Are you confused by the conflicting information around “the best diet”? It looks like there is always a new diet trend that promises you to help lose weight, have more energy, look fit…
With dis-ease like stress, mood swings, digestive upsets, toxic burden, you may seriously thinking about reconsidering your current eating habits. So you start reading and you end up… more confused about what you could eat but also what you are currently eating! If this is you, let’s review 3 of the more asked-about diets:
The Paleo Diet – This diet foundation is to eat like your ancestors ate, before agriculture kicks in and food was processed in a factory. It has been made popular by Dr Loren Cordain, founder of the Paleo Movement. This is a diet based on protein (meat, eggs, wild-caught fish), vegetables, fruits, nuts, seeds and healthy fats. It removes grains, dairy products and processed foods. It doesn’t count calories. The idea is to eat whole, natural food when you are hungry, apart from grains and dairy. This diet is not necessarily a low carb diet, however it is certainly much lower than the standard western diet.
Avoiding processed foods increases quality and nutrient density. It also eliminates some common reactive food constituent such as gluten, casein or coloring agents and encourages eating organic and seasonal. Its clean eating foundation is definitely a plus and a serious mean for managing obesity and diabetes. Based on a lot of vegetables, it is fiber and phytonutrients rich, so beneficial for digestive health.
If interpreted as a high meat diet, it may be counterproductive, put a toll on the digestive system and may have detrimental effect on cardiovascular health and increase cancer risks[i]. It also eliminates legumes, an alternative from animal source of protein and a good source of fiber . This may be an issue when not enough vegetables are eaten.
Overall this is a great diet for most people keen to commit to sustainable and nutrient dense food when not interpreted as a high meat diet.
The Ketogenic diet – Referred as the “Keto” diet, it is often mentioned for weight loss. It focuses on a low carbohydrate and high healthy fat diet with moderate protein. The goal of this diet is to induce ketosis, a state where the body is using fat instead of glucose to produce energy. This is achieved by limiting the amount of carbohydrate ingested.
Grains and all form of sugar are eliminated from this diet. Legumes, starchy vegetables and fruits are limited in order to maintain minimum carbohydrate ingestion to achieve ketosis. The diet includes healthy fats, including fat from dairy.
This diet does not emphasizes the quality of the food so quality of ingredients may be an issue. It is low in fiber and a limiting diet difficult to maintain in daily life . It is a diet that needs to be supervised by health care professional to prevent kidney issues and is not suited for people that are not digesting fat properly.
Overall, the ketogenic diet achieves good result for specific health issue. This is not a long-term diet as it limits vegetables, fruits and legumes, and ketosis is a transient mechanism of the body not necessarily a full-time state. This is a diet that needs to be monitored by a specialist.
The Mediterranean diet – Despite its name, it is more a way of life based on dietary traditions of Crete in the 50’s and 60’s. This diet focuses on fruit and vegetables (around 9 servings per day), legumes, fish (primarily mackerel, herring, sardines & anchovies) and eggs. Dairy and poultry are eaten in smaller proportions than in the current western diets, deserts and red meat only occasionally. This diet have been extensively studied for its beneficial effects on cardiovascular health but also more recently for weight management, type 2 diabetes and overall premature death prevention .
This is a health-promoting nutrient diet for people who do not experience food sensitivities. As a lifestyle, this diet is sustainable and transferable to many different environment. Based on fresh wholefoods, it also encourages local farmer market shopping and the avoidance of processed food.
Often interpreted from the current diet in the Mediterranean area, it leads to confusion and may not be conducive of long term health when based on bread and too much grainy foods. Since it encompasses fresh wholefood in moderation, it presents few risks. One of the main risk is to forget the social aspects that keep Mediterranean people so healthy 🙂
There is no best diet for everyone but certainly many dietary protocols that can help people suffering from digestive issues, pain, anxiety or stress. Most of protocols are beneficial when followed short term until key issue are resolved and when professionally supported by a health care practitioner.
With so many options out there, how do you find the best option for YOU?
- The best diet is the diet that is appropriate for YOU at any given time. Set up your eating habits through the essence of experience – be curious, experiment. Accept also that what you eat is only beneficial in relation to your current state of health, state of mind, your age, your environment. and changes over time.
- Your best diet is designed in a way that it is nutrient rich and processed poor. Choose food closest to what nature intended to provide. Organise your plate around wholefood, seasonal and local products.
- Your best diet is not a diet, this is a lifestyle. This is sustainable way of eating and living that supports your digestion and absorption, that increases your energy, sharpens your mental clarity, and enables to maintain your healthy weight.
Disclaimer – This information does not replace any medical advice. Always consult a professional before modifying your diet.
 References on request