Many people now understand the health issues associated with being overweight and are looking to make a change. Some look for a quick fix or an easy answer and turn to the latest fad or popular diets. Two diets that are currently very popular are the paleo diet and the keto diet.
What is the Paleo Diet?
There are also some items that are no-nos in the Paleo Diet. For example, people should not eat dairy, potatoes, or cereal grains.
What’s Great About the Paleo Diet?
The Paleo Diet mimics foods that our ancient ancestors ate. People believe that our body can effectively digest these items, because we have the necessary enzymes to use these foods in our body. Many people on the Paleo Diet report significant weight loss in a short period of time. They may also experience a surge in energy, as well as other health benefits. These benefits are invaluable!
What are the Downsides?
There are many benefits to the Paleo Diet, but there are also drawbacks. Not everyone loses weight! Some Paleo Diet choices may be high in calories or lack nutritional value. The Paleo Diet also tends to be high in cholesterol. This can be dangerous for people with cardiovascular issues. Another drawback is that the Paleo Diet is also low in fiber. Fiber is essential for gut health. Therefore, people on the Paleo Diet may have gastrointestinal issues. These are not the only potential risks associated with the Paleo Diet.
Few studies exist on the long-term safety of the Paleo Diet. Because of this, many doctors are reluctant to recommend it to patients. People should, therefore, proceed with caution. They should make sure that they still get all necessary vitamins and nutrients from their diet. In other words, they need to ensure that their diet is not too restrictive.
What is the Keto Diet?
The Keto Diet was originally used to treat children with epilepsy. The Keto Diet is a high fat diet that encourages the body to use fat as an energy source instead of glucose. For this to happen, the diet needs to be low in carbohydrates.
Benefits of the Keto Diet
The Keto Diet can treat several medical conditions, such as epilepsy. It may also help people lose weight, which can lead to numerous additional health benefits. It can also boost energy and help people maintain steady blood sugar (without rapid spikes).
Downsides to the Keto Diet
There is little evidence to indicate that weight loss will be permanent. Many people quickly regain the weight that they lost. The Keto Diet is also high in fat and the body may struggle to digest this fat. Some people report severe stomach pain on the diet. In addition, high fat diets may be dangerous for people with heart disease.
The Keto Diet is often not well balanced. It may be low in fiber and other key nutrients. This can cause long-term gastrointestinal problems, as well as other medical problems.
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Paleo vs. Keto: Which One is Better?
Both diets have some risks. They lack fiber which is essential for healthy gut functioning and may also be dangerous for people with certain heart conditions. However, the Paleo Diet does a better job of encouraging people to eat a healthy and varied diet that includes fresh fruits and vegetables and lean protein. On the other hand, the Keto Diet may lack essential vitamins and minerals.
Other Popular Diets
These diets are described in detail below.
The Atkins Diet
The Atkins Diet is another low carbohydrate diet that is built around the concept that people should eat smarter, not less. Therefore, it does not tell people to reduce their calorie count. Instead, it tells people to replace carbohydrates with protein.
It has some of the same risks seen with the Paleo Diet and the Keto Diet. For example, it may increase the risk of developing cardiovascular diseases.
The South Beach Diet
The South Beach Diet is also based on reducing carbohydrates in people’s diet. However, the South Beach Diet does not want to get rid of all carbohydrates. Instead, it divides carbohydrates into good and bad carbohydrates. Bad carbohydrates are foods with a high glycemic index, whereas good carbohydrates have a low glycemic index. Lists exist that show the glycemic index. The South Beach diet tends to be higher in fiber and be more varied than many other fad diets. This is good!
However, the diet can be complicated for some people. Not everyone knows where to find information about the glycemic index.
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The Vegan Diet
The Vegan Diet is another option for people looking to lose weight. In this diet, people only eat plant-based diets. These diets are high in vitamins and minerals and tend to be low in calories which can help boost weight loss. The Vegan Diet also tends to be nutritionally dense. This is a definite benefit! Fruits and vegetables are packed with vitamins and minerals.
The Vegan Diet, however, is not for everybody. It can be expensive. Some people may also need meat or animal-based proteins to stay healthy and strong.
The Zone Diet
People have been using the Zone Diet for more than 30 years. It was originally designed to meet a medical need, to reduce inflammation. Inflammation can be caused by many underlying health problems. The Zone Diet encourages people to consume fewer carbohydrates. Ultimately, the goal is to get three key metabolic indicators within a narrow range using the diet.
Many people have benefited from the Zone Diet and its positive impact on inflammation. However, there are risks associated with it. For example, it may be confusing for some people. People on the Zone Diet may also not eat a balanced diet. This can cause long-term problems of varying degrees of severity.
Advocates of these diets believe they help people lose weight and feel better emotionally and physically. However, there are risks associated with these diets. Low fiber content may cause serious gastrointestinal problems and high fat content may worsen existing cardiovascular problems. People should discuss these benefits and risks with their health care provider before deciding to start these diets. Doctors can provide invaluable input on which approach should be utilized.
The Paleo Diet and the Keto Diet are not the only popular diets. Other diets include: the Atkins Diet, the South Beach Diet, the Vegan Diet, and the Zone Diet. These diets all differ slightly from one another. However, they are primarily focused on losing weight by cutting or completely eliminating carbohydrates.
Any diet that is selected should be part of a healthy lifestyle that also includes regular exercise and a commitment to building a healthy mind-body connection. Diet and nutrition are a lifelong challenge for people.