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Choosing the right diet for your lifestyle isn’t easy. Your friend might have had success on the low carbohydrate, high-fat ketogenic (keto) diet, but the latest headlining celebrity might swear by something different.
How do you know which diet is right for you?
It depends on your goal. Are you trying to eat more nutritious meals so you feel better? Are you looking to lose extra weight to reduce your health risks?
Here’s a breakdown of six common diets:
A small percentage of people need to be gluten-free because they have a gluten sensitivity, wheat allergy or have been diagnosed with celiac disease.
Found in breads, pastas, cereal, sauces and beer, a gluten-free diet eliminates all foods containing or contaminated with gluten. Often people who start eating gluten-free processed food gain weight due to the wide selection of gluten-free snacks such as cookies and crackers. These snacks can be as high or higher in carbohydrates and calories than gluten-containing products.
Intermittent fasting is the opposite of many types of diets. Instead of focusing on what to eat, intermittent fasting is about when you should eat.
When you fast, all of your meals are scheduled between a certain timeframe. The 16/8 intermittent fasting method involves fasting for sixteen hours and eating all of your meals during an 8-hour window.
The Mediterranean diet had been around for decades when an American researcher discovered that foods eaten by people who lived around the Mediterranean Sea helped protect them against heart disease.
There isn’t one set meal plan on the Mediterranean diet. This cultural style of eating consists of fruits and vegetables, healthy grains, fish, beans, nuts, olive oil and small amounts of meats and dairy. Emphasis is placed on eating plant-based foods with limited amounts of animal foods, all while encouraging exercise and enjoying meals with others.
A ketogenic or keto diet is a low carbohydrate, high-fat diet. All types of carbohydrates are restricted on the keto diet, including carbohydrates from beans, fruits and vegetables.
Unlike other diets, the keto diet involves eating 70-80% of your calories as fat. This results in your body using fat as an alternative type of fuel for energy. When your body enters this state of ketosis, it will break down protein and burn fat for fuel, which may result in weight loss from water, stored carbohydrates and fat.
The Paleo diet goes back in time and is modeled after what humans ate during the caveman era.
Many of the modern high-processed foods filled with sugar, and salt, are avoided and replaced with a diet of meat, fish, poultry, fruits and veggies. A Paleo diet also restricts whole foods such as whole grains, dairy and legumes.
Becoming a vegetarian is typically more of a lifestyle choice and less of a weight loss tool, but it can meet your nutritional needs if followed correctly.
Instead of eating foods filled with additives, fats, sugars and starches, you’ll eat more plant-based, nutrient-packed foods that will help your body feel fuller, so you feel more satisfied.
There are benefits, limitations, and risks to all types of diets — it is important to find a style of eating that is healthy, balanced and sustainable for you.
Talk to your doctor or a registered dietitian before starting a new meal plan. They can give you the support and tools you need to make smart choices for a healthy lifestyle.
Check out some Healthy Driven recipes.
For more healthy meal tips, visit Healthy Driven Chicago.
Fasting, keto, counting macros – which dietary trends are the healthiest to follow? And is it possible to change your eating habits if others in your household don’t? In this Health 360 with Dr. G podcast episode, host Mark Gomez, MD, and his guests break down common diets and offer practical tips on how to establish sustainable, healthy eating habits. Listen to the podcast.
Protein-rich foods as an alternative to meat
Planning healthy meals without leaving the house
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