The term diet, described by Wikipedia, is the sum of food consumed by a person or other organism. In today’s world its a buzz word that’s impossible to get away from.
The diet industry is now such a huge part of our modern culture that we are constantly bombarded with marketing from businesses who are trying to plug the latest diet fad.
With celebrities endorsing diets and huge multinational corporations investing in the latest diet trends, it’s impossible to escape this modern phenomenon.
With everybody saying that their diet is the “only” diet you should be following, I aim in this article to put my argument across that there is no “one” diet that’s perfect. As a personal trainer in Bristol, I have ten years of experience in creating diet plans for my clients. I draw upon this knowledge to write this article, and I hope you find it useful.
I’m going to start by looking at three of today’s most popular fad diets.
Mayo Clinic describes a paleo diet as typically including lean meats, fish, fruits, vegetables, nuts and seeds — foods that in the past, could be obtained by hunting and gathering during the Paleolithic era.
Paleo experts believe that by eating like our ancestors that this is the true diet that our bodies are designed to eat.
However, in my opinion, this does not take into account the fact that we (humans) are incredibly adaptable and that we have now evolved to eat a much more diverse diet. Our environment is also completely different, and so too is our lifestyles.
The positives of this diet are that it removes processed foods which I 100% agree with. The massive negative for me is the lack of carbohydrates. This would result in a drop in energy and also potentially vital macronutrients the body gains from carbohydrates.
This is another high protein low carbohydrate diets similar to Atkins and paleo. However, this diet focuses on consuming fat as a replacement to carbohydrates.
The diet changes the way the body feels itself switching from carbohydrates to running on fats.
The theory as described by Havard health is that by instead of relying on sugar (glucose) that is a product of carbohydrates (such as grains, legumes, vegetables, and fruits), the keto diet relies on ketone bodies, a type of fuel that the liver produces from stored fat.
This diet has some interesting results for epilepsy suffers as it has been seen to reduce the seizures quite dramatically in some instances. Again the diet cuts out sugar and limits the processed food intake.
However, I do not believe that this is a healthy balanced diet for most people. It severely limits the nutrients you gain from vegetables and fruit. It can make you feel pretty ill during the change over process from running on carbs to fat.
There are also health concerns with the possible increase in “bad” cholesterol levels. Finally, by limiting your diet to such a small amount of food groups, it makes this diet very difficult to follow for any length of time.
The vegan diet is simply eating no animals products. Instead, the diet focuses on plant-based food groups.
Veganism is also seen as a way of life and is becoming incredibly popular. From a health and weight loss point of you, advocates believe that it provides all of the nutrients the body requires whilst keeping calorie intake relatively low.
An interesting article found on the independent.com talks about the term “Hidden hunger”. This it describes as a chronic lack of essential micronutrients in the diet, such as vitamins and minerals. This is often seen in those following a vegan diet.
It’s very difficult to get all of the nutrients the body needs from just eating plant-based products. The effects of this may remain unseen initially, but over time the effects can be drastic.
These include lower disease resistants, mental impairment and even death.
I personally would never recommend this diet to one of my clients unless they had a sound scientific understanding of the nutrients their individual body required.
They would have to be prepared to undertake frequent blood testing and medical checks to make sure that their body was receiving the correct nutrients.
In summary, I believe there is no one diet that everybody should follow. Every person has their own unique dietary requirements depending on their genetic makeup and lifestyle.
We are an incredibly adaptable species, and therefore we can adapt to many different diets.
When people start a new diet, they often get results which encourages them, and they convince themselves that this is the “one” diet to follow.
What is actually happening is that they are often cutting out the rubbish food that they were eating, losing water retention, exercising, or simply eating fewer calories.
These three factors can often cause significant initial weight loss but its rarely sustained in my experience.
Once the honeymoon period of a diet has finished, weight loss drops off, fatigue can set in due to the lack of nutrients and calories. People often lose interest in their diets and start to slip back into their old ways.
To avoid this, I recommend that you try to make small adjustments to your diet over time. The initial results will be slower, but it will put less pressure on your body, and it will be a lot easier to maintain the diet for the long term.
What most experts agree upon is that too much sugar is bad for the body. Avoiding processed food is another key to a healthy body, in my opinion. Fresh produce cooked from scratch containing protein, vegetables and carbohydrates is a simple rule that we can all follow for a lifetime not just a few weeks to drop some weight.
I think the term diet should be thrown away, and we should focus on eating real food in a sensible and responsible manner. Try to buy the best quality food you can afford, stay away from fast food.
Avoid sugar and too much salt. And don’t eat anything in excess.