If you’ve lived more than 20 minutes on this planet, you know that a new diet comes along every 10 minutes. Remember the grapefruit diet, the cabbage soup diet, and the cookie diet? And then, of course, we had the Mediterranean diet and the South Beach diet, which was about changing our lifestyles as much as it was about changing what we eat.

According to Forbes, the diets that most people asked about last year were:

DIET / COMMON NAME KEY POINTS PROS CONS
Ketogenic
Keto
  • low carbohydrate (only 5-10% of total calories)
  • moderate protein
  • high healthy fat
  • may be effective for weight loss
  • helps the body burn fat instead of sugar
  • could be a little too strict
  • doesn’t put any restrictions on processed meats such as bacon
Ancestor
Paleo
  • basically eating like a cave man
  • no dairy, grains, refined sugar, flour, or processed foods
  • easy to follow
  • you can load up on vegetables, nuts, seeds, healthy fats, and protein
  • may not work for elite athletes and people who enjoy endurance sports
  • some athletes may feel weak
  • may decrease athletic performance
Alkaline
Tom Brady
  • eat foods that fight acidity and promote alkalinity
  • no alcohol, grains, conventional meats, eggs, processed foods, flour, refined sugar
  • limited dairy—yogurt and kefir only (for the probiotics)
  • primarily plant-based
  • nothing to count, measure, or calculate
  • may reduce inflammation
  • may help boost metabolism
  • may protect muscle mass
  • may not have much of an effect on pH balance
  • no nightshade vegetables: tomatoes, white potatoes, eggplant, bell pepper, cayenne pepper, paprika, chili peppers, and chili pepper seasonings
Whole 
30
  • routine is only 30 days long to help the body reboot
  • enjoy fruits, veggies, nuts, seeds
  • eat protein such as eggs, fish, poultry
  • some healthy oils and fats allowed
  • no weighing, counting, or calculating
  • may help strip away processed foods that cause inflammation, harm microbiomes
  • no sugar at all, including honey and maple syrup
  • no grains, legumes, or dairy
  • may affect Vitamin D and calcium levels
Intermittent

fasting
  • eat between noon and 8 p.m.
  • extends the natural fasting window from 12 to 14-20 hours
  • may help regulate insulin resistance
  • no calorie cutting—just eat them closer together
  • fasting may be too much for some
  • try fasting only three days a week, on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday

Then there’s Clean Eating

The idea behind Clean Eating is to focus on foods that are as close to their natural form and have undergone minimal processing. This diet:

  • eliminates artificial sweeteners, preservatives, and added sugar
  • doesn’t rely on “diet” foods that are low-fat, meal replacements, and weight-loss drinks, which can be packed with sugar
  • cuts waaay back on refined carbohydrates, such as white rice, potatoes, bread, and pasta
  • replaces simple carbs with fibrous whole grains, such as oats, brown rice, and barley
  • opts for lean protein instead of processed and fried meats
  • prefers whole fruit instead of fruit juice
  • loves “nutrient dense” ingredients, such as broccoli, all types of berries, wild salmon, and sweet potatoes—eat these types of foods raw or prepared simply by steaming or sautéing in a healthy oil (such as olive)
  • concentrates on ingredients and nutrients rather than calorie counts on labels

When you think about it, Clean Eating could be a decent way to eat and live! But just like any new diet, be sure to start out in moderation, modify ingredients and rules to meet your needs, and give your body time to adjust to the new regimen. (Fun tip: Your tummy can get the blues if you’re not used to eating the recommended 25 to 30 grams of dietary fiber every day, so work your way up to that goal over time.)

Bottom line on trendy diets

With all the options from which to choose, try using these three guidelines to help select a diet:

  • What foods do you enjoy eating?
  • Do you have the discipline to follow the diet’s rules and restrictions?
  • Can you safely accomplish any physical requirements in your current condition? (For example, if your knees are bad, jogging a mile a day might not work out well for you.)

Here’s the long and short of slimming down and losing weight:

3,500 calories = 1 pound

For the sake of math, let’s say you want to lose 2 pounds. You have to eat 7,000 calories less than you burn doing things like breathing, sleeping, taking a shower, and exercising.

Remember that there are no effective shortcuts and quick fixes. You lose the weight and trim down 3,500 calories or one pound at a time. And most of us should shoot for the goal of 1 to 2 pounds a week.

What happens if you go overboard and experience gastrointestinal discomfort from all that fiber, or strain a muscle trying to bunny-hop a speed bump on your cruiser bicycle? Talk to Teladoc! Our board-certified doctors can help diagnose and treat a wide variety of non-emergency conditions, including sprains, tummy bugs, seasonal allergies, sun- and heat-related ailments, and much more. We’re here 24/7 anywhere you are. Be sure to download the app to keep us close by whenever you need us.

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