FAD Diets; Ketogenic, Paleo & Vegan.

FAD Diets; Ketogenic, Paleo & Vegan.

FAD Dieting Does Not Equal Better Fitness

In today’s fitness industry we often find ourselves locked in bewilderment due to presence of so many different diets presenting so many different benefits and essentially promising the healthiness and aesthetics that we all dream of. One could say that a lot of it comes down to the interpretation we have of each diet and sometimes if it simply just clicks in our heads and aligns with our views we will believe it without any scientific data to back it up.

This piece of writing won’t attempt to convince you one diet is more promising than the other, nor will it try and deter you from one more than the other, it’s only going to lay out the facts of each diet, what it entails and possibly touch on the benefits and risks of each one.

Paleo Dieting

So, first and foremost let’s try and provide a very simple explanation of the ‘Paleo Diet’;

‘If it doesn’t grow from the earth, do not eat it’

In reality the Paleo diet suggests that we only eat food that is product of the planet in which we live on, and that we could hunt. Things like meats, fish, leafy green, seeds, nuts and so on… And things we’d have to say goodbye to, would be your cereal bars, sandwiches, and chocolate bars, oh no!

However, lets meet you halfway and provide you with an option that a lot of diets really urge you to carry out, but Paleo does not, macro-nutrient counting, also known as calorie counting. Instead the diet only requires you just to stay by it.

Now one the benefits of this diet I that it totally eradicates the consumption of grains in our diet, and leading experts in the industry often blame grains as the guilty party in today’s chronic issue with obesity. Before human beings embarked on its mission of evolution and discovering the wonders of agriculture, grains weren’t part of our diet.

The over consumption of grains on a regular basis causes our bodies to take them, and turn them into sugar in our system. That sugar is then provided the option to be burned as energy or stored as fat.

Paleo or not, a number of studies have pointed to the consumption of grains, sugar and processed foods attached to lifestyle issues and diseases. We weren’t meant to eat them, simple.

This doesn’t mean the cease of carbohydrates; it just means stay away from the un-natural types and just consume the likes of sweet potato, vegetables and so on…

Now the downsides of Paleo? Well there aren’t many in reality, but the sheer expense of eating Paleo can be difficult, fresh, natural foods are more expensive than a $1 pizza from the supermarket, but then, you’ve only got one body, its worth the investment no? And of course, the restrictiveness can be difficult for some, but nothing comes easy…

Vegan Dieting

Veganism, pretty much one of the most controversial diets in the industry today, one of the most controversial main stream ones anyway, it’s like Marmite, you either hate it, or you love it.

It is often defined in such way that the individual excludes all forms of animal cruelty from their lives, whether that’s food consumption, clothing or any other purpose. And therefore the diet itself is exempt of all animal products, including meat, eggs and dairy. The vegan diet itself tapers off to many different varieties, however the foundation generally remains the same. A few follow below:

‘Whole-food vegan diets’ are based on a wide variety of whole plant foods such as fruits, vegetables, whole grains, legumes, nuts and seeds. The ‘Raw-food vegan diet’ is based on simply raw fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds or plant foods cooked always below 48 degrees Celsius. And the ‘80/10/10 diet’ is where you limit fat-rich plants such as nuts and avocados and rely mainly on raw fruits and soft greens, much like a low fat diet.

Studies do suggest that Vegan diets can aid the process of weight loss, and although you can suffer a lick of nutrient intake due to the lack of meat, supplements are available to provide you with that nutrient boost. Blood sugar levels and type 2 diabetes have been recorded to drop during a vegan diet and this is often linked to the increased amount of fiber consumed, and in addition to this, vegan experts have researched into heart risks and so much more but you’re always going to find paper claiming benefits. Just always be sure to check the source before believing.

An often perception of veganism is that due to not consuming meat, it will in essence develop an efficiency and that your body won’t be able to collate the required amount of protein in its diet. But actually, there are many options among the category of food that can provide you with protein, that aren’t meat. Foods such as nuts, legumes, lentils, quinoa and beans won’t necessarily hold the same elevated amount as what a steak would, but they do allow protein to enter your diet.

Ketogenic Diets

Ketogenic diets are one of the more popular current diets out there and have shown to have had terrific results with those who have undertaken it.

In reality the ‘Keto Diet’ is known for being a low carb diet, where the body produces ketones in the liver to be used as energy. As discussed before when you eat something high in carbs, your body will produce glucose and insulin. The diet suggest since the glucose from the carbohydrates is being used as a primary energy source, your fats are not needed and are therefore stored. And by lowering the intake of carbs, the body is induced into a state of ‘Ketosis’.

Since the glucose is being used as a primary energy, your fats are not needed and are therefore stored. Typically, on a normal, higher carbohydrate diet, the body will use glucose as the main form of energy. By lowering the intake of carbs, the body is induced into a state known as ketosis. The end product the Keto diet is aiming for is for you to force your body into a metabolic state. As we know, our bodies are incredibly adaptive to what you put into it, and when you overload the body with fats and take away carbohydrates, it will begin to burn ketones, as a primary energy source.

Obviously, during this diet, we need to apply the correct fatty foods, not the wrong ones. So here’s a list of food in which you can and cannot divulge in during this diet:

Can:

  • Meats – fish, beef, lamb, poultry, eggs, etc.
  • Leafy Greens – spinach, kale, etc.
  • Above ground vegetables – broccoli, cauliflower, etc.
  • High Fat Dairy – hard cheeses, high fat cream, butter, etc.
  • Nuts and seeds – macadamias, walnuts, sunflower seeds, etc.
  • Avocado and berries – raspberries &blackberries, etc.
  • Other fats – coconut oil, high-fat salad dressing, saturated fats, etc.

Cannot:

  • Grains – wheat, corn, rice, cereal, etc.
  • Sugar – honey, agave, maple syrup, etc.
  • Fruit – apples, bananas, oranges, etc.
  • Tubers – potato, yams, etc.

So, as you can see, its quite similar to the Paleo diet in the sense that avoid grains, and eat natural foods. But remember your diet if you’re to abide by Ketogenic guidelines needs to be high in fat, moderate in protein and low in carbohydrates. Ketosis is the state in which you want your body to be in when and it can be perceived as easy and difficult at the same time. Ketogenic diets really run quite deep, as in the sense of measuring the state in which you’re in to understand if you’ve reach a state of Ketosis yet. However, for the sake of this blog we won’t run that deep, we will just list how to pursue that state, in simple steps:

  • Restrict your carbohydrate intake
  • Restrict your protein intake
  • Be more lenient within your fat content intake
  • Drink ample amount of water
  • Avoid snacking at all times to reduce insulin spikes
  • Exercise

When pursuing any of the above diets, or any diet in general, we would strongly suggest contacting and seeking professional advice from an established nutritionist before embarking.

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Glossary:

Glucose: is the easiest molecule for your body to convert and use as energy so that it will be chosen over any other energy source.

Insulin: is produced to process the glucose in your bloodstream by taking it around the body.

Ketosis: is a natural process the body initiates to help us survive when food intake is low. During this state, we produceketones, which are produced from the breakdown of fats in the liver.

Ketones: a chemical substance that the body makes when it does not have enough insulin in the blood.

Macronutrient: any of the nutritional components of the diet that are required in relatively large amounts: Protein, Carbohydrate, Fat and Macro minerals.

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