Everyone wants to eat healthy and be fit, right? But how? How do you know what foods are the best for you and even what nutrition guideline to follow? Sometimes it’s just confusing. Heck, I have been farming and in the healthy food industry for 20 years and I am often confused. You hear diet buzzwords like Ketogenic, Primal, Paleo, Atkins, Dukan, South Beach, Whole 30 and so many more. What do they all mean? Do we need fat or no fat? Sugars or no sugars? Carbs or no carbs? How much protein do we really need? Are our foods too acidic? Do we get too many calories? Are they nutritionally dense? Are these foods even “safe” to eat? My hope is to briefly outline (in Layman terms) what each “diet” means…
KETOGENIC: The body burns fats stores for energy. No carb diet, but high fat diet using foods containing healthy fats.
PRIMAL: Diet based on what our “primal” ancestors ate. Low carbs, high proteins, fats, nuts, seeds, limited fruits and veggies, limited whole grains and very low sugars.
PALEO: Short for Paleolithic diet which refers to the diet that was consumed during the paleolithic era. Also known as a “caveman” or “stone-age” diet. he diet typically includes vegetables, fruits, nuts, roots, and lean meat and typically excludes foods such as dairy products, grains, sugar, legumes, processed oils, salt, alcohol or coffee
WHOLE 30: The idea is that for 30 days, dieters don’t eat sugar, grains, dairy, legumes or drink alcohol and instead eat only meats, eggs, vegetables, some fruits, oils, nuts and seeds.
ATKINS DIET: By reducing carbs and eating more protein and fat, we burn stored body fat more efficiently and lose weight. This process refers to "ketosis" which is a proven biological process. (pretty much the same idea as ketogenic diet)
DUKAN DIET: The diet works with a four-phase approach that includes 100 sanctioned foods. The 4 phases are protein, vegetables, fruits / whole grains, and weight loss maintenance.
SOUTH BEACH DIET: This diet focuses on replacing "bad carbs" (super refined and processed) with "good carbs" (i.e. whole grains) and "bad fats" (trans fats) with "good fats" (i.e. omega-3).
Food for thought:
If you take a look at these diets, they all have something in common…. Proteins. But just like everything, all proteins are not all equal. Consider the source. How is it grown, what kind of life does it have? Does it contain chemicals, pesticides, antibiotics or other? What is it fed? Is it treated humanely? Is it genetically modified or manufactured?
Before you can truly know the best fit for you, consider ridding your diet of the awful foods: high fructose corn syrup, highly processed foods, food dyes (banned in Europe), and ingredients you can’t pronounce. After a couple of weeks, try to document which foods make you feel healthy, energized and clear headed. Which foods make you feel full? Which make you feel bloated or sluggish? Start dialing what works for you. Consider what way of eating can be sustainable for you and your lifestyle and you can start to take control of your health and nutrition one step at a time!
For further reading here is a great article for more information about the diets listed above.