetables and fruits, eating protein foods (mainly from non-animal sources), choosing whole grains, and making water your drink of choice.
With all these diet options, it’s hard to know how and what to eat anymore! Remember that not one superfood ultra-healthy diet will work for everyone. Talk to your chiropractor about your nutrition choices and how they make you feel. Do you get achy joints after eating sugar? Do you feel stiff when you don’t drink enough water? Your chiropractor can offer you evidence-informed resources to help you on your health journey. They can also provide you with referrals to diet and nutrition-focused health professionals in the city.