If you’ve picked up any lifestyle publications recently, chances are you would’ve stumbled across an array of nutritional advice. Perhaps, you have also searched for advice online.
Nutritional advice will range in quality across sources. While some provide sound recommendations, others are laden with product sponsorships and “quick” fixes that don’t promote long-term adherence… or results.
These ‘Fad Diets’ and nutritional trends come and go as often as the seasons change. It’s not only hard to keep up with ‘what is what’, but to differentiate between good, bad and downright dangerous advice.
Ultimately, any personal diet you choose should come down to how well it works with your lifestyle. The one that’s right for you should be easy to maintain. Approach all Fad Diets and trends with a vetted caution. Many will promise to save you time and money and but leave you worse off - due to advising poor habits and an unrealistic lifestyle.
With that said, there are legitimate, safe and effective nutritional strategies available that you can easily introduce into your daily routine. However, it is necessary to maintain any particular nutritional structure over a sustained period of time to see any kind of results. This ultimately falls back to your individual lifestyle habits and ability to sustain your dietary choices.
Ask yourself if this is something you can keep up for years and still be able to enjoy your life.
Without further ado, let’s take a look at three of the more sustainable “diets”, their benefits and who they’re best suited to.
The Minimalist Diet
Also known as the Clean Eating Diet, the Minimalist Diet is perfect for people who don’t necessarily like too many rules within their diets. It is designed to be easy to follow. Simply remove processed and refined sugar products from your shopping trolley, fridge, plate or mouth. They all need to go!
As a general rule, opt to avoid any foods that come in heavily marketed packaging that contains ingredients you can’t pronounce, and also anything containing preservatives or additives. Consuming too many modified and preservative-rich foods can result in a number of health issues.
With heavily-packaged food items removed from your diet, you will be buying foods in their most natural forms, or even going organic, with fresh fruit, veggies, lean meats and dairy. This diet is perfect for those who enjoy preparing their foods fresh, cooking and visiting the local Farmer’s Market.
Of course, everything in moderation, but this diet allows you to enjoy good, whole foods without worrying as much about precise calories.
However, if you are time poor, the Minimalist Diet might not be a perfect fit for you. It can be quite time-consuming, and you may find your fresh produce going to waste if you constantly have to eat on the go.
The Ketogenic Diet
The Keto Diet is all the rage at the moment, and it’s because of its tremendous effectiveness in burning fat. However, the Keto Diet is not a new addition to the dinner table and was developed way back in the 1920s as a treatment for epilepsy.
While the Keto Diet is effective in reducing waistlines, it is also great at reducing cholesterol, blood pressure and inflammation in the body’s digestive organs.
The diet works by decreasing the intake of carbohydrates (typically < 5-10% of your total daily macronutrients) which causes the body to convert to burning fats for fuel. This conversion can only occur when the body enters a state of ‘Ketosis’. Here, the body naturally begins to produce Ketones after a reduced carbohydrate period, typically 28-30 days.
While there are many benefits of the Keto Diet, there is a downside. There is a limitation placed on which foods are available, and if you don’t know your carb choices from your proteins or fats, you can easily run into trouble. This can make entering a state of Ketosis difficult to achieve.
Additionally, there are also several common side effects to consider: heavy fatigue, headaches and difficulty focusing because of ‘brain fog’.
For these reasons, this diet is for those who are dedicated to change and in it for the long haul; other than that, it will fit well within most lifestyles.
Fasting has been used as part of health, longevity and mindfulness practices for thousands of years, and research has shown an array of benefits. Intermittent fasting offers an abbreviated version of a full fast.
It’s an excellent option when looking for a diet to assist in digestive health because it reduces the strain placed on internal organs and allows the associated cells to regenerate. This will also assist in healthy weight loss and a noticeable increase in energy levels.
By limiting your food consumption to an 8-hour window, generally between 11am and 7pm, you have less time to eat, and therefore consume less. Intermittent fasting is perfect for individuals who need to rush out the door each morning and find themselves always missing breakfast (or individuals who simply prefer not to eat breakfast).
However, you must still eat based on your daily energy requirements. This window isn’t a free pass to eat whatever makes your belly feel happy. You still want to make smart food choices here.
Intermittent Fasting is great for people who can’t alter their shopping cart too much, but want to control their intake in a sustainable way.
Just remember, whatever choices you decide to make, they must match YOUR lifestyle and not the other way around. You can make small lifestyle changes, but if they are hard to sustain daily, then it’s going to be difficult for you to make it a lifetime habit.
Avoid crash dieting at all costs, everything in moderation, and most importantly, enjoy your life!
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