Diet: the worst and the best

2020 was the year of many events; greet people with your elbow, hear don’ts and be locked in your home for months. While the world itself has become a strange place this year, nutrition continues to amaze with its latest food revolutions. While the absolute best diet is one that meets all of your needs and is specific to you, we’re going to take a look at the most popular diet strategies of 2020 and give an honest review of why or not you may or may not go for it. The “Worst” Diets of 2020 What we really mean is that these diets appear to be restrictive and possibly harmful in the long term to the body and food relationship. Most will not be viable in the long term and will have given very little thought to the studies and requests of the main stakeholders. The carnivorous diet The carnivorous diet is a restrictive diet that includes only meat, fish and other foods of animal origin such as eggs and certain dairy products. It excludes all other foods, including fruits, vegetables, legumes, grains, nuts, and seeds. Yes, you read that right. Creator Shawn Baker claims it will ease mood issues and help you lose weight and manage weight. While a high protein diet like this will be beneficial for weight management and blood sugar regulation, the very restrictive principles of this approach make it a big no. We’re sure we don’t need to go any further to say that any diet that encourages restriction of fruits and vegetables is a diet worth giving up. The Raw Diet The raw diet consists of eating mostly whole, unprocessed, plant-based and preferably organic foods. Some followers even include non-plant foods, such as eggs and dairy, and eat them raw as well. Proponents of this diet believe that the cooking process destroys the nutrient content of the food as well as the enzymes that are crucial for digestion. Some nutrients can be lost if you cook a certain type of food in a certain way, but cooking usually improves the bioavailability of the nutrients so that we can benefit from it. But what about enzymes? Well, the researchers claim that the enzymes in the food are more for the benefit of the given source, not necessarily to help us digest the said food. In addition, we produce adequate amounts of enzymes to break down food and this is probably regulated by our bodies in response to what we eat. The cooking process seems to have virtually no impact on our body’s ability to properly break down and digest food. The DNA Diet You may have seen companies sprouting up that use DNA test kits to provide you with the “perfect” diet based on your genes. While there is certainly work to be done in this area before we can definitively state that these gene-matched diets are relatively ineffective, in the same sense, there is still work to be done before we can validate their use. Studies on this subject have shown that different people react very differently to the same food intake. But a study about it on twins, obviously with the same DNA, found that even identical twins did not respond in the same way to the same food intake. The DNA diet would expect the twins to react similarly to food intake, leaving its reliability uncertain. Other factors like sleep and exercise habits, as well as your gut microbiota, seem to be much more important. It’s not a terrible dietary approach, but it is perhaps overrated in its usefulness. The Alkaline Diet The Alkaline Diet suggests that a diet lower in acidifying foods and higher in alkaline foods can better balance our body’s PH levels and create an environment more conducive to optimal health. This diet really misses the mark with its theory. First, if our blood PH levels were skewed, we would be very, very sick (and by sick we mean dead). Second, we need different pH levels in our body to perform various functions (our stomachs have a more acidic environment to help break down food for example). Third, the body regulates its pH very effectively, even in response to food. A scheme which sounds good in principle but which is simply not supported by any scientific basis; you don’t have to be on an “alkaline” diet to justify eating more fruits and vegetables. Whole30 The Whole30 is not a diet, weight loss plan, or quick fix – it’s designed to “change your life,” say the founders, by cutting food cravings, rebalancing the digestive system, boosting energy and immune function… or that’s what they suggest. What is the current regime? 30 days without sugar, alcohol, cereals, dairy products and legumes. By day 31, all your ailments would be healed. In the short term, Whole30 seems restrictive and unrealistic, we’re not sure we can survive on chicken and asparagus here and there. This is a no for us. The Dukan Diet Speaking of very restrictive diets, we come to the last of our “worst” category; the Dukan diet. A four-phase approach to weight loss (a la Avengers but nowhere near as interesting or well planned). The initial stage of the diet virtually removes everything related to lean protein; no fruits, vegetables, legumes, grains, dairy products to name a few. Oh, and you get 1.5 tbsp of oat bran (as a treat) Step 2 of the diet reintroduces a small amount of non-starchy veg every other day and spoils you with 2 tbsp of bran. oats. The third step is unlimited protein and veg, some carbohydrates and fats and, you guessed it, 2 and a half tablespoons of oat bran And the final ‘do what you want’ phase is loosely based on the previous phase, except that you have 3 tablespoons of oat bran. Yes, you will lose weight pretty quickly by removing so many food groups, but you will probably also lose your mind and develop a bad relationship with food. Not the way to go. The “Best” Diets of 2020 We will probably repeat ourselves, but there is no “best” diet for everyone; The best diet for each person is specifically tailored to their own goals, circumstances, lifestyle and preferences. However, there are certain dietary principles / strategies that the majority of people would benefit from following for a significant amount of health benefits. The Mediterranean Diet The preferred diet of the research world and which has many merits due to its promotion of healthy eating behaviors that are primarily non-restrictive and sustainable (both from a health perspective and from a sustainability perspective). view of food production and the environment). In general, the Mediterranean diet is rich in vegetables, fruits, legumes, nuts, beans, grains, fish, and unsaturated fats such as olive oil. It generally includes low consumption of meat and dairy products. The benefits of this dietary practice are considerable, including reduced risk of obesity and better weight management compared to Western diets Short story; if you have to follow a diet that isn’t tailor-made this would be it. The flexitarian diet The flexitarian diet is a diet approach that primarily encourages plant-based foods while allowing meat and other animal products in moderation. It is basically a more flexible version of vegetarianism or veganism. In a nutshell, this diet is the promotion of a plant-centered, health and sustainability-focused diet that always includes meat if the individual wishes. A big “bravo” from us! The Volumetric Diet Unlike most other weight management diets, the volumetric diet involves eating as much as you can (while losing weight / controlling your weight); However, the foods you eat are calorie efficient – that is, they provide a lot of bulk in relation to the number of calories. While the diet itself isn’t necessarily perfect on its own, it can be a useful addition to another approach for those struggling with hunger and satiety. Studies have already linked caloric density to improve weight loss results. What to Remember Another year, another set of “good” and “bad” approaches. While some are certainly worth avoiding, there are others that deserve serious consideration. The “best” diet will always be the one that’s right for you, but all of the ones we’ve mentioned that are positive are worth testing, especially if you’re looking for something to start with. When you’re setting your goals for the new year and looking to inject some life back into your diet, why not try a Mediterranean or flexitarian approach? In fact, why not just take items from all the “right” diets and try to create a diet that’s right for you. Other articles about the diets below