Nutrition Series Diets

Fad Diets – What are they?

There are tons of “up and coming” diets. Which one fits your nutritional needs and lifestyle the best? Get a crash course on PaleoZone, and Atkins diets.

The Paleo Diet
The Paleo diet is based on the idea that as humans over the past few thousand years we have evolved very little. Thus our bodies are pre-conditioned to run on the diet of our great great great great great ancestors who were hunting mammoths. Unlike the current times, our ancestors did not have the ability to make grain based foods, nor did they have any sort of artificial sweeteners or processed foods.

They had hunks of meat, an armful of vegetables and sometimes got the extra treat of fruit, nuts or seeds. If you want to be on the Paleo diet, this is what you eat: meat, vegetables, fruit, nuts and seeds. No beans, legumes, dairy, grains or processed foods of any sort.

The main point person for the Paleo diet is Dr. Loren Cordain, and he has done years of research into the health effects of the Paleo diet. Studies have shown that adhering to the Paleo diet can cure acneprevent strokes, heart disease and type 2 diabetes as well as improve athletic performance (among a host of other things).

There are a lot of nuances in the Paleo community, like, are sweet potatoes OK? What about specific types of beans? What about night shades? But if you eat like a hunter gatherer you pretty much have it down. There is an extensive FAQ section to their site, where you can gain much more information.

The primal diet is similar to Paleo, with the addition of dairy products, Mark Sisson is a good resource if you are contemplating Paleo but could never give up your morning yogurt.

Tasty recipes that adhere to the Paleo diet will be in the next newsletter!

The Zone Diet
The Zone diet is fairly simple at face value. Fill your plate with 2/3 carbs (they recommend fruits and vegetables) and 1/3 with a low fat protein. However, on the more complex side, they tell you to eat a 40:30:30 ratio of calories from carbs:proteins:fats. The diet was conceived by Dr. Barry Sears, who has studied the impact of diet on hormonal response, genetic expression and inflammation throughout his career.

The idea of the Zone diet is anchored in the idea that you are “in the Zone” at the 40:30:30 ratio which regulates your insulin levels allowing the release of specific anti-inflammatory chemicals.

In the Zone diet your food is counted in blocks of protein, fat or carbs – where 1oz of chicken is the equivalent of one block of protein. You can find lists of block equivalents online. If you are not weighing your food, then you are not truly participating in the Zone diet. Your overall daily block consumption changes with your goals, weight loss, weight maintenance or athletic output. Robb Wolf wrote an article talking of changes to the ratios for athletes and how it affected performance.

The Atkins Diet
The Atkins diet is a low carb diet created by Dr. Robert Atkins. The limited intake of carbohydrates changes the body’s metabolism from using glucose as an energy source to using stored fat as an energy source, a process called ketosis. Ketogenic diets have been around for a while, with numerous advantages such as reduced blood glucose levels and breast cancer riskalthough the rapid weight loss could aggravate conditions such as gout, kidney stones and gall-bladder colic.

That’s a wrap on some trending diets. Next time, in our last nutritional series segment we will have some delicious Paleo and Zone recipes!

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