What Is a Ketogenic Diet?
It involves drastically reducing carbohydrate intake and replacing it with fat. This reduction in carbs puts your body into a metabolic state called ketosis.
Ketosis : Is a metabolic state where ketones become the main sources of energy for the body and brain. This happens when carb intake and insulin levels are very low.
When this happens, your body becomes incredibly efficient at burning fat for energy. It also turns fat into ketones in the liver, which can supply energy for the brain.
Ketogenic diets can cause massive reductions in blood sugar and insulin levels. This, along with the increased ketones, has numerous health benefits.
SUMMARY: The keto diet is a low-carb, high-fat diet. It lowers blood sugar and insulin levels, and shifts the body’s metabolism away from carbs and towards fat and ketones.
Foods to Eat
You should base the majority of your meals around these foods:
- Meat:Red meat, steak, ham, sausage, bacon, chicken and turkey.
- Fatty fish:Such as salmon, trout, tuna and mackerel.
- Eggs:Look for pastured or omega-3 whole eggs.
- Butter and cream: Look for grass-fed when possible.
- Cheese:Unprocessed cheese (cheddar, goat, cream, blue or mozzarella).
- Nuts and seeds:Almonds, walnuts, flax seeds, pumpkin seeds, chia seeds, etc.
- Healthy oils:Primarily extra virgin olive oil, coconut oil and avocado oil.
- Avocados:Whole avocados or freshly made guacamole.
- Low-carb veggies:Most green veggies, tomatoes, onions, peppers, etc.
- Condiments:You can use salt, pepper and various healthy herbs and spices.
Foods to Avoid
Any food that is high in carbs should be limited.
Here is a list of foods that need to be reduced or eliminated on a ketogenic diet:
- Sugary foods:Soda, fruit juice, smoothies, cake, ice cream, candy, etc.
- Grains or starches:Wheat-based products, rice, pasta, cereal, etc.
- Fruit:All fruit, except small portions of berries like strawberries.
- Beans or legumes:Peas, kidney beans, lentils, chickpeas, etc.
- Root vegetables and tubers:Potatoes, sweet potatoes, carrots, parsnips, etc.
- Low-fat or diet products:These are highly processed and often high in carbs.
- Some condiments or sauces:These often contain sugar and unhealthy fat.
- Unhealthy fats: Limit your intake of processed vegetable oils, mayonnaise, etc.
- Alcohol:Due to their carb content, many alcoholic beverages can throw you out of ketosis.
Paleo diet: What is it and why is it so popular?
Is the Paleo diet, an eating plan modeled on prehistoric human diets, right for modern humans?
A paleo diet is a dietary plan based on foods similar to what might have been eaten during the Paleolithic era, which dates from approximately 2.5 million to 10,000 years ago.
A paleo diet typically includes lean meats, fish, fruits, vegetables, nuts and seeds — foods that in the past could be obtained by hunting and gathering. A paleo diet limits foods that became common when farming emerged about 10,000 years ago. These foods include dairy products, legumes and grains.
The aim of a paleo diet is to return to a way of eating that’s more like what early humans ate. The diet’s reasoning is that the human body is genetically mismatched to the modern diet that emerged with farming practices — an idea known as the discordance hypothesis.
Farming changed what people ate and established dairy, grains and legumes as additional staples in the human diet. This relatively late and rapid change in diet, according to the hypothesis, outpaced the body’s ability to adapt. This mismatch is believed to be a contributing factor to the prevalence of obesity, diabetes and heart disease today.
What to eat
- Nuts and seeds
- Lean meats, especially grass-fed animals or wild game
- Fish, especially those rich in omega-3 fatty acids, such as salmon, mackerel and albacore tuna
- Oils from fruits and nuts, such as olive oil or walnut oil
What to avoid
- Grains, such as wheat, oats and barley
- Legumes, such as beans, lentils, peanuts and peas
- Dairy products
- Refined sugar
- Highly processed foods in general
A number of randomized clinical trials have compared the paleo diet to other eating plans, such as the Mediterranean Diet or the Diabetes Diet. Overall, these trials suggest that a paleo diet may provide some benefits
What’s the Difference Between Paleo and Keto Diets?
