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New diet trends emerge regularly and take the internet by storm. Popularized by social media, these trends promise miraculous weight loss and other health benefits in a short timeframe. A vast majority of diet fads promote severe calorie restriction and complete avoidance of certain food groups. Although every diet has its advocates who praise their benefits, the truth is most of them are unhealthy, and science doesn't support them. To make weight maintenance easier for you and contribute to healthy changes in your lifestyle, we are going to focus on diets that are supported by science. Read on to learn more.
Mediterranean diet is not a typical program that people follow for a while in order to lose weight or manage some health problems. Instead, the Mediterranean diet is a diet inspired by the eating habits of people who live in a Mediterranean area. This is more like a lifestyle than your “regular” diet. The biggest characteristic of this eating program is that it doesn’t promote the avoidance of various food groups. Mediterranean diet is all about moderation, and it's easy to implement in the lifestyle.
The Mediterranean diet works through multiple mechanisms. This eating pattern allows people to supply the body with a wide range of vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and other nutrients and micronutrients. The body needs a plethora of those nutrients to function properly. Through the regular intake of different foods, we can support our health and promote weight management. Mediterranean diet is not a quick fix; its effects appear when we make it a part of our lifestyle and adhere to it regularly.
For example, evidence shows that if you stick with the Mediterranean diet over time, it can decrease the risk of heart and blood vessel diseases by 25%. Scientists found the benefits of the Mediterranean diet could be due to the cumulative effect of numerous small, yet positive changes occurring in the body as a result of adhering to this eating pattern. One of these changes is the relief of chronic inflammation (1), which is an underlying risk factor for many diseases and health conditions. Moreover, the Mediterranean diet can improve digestive health and support the balance of good and bad bacteria in the gut, which is vital for our general wellbeing.
What most people don’t realize is that the Mediterranean diet is often considered the healthiest diet in the world. A wide range of health benefits is the reason for that important title. You're probably wondering about the benefits of this diet, and it's time to address them. They are:
Other benefits of the Mediterranean diet are energy boost, reduced risk of Alzheimer’s disease, increased longevity, just to name a few.
The Mediterranean diet focuses on the intake of fruits and vegetables, fish (especially those abundant in Omega-3 fatty acids), poultry, whole grains, legumes, dairy products, and olive oil. Basically, you should strive to eat fruits and vegetables every day, poultry, dairy, and eggs in moderation, and eat red meat rarely. When cooking, make sure to rely on olive oil and healthy fats. Reduce intake of processed and heavily refined foods and sweets.
DASH stands for Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension is specifically created to help patients with high blood pressure manage their condition, but it has many other benefits. This diet is similar to the Mediterranean diet as it focuses on the intake of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and lean meats. Since it promotes a reduction in salt intake, this diet can help people lower blood pressure.
DASH diet works by providing key nutrients to lower blood pressure and support general health and wellbeing. These nutrients include potassium, magnesium, and calcium. Unlike other dietary patterns, the DASH diet is not restrictive, and it prioritizes moderation and well-balanced food intake.
The best thing about the DASH diet is that its benefits are scientifically confirmed. The most important advantages of this eating pattern include:
Other health benefits of the DASH diet include cancer prevention, lower risk of metabolic syndrome, reduced likelihood of developing diabetes, and reduced heart disease risk.
Many diets include a list of foods a person can eat or avoid, but the DASH diet doesn’t. Instead, it suggests specific servings of various food groups. For example, you need to eat:
Mayo Clinic diet is a diet developed by a weight loss expert at Mayo Clinic, and it is based on the book of the same name published in 1949. The diet relies on the pyramid to promote exercise and demonstrate just how much food a person should eat. Mayo Clinic diet encourages people to limit portion sizes and shows people how to plan their meals for the optimal effects. The main purpose of the Mayo Clinic diet is to help men and women to lose excess weight and keep it off.
Mayo Clinic diet works through a smart consumption of calories during the day. Instead of junk food, people eat healthy foods that support their health and promote weight loss. The diet is divided into two phases (11):
As mentioned above, the Mayo Clinic diet was specifically created to support weight loss, and it does so in several ways. It's not just about eating a certain way, but this diet also encourages people to exercise regularly. As people stick to the pyramid, they increase fiber intake. Fiber promotes bowel movements and improves digestion, which plays a significant role in weight loss (12).
A combination of this diet and exercise can help people retain muscle mass and boost metabolism for a successful weight loss. Besides weight loss, the Mayo Clinic diet can provide other benefits too. For example, it can lower the risk of heart disease and cancer and increase lifespan thanks to the high intake of fruits and vegetables (13).
In order to follow the Mayo Clinic diet, you don’t need to rely on counting calories. The diet uses a pyramid that guides people through the process of making healthy choices. The base of the Mayo Clinic diet emphasizes the need to eat healthy foods with a smaller number of calories in a bigger volume of food e.g., fruits and vegetables. When following this diet, you eat fruits, vegetables, whole grains, protein, dairy, healthy fats, and even up to 75 calories a day of sweets. On the other hand, you may want to avoid fruits canned in syrup, starchy vegetables, white flour, full-fat dairy.
Paleo diet is one of the most popular diets in the world, although it is more complicated than the diets mentioned above. Paleo diet revolves around the consumption of foods similar to those that people ate in the Paleolithic era, hence the name. This diet is popular among different groups of people including men and women who want to lose weight, build muscle, support general wellbeing, among others
The principle of the Paleo Diet is that we need to return to the way of eating as our ancestors did in the time of hunters and gatherers. Farming introduced different food groups to the human diet and outpaced the body’s ability to adapt. This particular mismatch is considered as the driving force behind a wide prevalence of diseases and obesity. By returning to the consumption of lean protein and certain food groups or through avoidance of some foods, our body adapts faster and functions more effectively to combat weight gain and other problems.
Benefits of adhering to Paleo diet are quite versatile, such as:
To follow the Paleo diet, you need to eat fruits, vegetables, nuts and seeds, lean meats, fish, oils from fruits and nuts. On the flip side, it is important to avoid grains, legumes, dairy products, refined sugar, salt, potatoes, and highly processed foods in general.
There are tons of diets, but not all of them are good for you. In order to lose weight, manage some health conditions, and support general health, you need to focus on diets whose effects are scientifically confirmed. Choose the diet that fits your needs the most and make sure it's easy to incorporate it into your lifestyle.