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Which diets should you try this summer?

By Danielle van Wyk

It’s a new year and with it the promise of new year’s resolutions that typically, if you’re lucky, stick till mid-March. The most common resolution of course is the one to get healthy and fit. This means the festive season is officially over, and Christmas cake is being replaced by kale chips. Yum! But, if you’re one of the few who have no clue where to start, here are some of the current most popular diets, globally.

  • Keto diet: According to a keto diet is known for being a low carb diet, where the body produces ketones in the liver to be used as energy. It’s referred to as many different names – ketogenic diet, low carb diet, low carb high fat (LCHF), banting diet etc.

It typically means you need to cut down on sugars and carbs and beef up on fats.

Ketosis is categorized by a natural bodily process that kicks in when the food intake is low. In this state the body produces ketones from the breakdown of fats in the liver. If ketosis is properly attained and managed your body is forced into a metabolic state through starvation of carbohydrates, and the weight is said to simply fall off.

  • DASH diet: No, this diet in fact has nothing to do with the Kardashians but instead was designed to help people both lower and manage their high blood pressure. Should you choose to subscribe to this diet you would be signing up for a mix of fruit and vegetables, whole grains, lean proteins, and low-fat dairy. This means that sugar, saturated fats, full cream dairy, and certain oils are out. A general cut down on your salt intake is also advised.
  • Flexitarian diet: As suggested by the name this diet quiet literally means ‘flexible vegetarian’. Here, people are encouraged to eat vegetarian, but strangely aren’t advised to cut out meat entirely. For those who want to cut down on their meat intake but every now and then would like to say yes to a juicy steak, this may be for you.

According to Dawn Jackson Blatner, the author of The Flexitarian Diet, this eating plan is less about cutting out meat than it is about incorporating vegetable based and rich foods. Further the amount of meat you are allowed is all according to stipulated guidelines that vary depending on how far you are into your diet.

  • Mediterranean diet: Stemming from the eating habits of those living in Mediterranean countries which has been linked to better health and longer living. This diet encompasses a healthy portion of fruits and vegetables, fatty fish, olive oil and nuts. It also encourages red wine in moderation.

“Research suggests that the benefits of following a Mediterranean-style eating pattern may be many: improved weight loss, better control of blood glucose (sugar) levels and reduced risk of depression, to name a few. Eating like a Mediterranean has also been associated with reduced levels of inflammation, a risk factor for heart attack, stroke and Alzheimer’s disease,” Eating well outlines.

  • Weight Watchers diet: If you’re looking for a diet that has stood the test of time, you’ve found it. With the endorsement from celebrities like Oprah Winfrey, this old-school but effective diet is based on a points system. Here foods are grouped and allocated a number, you are then told to aim for a certain total number of points each day. Healthy foods are lower in points, whereas sugary and fatty foods are higher in rank
  • MIND diet: A marriage of the DASH and the Mediterranean diet, this dietary plan is purposed to guard the brain against diseases like Alzheimer’s disease. While, not enough research at this stage has been done into whether it really does prevent memory loss, it encourages the consumption of well known brain foods.

These food groups include nuts, berries, legumes, fish, olive oil, wine, green leafy vegetables, other vegetables, whole grains and poultry. Subscribers to this diet are also encouraged to give up red meats, butter and margarine, sugar, cheese and deep-fried foods.

No matter your choice of eating plan or when you’re planning to start, all a diet really needs to succeed is discipline and dedication, so put down that donut and give your body a real chance to show you what it can do. Good luck!

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