Good nutrition is an important part of leading a healthy lifestyle. Combined with physical activity, your diet can help you to reach and maintain a healthy weight, reduce your risk of chronic diseases (like heart disease and cancer), and promote your overall health. One of the most common questions we get asked here at Scorpion Supplements is “How do diets work?” and “What diet do you recommend”. Long answer short, we believe that it is important for each individual to adapt a nutrition plan into their lifestyle that is going to be able to be adhered to long term and help them achieve their own individual goals! But… the big question still remains, “How do diets work?” Therefore today, we are going to explore each of the common modern day diets to give you a little more understanding as to what they are and how they can result in weight loss, so that you can make you own mind up as to whether any of these specific diets are beneficial to you!
What is a diet?
In nutrition, diet is the sum of food consumed by a person or other organism. The word diet often implies the use of specific intake of nutrition for health or weight-management reasons (with the two often being related). Dietary habits and choices play a significant role in the quality of life, health and longevity.
Many authors, scientists and nutritionists promote specific diets as being an optimal way to live. The common problem is that as individual organisms, we all have varying dietary requirement which means that one size (or one diet) does not fit all.
Let’s now take a look at the five most commonly used diets!
The Carnivore Diet consists entirely of meat and animal products, excluding all other foods including fruits and veges. The Carnivore Diet is a high fat and high protein diet and restricts carbohydrate intake. Due to the high amount of satiating foods, the Carnivore Diet can result in a calorie deficit which will help individuals reduce their body weight. However, one of the main problems with the Carnivore Diet is it is extremely restrictive. This means there is generally a very low rate of adherence and with very little scientific backing to prove its proposed benefits. Furthermore, since the Carnivore Diet restricts carbohydrates, more often than not there is not enough fibre in the diet for good health. Fibre is a key element to healthy living and gastro-intestinal health.
Intermittent fasting (IF) is an eating pattern where you cycle between periods of eating and fasting (Not eating). There are several different intermittent fasting methods, all of which split the day or week into eating periods and fasting periods. Most people already “fast” every day, while they sleep. Intermittent fasting can be as simple as extending that fast a little longer. You can do this by skipping breakfast, eating your first meal at noon and your last meal at 8 pm. Humans are well adapted to fasting from time to time. Modern research shows that it has benefits for weight loss, metabolic health, disease prevention and may even help you live longer. The take home message is that humans are well adapted to fasting and there is good evidence to suggest that you can restrict your diet to an eight hour window which can result in a calorie deficit and body fat reduction.
A Plant-Based Diet is one that focuses on plants, such as fruits, vegetables, tubers, seeds, legumes, and grains. People on Plant-Based diets typically avoid beef, poultry, fish, eggs, and dairy, or eat them only in small quantities. Plant based diets are generally restrictive of calorie dense foods which can help individuals achieve a calorie deficit. One of the benefits of a plant based diet is that it is generally rich in fiber (Gastrointestinal health). One of the disadvantages of a plant based diet is it is restrictive of foods that form complete proteins (such as animal meats). Plant-based diets have gained popularity not only in the health and medical community, but also among fitness fanatics, athletes, and environmentalists. If you adapt to a Plant Based eating plan, you are likely to see improvement in the way you look or feel. But remember that the quality of your diet matters most.
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The Paleo Diet is designed to resemble what human hunter-gatherer ancestors ate thousands of years ago. The Paleo Diet consists completely of whole foods that can be found in Mother Nature. By following a whole food-based diet and leading physically active lives, hunter-gatherers presumably had much lower rates of lifestyle diseases, such as obesity, diabetes and heart disease. In fact, several studies suggest that this diet can lead to significant weight loss (without calorie counting) and major improvements in health. The Paleo Diet consists of foods such as lean meat, fish, seafood fresh fruit, non-starchy vegetables, nuts, seeds, eggs and plant based oils. Some of the negative effects from the Paleo diet is that it can be quite expensive and calorie restrictive which may lead to individuals such as athletes under performing.
The Ketogenic Diet (Keto diet, for short) is a low-carb, high-fat diet that offers many health benefits. The Keto Diet involves drastically reducing carbohydrate intake and replacing it with fat. This reduction in carbs puts your body into a metabolic state called ketosis. When this happens, your body becomes incredibly efficient at burning fat for energy. It also turns fat into ketones in the liver, which can supply energy for the brain. Ketogenic diets can cause massive reductions in blood sugar and insulin levels. This, along with the increased ketones, has numerous health benefits. A ketogenic diet may provide many health benefits, especially with metabolic, neurological or insulin-related diseases. On the Keto Diet you should be aiming to ingest the majority of your calories from fat food sources with a moderate amount of protein and a few carbohydrates. Many of the side effects of starting a ketogenic diet can be limited by the use of multi-vitamin. Easing into the diet and taking mineral supplements can help but the biggest challenge for most people is adherence.
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After exploring each of the five modern day diets, we can conclude that all can result in weight loss but the biggest challenge that individuals face is adhering to restrictive eating plans. The main contributing factor to weight loss, in all of the diets, is the primary food groups are highly satiating and are rich in protein which gave individuals a greater feeling of fullness. While diets are supportive for weight loss and can help individuals reach their health and fitness goals, Scorpion Supplement’s encourage individuals to explore food and nutrition so that they can create a sustainable plan that fits their lifestyle and supports their individual goals.