Which eating style is right for me?
Pros and cons of the most popular diets
There are several eating style options we can choose from if we want to lose weight. They are all very different, so be sure to choose the one that best suits your needs, unique lifestyle, and personal tastes. Each body is different and what works for some may not work for others. If you are searching for an eating plan that helps you lose weight and stay healthy, here are some pros and cons of the most popular diets: keto, paleo, vegan, Mediterranean, low-carb, and intermittent fasting, that are part of Entalla. We hope this helps you identify the best one for achieving your goals.
The ketogenic, or keto diet, is a low carb/high fat eating plan that provides many health benefits. Several studies have shown that, in addition to helping with weight loss, it offers protection against diabetes, epilepsy, and Alzheimer's.
- Provokes rapid weight loss and favorable biomarker changes, such as a reduction in hemoglobin levels for patients with diabetes. (1)
- Studies also demonstrate many physiological health benefits for those who keto diet, including better sleep, thyroid function, cognition, and cardiometabolic health (2). Other analyses highlight benefits for patients with type 2 diabetes who follow the diet long-term. (3)
- Many versions of this diet allow unlimited fat intake, which some medical professionals are for and others are against.
- Consuming saturated fats creates a substantial increase in low-density lipoprotein cholesterol levels. Therefore, many physicians are reluctant to recommend this diet in general (4). The key to success is consuming monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats, such as those from avocados and nuts, which are much healthier.
This eating plan is also very popular and based on eating foods that would have been consumed during the Paleolithic era, dating from about 2.5 million to 10,000 years ago. The diet includes lean meats, fish, fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, and other foods that can be obtained by hunting and gathering.
- Paleo does not include grains, which can be beneficial because it eliminates starch and calories that would have otherwise increased insulin levels. Paleo replaces grains with additional greens and vegetables.
- In addition to supporting weight loss, it can help prevent prediabetes and type 2 diabetes. (5)
- Research shows that anyone who wants to follow this diet should first speak to their primary care physician regarding adequate calcium intake and possible supplementation, especially for those at increased risk of osteoporosis. (6)
- Followers of this diet tend to consume too much meat, conventional butter, and bacon, which can be very unhealthy.
Those who follow this eating style abstain from meat, poultry, and fish. It may be for health, personal, or religious reasons, as well as environmental and ethical issues including animal rights. There are different forms of vegetarianism, with some being stricter than others.
- Leading a vegan lifestyle has been linked to lower blood pressure and cholesterol. If you're trying to control these conditions naturally, eliminating meats can help.
- Tends to provide more fiber, antioxidants, and beneficial plant compounds, in addition to potassium, magnesium, folic acid, and vitamins A, C, and E.
- Calcium intake is at the lowest for vegans, way below national dietary recommendations (7). Vegans and vegetarians need to follow a balanced diet that allows for more consumption of calcium, zinc, iron, iodine, and vitamin D. (8)
- This diet can cause a lack of vitamin B12, which comes naturally from animal products. This can, in turn, become anemia due to an alteration of bone marrow precursor cells. (9)
Considered one of the healthiest dietary patterns worldwide, it offers a combination of foods rich in antioxidants and anti-inflammatory nutrients.
- Numerous studies have shown that this eating style may protect against cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and cancer.
- It may also protect against depression, diabetes, asthma, cognitive decline, and erectile dysfunction. (10)
- While healthy fats are good, portion control is even more important for achieving weight loss.
- It includes fish, fruits, vegetables, whole grains, legumes, nuts, and moderate alcohol, so if you're looking to lose weight quickly, this diet might not be for you.
Characterized by limiting the consumption of carbohydrates like the ones found in grains, fruits, and starchy vegetables, this diet focuses on foods with significant protein and fat content.
- High-fat foods are usually high in calories. Strictly cutting back on high-calorie foods will help with weight loss. (11)
- Numerous studies have shown the efficacy of a low-carb diet for weight loss, as well as improving insulin levels and hypertension markers. (12)
- Some critics express concern that this eating style promotes the limitless consumption of saturated fat, which can increase low-density lipoprotein levels and potentially lead to cardiovascular disease.
- Eliminating carbohydrates suddenly and drastically can cause side effects like headache, dizziness, fatigue, and nutritional deficiency.
This diet style consists of several hours of fasting followed by restricted eating within a certain window of time. It has gained a lot of popularity recently and looks promising in supporting weight loss and reducing inflammation.
