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An Overview of Diets: The Good, the Bad, and the Umami

By Brandi Goodman

An Overview of Diets: The Good, the Bad, and the Umami

It’s possible that the all-time No. 1 bit of health advice is to maintain a healthy diet. Everyone has heard it. Yet, there is no one-size-fits-all solution for precisely how to do that. What may be healthy to enjoy for one person might not be suitable for another who’s facing allergies, health concerns, or eating disorders.

This is why it’s important to learn all the good, the bad, and the umami about each diet available so you (with your doctor) can decide for yourself which is right for you and your needs.

Overview of Diets Available

At least 20 different diets exist, each comprising their own list of do’s and don'ts for those who participate. Some focus on things to eliminate to avoid disease flare-ups while others depict edible options that are heart-healthy, weight loss-friendly, or beneficial in another important way.

Atkins

The Atkins diet has been around for years, with spokesperson Rob Lowe often touting its advantages. This diet is often recommended to those who want to lose weight. It focuses on cutting carbs and eating more protein, such as lean meats. There are now even Atkins brand food and drinks found on store shelves to make the diet more accessible and easy to manage.

DASH

The DASH diet focuses on heart health. The name itself means Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension. The goal is to limit foods high in sodium and cholesterol to lower the risk of heart disease.

Dukan

Created in 2000 by a French practitioner, the Dukan diet is said to help you drop weight quickly and keep it off. It works in four phases.

  • Phase 1 - Seven days of eating tons of lean protein and 1 1/2 tablespoons of oat bran each day.
  • Phase 2 - Several months alternating between lean proteins one day and non-starchy vegetables the next, along with two tablespoons of oat bran.
  • Phase 3 - Five days per pound lost eating lean protein, veggies, limited carbs and fat, plus 2 1/2 tablespoons of oat bran
  • Phase 4 - A continuation of phase 3, with 3 tablespoons of oat bran per day

As you can see, this is one of the more complicated diets and is incredibly restrictive. It will not be sustainable for most people.

Flexitarian

Flexitarian diets are often followed by those who may be considering a vegetarian lifestyle but are not yet ready to fully commit. While it still focuses primarily on a plant-based diet, it also allows for some meat and animal products.

Gluten-Free

Gluten, which is found in wheat, rye, oats, and barley, can upset some stomachs. Some may even be allergic to it, causing worse reactions. For these people, a gluten-free eating plan is necessary. They have to find gluten-free bread, pasta, and related products to avoid inflammation.

Intermittent Fasting

Intermittent fasting has grown in popularity. The diet can be tailored to your needs and schedule. Some may choose to only eat during certain hours of the day, such as noon to 8 p.m., while fasting for the rest of it. Others might decide to eat normally throughout most of the week and pick a day or two when they only eat once or twice.

Keto

The keto diet has also become a fad over the past several years. It is similar to Atkins in that it limits carbs and increases protein intake. Unlike Atkins, keto also allows you to consume high amounts of fat. Many report dropping weight on this diet, but it is not ideal to do for a long period.

Low-FODMAP

Certain carbohydrates ferment in the gut, causing gas, inflammation, and pain. People with irritable bowel syndrome and related issues may benefit from a Low-FODMAP diet. This means avoiding consuming fermentable oligosaccharides, disaccharides, monosaccharides and polyols, or FODMAP foods. Sugary foods, sweeteners, beans, dairy, starchy vegetables, and more may need to be eliminated. As usual, not everyone’s bodies react the same. Some people with IBS may be able to handle foods that others cannot. It requires a process of elimination to determine which foods are off the table for you specifically.

Mediterranean

A Mediterranean diet is inspired by countries bordering the Mediterranean sea. They do not consume much of the processed junk that the U.S. does. Instead, they focus heavily on fruits and vegetables, nuts, seeds, whole grains, and olive oil. When you’re looking for health benefits versus only weight loss, this is a great solution. It is even ideal for those with type 2 diabetes.

MIND

The MIND diet combines the Mediterranean and DASH diets to encourage better brain health and blood pressure. It is meant to help delay neurodegenerative effects.

Ornish

The Ornish diet is a plant-based option that aims to improve heart health. People who follow this plan eat whole foods and low-fat options. It is a vegetarian version.

Paleo

A Paleo diet takes people back to the Paleolithic era. It essentially requires you to eat as you would have back then, without any of the processed foods we find on store shelves today. You should primarily consume fresh vegetables, fruits, grass-fed game, fish, eggs, nuts, and seeds.

Pescatarian

A Pescatarian is basically a vegetarian who also eats fish and other seafood. Some may even consume dairy products, though they will not eat meat. It is said to be healthier for the heart.

Raw Food

The raw food diet is similar to paleo. The difference is that those who follow it tend to not cook any of their food. Fresh food has the most nutrients. Uncooked and unprocessed is best for these individuals. The food they eat is primarily what is found in nature.

South Beach

The South Beach diet focuses on finding the good carbs and fats and cutting out only the bad, rather than eliminating them altogether. It is lower in carbs than some diet plans, but not as low as those priding themselves on being low-carb. It encourages you to operate in phases, spending two weeks cutting out most carbs and sugars before adding them back in gradually and learning how to consume them in moderation.

Vegan

Being vegan is a step above vegetarian. Vegans do not eat any animal products whatsoever. They will not even drink dairy or use honey. Anything made from animals is off-limits, in terms of both eating and even using products. So, no leather purses or shoes, for example.

Vegetarian

A vegetarian avoids eating animals. They will not have meat or seafood, and many also do not eat eggs. They will, however, use animal-based products such as honey and dairy.

Weight Watchers

The Weight Watchers program focuses on portion control and making healthier food choices to manage weight. People who participate eat a more rounded group of foods, but they focus on counting calories and looking at the nutritional value of all items to add up points. Many pay for this program and use the associated app to track their points and calories.

Whole30

The Whole30 plan focuses on resetting your body for 30 days to help discourage unhealthy eating habits and encourage healthier ones. The goal is to eat whole foods and avoid things that are processed with added sugars. Grains, dairy, legumes, and alcohol should all be avoided during this timeframe.

Zone

The Zone diet is intended to reduce inflammation within the body. The goal is to eat the right foods to keep hormones balanced and inflammation in check. Every meal should be balanced with protein, fats, and carbs.

What Kind of Diet Should Children Have?

Typically, children should not be following a restrictive diet plan. They simply need to eat more fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean meats, and dairy. They should be getting something from each of the food groups every day and eating as healthy as possible while still consuming other foods they enjoy in moderation. This is, of course, only a valid option for those kids without any sort of allergy or health concern. Some may need to go gluten-free, for example.

What Are the Dangers of Dieting?

There are always dangers when trying to diet for weight loss alone. Many do not get enough calories to sustain themselves or all the right foods to maintain their nutritional needs. That is why it is so important to work closely with a doctor to determine the best meal plan. Many who intend on dieting for a short time end up doing so indefinitely instead, leading to health complications.

Pair a Healthy Diet With Chiropractic Care

Healthy eating habits that are right for you can go a long way toward improving your overall health. However, it isn’t all that’s required for optimal well-being. Exercise and low stress are also necessary. Pair your diet with chiropractic care to ensure your body is flexible and able to handle the fitness you need for improved wellness. Visit The Joint Chiropractic to get an adjustment and start your journey to a new and healthier you.

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