Everything You Need to Know About the Top Diet Trends in 2019
Monday, April 8, 2019
Every year there seems to be a new fad diet, healthcare trend, or new and exciting way to lose weight. In the ever-changing world of health and wellness, one thing always stays the same… people's obsession with dieting. Being healthcare professionals ourselves, my team and I have seen it all and although we are not dietitians, we interact with clients on a daily basis and the discussion of diet trends inevitably comes up. So, due to our desire to help, we've compiled a list of the top diet trends in 2019. Here's everything you need to know to stay informed!
My experience with fad diets
Ketogenic, Paleo, intermittent fasting, mindful eating, Kombucha; the world of diet trends and fad diets can be confusing and overwhelming at times. With new discoveries in diet, healthcare practices, weight loss, and loads of new buzz words to remember every year, it can be hard to keep track of it all.
For example, in 2018, there was a huge increase in popularity in what is called the “5:2 diet”, a form of cycled eating. It essentially involves eating only 500-600 calories 2-days per week, and then for the rest of the week, you can eat as many calories as you want! I had previously tried this diet in 2015, before it hit mainstream popularity, and lost an amazing 20kg over a 6-month period! Not being a sustainable way of eating, 3-years later, I have put back on around 12kg. I found this diet to have amazing initial results and am looking to keep the additional 8kg off!
There are always positives and negatives to any diet, trend, or health fad, so it's important to educate yourself before forming an opinion or trying one for yourself. If you haven't already, you likely be hearing more about the following diets this year, in coffee shops, on the radio, television, or through social media. So, here's all the information you need to know to form your own educated opinion.
The Ketogenic diet, also known as a “Keto diet”, has brought on mass appeal with its endorsement by many A-list celebrities and business personalities. It is promoted as a diet that not only allows one to shed off fat effortless and with many food options, but provides a mental edge as well.
Although following a Keto diet is new to the mainstream world, it has been used in medicine for years to treat such conditions as epilepsy, diabetes and to improve blood sugar levels. A Keto diet is essentially an extremely-low carbohydrate diet that forces the body to feed off of fat as a fuel source. Without an excess of carbohydrates circulating the body's bloodstream, stored fats are broken down into ‘ketones' for energy; the process is called “ketosis”. By feeding your body primarily healthy fats, moderate proteins and very low amounts of carbohydrates (generally 20-50g per day), your body will be forced in ketosis resulting in rapid weight-loss and increased mental clarity. When fat is used as an energy source, it promotes healthy blood flow throughout the body and brain, promoting brain function.
Getting started on a keto diet means first getting your body into ketosis. This can take anywhere from 2-10 days depending on your diet and how much you exercise. There are many ketogenic recipes that are delicious but aren't necessarily healthy, such as desserts. Eating whole foods such as avocados, eggs, fish, and nuts combined with drinking plenty of water is the healthiest way to kickstart ketosis. Coffee, tea, and low to zero-calorie drinks are fine to be consumed on a keto diet, but sugary or drinks high in carbohydrates will kick you out of ketosis, so be wary of juices or health-drinks such as Kombucha. Living the keto lifestyle is very flexible and there are many keto-friendly recipes to choose from but your diet should always be balanced and monitored as fatigue, dizziness, and constipation can occur if your body doesn't receive the proper amounts of nutrients.
The Paleo diet is a whole food diet modeled after the hunter-gatherer lifestyle and consisting of the foods our ancestors presumably ate, thousands of year ago. This diet is popular for its simplicity and the idea that you can lose significant weight without counting calories. A Paleo diet consists of essentially any whole foods that our caveman ancestors would have had access to. Meat, fish, vegetables, nuts, and seeds are all acceptable, whereas anything processed is not (such as processed sugars, grains or dairy).
In terms of drinks, water should be your staple, although most people drink coffee and tea as they do not interfere with the benefits of Paleo. These types of modified Paleo diets have coincided and been combined with other health trends such as gluten-free or vegan-Paleo (known as the “Pagan diet”). Paleo offers great variety, and with many Paleo recipes to choose from, it is also great for those wanting to enjoy their food without meticulously counting every calorie they consume.
**Although popular, the Paleo diet has come under recent scrutiny for its correlation to an increased risk of cardiovascular disease.
