People can be so excited to jump on the latest diet trend. They see and hear “success” stories and naively get onboard without having done their due diligence to discover the pros and cons of those diets. Not everything is a bed of roses, no matter how much your best friend raves about it. So, before you decide to radically change your diet, you should know the good and the bad, especially if you’re expecting to be wowed by immediate results.
Here we will lay out in simple terms the pros and cons of three popular diet trends.
Vegan Diet Pros
Increased health: Overall, vegan diets are cholesterol-free and low in saturated fat, which can reduce the risks of chronic diseases like heart disease and cancer.
Nutrient- and antioxidant-rich: Legumes, beans, fruits, and vegetables all protect your cells from free radicals caused by pollutants in the air.
Humane: It goes without saying that a vegan diet is a humane way to eat. It’s also great for the environment because it supports sustainable agriculture and reduces the carbon footprint associated with meat-producing operations.
Vegan Diet Cons
Very strict: Being vegan means avoiding anything produced by animals including eggs, dairy, and even honey, which makes it difficult to dine away from home.
Lack of vitamins and minerals: To maintain proper iron levels, vegans need to consume enough leafy greens and beans, coupled with foods rich in vitamin C to aid iron absorption. They also commonly need to supplement vitamin B12 and calcium.
Insufficient protein: Because overly-processed meat substitutes are often packed with sodium and preservatives, they hinder protein consumption, leaving only tofu, nuts, and beans as healthy sources.
Keto Diet Pros
Weight loss: Fatty foods take longer to digest and sugar is eliminated so you feel less hungry, and the state of ketosis (when the body burns fat instead of glucose for energy) results in weight loss.
Enjoy the fat: You can continue eating nuts, cheese, butter, fatty fish, and red meats.
Deny cancer: The Warburg effect suggests that starving tumor cells of sugar can impede their growth and help avert cancer.
Keto Diet Cons
Nutrient deficiency: Nutrients mainly found in restricted whole grains and fruits can lead to deficiencies.
Keto Flu: Many people suffer flu-like symptoms as their bodies adjust to the keto regimen, which can last from a few days to a few weeks.
Constipation: Due to the extreme reduction in fiber, you may need a laxative to instigate bowel movements.
Heart health: About 80% of the diet is fat. Compare that to the 6% that the American Heart Association recommends.
Paleo Diet Pros
The diet is rich in potassium – Eating a lot of fruit and vegetables increases potassium levels, which is important for maintaining a healthy blood pressure and healthy kidney and muscle function.
High protein content: Proteins are the building blocks of muscle, bone, and cartilage, and they help keep skin looking youthful. High amounts of protein also affect a lowered insulin response.
Improved mind and body: Followed as intended, weight loss, a clearer complexion, the elimination of toxins, and clearer thinking are likely to occur.
Heart health: Although not definitive, some studies have shown lowered blood pressure and improved levels of LDL cholesterol and triglycerides.
Longevity: The high consumption of vegetables and low consumption of processed foods are ingredients for a longer life.
Paleo Diet Cons
Low calcium: Because of the dairy restriction, there is an opportunity to become calcium deficient, which affects bones and teeth.
Elimination of food groups: Grains, dairy, beans, and legumes are not part of the paleo diet, so nutritional supplementation may be necessary.
Reduction in fiber: Because grains and certain vegetables are off limits, it can be challenging to consume enough fiber for a healthy gut microbiome.
Vegetarian unfriendly: The elimination of beans and grains makes the paleo diet very challenging for vegetarians.
As with any diet, you need to weigh the pros and cons. Not all diets are created equal. As always, consult with your doctor before you begin any diet program. If you have existing medical conditions, trendy diets may cause more harm than good. Restricting too many calories or eliminating healthy food groups may have adverse effects on your long-term health.
By: Carolina Portes