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Confused by Fad Diets? Read this Diet Comparison

Confused by Fad Diets? Read this Diet Comparison

Nutrition can be extremely confusing when we are bombarded with all sorts of contradicting information in the media. It’s impossible to log into Facebook or turn on the TV without seeing someone talk about the hundreds of fad diets.

Nutrition is not a one-size-fits-all. Everyone needs to have a diet tailored to our health and lifestyle. Researchers today still cannot say definitely what the “optimal diet” is.

I’m going to try to clear up some of the confusion between the more popular diets we are seeing today.

DietDiet SummaryGoalPotential Long-term Effects
Ketogenic Lowest carb diet; majority of calories from fatSwitch from burning glucose/sugar to burning fat for fuelLong-term compliance is low BUT keto can be a great kickstart. The transition back to a standard healthy diet needs to be gradual and well controlled.
PaleoWellHealth Worx dietitian approved for many. Short for Paleolithic. It focuses on real, whole foods, while avoiding processed, refined, nutrient-poor factory foods. This means avoiding grains, legumes, refined sugar, and poor-quality dairy products. Overall healthier eating pattern, resolve digestion problems, and stabilize blood sugar.Paleo can potentially be expensive. It can be challenging for vegetarians with limiting beans. Long-term compliance with reducing dairy and grain intake can also be low.
Mediterranean Diet based on the traditional foods eaten in countries like Italy and Greece. Foods commonly eaten include fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, legumes, whole grains, seafood, extra virgin olive oil. Foods avoided: sugar, refined grains, red meat, and other highly processed meats/foods. Cardio protectionModerate amounts of recommended alcohol
may be misinterpreted
to go over daily
recommendations of 5oz
for women and 10oz of
wine per day for men.
SAD ("Standard American Diet")
High in processed foods, omega 6s, sugar, low in omega 3s and micronutrients. Dying early, low quality of life, and significant financial burden of medication and medical procedures.
Vegetarian/Vegan• Vegetarians do not eat meat. Vegans do not eat animals products (e.g. meat, dairy, eggs). People may avoid meat for health purposes, religious reasons, parental preferences, environmental reasons, and/or animal rights. Vegetarian diets can potentially lack protein and certain micronutrients. It can also be difficult to comply long-term.
PescatarianSomeone who does not eat meat but does eat fish and shellfish. Some people choose to add fish to vegetarian diet so they get the health benefits of heart healthy fish. Potential mercury exposure, seafood can expensive, and factory farmed fish can contain large amounts of hormones/antibiotics/pesticides.
CarnivoreThis diet only includes meat, fish, and other animal foods like eggs and certain dairy products. The supposed goal of this diet is weight loss, clearer thinking, fewer digestive problems, and a simple approach to eating that lets them consume foods they enjoy.Potential cons include poor gut health due to lack of fiber and nutrients from fruits/vegetables. Also, eating poor quality, conventional meats can potentially lead to health issues like poor cardiovascular health, prostate cancer.

Nutrition isn’t black and white, there are a lot of gray areas. Find a dietary approach that promotes health, that you will be able to adhere to long-term, and fits your lifestyle. Avoid processed foods, eat a variety of colorful whole foods full of fiber and healthy fats. Find a balance of treating yourself occasionally while still maintaining a nutritious diet most days.

If you aren’t sure what approach is best for you or you have questions, schedule an appointment with the WellHealth Worx dietitian on your patient portal or call to schedule at 317-612-3193.