Pros and Cons of Five Popular Diets

Pros and Cons of Five Popular Diets 2017-12-04T09:38:48+00:00

CICO

This is the latest “fad” diet. CICO stands for calories in and calories out.

  • With the average adult needing only 1500-2000 calories per day, and a single slice of cake containing up to
    800 calories, or a fast food meal more than 1000 calories, just one or two of these “allowed” foods will
    completely wipe out your daily calorie total.
  • The most farcical aspect of the CICO diet is that it assumes that all the calories we consume are
    metabolised equally in the body, which is not the case. For example, calories consumed as added sugars are
    more likely to result in elevated insulin levels, which can result in fat storage over time.
  • Eating a diet packed full of processed foods that still results in weight loss may sound great, but over time it
    will impact your general health, energy levels, mood and how you look and feel. A diet that only focuses on
    calories completely ignores the importance of a range of foods for good health and well-being overall.

ASSESSMENT: Just another fad diet. Will get some publicity for some time but not sustainable.

Mediterranean Diet

  • the most widely studied and best supported by clinical studies
  • forms the basis of the Australian Dietary Guidelines
  • Structure is:
    • Eating primarily plant-based foods, such as fruits and vegetables, whole grains, legumes and
      nuts
    • Replacing butter with healthy fats such as olive oil and canola oil
    • Using herbs and spices instead of salt to flavour foods
    • Limiting red meat to no more than a few times a month
    • Eating fish and poultry at least twice a week
    • Enjoying meals with family and friends
    • Drinking red wine in moderation (optional)
    • Getting plenty of exercise

ASSESSMENT: Best tested and best supported by the science. The way to go

Paleo Diet

  • Based on the diet eaten by cavemen in Paleoanthropic times
  • Based on foods that are available natural and have no processing
  • Lot of meat, vegetables, fruits
  • Eliminate grains/cereals (i.e. no bread, breakfast cereals) or dairy products (milk, yoghurt, cheese)
  • Benefit of the paleo diet is the removal of refined sugars (lollies, cakes, biscuits, soft drink etc). Increase use
    of fruit and vegetables is also a benefit.
  • Down side of the Paleo diet is the removal of two core food groups (dairy and grain/cereal). It would be
    difficult to meet the daily requirement of calcium because of the lack of dairy foods. This may increase the
    risk of osteoporosis. It is also possible that a diet heavy in meat based products may be high in saturated fat
    and have a negative impact on cholesterol levels leading to heart disease.

ASSESSMENT: Because of the removal of two core food groups, I would not recommend the paleo diet

5:2 Diet (Intermittent Fasting)

  • Based on the theory that when we eat regular meals and snacks that our bodies are constantly releasing
    insulin and storing the food we eat and we gain weight.
  • if we have 2 days/week with a significantly reduced energy intake (500cal/day for women and 600cal/day for men), the body slows its insulin release. Almost like resetting the system
  • in practice, I have found it useful at restarting weight loss when people have stopped losing weight.

ASSESSMENT: Supported by the some science. Certainly an option to consider in resistant weight
loss

Vegetarian Diet

  • Based on a lifestyle choice to remove sources of animal products. A lot of vegetarians chose to still
    eat fish, eggs, cheese and other foods which are animal sourced.
  • Those who are vegans chose to eliminate every animal sourced product.
  • It is possible to meet the energy and vitamin and mineral intake on a vegetarian diet. However, it is
    important to ensure they eat enough foods to provide adequate protein, vitamin B12, iron and
    calcium.
  • For vegans, it is virtually impossible to meet the Vitamin b12 intake and may lack energy. Regular
    blood tests need to be undertaken and often people will require B12 injections.

ASSESSMENT: Both vegetarian and vegan diet can be safe. I would recommend regular blood test
to ensure you are meeting the vitamin and mineral requirements.