A diet is a fixed plan of eating and drinking where the daily intake and the type of food are specifically planned out, usually in order to achieve weight loss. However, not all diets are designed for weight loss; there are diets for lowering cholesterol, living a healthier life, and many others. Given that, we’ve compiled the basics of the most popular diets out there.
The Atkins diet is a low-carbohydrate diet that focuses on controlling the levels of insulin, usually recommended for weight loss. In other words, you can eat as much fat and protein as you want, as long as you avoid carbohydrates.
When the daily intake of refined carbohydrates is high, the insulin level becomes unstable, continually rising and falling. High insulin levels make it less likely for the body to use stored fat as a source of energy, which causes weight gain.
Dr. Robert Atkins, an American physician, promoted the Atkins diet in the early 1970s. He encouraged people to eat more high-fiber vegetables and avoid the consumption of sugar, high-fructose corn soup and flour. Although the Atkins diet has been popular around the world, it comes with certain risks. According to the Physician Commission for Responsible Medicine, low-carb diets can cause osteoporosis, kidney disease, and the formation of kidney stones.
The ketogenic diet is a very low-carb, high-fat diet that offers many health benefits. According to more than 20 randomized studies, this type of diet is used as a treatment for epilepsy, diabetes, cancer, and Alzheimer disease.
The diet involves reducing the intake of carbohydrates, thus allowing the body to use fat as fuel and burn it. Ketogenic diet shifts your metabolism away from carbs through a process called ketosis.
When the sugar is in short supply, the liver increases the production of small molecules called ketones. They are usually used as an alternative fuel source for the body, especially when you eat less carbs. The brain is a demanding organ that spends a lot of energy on various processes, and it can feed only on glucose or ketones.
The Ketogenic diet causes your entire body to switch its fuel supply, burning fat 24/7. When insulin levels are insufficient, our bodies start burning fat at a rapid pace. This diet is good if you are trying to lose weight, but it has numerous health benefits as well.
A vegan diet contains only food made from plants, including vegetables, grains, nuts, and fruits. Vegans don’t eat animal source foods, dairy products and eggs, which often results in numerous health benefits, the most notable one being improved sugar control. This is how a healthy vegan diet looks like:
- At least five portions of a variety of vegetables and fruits every day
- Meals cooked with potatoes, rice, bread, and pasta
- Dairy substitutes, such as soya drinks and yogurts (preferably low fat and low sugar options)
- Pulses that are high in protein, like beans
- Small amounts of unsaturated oils and spreads
- Plenty of fluids (6-8 cups is the recommended dose)
Veganism is very popular nowadays, and for many people it represents a way of living. Vegans undergo this strict diet for ethical, environmental, or health reasons. The point is to exclude all forms of animal exploitation whether for food or for other purposes. However, a vegan diet requires a lot of planning and understanding what it takes to get all the nutrients your body needs. If not done right, it can cause severe calcium, iron, and vitamin B12 deficiency.