Get the facts: Know your diets

If you go by the principle that your body is your temple, this should also extend to steering away from fad diets. Trying un-tested diets could leave you with long-term health concerns like, a slower metabolism, high cholesterol, hypertension and could also increase your risk of heart disease and stroke. Yet there are also popular diets that have been around for years which could also lead to health problems. Before you try a particular diet you should know all the facts first, in order to make an informed decision.

1. Raw Food Diet:
The theory behind the Raw Food Diet is that cooking destroys the vitamins, enzymes and nutrients in foods. According to the Huffington Post, while this is certainly true for some foods, other foods, like tomatoes actually increase in nutrients once they are cooked. This diet is also very difficult to follow properly. It could lead to malnutrition from lack of nutrient-rich foods if not followed correctly.

healthy food

2. High Fat Diet:
Popular diets like Banting and the Ketogenic Diet advocate for little or no carbohydrates or sugars, adequate proteins and high fats. According to Livestrong, If taken to the extreme, a high-fat diet can result in ketosis, a process in which fats are broken down for energy in the absence of glucose from carbohydrates. Ketosis is a catabolic condition which quickly wastes muscle, slowing your metabolism. A slow metabolism makes it harder to lose weight, undermining your fat loss efforts. However, the most serious concern of high fat diets is the risk of heart disease. According to the American Heart Association, a diet high in saturated fat can dramatically raise your cholesterol, increasing your risk of heart disease.

3. Low Fat Diet:
This may seem contrary to the above, however the thinking behind a low fat diet comes from 90’s trends in nutrition that stated that people should try to eat as little fats as possible, as fat is high in calories. This was interpreted as meaning, as long as you eat very little fats you could make up for it by eating more carbohydrates. This gave rise to an industry of low fat muffins, low fat yoghurts, low fat bagels and fat free milk. Yet according to BBC Good Food, to meet the need for low fat products manufacturers quickly got rid of all traces of animal fats, which were deemed high fat, in food items replacing it with hydrogenated vegetable oil. We now know that these hydrogenated fats increase levels of dangerous trans-fats which are both bad for the heart and our cholesterol. Manufacturers also found they had to increase the amount of sugar in their low fat products so that we continued to enjoy their taste and texture. All of this meant that the typical low fat product tended to be high in carbohydrates, might contain trans-fats and ultimately had a very similar calorie count to the original product.

Dr Richard Malkin, Managing Director of Workforce Healthcare, says there are so many different diets and eating plans for the simple reason that people are different.

“There are probably five different types of morphologies or types of people who respond to a specific type of diet,” he says. “It would be a major breakthrough if there was a marker that identified a person as to the type of diet that suited them. Then a simple test would classify a person as being best suited to a specific type of diet, for example high fat, high carbs, vegetarian etc.”

However, Dr Malkin believes that the biggest contributor to being overweight is a disorganised day.
“If a person got up early enough to eat a proper breakfast, have time to pack a healthy lunch and then eat a light dinner and do 30 minutes of exercise three times a week, they would be leading a healthy life but the pressure of life affects a person’s ability to manage their time well and people miss meals, have massive hunger urges, snack on foods that are high in carbohydrates, get addicted to carbohydrates and for these reasons they put on weight,” he explains.

“Trying to lead an organised life, as far as possible, is the biggest factor in leading a healthy life and preventing most causes of diseases,” Dr Malkin says.