gmhTODAY 30 gmhTODAY April June 2020s - Page 37

Crystal Hann health WISE Crystal Han is a freelance writer and artist. She graduated from San José State University with a BFA in Animation/Illustration and is an aspiring novelist, currently working on two books. Getting the Skinny on Popular Diet Trends Each year, about 45 million Americans will go on some type of diet. With so many diets out there claiming to be the best it can be stressful trying to find one that’s right for you. Here is a list of some of the most popular diet trends of 2020 and how they rank in terms of maintainability and overall healthfulness. Keto The Ketogenic diet has amassed a cult following that swears by its weight loss results. It promotes a diet that is seventy percent fat, twenty percent protein, and ten or fewer percent carbs. This causes the body to switch from using carbs as its primary fuel source to fat, which is how the rapid weight loss happens. The Keto diet was ranked last in terms of health. This is mainly because it goes against everything we know about long-term health, and the strict- ness of this diet is hard to maintain for more than a few months. Paleo The Paleo diet is designed to mimic the eating behaviors of our hunter-gatherer days by promoting whole or minimally processed foods. Its main staples are meats—preferably organic or grassfed— fish, eggs, fruits, vegetables, raw dairy, and certain vegetable oils like coconut oil or extra virgin olive oil. It excludes grains, gluten, corn, processed foods, added sugars and artificial sweeteners. The severe reduction of carbs helps promote weight loss quickly and can lower the risk of diabetes and heart dis- ease. However, it ranked low in terms of health because eliminating whole food groups deprives the body of key nutrients. Like keto, it’s hard to main- tain long-term. Whole30 This diet is basically an ultra-strict ver- sion of Paleo. It’s a month-long program that follows the same rules of Paleo; ex- cept, while Paleo allows natural sugars like honey and maple syrup, Whole30 doesn’t allow any. After the thirty days you’re allowed to slowly reintroduce restricted foods back into your diet one at a time to test your tolerance to them. The foods that don’t give you trouble can be added back into your routine. Whole30 shares a lot of Paleo’s shortcomings. It ranks slightly higher than Paleo because you can eventually add foods back into your normal diet, whereas Paleo stays the same in terms of strictness. Plant-Based Diets There’s been a huge movement to- wards diets that are more plant based in nature. Among these, the diets that ranked as the top three healthiest for a second year in a row are the Flexitarian diet, the DASH diet, and the Mediter- ranean diet. All three of these diets pro- mote nutrient dense foods like fruits, vegetables, whole grains, olive oil, lean meats like fish and poultry, and plant proteins such as nuts, legumes, seeds, and tofu. There are numerous studies that have shown that these diets are the most effective at preventing chronic diseases like heart disease and Type 2 diabetes, as well as reducing inflamma- tion, improving insulin function, and reducing your overall body mass index. In third place, the Flexitarian diet, often called “semi-vegetarian”, includes meat some days of the week, but not Sources: Walsh, Karla, “The 7 Best Diet Trends of 2019, According to Dietitians”, Eat This, Not That!, Groth, Leah, “The Best (and Worst) Diets of 2020, According to Experts”, nutrition/best-and-worst-diets-2020 Migala, Jessica, “U.S. News & World Report’s Best and Worst Diets of 2020”, Everyday Health, and-nutrition/diet/us-news-best-diet-plans- mediterranean-dash-more/ GILROY • MORGAN HILL • SAN MARTIN SPRING 2020 every day. The lack of all-or-nothing rules makes it easy for people who want to eat healthier but don’t want to give up meat. Coming in second, the DASH diet is specifically designed to reduce or prevent high blood pressure. It’s a little more regimented because it has sodium guidelines that you have to stick to. Closely following the DASH diet has been shown to lower a person’s risk of developing stroke by twelve percent. And in our number one spot, we have the Mediterranean diet. This diet is the reigning champion because it’s really more of a lifestyle than an exact eating plan. Nothing is entirely off the table. Like its runners up, it encour- ages mostly plant-based foods and opting for fresh fruits rather than des- serts. However you can enjoy anything from wine, red meat, to dessert, as long as it’s done in moderation. The Mediterranean diet isn’t just about food either. It also encourages regular exercise and enjoying your meals with family and friends, all of which can help decrease stress and make life more enjoyable. What’s more, a large-scale review in the Journal of Circulation Research called the evidence for this diet’s ability to decrease the risk of heart disease and stroke “large, strong, and consistent”. The best diet choice for you largely depends on what your goal is. If you want to shed pounds fast then Keto, Whole30, or Paleo are the most help- ful. However, much like the tale of the tortoise and the hare, the slow and steady methods of plant based diets are the winners. Time and again, the rank- ings show that the best diets are the ones you can see yourself maintaining for years, not months. 37