Everything you need to know about the latest dieting trends!

This article is a private opinion based on private research and should not be taken as medical advice

Young woman dieting
It can be hard to know which diet is right for you, but once you start one you will see the benefits! Photo: ViDi Studio, Bigstock

When hearing the word ‘diet’, most people jump to the thought of restricted food choices and (more often than not) defeat. However, lately there have been three dieting trends that have taken over and people have been swearing by them.

So, what are these diets, and which is the considered ‘the best’? Here’s what you need to know about their methods and the risks involved.

Intermittent fasting

As the name suggests, intermittent fasting primarily involves creating an eating pattern and switches between periods for eating and fasting.

The trend is almost seen as a phenomenon because it takes a different approach to dieting – rather than looking at what to eat, it focuses on when to eat.

Unlike most diets, there are five different methods to intermittent fasting.

The most popular method to intermittent fasting is the 16:8, which involves eating anytime during an 8-hour period and fasting for the other 16 of the day.

Next is the 5:2 method, which looks at eating normally five days of the week and limiting to consuming only 500-600 calories two days a week.

A little more complex is the eat-stop-eat method. This focuses on eating normally but fasting for 24 hours approximately two times a week.

Those who choose this form of intermittent fasting typically fast from dinner one night to dinner the following evening.

Drinks (including water, coffee etc.) are allowed during the fasting period, simply not solid foods.

Similarly, this is alternate day fasting where you are fasting every second day and eating normally on others. And the last method is the warrior diet, where you fast during the day (though small portions of fruit and vegetables are allowed) and “feast” at night within a four-hour period.

But I thought fasting was bad for me?

Yes, it is. According to the experts at House Call Doctor, there are many health risks involved with fasting including dehydration, fatigue, increased stress levels, and trouble sleeping.

Most surprisingly, or unsurprisingly to some, fasting is usually only a ‘quick fix’ to losing weight as it’s a fluid loss, not substantial weight loss and therefore won’t be a good long term dieting choice.

Ketogenic diet

In simplest terms, the ketogenic diet (most commonly known as the keto diet) is a low-carb and high fat diet. Its name derives from the fact that the diet makes the body produce molecules called “ketones” to rely on when blood sugar levels are in low supply.

Quite possibly the main appeal to the dieting trend is that it forces the body to run almost entirely on fat and therefore burns the fat at an increased rate.

Foods that are often recommended for this diet include:

  • Seafood
  • Vegetables (not including those with high carbs – i.e. potatoes)
  • Cheese
  • Avocados
  • Eggs
  • Meat
  • Nuts and seeds

Whilst there are not as many health risks involved with the keto diet as intermittent fasting, those with diabetes, high blood pressure or women in the process in breastfeeding should steer clear of the diet.

This is because avoiding carbohydrates that increase blood sugar levels will impact insulin doses, increase potential side effects (i.e. headaches), and affect already lower levels because of breast feeding.

If you are interested in starting the keto diet, but are unsure if you suitable or not, consult with your regular doctor.

Paleolithic diet

The approach for the paleolithic (or paleo) diet is simple – if a caveman didn’t eat, then neither should you.

Another approach is if a child cannot name the ingredients within your food, you shouldn’t be eating it. This dieting choice seems to have created some controversy as it is not so much ‘new’, yet a healthier lifestyle choice.

It focuses on avoiding processed and packaged foods, instead consuming fresh fruit/vegetables, eggs, nuts and seeds, meat, seafood, and healthful oils (i.e. olive oil, coconut oil etc.).

Other foods to that cannot be eaten on the paleo diet (besides the obvious soft drinks or chips) include cereal grains, legumes, dairy, refined sugar, refined oils, potatoes and salt.

Though it’s arguably the healthiest of these three diets, there are still health risks involved. These are primarily deficiencies in calcium and vitamin D due to a lack of dairy.

Before considering any of these trending diets, consult with your usual doctor for any health concerns or further information.