It’s that time of year again. When most of us look back at what we have been eating the past few months and seriously start thinking about changing our diet. Whether it’s a new years resolution or just a pure desire to feel and look better, wanting to change how we eat can be a great thing… but where do we start? There are so many popular diets out there, how do we know which one to try?
U.S. News & World Reports recently evaluated 40 of the most popular diets and put together a list of what they feel are the best. I read through the list and thought it would be fun to put together my own ‘Cheat Sheet‘ , so to speak, of the pro’s and con’s of some of the ones they have listed. This isn’t an exhausted review by any means, but just a quick resource to help you get started.
Why Did I Picked These Diets
After looking over the list from U.S. News & World Reports, I chose to pick out the ones that I am asked about the most or ones that I see people talking about the most on social media.
I don’t have these in an particular order as to which one is best, because I don’t believe one diet fits all. As I have said before, each person is created differently and it may take a little work to find out what works best for our bodies when it comes to being happy and healthy. I’m just here to help you find what that is as best as I can.
Each of these diets has it’s own take on why they work. Some include meat, some don’t. Some include grains, the others no grains. What works for one person, may not work for the other.. and that’s OK.
I particularly am not a fan of large amounts of animal protein based diets, but that’s because I have found that way of eating doesn’t work for me. Yet, again, what works for me, may not work for someone else. Many of my friends eat animal protein based diets are in great shape. Find what works with you and stick with it.
Now.. onto to the Cheat Sheet..
The Mediterranean Diet
The Mediterranean Diet consists of these core foods:
- Primarily plant-based foods – fruits, vegetables, whole grains, nuts, and legumes
- Using healthy oils in place of butter – such as olive oil
- Instead of salts to flavor foods, use herbs and spices
- Eating fish and poultry at least two times a week
- Limiting your eating of red meat to a few times a month
- Red wine – in moderation
- Promotes heart health – with the core foundation being physical activity and fruits and vegetables, the Mediterranean Diet is even considered by the AHA to be heart healthy.
- Good fats don’t raise cholesterol – using only oils like olive oil and canola oil (not my favorite.. but) that are good monounsaturated fats and not trans fats, cholesterol levels are lowered
- Lots of antioxidants – with an emphasis on fruits and vegetables, more antioxidants are received along with more vitamins and minerals.
- Movement – promotes physical activity and exercise that is always good for ones health
- No specific instructions or measurements on the amounts of foods that should be eaten
- Wine – those on any medication should always be cautious with adding alcohol to their diet
- Expensive – adding good olive oil and fresh fish to ones diet could increase the grocery budget
The Keto Diet
High fats, low carbs, and moderate protein, this diet was first used to treat epilepsy in children. With it’s quick weight loss results and numerous new followers, the Keto diet has become one of the most popular diets out there.
The Keto Diet consists of these core foods:
- Fish and seafood
- Natural fat, high-fat sauces
- Vegetables – but only ones that grow above the ground
- High-fat dairy
- Nuts and Berries
- Water, Coffee, Tea – nothing with sugar
- Burns Fat quickly – your body goes into Ketosis, which in turn burns fat rather then sugars in your body
- Lowers levels of insulin – increased insulin can lead to fat not being burned for fuel, so lower levels of insulin help promote fat to burn and lower inflammation in the body too
- Detox from sugar – follow the Keto diet will eliminate any sugar intake
- Loose weight – studies have shown that those on the Keto diet loose weight
- Decreased appetite – in a state of ketosis, the need to urge to eat is lowered
- Very strict – it can be difficult for people to follow at first, eliminates quite a bit of foods
- Brain fog and fatigue – people on the Keto diet have reported having a brain fog and or increased fatigue
- Low in heart healthy fiber – with the absence of whole grains, there is a lack of fiber in this diet, which is need for good heart health
- Not long term – there hasn’t been enough studies done to show that people can sustain this diet long term
The Whole 30 Diet
Taking off a few years ago, The Whole 30 Diet seems to be a great go-to diet to start the new year. Emphasizing whole foods and eliminating sugar, grains, legumes, soy, dairy, and alcohol, the Whole 30 can be a little difficult to start, but seems to have good results for those who try it.
The Whole 30 Diet consists of these core foods:
- Unprocessed meats
- Nuts and Seeds
- Some oils and ghee
- encourages eating clean, whole foods
- avoids highly processed food
- avoids sugars
- can be a shock at first, but a good shake up diet for sure
- a rough beginning – the ‘going without’ can be rough at first
- requires a lot of meal planning
- elimination of healthy grains, beans, and legumes – loosing heart healthy fibers
- lack of sound research on it’s results
- can be expensive
The Paleo Diet
Riding alongside with the Whole 30 on the popular diets craze is the Paleo diet. Not too far off on the Whole 30, the Paleo diet is based on the idea of eating like humans did during the Paleolithic era.
The Whole 30 Diet consists of these core foods:
- Grass-fed meats
- Fruits and vegetables
- Nuts and Seeds
- Healthy oils
- Great for meat lovers
- Fresh, whole foods
- Low in salt and sugar
- Encourages clean eating
- Weight loss
- Less inflammatory foods
- Lack of heart healthy grains
- No dairy
- Can be expensive
- Based on the thought we should eat like cavemen – which some have said actually ate more vegetables then meat
- Relies heavily on meat – which has been shown to raise cholesterol and cause heart issues in some people
The Vegan and/or Plant-Based Diet
First let me explain that there is a difference between a vegan diet and a plant-based diet. I have only put these two together because at the core, they are more a like then different.
A vegan diet is one that abstains from any and all animal products. A plant-based does basically does the same, but is less stringent at it’s core of eating meat and may allow minimal inclusion.
For the purpose of this post, I’m just going to focus on what they both allow.
The Vegan/Plant-Based Diet consists of these core foods:
- Tubers – potatoes, sweet potatoes, carrots, beets, etc.
- Whole grains
Lower cholesterol and blood pressure
Lots of antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals
Promotes weight loss
lack of some nutrients that can only be found in animal products
hard when eating out
no meat and dairy
So Which One Do You Choose?
I honestly wish I could sit here and tell you that there is ONE diet that will help you loose weight, feel better, and look amazing, but I can’t.
Part of what makes us all uniquely different from each other is how we are made up. We all have the basic parts to function as humans, but each body operates differently at it’s core.
The best way to figure out which diet, or eating lifestyle as I like to call it, works for you is to try. Start with the one that seems the most doable and appealing for you and go…
But Wait.. First Do This..
Before you go for it.. find a good doctor and talk it over with them first.
Find a doctor who encourages a good, healthy diet and make sure there are no health problems that you need to be aware of before starting any new diet.
Once you’ve done that.. then go for it!
Got Something To Add?
Have you tried one of these diets that I have listed? Or have a Pro or Con to add to the list? I would love to hear from you. Leave me a comment and let me know.
Thanks for stopping by and have a Happy and Healthy Day!
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