Today, you’d be hard-pressed to read a health magazine or step into any gym without hearing something about paleo and ketogenic diets.
Many people follow these diets because they want to lose weight or improve their overall health. Yet since both diets are so popular, you may be wondering how they differ.
Here is a detailed comparison of the paleo and keto diet, including which is best.
These Diets Have a Lot in Common
Although they are distinct, paleo and keto diets share many characteristics. Below are some of the main ideas these diets have in common.
The keto and paleo diets share a lot of similar food restrictions and rules, though often for different reasons.
Both Emphasize Whole Foods
Both Eliminate Grains and Legumes
Both Eliminate Added Sugar
Both Emphasize Healthy Fats
Both May Be Effective for Weight Loss
Paleo Focuses More on Ideology While Keto Focuses on Macronutrients
The paleo diet encourages certain activities outside of following the diet, such as exercise and mindfulness, and it places no limits on macronutrients. Keto only requires that you stay within a set range of carbs, protein and fat.
What Is a Vegetarian Diet?
The vegetarian diet has gained widespread popularity in recent years.
Some studies estimate that vegetarians account for up to 18% of the global population.
Apart from the ethical and environmental benefits of cutting meat from your diet, a well-planned vegetarian diet may also reduce your risk of chronic disease, support weight loss and improve the quality of your diet.
This article provides a beginner’s guide to the vegetarian diet, including a sample meal plan for one week.
The vegetarian diet involves abstaining from eating meat, fish and poultry.
People often adopt a vegetarian diet for religious or personal reasons, as well as ethical issues, such as animal rights.
Others decide to become vegetarian for environmental reasons, as livestock production increases greenhouse gas emissions, contributes to climate change and requires large amounts of water, energy and natural resources.
There are several forms of vegetarianism, each of which differs in their restrictions.
Foods to Eat
A vegetarian diet should include a diverse mix of fruits, vegetables, grains, healthy fats and proteins.
To replace the protein provided by meat in your diet, include a variety of protein-rich plant foods like nuts, seeds, legumes, tempeh, tofu and seitan.
If you follow a lacto-ovo vegetarian diet, eggs and dairy can also boost your protein intake.
Eating nutrient-dense whole foods like fruits, vegetables and whole grains will supply a range of important vitamins and minerals to fill in any nutritional gaps in your diet.
A few healthy foods to eat on a vegetarian diet are:
- Fruits:Apples, bananas, berries, oranges, melons, pears, peaches
- Vegetables: Leafy greens, asparagus, broccoli, tomatoes, carrots
- Grains:Quinoa, barley, buckwheat, rice, oats
- Legumes: Lentils, beans, peas, chickpeas.
- Nuts: Almonds, walnuts, cashews, chestnuts
- Seeds:Flaxseeds, chia and hemp seeds
- Healthy fats: Coconut oil, olive oil, avocados
- Proteins: Tempeh, tofu, seitan, natto, nutritional yeast, spirulina, eggs, dairy products
Foods to Avoid
There are many variations of vegetarianism, each with different restrictions.
Lacto-ovo vegetarianism, the most common type of vegetarian diet, involves eliminating all meat, poultry and fish.
Other types of vegetarians may also avoid foods like eggs and dairy.
A vegan diet is the most restrictive form of vegetarianism because it bars meat, poultry, fish, eggs, dairy and any other animal products.
Depending on your needs and preferences, you may have to avoid the following foods on a vegetarian diet:
- Meat:Beef, veal and pork
- Poultry:Chicken and turkey
- Fish and shellfish:This restriction does not apply to pescetarians.
- Meat-based ingredients:Gelatin, lard, carmine, isinglass, oleic acid and suet
- Eggs:This restriction applies to vegans and lacto-vegetarians.
- Dairy products:This restriction on milk, yogurt and cheese applies to vegans and ovo-vegetarians.
- Other animal products:Vegans may choose to avoid honey, beeswax and pollen.
Vegetarian diets are associated with a number of health benefits.
In fact, studies show that vegetarians tend to have better diet quality than meat-eaters and a higher intake of important nutrients like fiber, vitamin C, vitamin E and magnesium.
A vegetarian diet may provide several other health boosts as well.