- It is highly effective for those with obesity and type 2 diabetes. Intermittent fasting can also help support patients with multiple sclerosis. (13)
- Among other proven benefits, intermittent fasting can alleviate asthma, arthritis, and hypertension with the potential to slow aging, in addition to treating other diseases such as cancer and heart disease.
- Skipping meals while severely limiting calories can be dangerous, especially for people with diabetes.
- Anyone taking blood pressure or heart disease medication may be more prone to electrolyte abnormalities from intermittent fasting.
There are so many different options for losing weight and living a healthier lifestyle. Consult your doctor about which might be the best one to suit your needs. It's never too late to start an eating plan that will help you meet your goals while feeling better than ever! And we're here to help you every step along the way.
Let's get healthier together.
Your friends, Santo Remedio
1. O'Neill B, Raggi P. “The ketogenic diet: Pros and cons.” Atherosclerosis. Vol.292:119-126. Jan 2020 doi: 10.1016/j.atherosclerosis.2019.11.021.
2. Iacovides S, Meiring RM. “The effect of a ketogenic diet versus a high-carbohydrate, low-fat diet on sleep, cognition, thyroid function, and cardiovascular health independent of weight loss: study protocol for a randomized controlled trial.” Trials. Vol.23;19(1):62. Jan 2018 doi: 10.1186/s13063-018-2462-5.
3. Hussain TA, Mathew TC, Dashti AA, Asfar S, Al-Zaid N, Dashti HM. “Effect of low-calorie versus low-carbohydrate ketogenic diet in type 2 diabetes.” Nutrition. Vol.28(10):1016-21 Oct 2012 doi:10.1016/j.nut.2012.01.016.
4. O'Neill B, Raggi P. “The ketogenic diet: Pros and cons.” Atherosclerosis. Vol.292:119-126. Jan 2020 doi: 10.1016/j.atherosclerosis.2019.11.021.
5. Olivieri C. “Combating insulin resistance with the paleo diet.” Nurse Pract. Vol.44(2):49-55 Feb 2019 doi:10.1097/01.NPR.0000552683.55684.f8.
6. Pitt CE. “Cutting through the Paleo hype: The evidence for the Palaeolithic diet.” Aust Fam Physician. Vol.45(1):35-8 Jan-Feb 2016
7. Clarys P, Deliens T, Huybrechts I, Deriemaeker P, Vanaelst B, De Keyzer W, Hebbelinck M, Mullie P. “Comparison of nutritional quality of the vegan, vegetarian, semi-vegetarian, pesco-vegetarian and omnivorous diet.” Nutrients. Vol.24;6(3):1318-32 Mar 2014 doi:10.3390/nu6031318.
8. Rogerson D. “Vegan diets: practical advice for athletes and exercisers.” J Int Soc Sports Nutr. Vol.13;14:36. Sep 2017 doi: 10.1186/s12970-017-0192-9
9. Rizzo G, Laganà AS, Rapisarda AM, La Ferrera GM, Buscema M, Rossetti P, Nigro A, Muscia V, Valenti G, Sapia F, Sarpietro G, Zigarelli M, Vitale SG. “Vitamin B12 among Vegetarians: Status, Assessment and Supplementation.” Nutrients. 29;8(12):767 Nov 2016 doi:10.3390/nu8120767
10. Mentella MC, Scaldaferri F, Ricci C, Gasbarrini A, Miggiano GAD. “Cancer and Mediterranean Diet: A Review.” Nutrients. Vol.2;11(9):2059. Sep 2019 doi: 10.3390/nu11092059.
11. Brouns F. “Overweight and diabetes prevention: is a low-carbohydrate-high-fat diet recommendable?” Eur J Nutr. Vol.57(4):1301-1312. Jun 2018 doi: 10.1007/s00394-018-1636-y.
12. Diamond DM, O'Neill BJ, Volek JS. “Low carbohydrate diet: are concerns with saturated fat, lipids, and cardiovascular disease risk justified?” Curr Opin Endocrinol Diabetes Obes. Vol.27(5):291-300. Oct 2020 doi: 10.1097/MED.0000000000000568
13. Malinowski B, Zalewska K, Węsierska A, Sokołowska MM, Socha M, Liczner G, Pawlak-Osińska K, Wiciński M. “Intermittent Fasting in Cardiovascular Disorders-An Overview.” Nutrients. Vol.20;11(3):673. Mar 2019 doi: 10.3390/nu11030673.
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