How to cope with the abundance of diets out there
I think there will be hardly anybody who has not tried a diet at least once in their lives. Especially in Western countries where our lifestyle has changed in such a way to make us bigger by the day.
One of the main culprits is ourselves, as we have invented man-made foods that are extremely unhealthy. We sit on the sofa eating junk food and wonder why we put on pound after pound. It is common knowledge by now that obesity is on the rise at an alarming rate.
In America, there seem to be 70 million adults, 50% men and 50% women, that are obese. Then come some 99 million that are overweight, of which 45 million are women and 54 million are men. In 2018 there were 327.2 million people in the United States, so when you add the numbers of obese people and overweight people it is more than half of the total population. A rather shocking number.
Europe is not doing much better and obesity is on the rise here as well. In the year 2008, already 50% of the people in Europe were overweight and 23% of women and 20% of men were considered obese. Malta and Turkey have the highest levels of obesity followed by Britain. It seems the British people drink too much, which is the main cause of the rise in obesity in that country.
Romania has the highest percentage of slim people compared to the rest of Europe. When you look at the Romanian diet, it is actually quite heavy food so I wonder how come the people are so slim. Perhaps their lifestyle is less sedentary and the food is prepared with unprocessed ingredients?
I do not know what the reason is, but the fact remains that most countries are getting a heavy problem. I use the word heavy problem as overweight and obesity are linked to a whole long list of health problems.
Now, these numbers for adults are bad enough, but what is happening with the children? The numbers are extremely worrying as the prediction is that by the year 2030, there will be at least 250 million children suffering from obesity. One can call this a worldwide epidemic.
What to do with all those pounds
The answer is to go on a diet. I think most of us have tried dieting at least once. The results might have been good or even spectacular, but how long did you stay slim? Most people, slowly but surely, put their weight back on and that is a fact. We might be influenced by the diet of the moment.
I mean you are literally bombarded by famous people telling you what diet to try. TV, the internet, what you read in glossy magazines, it can all brainwash you to the extent that you try it. The question is are these diets really good for you, or is it just a lot of hype surrounding it. Let us take a look at 5 popular diets of these modern times. You might be in for a surprise.
Discussing 5 good diets
Have you heard of the EMIO ranking? 6 Years ago, The European Medical Institute of Obesity published their findings on the best and worst diets of the year. They had consulted a long list of experts including doctors, nutritionists, dietitians etc, and had included the findings of the British Association of Dietitians and the American publication “US News and World Report”. This was a huge data file that was evaluated and the results of the report listed the best diets backed by science.
After that first report, the EMIO now issues their report every year, so you can stay up to date. For the year 2019, here are 5 diets that you could try. Keep in mind that losing up to 1 and a half kg a week and a maximum of 6 kg a month is considered OK.
Diet with a high density of nutrients
What does high density mean? A diet that provides proteins with a high biological value. I would say that would mean bio meat. Then you will need cardio-healthy fats like extra virgin olive oil and coconut oil. Nuts, seeds, and avocados contain these healthy fats as well as wild-caught fish.
This diet should be high in vitamins, antioxidants, minerals, and fiber from whole foods, which will make you feel satiated for a longer time. No empty calories and special care to eliminate simple sugars or too much carbohydrates.
This diet is really not difficult as you can almost eat everything, you only take care of the carbohydrates and sugars. If you are used to sugars and saturated fats, it might cost you some time to adapt to this healthy diet, but it is well worth the try. Once adapted to it, you might continue eating like this for the rest of your life.
The Royalty-style diet
This seems to be the diet of Meghan Markle. It is quite easy to follow. Lots of fruits and vegetables and high-quality protein such as free-range chicken, salmon and tuna, nuts and seeds and trying to avoid gluten as much as possible. Eat healthily, then you can have a glass of wine, some pasta, and a sweet now and then. It will help you lose weight in the long run and your health will improve.
Intermittent fasting diet
I have been doing this for quite a few months. An example is when you have your evening meal at 20.00 hours, and you do not eat anything till 13.00 or 14.00 hours the next day. This is especially a good idea if you have been out for a big meal or party. Skipping food till afternoon the next day is beneficial.
This has been practiced since ancient times so it is not anything new. but lately, intermittent fasting is being talked about more often. My anti-aging doctor also advised doing this. Some famous people who follow this diet are Hugh Jackman, Nicole Kidman, and Beyonce.
Intermittent fasting can be taken further, so you are fasting. This means to not eat anything solid, you only drink water, teas and homemade vegetable juices. Personally I prefer to do a fasting cure of 9 days. I normally lose 3 kgs and quite a few centimeters. I feel great, have a lot of energy and have detoxed my whole system.
This diet is actually a variation on the Mediterranean diet. By the way, some recent discoveries on the Mediterranean diet are worth mentioning. There is a new study from the Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center in North Carolina which suggests that following this diet can increase good gut bacteria. Monkeys were giving this diet for 30 months. A happy discovery was made as the lactobacillus had increased.
This bacterium is a good one and helps to prevent digestive conditions by 7%. This is the same bacteria found in fermented foods, which are so good for our gut health. Olive oil is good for you as it decreases internal inflammation such as the kind that causes IBS.
Coming back to the Scandinavian diet, the main variation of this diet is that you eat vegetables, pulses (legumes), seeds, and nuts. You should also eat seafood, red fruits, and canola oil. Do not include too many eggs, cheese, yogurt, and game. You should limit your consumption of red meats and of course try to avoid processed foods, sugars, additives, and fast food.
