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5 top diets: the pros and cons
Categories: January 07, 2015 | Posted by Mukti
It's that time of year when many of us embark on new diets, not just for weight loss, but for clear skin and general health and wellbeing.
We believe the best diets are those that focus on fresh, unprocessed food close to its natural state and certified organic where possible. It's the best way to eat if you want clear and beautiful skin, lots of energy and a healthy weight.
There's plenty of variation within those guidelines, however. These 5 diets all focus on fresh food and are highly popular for different reasons.
The paleo or paleolithic diet is the modern day version of what our ancestors ate more than 10,000 years ago, before the introduction of agriculture. Vegetables, fruit, seafood, grass-fed meat, eggs, nuts, seeds, poultry.
- rich in soluble fibre
- high in antioxidants, vitamins, phytochemicals, omega-3 fatty acids, monounsaturated fat and low-glycaemic carbs
- naturally gluten-free
- low in added sugars and salt
- no trans fats
- no calorie counting
- indulgence foods are off-limits
- indulgence foods are off-limits!
- today’s meat is not as lean as it was thousands of years ago
- low in calcium and vitamin D
- not suitable for vegetarians or vegans
- heavily reliant on meat (factory farmed meat considered unhealthy and unethical, organic meat expensive)
- no evidence to say whether people in Paleolithic times were any healthier
Based on the traditional diet of people living around the Mediterranean region. High in fish and seafood, fruit and veggies, whole grains, beans, nuts, legumes, olive oil and herbs and spices. Moderate consumption of poultry, eggs, cheese, yoghurt and wine (one to two glasses per day).
- covers all major food groups
- easy to adhere to
- low in saturated fat
- promotes heart health (incidence of heart disease in the Mediterranean is lower than in Australia and the United States)
- high concentration of cancer-fighting antioxidants
- promotion of regular physical activity to maintain a healthy weight
- lower salt intake due to the reduction of processed foods
not designed for weight loss
can be expensive
doesn’t specify exact quantities and portion sizes
Advocates say raw foods contain natural enzymes and other nutrients that are destroyed by cooking. The diet is raw or slightly heated plant-based foods: uncooked fruits and veggiees, sprouted grains, unroasted nuts and seeds, seaweed, beans, fermented foods. No processed food, sugar, alcohol or caffeine.
- extremely low in saturated fat, cholesterol and sodium
- high in fibre, vitamins and antioxidants like beta-carotene and vitamin A
- can result in significant weight loss
- relief from rheumatoid arthritis and fibromyalgia
- anti-inflammatory effect (because fat produces molecules that trigger inflammation and it is low in fat)
- some nutritionists say a raw food diet is no better than a balanced diet that includes cooked food
- raw foodists say cooking destroys vital plant enzymes that drive biochemical reactions in the body; but the digestion process (chewing, stomach acid) breaks them up whether the food was cooked or raw to begin with
- some nutrients — lycopene in tomatoes, antioxidants in carrots, spinach, sweet potatoes and peppers — are amplified through the cooking process
- can be low in calcium, iron, vitamin B12, vitamin D, omega-3 fatty acids
- runs contrary to traditional Chinese and Ayurvedic teachings, which say cooking renders food more digestible
Gluten is a mixture of two proteins present in cereal grains, especially wheat, which is responsible for the elastic texture of dough. Celiac disease is an autoimmune digestive disease causing permanent intolerance to gluten. Celiacs must eat a gluten-free diet, however a growing number of people are finding they have a mild intolerance to gluten and feel lighter and more energetic on a gluten-free diet.Pros:
- brain fog, bloating and headaches disappear
- clearer skin – gluten sensitivity can trigger an inflammatory response that leads to acne, rosacea and eczema
- possible weight-loss (if a gluten intolerance was causing weight gain)
- gluten-free diets now well catered for in supermarkets, cafes and restaurants
- processed gluten-free foods are expensive
- overindulgence in gluten-free cakes, cookies, muffins, breads and pastas (with the perception they are 'healthy') can lead to weight gain
- could lead to low levels of vitamin B
Sugar can contribute to mood swings, weight gain an overloaded immune system and, over time, insulin resistance. It is also addictive. Some sugar-free diets emphasise cutting out refined sugar only (whether added to foods or contained in processed foods). Stricter sugar-free diets minimise fruit and grains as well, which convert to sugar in the body.
- better skin – glucose triggers enzymes that break down tissues, including the collagen and elastin in your skin
- easier to maintain optimum weight
- strong immune system
- more stable moods
- other foods begin to taste sweeter
- mood swings when quitting
- feeling left out on social ocassions
- feeling deprived of treats like your favourite chocolate
- more time and planning needed to prepare satisfying sugar-free meals and treats
which diet works best for you? Leave your comments below, we'd love to hear about it.
Join the discussion (4)
Jan 08, 2015 02:15pm
my family (including young children) basically follow a mostly organic wholefoods diet - i do cook/make recipes from different diets (ie. such as vegan, vegetarian, raw foods, paleo etc) but overall i try and just follow a general organic whole foods one (ie. we go without other things in life so i can afford about 80% organic food for my family). Due to medical issues, I spent the last few years researching so much about nutrition and got so confused and stressed as to whether i was feeding my children the "right way" and reading one week that one food was great, the next week it was bad, dont eat this, eat that etc.... Stress can undo all the good i did with eating the right foods for us so now i just try and chill as overall everybody is different, we have so many other variables and you need to go with what works for you and your body - basically i think the more you make yourself from scratch the better and stick to as close to nature as possible (but if you are not perfect, dont stress it).
Jan 07, 2015 04:43pm
I'm surprised you didn't mention the 5:2 diet! I am doing that one at the moment, but also am cutting out sugars, and adding more fresh fruit, veges, fish, seeds, fibre, pro and prebiotics. It's not a strict diet though, just trying to make healthier choices in general. Instead of reaching for that Mcdonalds Chocolate Thickshake (EMPTY CALORIES) , now I reach for a strawberry, blueberry, chia seed, lsa mix, oat milk and raw yoghurt smoothie (NUTRITIOUS SUPER FOODS)!
Hi, I'm Mukti, the founder and creator of Mukti Organics. My aim is to assist you in achieving beautiful, radiant skin without using products containing toxic chemicals. Certified organic skin care is better for you, your family and our planet. Click here to sign up and receive 15% off your first order. Signing up and commenting on our blog posts enters you into our bimonthly draw to receive $150 worth of products of your choice.