Diets: yes or no? Are all diets healthy and effective?

15 October 2021 Leave your Thoughts

You’ve tried them all over the years: the Dunkan diet, the keto diet, the paleo diet, the detox diet… 

Hundreds and hundreds of diets and you still don’t know if they work, if they are good for your body or if, on the contrary, they are doing you more harm than good.  

To clear your head a little, we are going to review the most trending diets of recent years, so that you can choose at the end of the blog with some more criteria…. but always with the help of a nutritionist to help you manage the whole process in the best way. 

Let’s get started! 

  • The hypocaloric diet:

    It is a diet based on caloric deficit, that is, consuming fewer calories than are necessary in our day to day in order to provide less energy to our body. These diets are usually used in cases of overweight or obesity, but you should be careful, as they often cause a rebound effect.  To do this diet well, we must know what is our own optimal amount of daily calories and thus make an adequate and responsible consumption and not overdo it by taking away extra calories that are essential to endure our day to day. Many of the diets that we will see next will be partly based on this lower calorie intake, since they are based on eating much more natural and less caloric products. 

  • The hypercaloric diet:

    Quite the opposite of the previous one, it is used to gain weight. This does not mean that what is consumed is unhealthier food, on the contrary, usually you need to consume more quantity, but  of healthier food. This diet is usually used by people who want to increase their muscle mass, although it can also be used in people who simply want to increase their weight by being in low body weight indexes.

  • The Paleo diet:

    This diet is established around the fact that you will eat what our hunter-gatherer ancestors ate: whole foods such as seeds, vegetables, nuts, lean meats, eggs… avoiding processed foods and restricting the intake of grains, dairy products and legumes. Avoiding these foods can make this diet too restrictive and may not suit everyone, so be careful. 

  • The Dunkan diet:

    Created for weight loss and greatly reducing the final total calorie count, it is based on a diet high in meats and low in carbohydrates. This diet also limits fat intake, which is not entirely healthy, since fat intake in high-protein diets favors the increase of metabolism. In addition, by restricting calories, there is generally a loss of muscle mass and the body tends to conserve energy, which causes the metabolism to slow down. 

  •  The Atkins diet:

    This diet allows you to eat as much protein and fat as you want, but forget about carbohydrates for a while. Carbohydrates have less satiating power than other foods, so if you change your diet to one in which they are very restricted, you will eat fewer calories without realizing it because you will be more satiated. In addition, this diet is characterized by having two phases, one in which you eat less than 20 grams of carbohydrates per day and a later one in which, once you get close to your ideal weight, you introduce healthy carbohydrates back into your diet. This diet also improves blood sugar, HDL (good) cholesterol, triglycerides and other health markers. 

  • The Keto diet:

    This diet is based on forcing your body to use as energy the ketone bodies produced by the liver from stored fat instead of glucose from carbohydrate intake. This diet is quite similar to the Atkins diet, but its main difference is that in the Atkins diet carbohydrates are introduced into the diet after a first phase in which their intake is reduced. Following this diet can be a bit difficult, making the liver produce these ketone bodies sometimes becomes complicated, since you must reduce carbohydrates to a minimum (at most between 20-50 grams per day) and increase the intake of saturated fats (the worst for health) and unsaturated fats (the good ones). It should also be noted that it takes a few days to reach the state of ketosis and that eating a lot of protein (as expected in part in this diet) can interfere with that process. This causes this diet to have health risks, as it can increase LDL cholesterol (the “bad” one), produce nutritional deficiencies, liver and kidney problems by making them work harder and with less nutrients, constipation problems and even mood swings and fuzzy thinking, by depriving the brain of its main source of energy, glucose.

  • Intermittent fasting:

    We have an entire blog dedicated to this method that you are sure to find interesting for all the benefits it has. This diet, rather than restricting what you eat, requires eating only at certain times of the day, depending on the fasting that is performed, there are different types:  

    • Fasting 14/10: you do not eat 14 hours and you can only eat the remaining 10. 
    • Fasting 16/8: the one that makes the great majority of the people that follows this diet, in great part of cases it supposes not to make the breakfast or the dinner. 
    • Eat-stop-eat: once or twice a week you do a full 24 hours of fasting.
    • Fasting 5:2: for two days in a row you restrict your calories to 500-600 calories, the rest of the 5 days you do not perform time or calorie restrictions. 
  • The Detox diets:

    These diets promise to cleanse your body and eliminate accumulated toxins through a period of fasting and then a strict diet consisting of fruits, vegetables, water and juices. Detox diets vary according to the modalities in fasting times, liquids to be consumed, supplements, use of laxatives or enemas… In any case, there is no scientific consensus on what toxic substances are supposed to be eliminated nor if these diets are entirely effective.

  • The vegan diet:

    It is, in general, a more ethical decision than for weight loss, since in this diet no animals or animal product derivatives are consumed. However, this diet is usually very effective for weight loss, being rich in fiber and low in fat. It should be taken into account that there are people who will not be able to follow a vegan diet due to their own metabolisms, in addition to the fact that, sometimes, vegan people have to take vitamin or protein supplements.  

  • The mediterranean diet:

    It is a diet based on traditional foods, olive oil, fruits, vegetables, seeds and occasional consumption of dairy and dairy products, eggs, fish and legumes. It is complete and balanced and is recognized worldwide for its multiple health benefits; lower risk of heart disease and diabetes, prevents hypertension, improves cognitive function… 

In short, there are diets for all tastes and for all needs, we do not believe that there is a single definitive diet, but we can say that, in the end, a good diet should incorporate all the elements of the food pyramid and avoid or reduce the consumption of processed and hypercaloric foods. 

The best thing for your body is to always consult with a professional who will tell you which foods are best for you and which ones in particular can cause you harm or make you worse. 

And of course, do not forget to move and exercise, eating well is essential, but avoiding a sedentary lifestyle is just as important. 

References: 

https://ienutricion.com/tipos-de-dietas/ 

https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/9-weight-loss-diets-reviewed#TOC_TITLE_HDR_5 

https://evolutionadvance.com/guia-completa-para-conocer-la-dieta-paleo-2021/ 

https://abasto.com/salud/10-beneficios-de-la-dieta-mediterranea/ 

https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/detox-diets-101#methods 

https://dietamediterranea.com/nutricion-saludable-ejercicio-fisico/ 

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