Are you following one of these diets?

New Year, new… Diet? It’s so common to see people adopting new diets as their New Year’s resolutions. Whether it’s cutting carbs, avoiding sugar at all costs, or banishing all alcohol, there are many different diets at our disposal. But do they actually deliver on what they promise? Are they even healthy?

While there are some healthy habits and choices that come along with trending diets, not everything is what it seems when it comes to eating plans. Often times, they can be considered “fad” diets, meaning that they receive a surge of popularity, only to be dumped due to difficulty and inability to be sustained long-term.

As 2019 rolls out, there are three trending diets that seem to be gaining some major traction: Intermittent Fasting, Keto, and Whole 30/Paleo. To help navigate the world of dieting in 2019, we’ve broken down the pros and cons of each of these three diets here:

Intermittent Fasting

Intermittent Fasting: As the title suggests, this diet includes a fair amount of fasting. One of the most popular trending diets of 2019, the Intermittent Fasting Diet calls for the conscious withholding of food for a timeframe of hours to days. When executed correctly, intermittent fasting can help detoxify the body.

✅ Pros:

  • Increased energy: Eating and refraining at selective times has sometimes been shown to make the body more efficient with how it burns its fuels, resulting in more energy.
  • Ease of digestion: Intermittent fasting can help with the growth and maintenance of healthy gut flora, which makes digestion a much easier task on the body.
  • Natural to the body: Our ancestors practiced intermittent fasting as a normal part of life. Adopting this eating pattern can come naturally to us, depending on the extremity of how it’s practiced.

❎ Cons:

  • Not for everyone: Intermittent fasting is not recommended (and can actually be dangerous) for people who have experienced disordered or compulsive eating in the past. Since it involves restricting food, destructive eating patterns can re-emerge and put the recovery process in jeopardy.
  • Not for the long-term: Fasting can be safely practiced short-term, but in the long-term, it isn’t really realistic. Cutting calories isn’t exactly a favored way of life.
  • Difficult to do correctly: Not eating frequently or infrequently enough during intermittent fasting can be a struggle for many different people trying out this diet.
  • Not for those with hormonal imbalances: If your body struggles with a hormonal imbalance of any kind, intermittent fasting can make the problem worse. Not eating consistently can affect female hormones, adrenal hormones, thyroid hormones, and hunger/fat storing hormones.

Keto Diet

Keto Diet: Also known as the Ketogenic Diet, the Keto Diet is all about eating high fat, low carb. The goal is to encourage the liver to produce ketones, which in turn causes the body to burn fat as fuel. As far as trending diets for 2019 go, this one can be considered the most challenging.

✅ Pros:

  • Focus on whole foods: Since your menu is limited on the Keto Diet, a ton of foods are off limits. In order to stay on track, eating whole, unprocessed foods is your best bet.
  • Can reduce inflammation: When untreated, inflammation can lead to chronic diseases. The Keto Diet (when done correctly and consistently), can keep inflammation levels at bay and autoimmune diseases under control.
  • Lowers cholesterol levels: High cholesterol levels can lead to some pretty scary health issues, such as heart disease. With carbs cut out and fat levels increased, cholesterol levels may drop, preventing dangerous heart conditions.

❎ Cons:

  • Creates a negative view of carbs: Carbs are not the enemy! In fact, healthy carbs can improve heart health, boost mood, and increase energy levels.
  • Super restrictive: You can pretty much kiss restaurant food goodbye. Because Keto is so restrictive, you most likely won’t be able to order items on the majority of the menu. The same goes for eating at a family or friends’ house. Going Keto can definitely be hard on your social life.
  • Difficult to do correctly and safely: There are some risks of eating high fat and low carb, including flu-like symptoms, reduced muscle mass, and lack of energy.
  • Can feel pretty boring: Food should be fun! Cooking, shopping, and eating are some of the best parts of life; And the most social. Strict dieting and prohibited foods can really put a damper on things.

Whole 30

Whole 30/Paleo Diet: Out of all of the trending diets, these two options are on the more restrictive side. Whole30 includes the elimination of sugar, legumes, grains, alcohol, soy and dairy. Paleo is a bit more lenient, with the focus on eating foods that would have been readily available to people in the Stone Age.

✅ Pros:

  • Focus on whole foods: Instead of reaching for processed foods from the store, you’ll have to feed yourself with fresh fruits, vegetables, and meats.
  • Increased energy and weight loss: No more sugar crashing on these diets! Without processed foods and refined sugars, you’ll also lose weight naturally.
  • Emphasis on cooking: Since your food sources are natural and whole, you’ll have to focus on preparing them in delicious and creative ways.

❎ Cons:

  • Cuts out some healthy foods too: Beans and grains are full of beneficial nutrients, all of which you’ll miss out on during these diets.
  • Not sustainable: Do you really think you’ll never have sugar again? Or wine?
  • Cyclical eating: The Whole30 approach can create a sense of “on again, off again” healthy eating. Choosing to eat healthy should be a lifestyle, not a diet pattern.
  • Too restrictive: You need to live your life too! These diets can crush your social life, causing you to miss out on celebrations and gatherings.

While these trending diets of 2019 do have some healthy aspects to them, the truth is that dieting is not the answer. Following a strict menu and set of rules keeps you from actually living your life. As I like to say, you die on a diet. But it’s not your fault if you’ve fallen prey to fad dieting, especially with the influence of media.

Instead, aim to incorporate healthy recipes from these diets, but keep your mindset out of restriction mode.

There are ways to individualize your approach to healthy eating, without restricting and sticking to a single dieting method. If this sounds ideal to you, contact me to learn more.