Doctors, nutritionists, and fitness experts have introduced various diets over the years. Some of these are as old as 90 years. Each diet claims to have specific benefits; some lose weight while others prevent particular diseases. This article aims to bring seven popular diets and their benefits to your knowledge.
Let’s jump into the details.
7 Popular Diets & Their Benefits
1. Ketogenic Diet
Science shows that ketogenic diet can help you to lose weight and attain many health benefits. Some studies suggest that this diet is beneficial for diabetes, cancer, Alzheimer’s, and epilepsy.
The ketogenic diet, also known as keto diet, has been around for more than 95 years. It is a low carbohydrate and high-fat diet.
In keto diet, about 70-80 percent of the daily calories are taken from fats, 15-20 from proteins, and unto 5 percent from carbohydrates.
Keto diet is also called as no-carb diet or very low-carbohydrate ketogenic diet. There are different versions of keto diet, namely standard ketogenic diet, targeted ketogenic diet, high-protein ketogenic diet, and cyclical ketogenic diet.
Keto diet – what is allowed
You can eat high-fat, low-carbohydrate food wherever you like.
Healthy fats: Get these from chicken, lard, duck, ghee, butter, flax seeds, olive oil, macadamia, palm fruit, and other resources.
Proteins: Try poultry, egg yolks, organ meat, grass-fed meat, and fish.
Non-starchy vegetables: Go for cruciferous vegetables, leafy greens, cucumber, chives, leeks, fresh herbs, and mushrooms.
Herbs, spices, salt, water, bone broth, coffee (unsweetened), avocados, and apple cider vinegar are also allowed.
Keto diet – what is not allowed
All those fancy looking candies and sugary stuff is a big no-no here.
Potatoes, parsnips, and carrots—basically all root vegetables and tubers are to be avoided.
- Wheat based products
- Fruits except for small portions of berries
- Processed vegetable oils
- Diet food
The bottom line is that you have to avoid carbohydrate-based food.
Benefits of keto diet
The ketogenic diet was primarily introduced for epilepsy patients. It specifically prevents seizures in Lennox-Gastaut syndrome and myoclonic astatic epilepsy. Most kids have a good chance of beating epilepsy if they stay on a diet for two years.
Research suggests that keto diet reduces the risk of heart diseases. It also helps against metabolic syndrome and diabetes (type II).
As keto diet includes consumption of less processed food and promotes low insulin levels, it helps to improve acne.
2. Mediterranean Diet
This one’s a heart-healthy diet based on traditional Mediterranean cooking style. Since there are many countries around the mediterranean sea, you can’t have a limited set of foods as a part of this die, but this diet is high in plant-based food and low in animal food, but fish is recommended at least twice a week.
Mediterranean diet—what’s allowed
- Whole grains
- Extra virgin oil
- Nuts and seeds
Eggs, yogurt, red wine, tea, coffee, and cheese are allowed only in moderation. You can also eat red meat rarely.
If you plan on adopting this diet, you may also be interested in Mediterranean lifestyle which includes physical activity, sharing of food, and a positive attitude towards life.
Mediterranean diet—what’s not allowed
- Sugary items
- Processed meat
- Refined grains
- Refined oils, such as canola oil, soybean oil, etc.
- Highly processed food
Benefits of Mediterranean diet
With this diet, there is a possible reduced risk of
- Cardiovascular diseases
- Parkinson’s disease
- Alzheimer’s disease
- Breast cancer
- A few chronic diseases
3. Vegetarian Diet
As the name indicates, this diet is specifically focused on plant food. If you are taking a well-balanced form of vegetarian diet, you already have the nutritional needs well taken care of.
People have various reasons to adopt this diet. Some are against the idea of killing animals to obtain food, while others have religious or environmental reasons.
Types of a vegetarian diet
There are several forms of the veg diet based on the type of food included in it, but people usually assume that all vegetarian diets exclude animal food. Let’s take a look at various types of vegetarian diet.
Lacto-vegetarian: These people exclude animal food, but take dairy products like milk, cheese, butter, and yogurt.
Ovo-vegetarian: They exclude animal food products except for eggs.
Lacto-Ovo-Vegetarian: They eat eggs and dairy products along with vegetables.
Pollotarian: These individuals consume poultry, but exclude meat, fish, and dairy.
Pescatarian: They are allowed fish, but not other animal foods.
Vegan diets: These exclude all forms of animal foods and their products.
Benefits of the vegetarian diet
Despite that vegans may not be getting enough vitamin D, B-12, calcium, and omega-3 fatty acids, this diet has some benefits. In fact, if a person is mindful of his nutritional needs, he can get the required nutrients from vegetable sources as well. Here are the benefits:
- Weight loss
- Low sugar levels
- Reduced risk of type II diabetes
- Low risk of blood pressure and heart diseases
- Improved kidney health
- Reduced symptoms of arthritis
4. Paleo Diet
Diseases and obesity are on the rise like never before. If we track our ancestors, unlike us, their most important issues were NOT diabetes, heart diseases, cancers, and obesity. Paleo diet is aimed at eating like our stone age ancestors.
The cavemen used to eat high-protein and high-fiber foods. This is what paleo diet recommends; eat like your prehistoric ancestors and shed pounds. The same diet is also thought of as a preventive strategy to diabetes, cardiovascular problems, cancer, and obesity.
Other names of paleo diet
- Paleolithic diet
- Stone Age diet
- Hunter-gathers diet
- Caveman diet
Paleo diet: What is allowed
You do know that farming was not always there. Humans started with this thing 10,000 years ago. So, cavemen didn’t have farmed food as a part of their diet. When on a paleo diet, you can eat the following items
- Wild caught fish
- Herbs and spices
- Nuts and seeds
- Healthy fats
- Fruits and nut oil, such as olive oil, coconut oil, walnut oil, etc.
