There is a new world of diets out there. Most of you will choose a diet based on health reasons or for ethical reasons. However there are many of you choosing the wrong diets for the wrong reasons. There are many of you on the ‘no carb’, ‘no fat high protein’, ‘paleo’, ‘vegan’ diet etc, and although these all sound amazing and could have great outcomes, these aren’t always best for the long term and some can be detrimental to your health. You may end up becoming deficient in vitamins and minerals leading to illness and disease, not to mention the mental trials and tribulations you can go through on a diet, choosing what to eat and what not to eat!
So I will break down a few popular diets for you, the pros and cons as it were. I have to say here, I see a ‘diet’ as just what you eat, not a list of rules and regulations. Technically everyone is on a ‘diet’. What I want you all to know is I don’t really like the idea of people putting themselves on a strict diet. It is possible to eat healthy and balanced and still have a treat (check out my blog on Living an 80/20 Lifestyle to see what I mean). Dieting can make a lot of people unhappy too – no-one wants to be that person that cant go out to dinner with friends because of a diet!
Vegan: Now I respect this diet for its ethical reasoning, with a lot of research going into the benefits of this diet and the effects on our planet. It is a great weight loss diet and provides you with plenty of nutrients (when done right!). The problem we have with this diet is the deficiencies it can cause. I can not stress enough how important it is to understand it completely before you become a vegan. B12 is an essential vitamin we need to keep our nervous system healthy. Having a shortage can cause Megaloblastic Anemia, making you feel very tired and weak. This diet can also lack in iron, a mineral the body needs to produce healthy oxygen carrying blood cells. The type of iron we get from plants is hard for the body to use, and in fact we must take in A LOT of vitamin C to unlock this type iron for the body to utilise. So do your research before committing to this diet.
Paleo: Such a popular diet! Its full of veggies, fruits, nuts/seeds and lean meat. Perfect for those people working out that need higher amounts of protein to rebuild their tired muscles. It is also a fantastic weight loss diet, with plentiful amounts of phytonutrients, antioxidants, healthy fats and vitamins. The one thing I will note here is that a lot of people forget the vigorous exercise involved thousands of years ago to hunt for food. To see best results in this diet you must be exercising, doing plenty of cardio and using weights. There’s one possible negative factor I have noticed; grains and legumes are avoided in this diet, which could result in a lack of fibre. Fibre is so important (like, super duper important). It acts as a broom and sweeps through your guts and removes build ups and toxins. You would be surprised at how much excess weight you have in your system from ‘crap’ (excuse the pun) build up in your gut. So please bear this is mind when on the paleo diet, having a fully functioning digestive system is crucial….(NOTE: There are many flaws to this diet and its claims….nutritionally however its pretty sound)
Low/No Fat: It is such a misunderstood diet. It’s the one I dislike the most. We CANNOT absorb vitamins A, D, E and K without fat! What we should be doing is balancing the types of fats we eat and avoiding trans fats and hydrogenated fats. There is also this misconception that saturated fat is bad for you, however there isn’t much, if any, scientific research proving this. It can raise healthy cholesterol levels (HDL – High density lipoprotein) and can change the structure of bad cholesterol (LDL- Low density lipoprotein) to prevent it from penetrating our arteries, essentially working on preventing heart disease. Not only that we need cholesterol because the body uses it to build cell membranes, produce hormones like estrogen, testosterone and adrenal hormones. Cholesterol also helps your metabolism work efficiently, for example, cholesterol is important for your body to produce vitamin D, which then helps us absorb calcium to maintain our skeletal structure! There is a reason that Carbohydrates, Proteins and Fats are called MACRONUTRIENTS…we need them in large amounts for energy! My advice is moderate and stick to healthful fats, such as nuts, seeds, avocados, fish etc.
Raw food: This is a great weight loss diet too, if done correctly. I have seen and read some amazing stories of diabetes being reversed, arteries cleared and much more on this diet. Eating foods raw means you will consume all the nutrients contained in the food as a lot can be lost in cooking. Not only that, but raw veggies can be extremely filling, meaning you wont be craving food shortly after eating a meal. Now for me this is a diet of preference. Personally I like warm food, especially in the winter months. If we eat soups, and bake, broil or steam our veggies, we will still be consuming a huge amount of nutrients. I would recommend eating raw for breakfast and lunch and then a nice hot dinner. Best of both worlds really! It can often be a demotivating diet which is another reason I am not the biggest fan. You must be very careful with certain foods containing toxins when raw such as kidney beans, and be very vigilant with food prep. It is also important to be aware that the raw food diet can also create bowel problems, so if you decide to go with the Raw Food diet, start slowly and as I have said before do your research.
These are just four of the most popular diets I hear of everyday! Each have awesome pros and some serious cons, so please please do your research. No restricting diet should be carried out for long periods of time without visiting a practitioner to monitor deficiencies. I believe we should all be on a diet we can sustain everyday. Eat balanced, with a colourful plate, whole grains and choose lean meats. Keep your plate 1/4 meat, 1/4 carb/grain and 1/2 veggies. Live an 80/20 lifestyle and have plenty of outdoor time, biking, walking, any type of exercise is great for your body and your mind.
Let me know how you are getting on with you own diet in the comments below, or for any tips or advise shoot me an email on the contact page 🙂
Stay healthy and happy ❤
Lots of Love Natalie xoxo 🙂