In western society, it is hard to keep up with what is healthy and what is not. Low sugar, low fat, no sugar, no carbs, high protein, fasting, feasting – it sort of feels like that milk ad – we just want food that tastes like real food!
But with increasing cases of cancer, heart disease and other chronic illnesses that do not occur in more traditional societies, it is definitely worth examining what we are putting in our mouth and how that is affecting more than just our waistlines.
We might not be nutritionists, but we have profiled some of the current diets that are circulating at the moment – their health benefits and effectiveness are up to you to decide!
The Paleo Diet gained notoriety in Australia, thanks to celebrity chef Pete Evans, however, it was Dr Loren Cordain in the US that first really championed the paleo way as a means of reduce the risk of disease through diet. The basis for paleo is to ‘eat like a caveman’, so only things naturally sourced from the earth, like lean meats, vegetables, seeds and nuts. This means no dairy or alcohol, so you can kiss your wine and cheese nights’ goodbye!
The 5:2 diet, also known as The Fast Diet, was popularised by British doctor and journalist Michael Mosley. It is one for those who like an all or nothing approach to food, because five days of the week you can just eat “normally”, while the other two days you can only consume 500-600 calories per day. Normal eating is not strictly defined to eating specific foods or portion sizes, just loosely described as not binge eating junk food. And for the fast days – keep in mind, the average “diet” for a woman normally consist of about 1200 calories a day with exercise, so 500 calories is not a lot!
Only eating wholefoods might not technically be a diet, it is more an eating pattern or elimination process. It is very simple, you basically only eat food that has not been processed or refined at all. So think lots of fresh fruit and veges, and no preservatives or salt! However, unlike the paleo diet, pasteurisation is a process that does not affect the nutrients of food, so some dairy is back on the table!
A vegan lifestyle is one that has vastly grown in popularity over the past few years. Once vegetarian was seen as exotic, but now vegans are taking the scene by storm. A true vegan lifestyle means not consuming or using any products derived from animals – so this extends beyond the food you eat to the clothes you wear, cosmetics you use etc. But in terms of diet, things like eggs, honey and milk are all no-go, given they are a product that comes from animals.
The raw food diet makes you think of that scene in Sex and the City where Samantha first meets Smith Jerrod waiting tables at the cold food restaurant, Raw. In reality, some of the food the girls choked down that night is not dissimilar to what you would find in a raw dieters fridge. They eat wholly unprocessed foods, with a focus on a large portion of it being uncooked. While a traditional raw foodie will only consumed plant based products, there are spin-offs of this diet which include raw vegetarians, raw vegans, raw omnivores, and raw carnivores.
Lite n’ Easy (pre-packaged weight loss food)
Eating pre-prepared meals like Lite n Easy can be great for the waistline and efficiency (since you simply have to microwave cardboard packages of food), but may not be so good for the wallet. You are paying for the convenience of having all your meals cooked for you and then delivered on your doorstep – which is great – but the question is, are they any good for you? Well they are endorsed by dieticians and all the nutritional information about their meals is available on their website, so you can make an informed decision about whether it is the right option for you.
Image source: http://www.6pr.com.au/