Anybody can thrive on this diet and it will improve your blood sugar, cholesterol, and hypertension. Buying quality organically grown food might increase the cost but your health will thank you.
Controlled vegan diet
No food of animal origin is eaten. That means no meats, fish, seafood, eggs, dairy products, and honey. That might sound tough for a lot of people. People who are vegan, follow this diet not having weight loss in mind. It is a way to help the environment.
One has to take special care not to become deficient in certain vitamins so people following the VEGAN diet should consider taking supplements like vitamin B12. The cost of this diet can be a bit more expensive than a “normal” one and it is a good idea to have the support of dietician-nutritionist. Brad Pitt and Natalie Portman follow the guidelines of a vegan diet.
Well, here you have the 5 best diets. I think the main thing is to skip man-made foods that contain too many sugars, bad fats, and additives. It is important to eat as close to nature as possible. If you cook, use fresh organic produce as much as possible and prepare your dishes with healthy oils.
The EMIO has also listed the worst diets which you would do good not to follow.
The 800 calorie diet
You will lack important nutrients. This diet presents a high health risk, including the risk of mineral and vitamin deficiencies, low blood pressure, and increased sugar levels. If you have to try it, then do so but only for a really short period.
The diet of detox teas and slimming
Really not a good diet. It could make you lose up to 5kg a week, but that is mainly water, not fat. There are many products on the market which are high in caffeine or tannin. You will find them as tablets, or infusions based on herbs, which should function as metabolism activators, appetite inhibitors, toxin eliminators, laxatives, and diuretics. It is ok to have a day or 2 on herbal teas to give your system a rest but you cannot live on it forever. People like Kim Kardashian seem to follow it.
Then there is the blood group diet
I have the book on this diet at home and there was a time where I followed it for a while. You eat according to your blood group and then the food is very restricted, I must say. I am blood group O and there you stuff yourself with different meats, so it is mainly animal protein. The reasoning behind this is eating like your ancestors, the hunter-collector. In those times, food might be abundant for a while and then would be followed by a period of time with limited food resources.
That is something which we are not accustomed to in our modern life. We want to eat every day. Then one should not forget that our ancestors were always on the move, in contrast to our sedentary lifestyle. I do not think that we should eat like our ancestors unless we are OK with adapting to their lifestyle. I do not think that there will be many people who are willing to do that.
The Ketogenic or keto diet
It seems that this diet was the most searched for on Google in 2018. I think this diet is made up of some good but also bad principles. You reduce your carbohydrate consumption. That is definitely a good idea. Reduce your pasta, pizza, and bread, as people eat far too much of it anyhow. To nearly eliminate your carbohydrate consumption is not a good idea because it can lead to constipation, diarrhea, muscle cramps, and some more problems.
The huge intake of proteins can increase your uric acid and you might suffer from gout, which is really painful. Too much meat and its fat are not healthy, so I think this is not your best choice. Especially if the meat you eat comes from animals that are fed GMO grains sprayed with glyphosate, injected with antibiotics and fed growth hormones.
Recent evidence has come to light and it has to do with your gut health. It seems that the emphasis of the Keto diets on high-fat food and insisting you eat few carbs can have a negative effect on your gut health. These essential bacteria cannot perform well in these conditions.
A recent study in China came with some surprising findings. Less fat was positive, as an increase in gut bacteria responsible for lowering cholesterol could be observed. On the other hand, the participants on a higher fat diet had a problem as there was a change in the long-chain fatty acid metabolism.
This allowed the expansion of chemicals that triggered inflammation. You probably know that inflammation in the gut can lead to leaky gut which is a very serious condition. It seems that the Keto diet increases the mucus-degrading bacterium in the gut, so be careful.
If you insist on your Keto diet then the meat has to be from bio animals and then it will get very expensive. People like Megan Fox and Halle Barry follow the Keto diet.
A diet of nutritional supplements with slimming effects
Definitely not the best idea. To suppress your appetite, make your digestion work faster and similar things are not in harmony with what your body wants to do. This has to be done under the supervision of a doctor. You will need a healthy diet eating whole foods to not suffer any consequences, health-wise.
Everybody is different, but there are some golden rules which will help you to reach and maintain a good weight.
Do not take second helpings. Eat slowly. After 20 minutes your body will tell you it is satisfied, whether you have eaten fast or slowly. Do not eat sweets as the last thing in the evening. It is best to have the carbohydrates at lunchtime with vegetables and in the evening have proteins with vegetables or salads.
A good idea is to eat your fruits separate from your meals. What we often do here at home is have a plate with different fruits for lunch.
In the morning, on an empty stomach, have the juice of a freshly squeezed lemon and warm water. Now if you crave ice cream, do not feel bad when you eat it, enjoy it and avoid stress and bad feelings. As the word implies, giving yourself a treat now and then is perfectly OK, as long as it is not every day.
Ah, before I forget, do get yourself a daily dose of fresh air and sunshine, a walk and or some exercises will keep you healthy and fit. One thing you should not forget, your gut likes variety.
Source: Sur in English August 16th to 22nd 2019, article by Elena Martin Lopez. Well.org
Photo Source: Pixabay
You might care to read the following post. The Mediterranean diet is really good.