Find Your Way To Fitness: Explore Top 3 Diet Trends

For centuries now, people have strived to go an extra mile on the path of good health. As such, over the years, there have been diverse diet trends making rounds – Paleo, Keto, Vegan, Weight Watchers, General Motors (GM), and the list goes on. While some trends faded by the hour, some have brilliantly stood the test of time throughout the last decade. These trends are what people turn to reach their fitness and weight loss goals faster. 

Let’s take a closer look at today’s top 3 major diet trends – Intermittent Fasting, Mediterranean diet, and Keto Diet – starting with their origin, and then the key benefits.

INTERMITTENT FASTING:

Nutrition and wellness experts have been doing a lot of research revolving around the benefits of intermittent fasting for over 30 years now. Initially, experiments were conducted on animals and showed promising results. Ultimately, the concept was popularized by Martin Berkhan.

IF works on the principle of time-restricted meals. By changing the meal times to a short window, the total intake of calories can be reduced. This works because the shorter time frame makes it difficult, if not impossible, to eat multiple portions of food. In addition, if the meal is rich in protein and fats, it provides satiety for a longer period. These long fasting hours allow the body to use its fat reserve for energy, thereby contributing to fat loss.

The concept of IF has evolved and now shelters diverse versions. However, the most sought-after fasting methods are the 16:8 and 5:2.

In the 16:8 intermittent fasting method, one has to fast for 16 hours and eat during the 8-hour window. Generally, no food item is restricted. Although, fresh produce and lean protein are encouraged. In the 5:2 intermittent fasting method which is not recommended to all, one is allowed to follow a regular meal plan on 5 days of the week. For the remaining two days, only 1 meal (500-600 cal) is allowed during the day. This way, one consumes only 25% of the daily calories needed. During the fasting window, water and beverages like black tea, black coffee, green tea, etc. can be consumed.

Pros:
IF promotes weight loss, digestion, and blood sugar management. It lowers the risk of cholesterol and cardiovascular diseases, improves absorption of nutrients, brings in clarity of thoughts. The diet is easy to follow with its non-restrictive approach during the eating window. It is also known to improve endurance performance and sleep.

Cons:
Fasting hours may seem difficult to follow initially. One may feel low on energy during the fasting period or feel the need to overeat in the eating window. Sudden heavy meals may make one sluggish and moody. This generally only occurs in their initial phase, hindering work/social gatherings during the fasting window.

MEDITERRANEAN DIET:
Mediterranean Diet (MD) has always been the preferred option among dietitians around the world. As the name suggests, the architects of this diet are the people living around the Mediterranean Sea – Turkey, Greece, Italy, and Spain. MD has proven to be one of the most heart-friendly diets.

The diet comprises plenty of fresh vegetables and fruits, healthy fats in form of olives, olive oil, nuts and seeds, ultimate nutrition food like legumes and beans, and lean protein such as seafood and chicken – all of which ensure optimum nutrition. Dairy products and eggs are included too, whereas whole grains are used in minimal quantity. They exclude processed foods, refined grains, and red meat. People living in the Mediterranean belt have been observed to be leading healthier lives; their balanced diet being the primary contributor.

Pros:
This diet is easy to follow due to the multiple food options. It provides better nourishment due to the inclusion of more fruits & vegetables in the diet. It helps with managing blood glucose levels, as well as reducing cholesterol and blood pressure, making it a heart-friendly diet option. MD also aids weight loss, improves skin, and boosts immunity.

Cons:
Consuming fewer whole grains and more protein during the day can get a little tricky in the initial phase. Excess seafood consumption may lead to mercury poising in some cases. 

KETO DIET:
The ketogenic diet, popularly known as the ‘Keto diet’, is another beloved diet trend. Here’s a fascinating fact – as new-age as it sounds, the Keto diet was invented early in the 1920s by Dr. Russel Wilder for treating epilepsy in patients. As decades passed, it became popular, especially among celebrities, and thus paved its way into our lives.

The word Keto comes from Ketones which are the molecules released when fat is burned in our body. Ideally, our body derives its energy from glucose which is obtained from carbohydrates. In Keto, however, the Carbohydrate intake is significantly reduced and intake of high fat with moderate protein is recommended. This high fat and low carb combination allows the body to use its stored fat as an energy resource, thereby promoting weight loss.

Here, the consumption of carbohydrate-rich foods like fruits, roti, rice, bread, pasta, etc. is reduced. Fats such as salmon, nuts, avocado, coconut, butter, ghee, cream, cheese, etc. are encouraged. Protein-rich foods such as egg, chicken, and fish are also included, along with small amounts of red meat.

Pros:
This diet primarily helps treat epilepsy. It also helps manage seizures, regulates blood glucose levels, aids weight loss. The meals are flavorful due to the inclusion of fats, ensuring maximum satisfaction when it comes to food cravings.

Cons:
One may experience something called a Ketoflu in the initial stage. It is a nutrient deficiency caused due to restrictions on whole grains. It can lead to fatigue due to less carbohydrate intake, and kidney stones in some cases.

Any and every diet trend comes with a unique set of advantages and drawbacks. However, the right one can bring a treasure trove of benefits to the table, without much compromise. This is why it is important to consider seeking advice from a health expert in the matters of diet.

Consulting the right nutritionist and dieticians can help with figuring out which diet works best for you. If you have been looking for an expert ‘nutritionist near me’, you can turn to Natasha Kanade, founder of www.transformwithnatasha.com, a dietitian & nutritionist in Mumbai. She specializes in lifestyle management & weight management program and can provide you with effective weight loss tips as well. Kick-start your fitness journey – get in touch with us today!

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