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The Downsides Of Three Of The Most Popular Diets

Clinical Herbalist Reviewed on February 21, 2018 by Paulina Nelega, RH
Posted in Blog

Anyone who wants to lose weight and enhance their overall health currently has a plethora of popular diets to choose from. While all of the diets offer similar benefits, the items they allow and restrict can be very different. This suggests that the diet that works for one person might not work for another. The decision of which path to embark on should therefore be governed by the alleged downsides or risks of each option. Yes, even the most reputable diets can have serious downsides, especially when your wallet and mental stability are added to the equation.

When experts gave their opinions on the following diets, they took into account how effective they would be for the average person. Here are basic explanations of three diets sweeping the masses as well as the difficulties you might run into as you first settle into the new lifestyle:

1. Paleo Diet

The Paleo diet takes its name from the Paleolithic period because it was created to mimic the eating habits of our ancient ancestors. Much of the popularity surrounding the Paleo diet likely comes from the high emphasis of red meat and poultry, giving it the same marketability as the Atkins diet. Subscribers focus on protein, low-sugar fruits, low-sugar vegetables, and healthy fats, while avoiding carbohydrates. The theory is that hunter-gatherers didn’t eat grains, therefore neither should you. You are allotted three non-Paleo meals per week, though it’s not clear if they are mandatory for reaping the diet’s benefits.

As simple as the Paleo diet sounds, it’s very easy to screw it up. You could unknowingly end up eating too much bacon and red meat or forget that every protein-heavy meal must be topped off by produce. Paleo is not a diet for people who like to go out, as a true Paleo regimen prohibits alcohol. Plus, when all grains are viewed negatively, you might feel just as guilty eating a doughnut on a cheat-day as you would a wholesome grain item.

2. Keto (Ketogenic) Diet

The Keto diet aims to achieve a state of “ketosis,” when the body is breaking down fat into energy at an accelerated pace thanks to a lack of glucose from carbohydrates. So, as you can probably imagine, the diet is as low carb as low carb gets. Hardcore subscribers get an average of approximately 5 percent of calories from carbohydrates, though you are permitted dairy products that are high in fat like butter and cheese. Items that are high in starch, however, are forbidden because they apparently have the biggest impact on your carb intake. That means no grains, no milk, no yogurt and hardly any fruit.

Depriving your body of glucose isn’t natural, so your introduction to the Keto diet probably won’t be too pleasant. Common side effects during the first week or so include headaches and a lack of energy. Some experts also find the (almost) complete absence of fruit troubling. Subscribers might eat tomatoes, avocados, but that’s pretty much it.

3. Alkaline Diet

The Alkaline diet revolves around food’s impact on your body’s pH level, which is based on acidity (the more acidic an item is, the lower the pH). An “alkaline” item typically refers to a higher pH. Acidic items allegedly strip the body of essential minerals, making us more vulnerable to disease and the effects of the aging process. The diet therefore strives to replace acidic items with less acidic items, lowering your risk of disease and improving overall health as a result. So, acidic items like meat, poultry, fish, dairy, and grains are eliminated while fruits, vegetables, beans, nuts and seeds are emphasized.

Where to start with this one. There is reportedly very little (if any) scientific evidence proving that food impacts the body’s pH level at all or that eating a lot of alkaline items decreases your risk of diseases like cancer and diabetes. What makes the diet more difficult than other options is the fact that acidity isn’t listed on nutrition labels. Subscribers have no choice but to memorize which foods they can and cannot eat.

Notice Anything In Common?

All three of these diets are undoubtedly extreme, as it seems that extremity is the boost some people need to stick to a diet. But possibly the biggest downside of them all is the suggestion that extreme measures like completely cutting carbohydrates from your life is the only way to lose weight. Maybe experts wouldn’t be so skeptical of their popularity if it didn’t give the impression that too many of us have forgotten that eating more vegetables and exercising more can be just as effective as a trendy diet.

Read also: Laughing Your Way To Health

Our Expert

Paulina Nelega, RH
Paulina Nelega, RH, has been in private practice as a Clinical Herbalist for over 15 years. She has developed and taught courses in herbal medicine, and her articles on health have appeared in numerous publications. She is very passionate about the healing power of nature. Ask Dr. Jan

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