Weighing the Pros and Cons of These Hot Diet Trends
Local expert Dr. Susan Blum breaks them down.
Trend: Keto Diet
What is it? A high-fat, adequate protein, very low-carbohydrate diet originally used to treat epilepsy. When your body hits ketosis, it burns fat for energy, rather than carbohydrates.
Pros: Lowers your blood sugar levels, so it’s good for anyone with prediabetes or Type 2 diabetes. If plant-based fats are used, it can reduce inflammation and “restricting carbohydrates may starve some cancers,” Blum says.
Cons: Hard to do correctly and maintain long-term. Restricting all grains, root vegetables, and most fruits over a long period of time isn’t good for your gut’s microbiome.
Trend: Whole 30
What is it? Whole30's “short-term nutritional reset” uses whole foods only, eliminating sugar, alcohol, grains, legumes, soy, and dairy.
Pros: It’s only 30 days and is supposed to nix unhealthy cravings, ease digestive issues, and boost immune function; you can learn how your body is affected by certain food groups when reintroducing them.
Cons: It’s super-restrictive and hard to do. You can’t cheat even a smidgen, not even a single spoonful of coconut-based ice cream, because it’ll set you back to square one.
Trend: Paleo Diet
What is it? An eating approach based on the foods available and eaten by humans in Paleolithic times, including meat, fish, and plants. No dairy, grains, legumes, or processed food.
Pros: You may lose weight, and it could improve your health, according to the Mayo Clinic.
Cons: Eating this way is expensive — especially wild game, grass-fed meats, and nuts. Eliminating much more affordable grains is a loss of good fiber, too.
Trend: Intermittent Fasting
What is it? A time-restricted method of eating, which limits eating to an 8- to 10-hour window, such as 9 a.m. to 7 p.m.; an alternate-day method is less popular.
Pros: Fasting can slow aging, according to Harvard research. “It’s great. It helps with cognition; it increases or maintains your metabolism,” Blum says.
Cons: It can be hard to maintain socially (After all, who goes out for dinner before 7 p.m.?)
Trend: Flexitarian Diet
What is it? Minimizes meat without excluding it altogether
Pros: Easy to follow and inexpensive. At least 15% reduced body fat, lower rate of heart disease, diabetes, and cancer, and 3.6 year longer lifespan than full carnivores, according to expert Dawn Jackson Blatner, a dietician.
Cons: None that we discovered in our research