Diet fads that ruled 2019

January 12, 2020

An overview of how people lost weight in 2019. Which one of these diets have you tried?

Actress and business mogul Gwyneth Paltrow is a fan of the Ketogenic Diet.

In a world overridden with weight loss success stories featuring myriad plans for health and nutrition, the demand for diets is exploding exponentially. Although these diet programs promote a positive message about being healthy, they have replaced fitness with just weight loss. Being fit should denote prioritizing health over merely physique, meaning it should be a code for being conscious about how you fuel your body and nourish it with the right ingredients.

The diet fads of 2019 showed some promising results. However, each had its own challenges.

The Ketogenic Diet

This was perhaps the most popular diet fad that 2019 bore witness to. We saw a plethora of women adhere strictly to this diet plan to lose weight. The ketogenic diet, popularly known as the keto diet, is a macro-nutrient plan for weight loss that includes high-fat, adequate protein and low-carbohydrates intake. It works by forcing your body to burn fats instead of carbohydrates by producing ketones in the body. Normally, the body makes use of the sugar in the blood stream that is produced by synthesizing carbs. In its absence, the sugar is replaced by ketones till you start eating carbs again.

Typically, this diet calls for lots of meats, eggs, sausages, cheese, fish, nuts, butter, oils, seeds and fibrous vegetables. It discourages the intake of grains, legumes, honey, high-sugar fruit and starchy vegetables.

This diet has had extraordinary tangible results with people losing more than 10KG in just a month and shed off inches upon inches. It is also known to treat epilepsy in children and is a fantastic meal plan for type 2 diabetes. However, it does not come without its own side effects. Keto dieters have complained about significant hair loss, dizziness and irritability. Furthermore, by eliminating a macro-nutrient (i.e. carbs) that exists in a large percentage of food consumed daily, it makes for a difficult diet to sustain long term. Additionally, experts warn that the weight shed through a keto diet is more than likely to return once the diet is abandoned. In major cities of Pakistan, like Lahore, Karachi and Islamabad, almost all high-end eateries offer keto options on their menus. There are also individual home-based entrepreneurs who have customized keto menus for dieters.

The Whole30

The Whole30 is a nutritional diet plan developed to target the way food is approached and consumed, designed over 30 days. The diet calls for removing all the inflammatory food and encourages three ‘clean’ meals a day. The concept of the Whole30 is to cut out the ‘hormone-unbalancing and gut-disrupting’ food groups.

In a Whole30 diet, for a period of 30 days inflammatory foods such as processed foods and beverages, added sugars, sweeteners, grains, legumes, all junk food, and even dairy is removed from the daily diet. Furthermore, this plan also removes honey and baked goods made with coconut or almond flour. It conceptualizes that by going back to the basics such as meats, seafood, vegetables and eggs, the body cleanses itself for 30 days. After the 30 days, slowly and gradually food groups are added back to the diet in order to identify the irritants.

Whole30 cannot be termed as an extreme diet rather it is an intervention designed to teach people the effect of what they eat on their body and how to create the perfect diet, tailored for each individual.

The Whole30 has shown exceptional results such as improved energy, sleep, skin, digestive tract, joint pains, asthma, migraines, cholesterol and diabetes among other things. This diet will also help identify any food allergies that the body has. Many experts, however, argue that this diet calls for too many animal-based proteins and most of them are high in sodium, low in calcium and may lead to nutritional deficiencies. Whole30 menus are not available in many restaurants in Pakistan. Instead, you can find online recipes and tailor them to your needs.

The Paleo

The Paleo diet, as the name suggests, is based on food consumption of the paleolithic era popularly known as the Old Stone Age dating back 2.5 million years ago. It is also known as the hunter-gatherer diet or the caveman diet. The Paleo diet marks a return to eating like early humans, reasoning that the body is genetically mismatched to modern eating habits that emerged with farming practices. It argues that the rapid change in dietary habits outpaced the body’s ability to adapt, contributing to a plethora of diseases prevalent today such as obesity, diabetes and heart diseases.

Typically, a paleo diet encourages the intake of fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, lean meats, fish rich in omega-3 fatty acids like salmon, mackerel, tuna, oils from fruits and nuts like olive oil and walnut oil. It discourages the intake of grains like wheat, oats, barley, legumes like beans, lentils, peanuts and peas, dairy products, refined sugars, salts, potatoes and highly processed foods.

The paleo diet has shown a tangible amount of weight loss and improved glucose tolerance, controlled blood pressure, lower triglycerides and overall better appetite management. Some dietary concerns revolve around the exclusion of whole grains and legumes which are not only rich in fiber but also offer vitamins and other nutrients. Similar to the Whole30, the Paleo diet may lead to nutritional deficiencies.

Intermittent Fasting

Another popular way to lose weight in 2019 was through a program called ‘Intermittent Fasting’. The weight loss plan, also known as the intermittent energy restriction, has been designed to control food intake. The concept is to fast for 16 hours each day and consume all solid foods in the remaining 8-hour period. The 16:8 diet is easy to follow as each individual can set the time according to their own schedule.

During the 16-hour fast, individuals may take calorie-free liquids such as water and unsweetened tea, coffee or green tea. It is recommended that fluids be consumed throughout the day to avoid dehydration. In the 8-hour window, experts recommend consuming a balanced diet such as vegetables, fruits, lean meats, eggs, whole grains like quinoa, brown rice, oats and barley. Other items that can be consumed include healthy fats from fatty fish, olives, olives oils, coconuts, avocados, nuts and seeds.

The intermittent fasting is a great way to lose weight as it restricts calorie intake and promotes a cleanse in the body. It has been known to reduce bloating, decrease heart disease and diabetes, and overall promote weight loss. This diet is a miracle for individuals who wish to practise mindful eating. It is less extreme in food restriction and instead focuses primarily on cutting calories by restricting food intake timings. Intermittent fasting is meant to be a lifestyle change and not a crash course in weight loss.

4 weight-loss diet fads that ruled 2019