beautiful red-haired lady with vegetables in his hands
Yes, it's that time of year when we all re-evaluate what we ate and get into detox mode. With new trends emerging almost every week, with the promise of better health, have you ever wondered what the ideal diet plan for you is? There were many diets that trended in the year.
Listed here are a few that gained popularity and have found a large following:
Trend 1: Paleo palate
This includes high protein foods, fruit and vegetables, but not grains. The paleo diet comprises foods that can be picked or hunted in nature and does not include foods that need to be cooked. The paleo diet makes less use of grains like rice, wheat and lentils, which are the primary source of the carbohydrates. This regimen has proven to reduce body fat and increase muscle mass. It can also reduce the risk of diabetes, elevated blood cholesterol and hypertension.
Trend 2: Performance nutrition
This includes food fortification and supplementation. Food fortification is a relatively simple, powerful and cost-effective approach to curb micronutrient deficiencies. It requires the least number of changes in your existing food habits and is, therefore, easier to incorporate into your lifestyle. The process is inexpensive and is effective in fulfilling nutritional gaps or deficiencies. And because fortification adds a fraction of the Recommended Daily Allowance (RDA) and recommended nutrients, it is considered safe. Food fortification has been used successfully in several emerging economies.
Juices are fast becoming an accepted platform for fortification, as they provide a tasty way to induce nutrient intake. A mix of fruits, veggies and iron variants, can be found in a healthy blend of apples, beetroot and carrots that are naturally rich sources of vitamins A and C.
Trend 3: Mediterranean meals
This diet is based on foods that are used in the Mediterranean style of cooking. It is primarily a heart-healthy diet that emphasises the use of plant-based foods (fruits, vegetables, whole grains, legumes and nuts) on the one hand, and replaces butter with healthy fats, salt with herbs and spices on the other. This diet also limits the intake of red meat (encouraging fish and poultry instead), eating with friends and family, exercising, and drinking red wine (in moderation).
Research has shown that people who eat Mediterranean food are healthy and have a low risk of diseases. It is not only a great way to lose weight, but it also helps prevent Type 2 diabetes, strokes and heart attacks.
Trend 4: Go keto
The ketogenic diet is high in fat, moderate in proteins and low in carbs. Basically, the diet turns your body into a fat-burning machine that makes it possible to lose weight even when you're not working out. Keto diets do not just help with weight loss, they also manage high blood sugar levels and regulate insulin levels.
The best thing about the ketogenic diet is, you don't have to give up your favourite food. High-fat food is central to the success of the keto diet. For example, you can consume scrambled eggs, spinach salad, garlic chicken, with added fat like butter or ghee. Collard greens, broccoli, cucumber are some of the low-carbohydrate vegetables that can be consumed. You can even eat fruits such as blackberries, strawberries, raspberries and blueberries after the initial high-fat diet phase is over and substantial weight loss is achieved.
Trend 5: Calorie control
There is a wide range of food choices in this diet. It offers balanced meals, with an increased intake of fruits and vegetables. To lose weight through a calorie-controlled diet, the first step is to determine how many calories your body uses up in a day or how much you eat to maintain your current weight, and thus how much you will need to eat to shed the pounds.
This diet varies depending on one's age, body type and activity level. The starting point for women is 1,200 to 1,500 calories per day, while the starting point for men is 1,500 to 1,800-2,500. Following a calorie-controlled diet is a weight-loss plan that works, with tremendous health benefits. As opposed to crash diets, it is simply a form of healthy eating that emphasises cutting down on fats and sugars and encourages dieters to eat more healthy and nutritious foods to stay satisfied.
Trend 6: Mindful eating
Mindfulness is the act of focusing your attention on the present and applying it to your meal. Mindful eating means paying attention to the food you are eating and listening to your body signals. This makes you less likely to thoughtlessly plough through a bag of potato chips. The only thing you must do is focus on the food and savour it without any distractions like television or electronic gadgets.
This New Year, it's time to get over your diet anxiety and choose the right nutrition to stay healthy. Here's hoping these diet trends help you to make the right choices and enables you to get set for a fitter and healthier 2018!
(The author is a nutritionist at Pepsico)