There are 100’s of different diet plans out there, Lindsey Joe, RDN, LDN from the The Meal Planning Method, reviews the most common ones, with advice on their pros and cons.
Every January hopes of a new year and new you fill the air. As a registered dietitian nutritionist and weight management expert, I often have clients come to me with desires to try out the latest diet trend that they’ve heard about. If you’re contemplating whether or not to take on one of these eating endeavors, let me quickly weigh in on the possible pros and cons for you.
Consuming a caveman-like, or Paleo, diet has been all the rage for the last couple of years. Anything
our ancient ancestors would eat is fair game (think foods that can be hunted, fished or gathered), but that doesn’t include grains, legumes, dairy, and sweets. While there’s nothing wrong with consuming more foods in their natural state, if there’s no medical reason to start eliminating these foods, then you might be setting yourself up to need supplementation to get everything your body needs.
2) WHOLE 30
This 30-day elimination diet is intended to strip certain foods (including sugar, dairy, grains, legumes, and alcohol) from your diet with promises of a list of unproven benefits. Overhauling your fridge, pantry, and meal plan might sound like a good idea, when in reality it might make it quite difficult to stick to and probably limits the foods you love. (Say goodbye to peanut butter and popcorn!)
The ketogenic (aka “keto”) diet is very popular right now and is characterized by strictly limiting carbohydrate-containing foods, including fruits, vegetables, and dairy, and loading up on high-fat foods. While you might see a rapid water weight loss like with any low-carb diet, long-term maintenance is without a doubt difficult to do on this diet, especially if you live an active lifestyle. As they say, “carbs are king” and your brain’s main source of fuel.
4) GLUTEN FREE
An elimination diet like going gluten-free is common when someone suspects they have a food allergy or intolerance to a certain food ingredient – in this example, gluten, a protein found in wheat, barley, and rye.
While it isn’t particularly “harmful” to follow a gluten-free diet when you don’t suffer from Celiac Disease, it’s important to remember that gluten-free foods themselves aren’t any “healthier” than their regular counterparts.
5) INTERMITTENT FASTING
Fasting refers to an eating pattern with periods of time where one’s intake is anywhere from zero to less than a quarter of your normal intake. Hunger, low energy, headaches, and disrupted sleep are just a few common side effects of this diet. So, it’s important to consult with your doctor or a registered dietitian nutritionist before writing off all foods and calories as it might do more harm than good for certain individuals, especially those who are active.
A cleanse refers to any protocol that involves “detoxing” the body to “purify” and often jumpstart weight loss. A cleanse might involve pills, powders, or portions such as juices and supplements in place of normal meals and snacks. While it may seem like you’re supporting something beneficial to your body, the truth is that your body is well equipped to do eliminate toxins all on its own thanks to your digestive and immune systems.
So just like the seasons fad diets will always come and go. Remember that quick fixes are just that –short-term solutions to lifelong habits. Rules and restrictions can be very difficult to maintain so balance really is best when it comes to giving your body the nutrition it needs. Set yourself up for success this new year by choosing dietary changes that work with your lifestyle today, tomorrow, and for a lifetime. For more personalized guidance to help you reach your health goals, work with a registered dietitian nutritionist. (You can find one here: http://www.eatright.org/find-an-expert).
LINDSEY JOE, RDN, LDN.
is a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist from Nashville, TN. She is a weight management expert, meal planning master, and TN Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics Nashville Media spokesperson. You can follow all her food-filled adventures at @themealplanningmethod
or go to www.themealplanningmethod.com.