Maybe the most current, and trendiest of the diet trends, intermittent fasting is another form of cycled eating, much like the 5:2 diet. Intermittent fasting or “time-restricted eating”, refers to an eating pattern in which you cycle between brief periods of fasting, where you consume little to calories. When carrying out a 16-hour fast, for example, you would consume all of your daily calories within an 8-hour window as opposed to eating throughout the day. There are many different forms of intermittent fasting such as the 16/8 method, full 24-hour fasts, and the aforementioned 5:2 diet, but they all follow the same concept of cycled eating.
Regardless of your eating cycle, the idea of fasting is to provide your body with rest from constant digestion, allowing it to focus on many healthy, internal processes. Similar to being in ketosis, fasting reduces insulin sensitivity and has been observed to benefit people with diabetes. It also allows your body to access stored fat more easily and burn it off as fuel resulting in fat-loss, a sense of mental clarity, and increased brain function. Fasting has also been shown to increase the levels of Human Growth Hormone (HGH) that occur in the body naturally, which aids in fat-loss and allows your body to initiate cellular repair and gene expression.
Intermittent fasting only refers to your eating cycle and has no restriction on the types of foods you can consume, although healthy, whole foods are always recommended. Drinking water or low-calorie liquids during a fast is allowed as long as you stay within your desired caloric range. In some cases, water is even extremely necessary. Under professional supervision, some people engage in “water fasts”, in which they drink only water for upwards of a week! There are many variations of intermittent fasting, some used for convenience, and others to lose weight.
Intermittent fasting and weight loss
Because intermittent fasting is so diverse with so many different variations, weight loss is dependent on an individual's caloric intake, fasting cycle, and exercise routine. Intermittent fasting used on and off within a group of individuals with varying body types produced an average weight loss of 7-11 pounds over a 10-week period, although results diminished after 6-months. When compared to a group of similar participants on a restricted calorie diet, the fasting-group actually craved less food and ended up eating less on their days off of fasting. Although it seems that the human body is able to adapt to fasting quite well, it is not recommended to partake in intermittent fasting if you suffer from an eating disorder, are pregnant, or during growth periods such as adolescents. Intermittent fasting requires constant observation as it affects stress and hormone levels, and can lead to fainting, low energy, irritability and/or a heightened risk of developing an eating disorder in the future.
More of an ideology than a diet, mindful eating involves paying attention to what you're eating as opposed to mindlessly eating based on your emotional state or hunger-levels. Much like life, when you slow down and appreciate all aspects of your food; how it is presented, its aroma, texture, and taste, you become more mindful and enjoy it more. The idea of how to practice mindful eating is much like yoga; live in the moment, relax, and be aware. Mindfully eating has many benefits such as eating less while enjoying your food more, and promoting a healthy relationship with food. Being mindful while eating spills out into other aspects of your life and creates a calmer, happier, and more relaxed lifestyle.
Kombucha is a fermented and very trendy drink made from tea (green, black or both) that is popular for its various health benefits. Most notably consumed for its healthy amount of antioxidants and probiotics, many people wonder if Kombucha is merely a fad or if it has real, long-term benefits. Kombucha, depending on where it's made, according to science has been shown to have proven health benefits such as reducing heart disease, killing bacteria, and helping to protect against cancer. On the flip side, Kombucha contains sugar, meaning that if you drink it every day, it adds to your overall sugar intake, which is not healthy. And although it is not as high in sugar as juice or soda, kombucha has been shown to have negative effects on teeth as well. Lastly, Kombucha contains trace amounts of alcohol from the fermentation process, caffeine, and is not recommended for pregnant individuals. All-in-all, if made properly from a reliable source, Kombucha is healthy and has many benefits. All of the possible health risks of Kombucha have not been fully studied so it should be consumed with caution and not in excess. If you are unsure about the implications of Kombucha on your health, it is always best to contact a professional dietician.
Diets, health, and wellness trending up in 2019
With more and more trends popping up every day, it's safe to say that the list of diet trends in 2019 will only continue to grow. Already named the “U.S. News & World Report” best overall diet, the “Mediterranean diet” has seen an increase in popularity due to research suggesting it can improve longevity and ward off chronic diseases. It's safe to say that as long as we, as a society, continue to seek out the best health practices, increase our longevity, and obsess over new ways to lose weight, diet trends are not going anywhere. As initially stated, this is not diet advice as I am not a dietician, but my informative two-cents, being a healthcare professional.
If I were to give you any advice at all, it would be that fad diets and diet trends can be beneficial but do not come without risks. The best course of action to becoming healthier and losing weight is to adjust your eating habits over time. A healthy lifestyle is built slowly and taking the time to inform yourself is the first step to making better decisions in the future!
Until next time,
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