Paleo diet: What is not allowed
Men from stone age were hunter-gatherers, not farmers. You cannot expect to eat processed food or those grains cultivated on farms. Paleo diet restricts:
- Processed food
- Food containing artificial sweeteners
- Trans fats
- Refined sugar
Benefits of Paleo diet
Different clinical trials on the paleo diet show that this diet may have certain benefits. These advantages include:
- Weight loss
- Decreased risk of heart diseases
- Controlled blood pressure
- Better glucose tolerance
- Decreased appetite
Long-term clinical trials on the benefits of the paleo diet are lacking. More research is required to say something for sure.
Things to keep in mind
Following paleo diet can be quite expensive. Moreover, you need time to prepare food that is unprocessed. Based on various versions of a paleo diet, you may be allowed to utilize some processed foods that science has shown to be healthy.
If your goal is to lose weight, but you cannot afford the paleo diet, there are other options that you can avail. Simply eating a variety of healthy food combined with proper exercise can also do wonders.
5. DASH Diet
The diet for blood pressure, Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension (DASH) Diet is the lifelong approach towards healthy eating. It aims to prevent hypertension (high blood pressure).
Within just two weeks of following DASH diet, you’d be able to reduce your blood pressure significantly. In the long run, you can expect a drop of 8-14 points in your systolic pressure. This is an excellent improvement to reduce health risks.
DASH diet is an approach towards food that is low in total fat, saturated fat and cholesterol, and high in plant-based food.
DASH Diet – what’s included
- Whole grains: 6-8 servings
- Poultry, fish, and lean meat: up to 6 servings per day
- Nuts and seeds (plus legumes): 4-5 servings per week
- Fruits: 4-5 servings
- Vegetables: 4-5 servings
- Dairy (low in fat): 2-3 servings
- Fats and oils: 2-3 servings in a day
- Alcohol: If interested, do not take more than two glasses (for men), and one glass (for women)
Take less of red meat and sugary foods. You are allowed 5 servings of sweets per week. Also, low salt and sodium are recommended for optimal blood pressure.
Things to keep in mind
DASH diet is usually high on fruits, vegetables, and grains. You may not be used to with the recommended amounts. It is, therefore, best to gradually increase the servings of these foods.
Although DASH diet was not created for weight loss, you can try replacing high-caloric food with low-calorie food, and it’ll also help you in losing weight.
6. South Beach Diet
Created by Arthur Agatston, a cardiologist, South Beach Diet is a popular weight loss diet. It is also known as the modified low-carbohydrate diet. You can expect to lose between 8-13 pounds of weight in the first two weeks of following South Beach Diet. Even if you are not into losing some weight, south beach diet is a healthy diet to follow. This diet has
- low carbohydrates
- high protein
- healthy fat
You don’t have to cut down on carbs and fats; you just need to know which ones are right for your health.
Three phases of the South Beach Diet
There are three phases to this diet. As beginnings are almost always the hardest, phase one can be hard.
Phase I: It lasts for 14 days Call it the restrictive period where you can’t have potatoes, bread, pasta, rice, fruits, dairy, and alcohol.
You’ll eat lots of proteins, some fat, and low-glycemic index carbs like broccoli, spinach, and eggplant. It is definitely the strictest of all phases, and hard to go through.
Phase II: This phase continues for as long as you don’t have your ideal weight goal achieved. Here you can slowly re-introduce the healthy carbs to your diet. You keep taking the food from phase I and add fruit, sweet potatoes, whole-grain bread, rice, and pasta.
Phase III: It starts when you have achieved your weight goal, and includes occasional treats of your favorite foods along with food from phase II.
If you find yourself indulging in poor eating habits, go back to phase I for 1-2 weeks, and then return to phase III.
In addition to specific diet, regular exercise is a must.
7. MIND Diet
One in 10 American at or over the age of 65 have Alzheimer’s. These stats are frightening, and so people are looking for ways to prevent premature senility as they age. This is where MIND diet comes in. The Mediterranean-DASH Intervention for Neurodegenerative Delay Diet (MIND Diet) aims to prevent Alzheimer’s.
It is a combination of Mediterranean and DASH diet and provides an eating pattern that specifically focuses on brain health. Currently, there are no specific guidelines for this diet. You just have to eat more of 10 foods and less of 5 foods that this diet recommends.
MIND Diet – Foods to eat
- Leafy greens: 6 servings/week
- Nuts: 5 servings in a week
- Vegetables other than leafy greens: 1 vegetable/day
- Whole grains: 3 or more servings per day
- Berries: 2 or more servings/week
- Olive oil: Use for cooking
- Beans: 3 or more servings per week
- Poultry: Twice a week
- Fish: Once per week
- Wine (No more than 1 glass/day)
MIND Diet – Foods to avoid
- Red meat
- Fried foods
- Processed food (junk and desserts)
All of these foods have high trans and saturated fats. Reach says that these fats are responsible for various diseases.
Obesity, diabetes, and heart diseases are among our major issues today. Science is looking for dietary patterns that are preventive of these problems. Although, extensive research on different diets is lacking, but based on the nutritional needs that these diets address and certain other health benefits, a wide audience has adopted specific dietary patterns.
If you want to eat healthily, lose weight, and prevent diseases, one of these diets may be beneficial to you. It is best to consult your doctor or nutritionist before starting a new diet.