Contributed by- Saumya Shatakshi, Senior Nutritionist
We live in the era where everything is just a click away. All of us are used to instant results in all aspects of our lives that working patiently for a long term goal can seem really tiresome. Diets have met the same fate, with a huge demand for diets that give instant results fad diets have become the new craze.
Most of us want to get rid of the extra kilos and get healthy in a short span of time, this is where diets come into play. But, how do you choose the right kind of diet for yourself? What are the diets that work and those that don’t work? Are these diets healthy? What side-effects does these diets have? It is only normal to be swarmed with all kinds of doubts regarding the new-age diets.
Not all diets are bad and some of them are helpful in losing weight without compromising on health. Infact, a lot diets make healthy eating an easy possibility for us. Thus, to understand these diets better and to make an informed choices accordingly it is absolutely important to understand the various popular diet trends.
A Quick Insight Into Various Diets
A good diet plan is all about maintaining the balance between nutrients and providing healthy benefits. But, this not always true for all the diets available, a lot of them can lead to deficiencies and other health issues. Let us go through various fad diets and what they have to offer:
Keto Diet– Keto diet is popularly known as the new age diet and helps in quick weight loss. The diet emphasizes on low carbs and low protein. It has several benefits like:
- Burning of fat
- Reduction of appetite
- Maintaining blood sugar levels
This diet is low in carbs and protein but high in fats thus causes formation of ketones which in the long run is harmful for the body. It is advised to not to follow this diet for more than 2 weeks at a stretch.
Atkins 40 diet– This is basically a low carbs diet which produces metabolic advantages in body. Atkins 40 diet as the name suggests only allows 40 grams of carbs and restricts net carb (amount of carb left after subtracting the fiber from the total amount of carbohydrate per serving). This diet is helpful in:
- Effective and quick weight loss
- Helps in managing diabetes and lifestyle diseases
The Golo Diet- This diet is mainly introduced by a company with the main aim is to prevent spiking of insulin level by consuming foods having low glycemix index and glycemic load. These foods are selected from a pre-patented food index list along with supplements. Supplements include:
A special blend consumed in between meals which lowers the blood sugar level and regulates insulin levels.
The Mediterranean Diet – Mediterranean diet mainly incorporates the healthy fats and is good for heart care. This fad diet includes healthy food groups like:
- Whole grains
- Sea food
Mediterranean diet is the traditional way to reduce risk for heart diseases risk as it lowers down the low density lipoprotein (Bad cholesterol). This diet helps in weight loss as well. Plant based foods, legumes, grains are included in the diet and bad fat like butter and ghee are replaced with good fats like olive oil, coconut oil, flax seeds, sun flower seeds, canola oil.
The Macrobiotic Diet: A diet that includes macro form of ingredients like whole grains, whole pulses, seasonal fruits and vegetables and restricts certain foods from solanaceae family . Foods from solanaceae family are considered not good for health and only wooden or glass cookware are used. This diet is effective in managing chronic diseases conditions like cancer as it is rich in anti-oxidants and has sufficient nutrient content.
The Raw Food Diet: As the name goes, the foods should be consumed in raw forms preferably or can be shallow cooked, steamed, boiled or fermented. It mainly includes:
It is extremely beneficial in several health conditions and for weight loss as well. It is rich in phytonutrients, dietary fibres, low in fat (visible) which reduces carcinogens in diet, treats liver dysfunction, reduces inflammations in body and cures nutritional deficiencies.
Vegan Diet: Vegan diet that witnessed a huge rise in popularity in the previous years and is actually a great way to lose weight. The concept of vegan diet consists of no animal product. Vegan diet completely restricts all kinds of animal products including dairy products. A proper and healthy vegan diet should contain good vegan food choices. Including more whole grain and greens on the plate can significantly reduce weight and risk of heart diseases.
Vegan diet is often criticised for it’s unbalanced nature as the lack of dairy and animal food products. But, maintaining healthy balanced vegan diet can yield really healthy short term and long term results.
