Pass any magazine stand in the supermarket and you’re bombarded with headlines touting one of the many new diet trends. When it comes to dieting, it seems like there’s a new book, commercial or celebrity testimonial every day. How do you keep track? Here’s a quick, easy guide to understanding some of this season’s trendiest diets. Remember, always speak with your doctor before making changes to your diet!
The Super Carb Diet
If you’re a huge fan of spaghetti and bagels, the Super Carb Diet might seem right up your alley. But what is it exactly, and does it really endorse eating all the pizza and breadsticks you’ve ever wanted?
Started by Biggest Loser trainer Bob Harper, this carb-centric eating plan doesn’t exactly promise mountains of bagels. Rather, Harper recommends eating complex carbohydrates at key periods throughout the day. Complex carbohydrates are found in foods such as sweet potatoes, oatmeal, and whole grain bread. Keyword: complex. Simple carbs, like those found in white bread, aren’t encouraged (sorry, bagels and pizza).
Harper started this diet after his heart attack when he was searching for a way to build up his energy reserves while consuming tons of nutrients. According to Bob, a diet rich in complex carbs can encourage people to lose weight by offering all the micronutrients they might need, while still helping them feel satisfied and full.
Intermittent fasting is more about when you eat than what you eat. While intermittent fasting isn’t exactly a new trend, it certainly goes through waves of popularity and seems to be seeing a recent comeback. The idea first gained mainstream traction after some studies done in the 1930s on the supposed benefits of intermittent fasting. The ability to supposedly lose weight and be healthier without sacrificing feasting on your favorite foods is a big draw for many who try this diet trend.
The appeal is in its simplicity: all you have to do is fast for 16 hours and enjoy an open eating window of eight hours. So if, for example, you stop eating at 8 pm on a Monday, you wouldn’t break your fast until 12 noon on a Tuesday.
This trendy diet was actually developed initially as a diet to control epilepsy in the 1920s, and skyrocketed to popularity in the last decade or so.
We all know someone on a keto diet, don’t we? The cousin who wraps his hamburger in lettuce but drenches it in mayo? The sister who puts butter in her coffee and wraps her eggs in bacon?
The general idea behind a keto diet is to use fat as fuel instead of glucose (sugar). When your body runs out of sugar to burn for fuel, your liver will do some fast-thinking and produce ketones, which your body will then hypothetically use to fuel daily activity. You’re then in a state of “ketosis,” where, according to supporters, you can lose weight.
Those on a keto diet eat large amounts of meat, oils, and dark green leafy vegetables while avoiding grains, beans, and fruit to get their body into that state of “ketosis.”
If you thought keto sounded extreme, you haven’t met carnivory. True to its name, people on this diet eat exclusively meat, forgoing vegetables, grains, and fruit entirely. Many carnivory proponents even eat their meat raw. This diet was actually popularized in Silicon Valley and embraced by a self-proclaimed “bitcoin carnivores.”
Carnivory is loosely based on the idea that our caveman ancestors ate exclusively meat, and its followers swear that it leads to more energy and weight loss. It’s difficult to tell if this is true, considering that most research indicates that our ancient ancestors actually ate way more than just meat, foraging for starchy vegetables, melons, and berries as part of their diets
The Whole 30
Started by Melissa Hartwig, a Certified Sports Nutritionist, the Whole 30 diet has been generating a lot of press lately. According to their website, the Whole 30 diet encourages its followers to eat “real food” in moderate amounts. This seems lovely, but here are the things that apparently don’t count as real: legumes (beans, soy, peanut butter), grains (bread, rice, corn), dairy, and baked goods. As with most diets, Whole 30 followers avoid alcohol and sugar. This leaves meat, seafood, vegetables, and some types of fruit.
This diet’s uniqueness lies in its time frame. As the name suggests, the Whole 30 diet requires that you make these changes for a full 30 days. It also includes rules like not checking the scale and dictates that under no circumstance must one “slip” and indulge in those forbidden foods.
Despite the abundance of celebrities who swear by some of these diets, are any worth trying? The best way to know if you’re getting the correct nutrition to meet your health goals is to talk with your doctor. Dietary preferences are shaped by individual needs and, despite the urge to try out every single one of them, it’s best to stick with the diet recommended by your healthcare provider that makes you, as an individual, feel best.
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