If you google search the word “diet”, you are overloaded with 230 million plus results. These results consist of articles, advertisements, and websites about fat blasting and weight loss that are sure to make your head spin.
With endless varying information out there, it is nearly impossible to find a reliable plan that is right for you. The goal of this blog is not to find you a perfect plan; the goal is to give you some insight into some of the worst and best ranked diets out there: what to avoid vs. what to consider.
For anyone who has looked into dieting, you have most likely come across the ketogenic diet. Without beating around the bush, this diet was tied as the worst diet in 2018 - and there are several reasons why. The ketogenic diet is characterized by its high fat, low carb makeup. In the diet, it is recommended that about 70% of your calories come from fat, while you should only consume less than 20 grams of carbohydrates daily. To put this in perspective, that is less than one apple per day. Comparing this to what the Dietary Guidelines recommends, the numbers are almost completely backwards. The Guidelines recommend that 45-65% of your calories come from carbohydrates, while you should consume less than 10% saturated fats.
The idea of the ketogenic diet is to put yourself in a state known as “ketosis” and force your body to burn a majority of your calories from fat, rather than carbohydrates. This may sound ideal on the surface, but there is a reason that your body normally resorts to burning carbohydrates before fat. Carbs are more of a “quick burning” fuel, while fat takes more time to metabolize due to its complex nature. Because of this, people on the Keogenic diet often feel fatigued when they first begin. When your body uses fat as its main fuel source, you also build up a large amount of its byproduct (ketones). This is fine in small amounts, but an excess of ketones can crate stress on both the kidneys and the liver. So, not only are you seemingly tricking your body into an unnatural state, but you may also be contributing to longterm kidney and liver damage.
With all this being said, there are several incidences where people lose a significant amount of weight on this diet. However, the way they are losing this weight and the difficulty of maintaining this weight loss once the diet is over makes it difficult to justify.
On the opposite end of the spectrum are both the DASH and Mediterranean diets. Without getting into all the details, these two well-researched diets, tied as the best two diets in 2018, focus on guiding principles for healthy eating. They encourage eating more fruits and vegetables, whole grains, legumes, fish, nuts, and low-fat dairy, while discouraging high consumptions of foods loaded with saturated fat and sodium. Some benefits of these diets include a decrease in blood pressure, cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and cancer as well as stronger bones and a longer life span. To learn more, check out the article below:
It is estimated that 45 million Americans diet each year - make sure you are choosing the right one! And, as with any heath change, be sure to consult with your physician beforehand.
Stephanie Spoto, CSCS