Main Benefits are:
- May Enhance Weight Loss
- May Reduce Cancer Risk
- May Stabilize Blood Sugar
- Promotes Heart Health
What Is the Vegan Diet?
The vegan diet has become very popular.
Increasingly more people have decided to go vegan for ethical, environmental or health reasons.
When done right, such a diet may result in various health benefits, including a trimmer waistline and improved blood sugar control.
Nevertheless, a diet based exclusively on plant foods may, in some cases, increase the risk of nutrient deficiencies.
Veganism is defined as a way of living that attempts to exclude all forms of animal exploitation and cruelty, whether for food, clothing or any other purpose.
For these reasons, the vegan diet is devoid of all animal products, including meat, eggs and dairy.
People choose to follow a vegan diet for various reasons.
These usually range from ethics to environmental concerns, but they can also stem from a desire to improve health.
Foods to Eat
Health-conscious vegans substitute animal products with plant-based replacements, such as:
- Tofu, tempeh and seitan:These provide a versatile protein-rich alternative to meat, fish, poultry and eggs in many recipes.
- Legumes:Foods such as beans, lentils and peas are excellent sources of many nutrients and beneficial plant compounds. Sprouting, fermenting and proper cooking can increase nutrient absorption .
- Nuts and nut butters:Especially unblanched and unroasted varieties, which are good sources of iron, fiber, magnesium, zinc, selenium and vitamin E.
- Seeds:Especially hemp, chia and flaxseeds, which contain a good amount of protein and beneficial omega-3 fatty acids.
- Calcium-fortified plant milks and yogurts: These help vegans achieve their recommended dietary calcium intakes. Opt for varieties also fortified with vitamins B12 and D whenever possible.
- Algae:Spirulina and chlorella are good sources of complete protein. Other varieties are great sources of iodine.
- Nutritional yeast:This is an easy way to increase the protein content of vegan dishes and add an interesting cheesy flavor. Pick vitamin B12-fortified varieties whenever possible.
- Whole grains, cereals and pseudocereals:These are a great source of complex carbs, fiber, iron, B-vitamins and several minerals. Spelt, teff, amaranth and quinoa are especially high-protein options
- Sprouted and fermented plant foods:Ezekiel bread, tempeh, miso, natto, sauerkraut, pickles, kimchi and kombucha often contain probiotics and vitamin K2. Sprouting and fermenting can also help improve mineral absorption.
- Fruits and vegetables:Both are great foods to increase your nutrient intake. Leafy greens such as bok choy, spinach, kale, watercress and mustard greens are particularly high in iron and calcium.
Foods to Avoid
- Meat and poultry:Beef, lamb, pork, veal, horse, organ meat, wild meat, chicken, turkey, goose, duck, quail, etc.
- Fish and seafood:All types of fish, anchovies, shrimp, squid, scallops, calamari, mussels, crab, lobster, etc.
- Dairy:Milk, yogurt, cheese, butter, cream, ice cream, etc.
- Eggs:From chickens, quails, ostriches, fish, etc.
- Bee products:Honey, bee pollen, royal jelly, etc.
- Animal-based ingredients:Whey, casein, lactose, egg white albumen, gelatin, cochineal or carmine, isinglass, shellac, L-cysteine, animal-derived vitamin D3 and fish-derived omega-3 fatty acids.
Health Benefits of Vegan Diets
Vegan diets are linked to an array of other health benefits, including benefits for:
- Reduce blood sugar:Adopting a vegan diet may help keep your blood sugar in check and type 2 diabetes at bay.
- Weight loss:Vegan diets seem very effective at helping people naturally reduce the amount of calories they eat, resulting in weight loss.
- Cancer risk:Vegans may benefit from a 15% lower risk of developing or dying from cancer.
- Arthritis:Vegan diets seem particularly effective at reducing symptoms of arthritis such as pain, joint swelling and morning stiffness.
- Kidney function:Diabetics who substitute meat for plant protein may reduce their risk of poor kidney function.
- Alzheimer’s disease:Observational studies show that aspects of the vegan diet may help reduce the risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease.
That said, keep in mind that most of the studies supporting these benefits are observational. This makes it difficult to determine whether the vegan diet directly caused the benefits.
Randomized controlled studies are needed before strong conclusions can be made.