Diet Pros & Cons

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Every time there is a photograph of a celebrity showing off a toned and fit body, countless fans eagerly adopt his diet and workout. With so many diets grabbing the headlines, people are willing to try anything that will get them flat abs and toned arms.

Research into food has taught us a lot about it. Despite that, however, factors like age, body type and health need to be considered before embarking on what has worked successfully for someone else.

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KETOGENIC DIET

With a low carb and high-fat intake, the ketogenic diet transforms the body into a fat-burning machine. Its main focus is to get calories from the consumption of healthy fats rather than proteins or carbohydrates. The body thus runs entirely on fat, while insulin levels become low, and fat burns drastically.

Pros

Hunger Going off carbohydrates reduces the appetite and makes it easier to consume fewer calories. Research suggests that those following a keto diet tend to be less hungry, even when the calorie intake is strictly limited.

Cancer In an article published by Dom D’Agostino’s lab, it was given that ketone supplements decrease tumour cell viability. Some preclinical and case report studies indicated that the restricted ketogenic diet can prove to be an effective metabolic therapy for managing malignant brain cancer in children and adults.

Gastrointestinal issues It can help to reduce acid reflux, heartburn and gallstones. 

Healthy fats Fat is crucial for health and can be derived from avocados, nuts or fatty fish.

Cons

Energy levels This diet can make you lethargic and fatigued, as your body relies solely on fats for energy.

Metabolic effects A study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition states that the keto diet can lead to adverse metabolic and emotional effects in the long run.

Breath Since the body is in a state of ketosis, ketones are released out of the body in the form of sweat, urine and a bad breath. One of the ketones named acetone is responsible for emitting unpleasant odour from the mouth.

Misc There are increased signs of dizziness, dry skin, cold tolerance and fatigue.

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PALEO DIET

Gastroenterologist Walter L. Voegtlin introduced Paleolithic living as a dietary model. Also known as the Stone Age or caveman diet, this one encourages consuming only fresh and organic fruit, veggies or meat, and completely eschews food that is processed and canned, or has preservatives and chemicals.

Pros

PurityThe body gets only a clean diet sans preservatives, additives and chemicals.

Cholesterol profiles It improves the blood lipids such as the total cholesterol profiles (triglycerides and LDL levels).

Gut Dairy products and grains are avoided, which leads to improved gut flora of the intestines.

Cons

Inflammation and acidity Consuming excessive proteins and cruciferous vegetables tends to increase acidity and inflammation.

Calcium levels Eliminating dairy products and grains in the diet can reduce calcium levels, thereby causing weakness.

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ATKINS DIET

The Atkins diet was originally promoted by physician Robert C. Atkins, who wrote it in 1972. It eliminates carbohydrates from the diet and focuses on proteins and fats for energy.

Pros

Diabetes As the diet is designed to be low on carbohydrates, it helps in controlling insulin levels. A meta-analysis published in the Journal of the American Diabetic Association, which included a total of 13 studies, found that according to patients’ self-reported health markers, their haemoglobin A1c, fasting glucose and some lipid fractions (triglycerides) improved when consuming lower carbohydrate-content diets.

Cognitive performance A low-carb diet is beneficial in fighting brain disorders such as dementia, Alzheimer’s and narcolepsy.

Cons

LDL Having a diet with excessive fat-rich food is known to increase the LDL cholesterol levels, putting the body at the risk of cardiovascular diseases.

Mood swings Consuming fewer calories affects the happy hormone—serotonin—leading to extreme mood swings.

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DUKAN DIET

The Dukan diet, designed by the French nutritionist and dietician Pierre Dukan, is protein-based and similar to the ketogenic diet, as both focus on the consumption of fats and proteins, but omit carbohydrates.

Pros

Weight Leads to rapid weight loss due to lower intake of calories.

Salt intake is significantly low in this diet, which is good for the body.

Nutrition Refined, canned and processed foods are completely eliminated in this diet.

Cons

Overall nutrition In the long term, the lack of whole grains, fruit and vegetables can lead to nutritional deficiencies.

Antioxidants The lack of antioxidants makes the body less immune, and results in conditions like cancer, heart attack and premature ageing.

Dr Dukan advises people to avoid strenuous activities, due to low energy levels.

zone-diet

ZONE DIET

The Zone diet is a low glycaemic index diet introduced by biochemist Barry Sears. It includes foods that do not spike sugar levels. The right proportion of fat, carbhohydrates and protein helps lose weight and lowers the risk of heart diseases.

Pros

Insulin levels This diet is well-suited for those with high blood sugar

Hunger pangs Due to its 1:2:3 division of fats, proteins and carbs, you are less likely to feel hungry.

Cons

Implementation The Zone diet requires careful planning and only the right proportion of fats, proteins and carbs are deemed to be beneficial to the body

Energy Due to a lower intake of carbohydrates and less fibre, energy levels remain low and there is a tendency to tire easily.

NMAMI AGARWAL NMAMI AGARWAL

The writer is a leading nutritionist and the founder of Nmami Life, Delhi

Superfoods

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Pumpkin seeds

Think weight loss, think pumpkin seeds! These are rich in zinc, a vital mineral that prevents food cravings! They don’t magically lose pounds for you, but pumpkin seeds help when food cravings hit at odd hours. Hair-fall and weak immunity caused by a deficiency of zinc can be corrected by including pumpkin seeds in your diet. Soaking them in water nullifies the effects of anything that prevents the absorption of nutrients in the body.

oil

Virgin coconut oil

Coconut oil is deemed unhealthy by some. I recommend it in its raw cold pressed form, as, in this way, all the nutrients are preserved. Around the world people are finding improved thyroid, sugar levels, hormonal and nervous communication in the body naturally by using raw virgin cold pressed coconut oil to provide the right amount of saturated fats. The recommended intake is 5ml (about 1 tsp) per day on an empty stomach.

Fennel-seeds

Fennel seeds

Commonly used as a mouth freshener, their real health benefit is improved digestion even before they enter the stomach. The more we chew, the more gastric enzymes are stimulated in the digestive system. This promotes digestion faster and in the right way.

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Moringa

Long propagated as a superfood by WHO, Moringa is the leaf of drumstick and a powerful detox superfood rich in multiple antioxidant compounds like vitamin C, beta-carotene, quercetin and chlorogenic acid. Studies show that quercetin helps lower blood pressure, while chlorogenic acid helps regulate blood sugar levels.

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