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SMG News

Weighing in on Popular Diet Plans

Last updated: Jan 24, 2019


Though popular diet trends may result in rapid weight loss, they are not the most successful when it comes to maintaining weight loss and supporting overall good health. Our Nutrition experts are “weighing in” on the myths and facts of some of the more popular fad diets and giving their recommendations for diets to follow in 2019.

Ketogenic Diet

The ketogenic or “keto” diet is low in carbohydrates and has exceptionally high fat content, with only a moderate intake of protein. The ketogenic diet typically reduces total carbohydrate intake to less than 50 grams a day and can be as low as 20 grams a day.

Many versions of ketogenic diets exist, but all restrict carbohydrate-rich foods from both refined (low in nutrients) as well as healthy sources, which are high in nutrients and fiber. Nutrient-dense foods such as whole grain breads, cereals, pasta, rice, potatoes, corn, beans, legumes, and most fruits are excluded. Most ketogenic plans promote foods high in saturated fat, such as fatty cuts of meat, processed meats, lard, and butter.

Why are people attracted to it?

The high fat content and the high ketone-promoting effect of the diet contributes to a satiating effect with decreased food cravings. It also contributes to a decrease in appetite-stimulating hormones, such as insulin and ghrelin from consuming restricted amounts of carbohydrate.

Ketogenic Diet Myths Versus Facts


Other negative side effects of a long-term ketogenic diet may include increased risk of kidney stones and osteoporosis and increased uric acid in the blood which is a risk factor for gout. Also, consumption of only high fat foods without including fish, vegetables, fruits, nuts, and seeds, can lead to inadequate intakes of fiber, B vitamins, and important minerals such as iron, magnesium, and zinc.

Macro Diet / “If it Fits Your Macros” (IIFYM)

The If It Fits Your Macros (IIFYM) diet, also called Flexible Dieting, requires you to calculate and monitor your daily calorie goals and the calories you’re getting from each of the macronutrients (macros); carbohydrates, protein and fat.

Why are people attracted to it?

The IIFYM diet is less restrictive than many other diets. Since it does not restrict any one macronutrient group, it allows the flexibility to eat your favorite foods while still seeing results.

The Macro Diet Myths Versus Facts




Paleolithic “Paleo” Diet

The Paleolithic (Paleo) diet, also called the "Caveman" or "Stone Age" diet is based on the premise of a hunter-gatherer regimen. It focuses on foods that were available to our ancestors during pre-agricultural times that could either be hunted (meat, fowl, fish) or gathered (fruits, nuts, seeds, vegetables, and eggs). The Paleo diet is generally higher in protein, fat, and fiber and lower in carbohydrates and sodium. It is also naturally gluten-free.

Why are people attracted to it?

The Paleo Diet is easy to follow. Meals can be simply made. There is no calorie counting, weighing and measuring or keeping of a food log involved and plus, it is gluten free.


The Paleo Diet Myths Versus Facts


Best Diets for Overall Health

Healthy approaches to weight loss should focus on food quality not just food quantity. Food, exercise, sleep, and stress management all contribute to a healthy lifestyle and successful weight loss and the most successful weight loss plans combine diet, exercise and behavioral therapy. Registered dietitians have recently identified the following diets as the best overall for good nutrition:

#1 - The Mediterranean Diet
The Mediterranean diet emphasizes eating fruits, veggies, whole grains, beans, nuts, legumes, olive oil, and flavorful herbs and spices; fish and seafood at least a couple of times a week; and poultry, eggs, cheese and yogurt in moderation, while saving sweets and red meat for special occasions.

#2 - The DASH Diet
DASH - Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension - emphasizes fruits, veggies, whole grains, lean protein and low-fat dairy. This plan is high in potassium, calcium, protein and fiber which helps reduce high blood pressure. Foods that are high in saturated fat, such as fatty meats, full-fat dairy foods and tropical oils (such as coconut oil) as well as sugar-sweetened beverages and sweets are discouraged. It encourages a sodium intake of 2,300 milligrams a day, which is also the recommendation for dietary guidelines for Americans.

#3 - Flexitarian Diet
Flexitarian Diet focuses on eating more plants and less meat. This diet focuses on adding non-meat proteins like beans, peas or eggs; fruits and veggies; whole grains; dairy; and sugar and spice. It is similar to Ovo-lacto vegetarianism (consumes some animal products) and allows for meat, poultry or fish a few times a week. It is recommended in the beginning to have two meatless days per week. In addition to assisting with weight loss, it can improve overall health, lower risk of heart disease, diabetes and cancer, and increase longevity.

With all dietary approaches, physical activity should be incorporated
The recommendation is for at least 150 minutes of vigorous (huff and puff) activity per week.

If you are interested in adopting healthy dietary habits, a Summit Medical Group nutritionist may be able to assist. They can help you lose weight and improve your nutrition to address specific medical conditions such as heart disease, diabetes, obesity and other issues.  Our nutrition team partners with Summit Medical Group physicians to ensure you receive comprehensive care.

Through education about the most nutritious foods and helpful tips on how to avoid common food allergens, our dietitians/nutritionists can help boost your energy and improve your overall health.

Consult with your doctor before starting any diet regimen.