Diving into different diets

Keto 

A ketogenic diet, known as Keto diet, is characterised as a low carbohydrate, high fat diet. The aim of the diet is to put the body in a metabolic state called ketosis. This is achieved by following a very strict low carbohydrates diet. When in ketosis your body uses fat as a fuel source instead of using glucose. There are serval versions of ketogenic diets – the most commonly researched being standard and high-protein versions. Standard Ketogenic Diet (SKD) – consists of 70-75% energy from fat, 20% protein, 5-10% carbs. Coming from the foods included on the diet: high-fat meats, fish, nuts, dairy products, oils and low-carb vegetables. Foods that are not allowed include: All grains, most fruits, starchy vegetables, pulses, legumes, root vegetables and refined sugar.  

Pros: 

  • Rapid weight loss, increased calorie expenditure (1) 
  • Appetite control through reduced hunger levels (2) 
  • Proven medical therapy for specific patients. Epilepsy – reduction in seizures (3) beneficial for people for neurological disorders like Parkinson disease. 
  • Effective treatment for high blood pressure (4) 
  • Control of diabetes due to having an improved insulin response. (5) 

Cons: 

  • High levels of saturated fats, exceeding the advised 20g for female and 30g for male, which has been associated with increased risk of heart health. 
  • Potential calorie depletion & nutrient deficiencies. Eliminating entire food groups can lead to essential nutrients and vitamins not being met within the diet.  
  • Lack of fibre can lead to constipation and digestive issues long-term. 
  • Difficult to adhere to as can only be either following the diet or not. 
  • ‘Keto-flu’ which is a series of flu like symptoms when experiencing ketosis. 
  • Causes stress on the renal system – possible kidney damage due to high levels of nitrogen excretion during protein metabolism (6) 

Paleo  

The Paleo Diet is short for palaeolithic, also known as the caveman diet. The principles are based around eating as natural as possible and including only foods that where available pre-agricultural and able to obtain via hunting and gathering. Many Paleo followers believe certain foods that have been (MADE) put a strain on our gastrointestinal tract and digestive system – such as salt, grains, legumes, refined sugar, processed products, potatoes, refined oils. Paleo diet follows a high protein, low carb pattern which typically includes lean grass-fed meats, fish, fruits, vegetables, nuts and seeds. These plant foods contribute important phytochemicals, minerals, vitamins and fibre. Unlike most low carb diets the paleo removes the use of processed meats, products and salt and encourages the consumption of fruits and vegetables. Despite not mentioning fats – the diet it not considered a low-fat diet and promotes the use of natural fats from pasture-fed livestock, nuts, olive oil, seeds and wild fish. 

Pros: 

  • Can lead to weight loss 
  • Anti-inflammatory benefits 
  • Elimination of processed foods – ‘Cleaner’ diet one that removes preservatives, chemicals and additives. The diet is made up of whole foods, which means less salt and sugar is consumed. This improves blood sugar levels and blood pressure and can reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease and diabetes. 
  • Beneficial for type 2 diabetes (glycemic control) and other cardiovascular disease 

Cons: 

  • Studies show reduced risk of heart disease for people who regularly consume grains.
  • Legumes low GI content makes them beneficial for blood sugar control. 
  • Eliminating entire food groups can mean essential nutrients and vitamins are not included in the diet. Calcium and vitamin D deficiencies – western diet look to dairy for these products which are limited on a paleo diet.
  • Can be challenging for vegetarians and hard to eat out when socialising 

Plant-based  

A plant-based diet is one that focuses on foods primarily from a plant origin. Also known as a Whole Foods Plant Based Diet (WFPD) – This includes fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, oils, whole grains, pulses and legumes with few or no animal products. It is different to a vegetarian or vegan diet for whom do not consume animal derived or dairy products (or a combination of both). Plant-based diets explain what you can eat whereas a vegan / vegetarian diet explain what you cannot consume. A WFPB diet that is usually low in animal protein, fat, sugar, and processed foods is generally considered a healthy way to eat. WFPB diet can reduce or eliminate the need for medications including statins, blood pressure medication, and certain diabetes drugs.

Pros: 

  • Improved heart health and reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes and obesity.  
  • Reduced processed foods, additives and chemicals.
  • High fibre diet which helps support gut health
  • Wide variety of compliant foods
  • Less restrictive than other diets with no weighing or measuring or limitations. 

Cons: 

  • Challenging to get enough protein or essential fatty acids in the correct form due to not eating animal derived products.
  • Potential nutrient deficiencies: including calcium, iron and B12 which are mainly found in animal based products
  • Requires meal planning and proper preparation to ensure all nutrition requirements are met.  

References:

  1. Hernandez, T., Sutherland, J., Wolfe, P., Allian-Sauer, M., Capell, W., & Talley, N. et al. (2010). Lack of suppression of circulating free fatty acids and hypercholesterolemia during weight loss on a high-fat, low-carbohydrate diet. The American Journal Of Clinical Nutrition91(3), 578-585. doi: 10.3945/ajcn.2009.27909  
  1. Gibson, A., Seimon, R., Lee, C., Ayre, J., Franklin, J., & Markovic, T. et al. (2014). Do ketogenic diets really suppress appetite? A systematic review and meta-analysis. Obesity Reviews16(1), 64-76. doi: 10.1111/obr.12230  
  1. Martin-McGill, K., Jackson, C., Bresnahan, R., Levy, R., & Cooper, P. (2018). Ketogenic diets for drug-resistant epilepsy. Cochrane Database Of Systematic Reviews. doi: 10.1002/14651858.cd001903.pub4  
  1. Mansoor, N., Vinknes, K., Veierød, M., & Retterstøl, K. (2015). Effects of low-carbohydrate dietsv. low-fat diets on body weight and cardiovascular risk factors: a meta-analysis of randomised controlled trials. British Journal Of Nutrition115(3), 466-479. doi: 10.1017/s0007114515004699 
  1. Batch, J., Lamsal, S., Adkins, M., Sultan, S., & Ramirez, M. (2020). Advantages and Disadvantages of the Ketogenic Diet: A Review Article. Cureus. doi: 10.7759/cureus.9639 
  1. Westerterp-Plantenga MS, Nieuwenhuizen A, Tome D, Soenen S, Westerterp KR. Dietary protein, weight loss, and weight maintenance. Annu Rev Nutr2009;29:21–41. 
  1. Sainsbury, E., Kizirian, N., Partridge, S., Gill, T., Colagiuri, S., & Gibson, A. (2018). Effect of dietary carbohydrate restriction on glycemic control in adults with diabetes: A systematic review and meta-analysis. Diabetes Research And Clinical Practice139, 239-252. doi: 10.1016/j.diabres.2018.02.026 

Cited:

The Pros and Cons of the Keto Diet. (2021). Retrieved 29 March 2021, from https://promedicahealthconnect.org/wellness/the-pros-and-cons-of-the-keto-diet/ 

Sally Robertson, B. (2017). Paleo Diet: Pros and Cons. Retrieved 29 March 2021, from https://www.news-medical.net/health/Paleo-Diet-Pros-and-Cons.aspx 

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