The Paleo Diet: This diet follows food patterns like our ancestors or the old way of eating. Paleo diet includes:
- Whole fruits
- But whole grains and dairy products are restricted
It is effective in preventing degenerative diseases and is rich in antioxidants but can be insufficient nutritionally in the long run as foods restricted are rich in nutrients. It is a diet good for diabetic (type 2) persons but in general scenario it is difficult to follow. Moreover, the continuous intake of supplements may do more harm than good. Moderate to low fat diets, high protein diet and Paleo diet works best.
The Ill-effects Of Diets
Cutting down drastically on portions can lead to nutritional inadequacies. In the long run, such a cut down can result in mineral deficiency, bone and calf muscle weakness leading to joint and muscle pain. It also lowers the satiety level hence making us more susceptible to binge snacking. People also complain of irregular bowel movement, change in skin texture and anaemia. Apart from losing weight people also experience muscle loss as a major side-effect. Some major side-effects are listed below:
- FAT RICH DIETS like ketogenic diets – Diets low in carbs and protein but high in fats thus causes the formation of ketones which in the long run are harmful for the body
- FRUIT BASED DIETS Grapefruit diet/fruit diets – These are deficient in protein and fats causing muscle loss, changes in skin tone and can cause low energy and hypoglycemia
- EXTREMELY LOW FAT DIETS– Fat intake is minimal and in long run can cause loss of elasticity, deficiency of soluble vitamins, joint and muscle pain
- VERY LOW CARB DIET like Atkins diet– In this diet carbohydrate intake is restricted. This in the long run can cause raise in LDL levels, hypo or hyperglycemia, liver dysfunction and vitamins minerals deficiency
- HCG DIETS – In this a female pregnancy hormone is induced for rapid weight loss. This can cause hormone irregularity and even conditions like gynaeomastia in males
The Causes Of Diet Failure
A lot of factors play major role in diet failure. Sticking to a particular diet is a really difficult job which generally witnesses failure. As most of these diets are high on restriction and low on satiety level, it is only obvious to fail at them. Some of the reasons include:
- Severe restriction of one food group or a particular nutrient
- Lack of will power
- Nibbling in between meals
- Following same pattern or same dishes can make the meals boring and hence the person often tends to quit in between
- Hormonal irregularities
Harmful Affects Of Crash Dieting
Crash diet is the new fad and a lot people go completely gaga over the concept of losing weight quickly. But, what most of us fail to realize is that these crash diets are really bad for our health. They might help us achieve are short term weight loss quickly but will cause major health problems that can lead to major health issues like:
- Hypoglycaemia/ Hyperglycaemia
- Severe mal-nutrition
- Low Bloodpressure
- Liver dysfunction
- Sudden weight gain and water retention just after quitting a crash diet.
Diets That Actually Work
Diet plans that follow moderate to low fat diets, high protein diet works best. Diet plans should be customized to each person as per their body needs, medical conditions, age, BMI and desired targets in consideration. Such diet plans can be customized for various targets varying from weight loss to inch loss to correcting a lifestyle disorder.
It is well known fact that proper weight loss plan should be a well balance between diet and exercise regime. It is important to adopt an active lifestyle and engage in atleast 30 ins of physical workout 5 days a week. One can choose from a varied list of workouts like brisk walking, running, treadmill, jumping, rope skipping, cycling, and stair climbing etc. to lose those extra inches. Once the desired weight is achieved, switch to strength exercises for muscle mass. Some effective tips for healthy weight loss are listed for you:
- Eat small frequent meals
- 20 minutes before the main meals, eat salad or drink 2 glass of water
- Half hour of regular exercises atleast 5 times a week
- Drink atleast 3 lts. of water daily and this should include 1 litre of luke warm water
- Increase fibre intake by including fruits, vegetables and salad in your diet. If you eat 3 rotis in your meal, replace 1 with a bowl of vegetable, salad or fruit
- Decrease your intake of alcohol, coffee, soft drinks, junk food and smoking
Rather than depending on a diet entirely it is advised to follow a proper balanced diet with the right kind of physical workout. It is always best to seek some professional advice in choosing the correct and customized diet plan for oneself. Good health should be constant and also the effort behind it. So, ditch the quick fad diets and make some healthy choice today.
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