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An endless stream of diets promises to improve health and shift the balance.
But differentiating which one will actually make you slimmer without harming your long-term health can seem almost impossible.
Here, MailOnline asks two leading dietitians which regimes are really best for maintaining a healthy lifestyle…
The ketogenic diet, which involves eliminating most carbohydrates and adding a lot of fat, keeps blood glucose at a safe but low level, which encourages the body to burn fat for energy, known as like ketosis.
It’s a regimen praised by A-list celebrities, including Kim and Kourtney Kardashian, Halle Berry and Gwyneth Paltrow.
The ketogenic diet, also known as the ketogenic diet, involves eliminating almost all carbohydrates and adding a large amount of fat and protein to each meal.
Consequently, bread, rice and pasta, as well as sweets, chocolate and cakes, are completely excluded. Even dairy, fruits and vegetables are limited.
It has been shown to help lose weight and reduce blood sugar levels among type 2 diabetics. according to Dr Duane Mellor, a dietician at Aston University in Birmingham.
“It has the advantages of being low in sugar and filling thanks to protein,” he said.
The diet aims to force the body to burn fat for energy instead of glucose, a process known as ketosis.
This fat-burning effect of the diet is why it’s marketed as good for weight loss, says Rob Hobson, registered nutritionist and author of Unprocess Your Life.
Plus, the high fat content can reduce appetite and help you lose weight, he says.
However, the diet, similar to the Atkins and Dukan approaches, is notoriously difficult to follow. Followers should consume less than about 40g of carbohydrates and 75g of protein per day for ketosis to kick in.
Additionally, reducing your consumption of plant-based foods can lead to nutritional deficiencies, Hobson warns.
“The initial stages of this diet also cause unwanted symptoms such as headache, fatigue and irritability,” he said. “The low fiber content of this diet can affect digestion.”
Dr. Mellor warns that a high-fat diet could, in theory, increase the risk of heart disease.
However, this could be balanced if those who follow the diet manage to lose weight, as this reduces the chances of developing this disease, he says.
It won’t be a big surprise if dietitians don’t like a diet that consists only of eating meat, eggs and cheese, and no vegetables or fruits.
This incredibly restrictive approach, known as the carnivore diet, stems from the belief that our ancestors ate primarily meat and that today’s diets, which are often high in carbohydrates, increase the risk of health problems.
It has been promoted online by commentators such as Jordan Peterson and Shawn Baker, an American orthopedic doctor who believes the diet can help treat anxiety, obesity, diabetes and even arthritis.
The carnivore diet is a version of the Keto diet because, without carbohydrates, the body will burn fat.
The benefits of a high-protein diet include feeling fuller longer, because the nutrient takes longer to digest than carbohydrates.
However, Dietitians do not recommend the carnivore approach.
“This diet eliminates plant-based foods and is limited to animal-based foods only, making it restrictive,” Mr Hobson said. ‘It’s not a diet I would recommend following.
‘High protein can help with satiety and increase feelings of fullness and obviously protein has many functions in the body.
‘I suppose there is a chance of losing weight, given the likelihood that you will eat fewer calories. But this is likely to last only a short time.”
Because the diet excludes all fruits, vegetables, grains and legumes, the body will lack vital sources of fiber, vitamins and minerals, explains Hobson.
Adults should eat 30g of fiber a day to reduce the risk of heart disease, stroke and type 2 diabetes, says the NHS.
The restrictive carnivore diet is promoted online by people such as Jordan Peterson and Shawn Baker, an American orthopedic doctor, who believes the diet can help treat anxiety, obesity, diabetes and arthritis.
In addition to being terrible for gut health, if your followers consume processed meats in excessive quantities, they could be increasing their risk of cancer, warns Dr. Mellor.
Health officials recommend not consuming more than 70 grams of sausages, bacon or ham per day to reduce the risk of bowel cancer.
Like the keto diet, the carnivore diet may be impossible to follow long-term, says Hobson.
“Consuming large amounts of meat and dairy products could lead to consuming large amounts of saturated fat, which can increase cholesterol levels and other risk factors for heart disease,” he said.
“Then there are the practical aspects of maintaining this diet, which could be difficult in social settings.”
It is one of the biggest health trends of the last decade and is hailed as one of the best diets.
Veganism involves eliminating all meat, dairy and eggs and eating plenty of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, legumes, nuts and seeds.
Proponents say they can get all the nutrients they need by eating fortified foods and supplements to get enough calcium, iron and vitamin B12, which are difficult to get in high enough quantities when they are plant-based.
“Vegan diets can be healthy for both us and the planet, they can be nutrient-dense and packed with fibre, vitamins and minerals,” Dr Mellor said.
‘The downside is that it takes a little more planning to be healthy as you may be missing nutrients such as vitamin B12, vitamin D, iron and iodine, which need to be taken to ensure a vegan diet is balanced and healthy.
“Also, if you want to follow a vegan diet, it’s important to mix protein sources to get the full range of amino acids they contain.”
The Mediterranean has been linked to reducing the risk of heart disease, some cancers, type 2 diabetes and even dementia, according to the NHS
Hobson says a high-fiber diet is not only good for the gut, but has also been associated with a reduced risk of heart disease, type 2 diabetes and some cancers.
However, he warns that the emergence of vegan alternatives to chocolate, fast food and meat means there are ‘many more opportunities for vegans to be less healthy.’
These options are ultra-processed and high in salt, sugar and fat, he says.
Instead of gorging on pasta and pizza, the Mediterranean diet contains plenty of fresh fruit, vegetables, and brain-healthy foods like fish and olive oil.
It has long been hailed as the secret that makes Italians and Spaniards live long, healthy lives and have low rates of obesity and diet-related diseases.
It has been linked to a reduced risk of heart disease, some cancers, and type 2 diabetes.
That is why it is one of the most recommended by dieticians.
Hobson even goes so far as to say it’s the “perfect diet,” and research shows it’s a “gold standard way of eating.”
He adds that it contains a wide variety of foods and that the diet can also be adapted to a plant-based way of eating.
“I would be more inclined to recommend a Mediterranean diet, as the scientific evidence is stronger in favor of this approach,” Dr. Mellor said.
But he warns against consuming too much pasta, bread and risotto and instead opting for cereals and barley.
He said: “A traditional Mediterranean diet is based on the fresh, minimally processed foods available – perhaps when we try to follow it, we opt for the less healthy versions with added fat, salt and sugar.”
‘For example, adding garlic bread to your lasagna.
“I encourage people to think about simple dishes made from plants, such as salads and vegetables, and adapt them to locally available foods, such as eating pearl barley instead of risotto rice.”