30 Jun Which of These Four Trending Diets Is Right For You?
Dieting can bring countless benefits to our lives beyond weight loss — but only if done right. Holistic Nutritionist and Food for Life co-founder Denise Tam breaks down the key benefits of four popular diets: vegan, fasting, keto and paleo beyond just a smaller waist.
Diets aren’t just for weight loss, though many start on diets for this purpose. Specific diets can have benefits beyond fat loss like detoxification, cardiovascular and balancing blood sugar levels.
Of course there are those odd diets that require you to live off of bananas or a powdered supplement that can do more harm than good. Those are the ones we want to be more cautious of. Popular diets like vegan, keto, paleo and fasting which currently have a large and growing following – even science backed health proposed benefits – can also have detrimental effects when done wrong.
Each of us are individual beings and the biological mechanisms of the same diet will have different effects on different body types and needs. Genes and geography alone can influence how a person responds to different diets, not to mention the individuals’ underlying conditions.
Why diet? Beyond weight loss
These diets have gained popularity for good reason in recent years. Vegans and vegetarians usually start from a place of compassion for animal welfare and wanting to keep fit and lose some weight. Keto-ers and those attempting fasting regimens are typically first inspired by anecdotes of drastic weight loss and energy boosts.
Sadly in my years of being a nutritionist, I have never had somebody be motivated to try these diets for their cardiovascular health or to help control insulin. But understanding the importance of motivation and goal setting, my response to this is “whatever can keep you consistent and committed.” At the same time it’s important to stress that weight loss is only a small part of the many benefits that can come from these three diets and lifestyles.
Pros & Cons
Vegan and vegetarian diets executed carefully may carry benefits particularly for heart health, inflammation and managing diabetes. While keto and paleo diets have tremendous benefits in brain health, inflammation, controlling blood sugar and even supporting hormones. Fasting diets, like keto, have studies showing improvements in inflammation, gut health, optimizing brain function, cell health and improving blood sugar.
But, and this is a big BUT I need to emphasize, more times than not, a lot of people attempting these diets end up with nutrient deficiencies… even worse, new health issues that come up from either implementing the diet incorrectly or choosing the diet that’s not suited for their body and needs at the time.
Hormones can easily become off balanced in fasting diets, nutritional deficiencies are often seen in improperly planned vegan diets, and there’s those on a dirty keto where they find themselves with elevated triglycerides and cholesterol levels.
Dieting vs. Lifestyle Change
Diets, like supplements, can be beneficial in giving you that extra boost to get you closer to your health goals. But in the end, once you lose the extra weight and achieve those optimal levels in your blood work, you should be moving towards a wholesome approach to your food and lifestyle.
I’m not a fan of diets and prefer lifestyle change over consistent dieting. I’m speaking from experience as a vegan and vegetarian for nearly nine years during my fight with cancer. It made sense for my body during that time, but as I’m celebrating nearly seven years of being cancer free, I have started incorporating wild fish and some grass fed, pasture raised eggs and beef into my diet. Because now, my health needs and goals have changed.
When choosing a diet that ‘s right for you, it’s important to formulate your health goals first and make an assessment of your current health status before embarking on altering your food choices and lifestyle. Because after all, our food is our foundation to health.
Curious to know which dieting method works best for you? Join our Diet & Detox Yoga Workshop at One Island South to find out! Kickstart the workshop with a healing detox yoga session, followed by a discussion on diet and nutrition led by Certified Holistic Nutritionist Denise Tam. Dive deeper into the Keto, Intermittent Fasting and Vegan diets, dissecting the benefits and potential drawbacks of each one. Click here to book!
About Denise Tam, Holistic Nutritionist
Denise, a two-time cancer survivor and a self professed health chef, believes in achieving complete wellness through the healing of the body, mind and spirit. With her firsthand experience, she offers practical tips to do just that. She is a Certified Holistic Nutritionist, a member of the Canadian Association of Natural Nutritional Practitioners, and a contributing author to Saved by Nutrition, an anthology of nutrition success stories coming out this summer. Her philosophy in life is: Love First, Eat Well, and Laugh Lots.