What’s trending in nutrition
Every year, new diet trends seem to come into focus, usually around the New Year when everyone is looking to make positive changes in their lives. Some diets focus on better nutrition, many are for weight loss, and others reflect current trends in lifestyle choices. You probably remember the year Atkins was so popular, and then the year that it came back. And the OTHER year it came back.
2014 is no different. There’s a lot of buzz going on about what’s hot diet-wise, and if you’re thinking of making a change in the way you eat, you’ll have much to think about. Tread carefully, though, because each dietary regimen has its pros and cons. Some are in direct conflict with one another. You’ll need to decide what you hope to achieve with your change in eating habits, and how best to go about effecting that change.
Let’s talk about two of the “new” diet trends that are out there.
To wheat or not to wheat: That is the question
From time to time, extreme low-carb diets crop up. If you came of age in the 1970s, you might remember the Stillman diet. Conceived by Dr. Irwin Stillman, this diet prohibited all forms of carbohydrate that were grain-based. You could have all the meat, all the chicken, and all the fish you wanted. Some vegetables. No bread products at all. You could lose five kilos in a single week, but by the end of that week, you would have done anything in exchange for a single cracker. Now, before you rush off and Google “Stillman Diet,” you might want to know that Karen Carpenter was on Stillman.
Today’s wheat-free diet is a bit less extreme. The buzz-word today is “paleo.” This is short for “Paleolithic,” and it’s essentially the diet that our Neanderthal ancestors would have consumed. People didn’t begin eating grain products until they became farmers instead of hunter-gatherers. Paleo practitioners believe that their diet made them naturally lean. However, it’s worth considering that it may actually have been because they spent so much time and expended so much energy out-running predators and just generally trying to stay alive that they burned off more calories than they could ever have reasonably been expected to consume, and thus remained in top condition.
On the other side, ancient grains are increasing in popularity. These would be the grains that our ancestors started eating when they took up farming as a means of generating a food supply. Wheat, in this case, is not only okay, it’s actually desirable. Add some coconut oil, kale, and chia seeds, and you’re on your way to a new, improved, healthy you.
If you’re thinking of going flexitarian, that just means that you’re not quite as set in your ways as a vegetarian. Vegans, of course, forego all animal products. Vegetarians will not eat meat, but may consume eggs, dairy, or even fish. Flexitarians will enjoy meat occasionally – maybe once a month, or on special occasions. This choice can be rooted in both nutrition and lifestyle. Many people feel that the less meat they consume, the better they feel. Others feel it’s wrong to eat animals, but aren’t ready to give up that steak just yet. Flexitarianism can be a compromise.
The most important thing to remember is that weight loss can be achieved very effectively through a balanced diet. This means you do not have to cut out any major food groups, like carbohydrates. If you do decide to go down the path of a popular diet, like the ones above, then it is advised that you see a dietitian to help you undertake the diet in the healthiest way possible.
If you have questions about diet and nutrition contact your local doctor, who will arrange for you to see a dietitian and nutritionist.