Vegan, Paleo, Keto, Low carb, Mediterranean, Intermittent fasting: Which Diet is Best for Me?
Keeping a diet is considered chiefly healthy living. Over time, different types of diets have emerged. All serve different purposes such as weight loss, reducing the tendency of metabolic syndrome (high blood pressure, Diabetes type-2, heart disease), balancing hormonal issues to culminate to the ultimate goal of health.
The list of different diets is long and is ever-evolving to keep up with the dietary needs of a presumptuous population. Most advice comes from social media trends or forums that may not always be backed by an education in Nutrition and Healthcare. Understanding your body type, lifestyle and diet goal is important when choosing the correct diet.
We will delve into more details about Vegan, low carb, Mediterranean, paleo, keto, intermittent fasting.
What is a Vegan diet?
A diet that strictly includes foods from plants and not animals.
Animal products such as eggs, cheese, bacon, yogurt, and milk are off-limits. Variable reasons are given for choosing a vegan diet. Some choose it for health benefits, while others prefer not to harm animals and protect the environment.
You can eat food derived from plants such as fruits, nuts, vegetables, legumes, and seeds on a vegan diet. The vegan diet doesn’t include any food from an animal, including meat. Dairy alternatives such as coconut milk and soy milk are preferred in this type of diet.
Vegans have better health and a lower risk of developing cardiovascular diseases such as hypertension and heart diseases.
A vegan diet keeps cholesterol levels low and thus reduces the chances of obesity.
Fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and nuts, the staples of a vegan diet, are rich in fibers and antioxidants and are packed with good nutrients.
They have a low-calorie measure, and for this reason, they are recommended for weight loss.
A vegan diet has several benefits, but on the downside, it cuts short of certain nutrients. Animal proteins contain certain nutrients such as calcium, omega three fatty acids, vitamin B12, zinc, folate and the more absorbable Iron in Ferric form. Calcium helps keep strong and healthy bones. Omega 3 fatty acids support the body’s cells healthy and strong while vitamin B12 is essential in forming blood cells.
A deficiency of these crucial nutrients predisposes an individual to bone diseases and some extent, anemia.
However, you can obtain the nutrients in animal proteins from plant substitutes such as nuts, soy milk, and vegetable oils.
LOW CARB DIET
A low-carb diet restricts carbohydrate and sugar intake. Foods that are high in carbohydrates are cut off and replaced with food high in fats and proteins.
The main question, however, is. How low is a low-carb diet?
There is no specific guide that states the lower limit of a low-carb diet. Many types of this diet exist, including the ketogenic diet that we will discuss further herein.
Carbohydrates are the preferred fuel by the cells of the body to generate energy. The amount of carbs intake is therefore dependent on the activity goal. Excess carbohydrates are converted into fatty acids, which are then stored by the body.
A low-carb diet leads to weight loss in a shorter time as the body is only provided with the number of carbohydrates it requires, and no excess is turned into fat.
The body even starts to burn down fats to produce energy, leading to fast but short-term weight loss.
A low-carb diet improves health blood markers such as blood triglycerides, good cholesterol, blood sugar, and blood pressure.
Despite providing a short-term solution to weight loss, a low-carb diet has the potential of increased risks to health. Complications such as heart arrhythmias, kidney damage, and lipid abnormalities are more likely to develop with long-term severe restriction of carbohydrate diet.
The Mediterranean diet is inspired by the Mediterranean sea and the land around it. Rightfully so, it is composed of seafood and a strong foundation of vegetables, nuts, fruits, and herbs. Moderate amounts of dairy and poultry products are also included in the diet.
The Mediterranean diet is more of a lifestyle that encourages daily exercise and enjoyment. The rich taste and fun with minimal limitations are what this allows. It promotes fresh food instead of processed and packaged foods.
This diet has a high score on health and a long quality of life. It reduces the likelihood of getting heart diseases, hypertension, and diabetes.
If you wish to lose weight, stick to this lifestyle forever. Regular exercises and minimal portions are an excellent way to watch your weight as you have fun while at it.
The only risk of this diet is indulging too much and eating a little more than necessary, thus increasing the risk of gaining weight.
The paleo diet parodies the caveman’s diet. It imitates what was eaten by our prehistoric ancestors in an era that had no processed food.
The stone-age diet is a high protein and high-fat diet that promises good health with no diabetes, heart disease, and cancer.
This diet mainly involves fresh lean meats, fruits, fish, fruits, and vegetables. Farmed products such as wheat and dairy are not allowed. Processed foods on this diet are prohibited, to put it mildly.
The paleo diet lowers the risk of blood pressure, acne, heart disease and improves overall metabolism
The paleo diet can result in nutritional deficiencies, leading to compromised health, especially bone health, due to decreased calcium intake.
This diet encourages the overall consumption of large amounts of red meat, which in the long run can lead to an increased incidence of cardiovascular disease.
The keto diet is a low-carb, high-fat and adequate protein diet. It involves reducing carbs intake and replacing them with fat leading the body to a ketosis metabolic state. Deprived of glucose from carbs, the body switches into burning fat and then protein to survive and manage its life processes. The body metabolizes fats to produce ketones which supply the glucose-dependent organs of the body with energy. Ketones are the by-product of the fat-protein fuel consumption that are released in the blood stream hence the name ‘Keto’ diet.
Ultimate ketosis is achieved when there is reduced blood glucose due to decreased carb consumption, which is the energy source.
This diet involves taking limited carbs with a minimum of 20 – 50gm of carbohydrates daily and increasing and increasing fish, nuts, eggs, and oils.
However, if you choose this diet, you should moderate proteins intake. Excess proteins are converted to amino acids, which can then be converted to glucose in gluconeogenesis in the body. Ketone levels in the body are measured using available blood, urine, and breath tests to determine whether the state of ketosis is achieved.
The keto diet has for a long time be used to treat neurological disorders such as epilepsy. The keto diet manages other neurological syndromes such as Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s disease, and brain injuries.
The keto diet is also valuable for insulin-related diseases such as type 2 diabetes and metabolic syndrome. The keto diet has increased insulin sensitivity up to 75%, which is good news, especially in diabetes type 2.
Initially, the keto diet may have some side effects, referred to as the keto flu. Reported symptoms include diarrhea, constipation, and vomiting. A keto diet may lead to low blood proteins, kidney stones, and micronutrients deficiency in the long run. Person with pre-existing liver, kidney and gout issues must check with an informed healthcare professional before starting and when proceeding with a Keto diet.
Intermittent fasting refers to a diet that focuses on when to eat rather than on what to eat. It involves voluntary fasting and non-fasting periods. Intermittent fasting is similar to a calorie restriction diet. It works by prolonging the time your body has to utilize calories from the previous meals.
During the fasting periods, eating is not allowed. Only water and zero calorie beverages such as coffee are permitted.
Intermittent fasting reduces the risk of metabolic syndromes and helps with obesity, insulin resistance, hypertension, and inflammation.
Intermittent fasting is not advisable for children and teenagers under 18 years, pregnant and lactating women, people with diabetes, and eating disorders.
Initially, intermittent fasting may have side effects such as headaches and nausea.
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