How Do I Know If My Diet Is Right for Me?
We all want it. The quick fix.
The ability to snap our fingers and magically fit into that little black dress.
We wish there were a magic pill that would instantly rid of what we perceive to be our problem areas and we often turn to the internet to find it.
A Google search solely containing the word “diets” comes up with 212 million search results. “Weight loss pills” yields almost 3 million results. We spend hours viewing transformation photos and reading testimonials from the thousands of people who claim to have taken this pill or been on that diet, and we spend the money in hopes of getting the same results.
Clickbait articles litter our social media accounts and lure us in while we’re browsing. These articles advertise the newest weight loss products, often endorsed by Hollywood celebrities. We then follow these celebrities on social media, hoping to get some answers about their diets and workout plans. There is never a lack of information surrounding the “hottest diet trend,” promising easy, rapid weight loss. The internet’s plethora of convincing misinformation makes it easy for individuals to think that they are on the right path to a healthier version of themselves.
Let’s take a look at three of the most popular diet trends today. But, as you’re reading, please understand that I’m not encouraging you to try any of these diets. In fact, quite the opposite. At STYR Labs, we would like to remind you that your own personal journey to health and wellness is a process – not a quick fix. We suggest setting measurable, realistic goals that will help you to create a solid foundation for a lifetime of good eating habits and behaviors.
The Master Cleanse Diet
The Master Cleanse Diet, commonly referred to as the Lemonade Diet, is a detox program that claims to eliminate toxins from the body and promote weight loss “while resting the digestive system and allowing the body to heal naturally.” Admittedly, I tried the Master Cleanse Diet during my sophomore year of college. I wanted to drop “water bloat” (due to late-night studying, junk food sessions, and weekends of alcohol-binging) so I got on the internet and found information about the Lemonade Diet, which Beyonce Knowles is said to have reportedly followed before she starred in the movie Dreamgirls. When my impressionable, teenaged-self read that information about Beyonce, I became even more intrigued. I scoured the internet for before and after photos, then found the diet instructions and purchased all the items needed for the “lemonade”: lemon juice, cayenne pepper, organic maple syrup, and purified water. The instructions are to drink the lemonade at least six times a day for ten days and to start each morning with a “salt water flush,” a mixture of non-iodized sea salt and lukewarm water. Drinking this salty water on an empty stomach is proposed to eliminate toxins from the body. In addition to the lemonade and salt water flush, the program also instructs to take a laxative before bed. I followed the plan for three days and got such painful headaches that I couldn’t focus on my studies and had to stop. According to an article by Harvard Medical School, “The daily laxative regimen can cause dehydration, deplete electrolytes, and impair normal bowel function.” Additionally, for those who repeat the program, intestinal flora as well as the body’s acid-base balance can be disrupted. Excessive amounts of acid in the blood can lead to a coma, and even death.
The Paleo Diet
The Paleo Diet, also known as the Caveman Diet, sets a rule of thumb in place that if a caveman didn’t eat it, neither should we. Those in the Western Hemisphere who follow this diet today don’t have to hunt, gather, scavenge and forage for their own foods like our Paleolithic ancestors did. Instead, Scientific American describes this diet as being defined by what the cavemen did not do. That is, they did not partake in the consumption of dairy products, processed grains, legumes such as lentils, beans, peanuts and peas, or processed sugars. What does that leave? Lots of meat and other animal products such as eggs, added fats like coconut oil, vegetables and fruits.
Although studies show that the Paleo Diet is beneficial for those with type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular risk factors, dietitians advise that this diet is actually problematic for the generally healthy population. Excluding food groups altogether leads to unbalanced nutrition and makes it difficult for many dieters to stick with the diet. The article goes on to say that balanced nutrition is achieved by eating a variety of different foods from all food groups. An article by Walden Behavioral Care discusses further dangers of this diet, including calcium and vitamin D deficiencies, increased risk of kidney disease, heart disease and certain cancers. Furthermore, the article cautions that there is no “one-size-fits-all approach.” Proclaiming that some foods are “good” and others are “bad” can lead to feelings of low self-worth and guilt when dieters break the rules.
The Ketogenic Diet
The Ketogenic Diet is a high-fat, low-to moderate-protein, extremely-low-carbohydrate diet. In recent years, the Ketogenic Diet has been utilized for weight loss, with the premise that your body will use stored fat for fuel in a process called ketosis. Healthline further defines ketosis as “a condition where fat stores are broken down to produce energy, which also produces ketones, a type of acid.”
Normally, our bodies use carbohydrates for energy, but the Ketogenic Diet bans carbohydrates, except for the trace amounts found in vegetables. Followers of the diet turn to full-fat dairy products, meat and seafood, nuts, condiments such as mayonnaise, and non-starchy vegetables. Although many see initial results, Dr. Caissa Tangco of Red Rock Healthcare warns that it could decrease bone mass and cause kidney damage.
Furthermore, certified clinical dietitian Francine Blinten’s explained that, “Keto diets should only be used under clinical supervision and only for brief periods…It can do more harm than good. It can damage the heart, which is also a muscle.”
The Ketogenic Diet is also commonly used by physicians to treat children with epilepsy in order to help control their seizures, according to experts at the Epilepsy Foundation. This does not mean that you should put your epileptic child on this diet. Always consult a physician first. Physicians do not recommend that adult epileptic patients go on this diet, but instead offer a modified Atkins Diet that can be beneficial, as it is less restrictive. However, they advise that the patients should be monitored by neurologists and dietitians.
Your health is important to us. Be cautious and skeptical when reading about “quick-fix” diets on the internet and social media, especially ones that claim to yield rapid weight loss. Find a plan that works for you and your individual needs, but be sensible about it. Always consult your physician or dietitian before beginning any diet plan.
Please note that this information is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. We insist that you always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health care provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical/health condition or treatment and before initiating a new health care regime. Do not disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on the STYR app or on www.MyNutritioniQ.com.
If you are interested to hear more and receive personalized nutrition, check out STYR’s app, fitness tracker and suite of connected smart devices. Through the platform, you can track and log activity, food, hydration, sleep, nutrition, mood and more to personalize your nutrition needs based on data, science and access to registered dietitians, nutritionists and personal trainers.