The "D" Word (Diet)

By: Team Trilogy

What the industry doesn't tell you about this glamorized buzzword

We've all probably been on a diet at least once, but how effective are diets, really? Are they ever worth it? We're here to unpack the benefits and downfalls involved in that dreaded D-word.

The Trends

  • Intermittent fasting is one of the most popular trends. It alternates periods of eating and fasting, where you either have minimal calorie intake or none at all.

  • Keto diet is the low carb, high fat diet that is aimed at pushing your body into Ketosis - the natural metabolic process of your body that occurs when the body does not have enough glucose for energy so it burns fat instead, which results in the build up of acids in the body known as ketones.

  • Paleo, or Paleolithic diet, suggests eating as our ancestors did from approximately 2.5 million to 10,000 years ago, which includes eating lean meat, fish, fruit, vegetables, nuts, and seeds.

  • Gut Health or The Microbiome Diet aims to balance bacteria by eating and avoiding certain gut-damaging foods. It encourages eating fermented foods, non-starchy organic fruit and vegetables, grass-fed meat, and wild fish. It excludes starchy fruit and vegetables, processed food, gluten, eggs, some kinds of dairy, sugars, and sweeteners.

  • The plant-based diet is vegan friendly option that suggests avoiding products that have animal ingredients, such as meat, milk, eggs, or honey. and it includes a large variety of fruit, vegetables, grains and legumes.

The Good

  • Intermittent Fasting is known to have outstanding health benefits that helps to reduce weight, provide protection from Type 2 Diabetes, reduce cholesterol, and an increase the brain hormone that is responsible for growing new nerve cells.

  • Keto diet promises fast results in losing weight and improving overall health without counting calories. It can help people with Type II Diabetes by improving insulin sensitivity and is also being tested in it's ability yo decrease Alzheimer's Disease progression.

  • Paleo suggests weight loss, appetite management, and blood pressure control. And it is considered nutritionally healthy as it includes rich sources of protein, fruit, vegetables, and nuts.

  • In addition to restoring gut health, the Microbiome Diet speeds up metabolism and helps to lose weight. Balanced bacteria improves mood, brain function, and gets rid of digestion problems, and protects from infections that can lead to ulcers and stomach cancers, and diseases such as obesity, Type II diabetes, heart disease, metabolic syndrome, colon cancer and Alzheimer’s.

  • The plant-based diet promises easy weight management, prevention or treatment of chronic diseases, such as heart disease and type 2 diabetes. This diet looking at impact beyond one's health, it places much less stress on the environment. It provides all the necessary vitamins, minerals, and nutrients in comparison to other diet trends.

The Bad

  • The benefits of intermittent fasting are not designed for every body type. People who are underweight or have a history of eating disorders should avoid this diet altogether as it has been known to trigger unhealthy caloric restricting habits. Studies have also showed that it is more beneficial for men, while women risk losing their regular menstrual cycle, which means those planning for children, currently pregnant or breastfeeding should avoid it completely.
  • Keto’s benefits don't outweigh the negatives. In the beginning, you might experience increased hunger, nausea, poorer mental and physical performance, sleep and digestion issues. Plus, completely excluding fruit and whole grains results in a lack of essential vitamins and micro-elements. Women should be the most cautious of this fad diet as carbohydrates are particularly essential to maintain a healthy level of hormones.

  • Paleo excludes whole grains that have fiber, which is essential for digestion and other vitamins/nutrients. Because the diet is relatively new, there are no examples of long-term effects on the body, but experts suggest that the same results might be achieved by a adhering to a traditional balanced diet and exercise routine.

  • Like many other diets, Gut Health restricts certain beneficial foods that have many nutrients, such as grains, some fruit and vegetables, and legumes. This diet can be expensive because it suggests eating mostly organic produce and taking a number of supplements, requiring less variety and stricter guidelines.

  • Even though some claim you can get all the necessary elements from the plant-based diet, it can be lacking vitamin B-12, Iron, omega-3 fatty acids, and protein. The deficit of B-12 and iron can lead to anemia, red blood cell deficiency, and nerve damage. If the protein can be easily provided by a careful selection of plant-based products, the necessary amount of omega-3 can be only obtained by supplements.

Healthier Alternatives

  • DASH or Dietary Approach to Stop Hypertension is one of the top ranked alternatives to healthier dietary lifestyles. It suggests avoiding saturated fats while emphasizing veggies and lean protein. And while this is not technically a die, or aimed for weight loss, it is a path to healthier, sustainable eating habits. DASH doesn’t have a lot of restrictions and a long list of forbidden foods. You still can have sweets, but it encourages you to look for healthier options like avoiding products with added sugar. DASH is recommended as a strategy to prevent osteoporosis, cancer, heart disease, stroke, and diabetes.

  • Mediterranean diet is based on the eating habits of a larger portion of the population in the Middle East. It promotes longevity and aims to ward off chronic diseases and is also ranked #1 in easiest diets to follow - according to "The best diet for healthy living and diabetes". It focuses on fruits, vegetables, whole grains, healthy fats (olive oil, nuts, fish), and lean protein and is easy to stick with because it focuses more on a sustainable/lifestyle adjustment and not a strict, temporary diet-fix.

The Bottom Line

People often underestimate the consequences of dieting and you might end up with more health problems or even gaining weight. Your nutrition is something that will affect you for the rest of your life, so look for solutions that are sustainable.

Nutrition is not a "one size fits all" approach. Just because Bob from Accounting lost 30 lbs. doing the Keto diet does not mean you will have the same experience. Start by making wise food choices, balancing your intake and exercising regularly - small steps are sometimes the most important. Most importantly - don’t over-stress your body and put your health at risk. We're here to guide you in finding the right nutrition and exercise plan to fit your body type and lifestyle.

There are also great platforms that can help when it comes to a wise and balanced food intake. Choosemyplate.gov provides healthy food and drink information and options while assist ing with budget tracking or finding convenient/attainable recipes. Fitbit is another great platform that helps you track your activity along with nutritional advice while keeping you on track with your goals.

Ready to discuss your nutritional and fitness needs and goals? Contact the Trilogy Team.