It’s easy to get hooked on nutrition trends that are popular and look enticing. Don’t be fooled, though; many of those fads do not live up to their hype. Read on to uncover the deficiencies of some common nutrition trends.
- Paleo Diet Otherwise known as the Caveman’s diet, the Paleo diet has earned a vast amount of attention recently. In essence, this plan allows only foods that were obtainable by our ancestors, and excludes all foods accessible beyond that point. As such, all grains, dairy, beans/legumes, starchy vegetables, sugary foods, and more are off limits. First off, after eliminating the do-not-eat list, not a whole lot of foods remain! Being so limited in your food choices takes the fun out of eating. You may find your energy levels decreasing. Cutting out such a large percentage of nutritious food categories is not a great idea, and probably unsustainable as well.
- Protein Supplements Don’t let the protein supplement and shake companies fool you into believing that you need their products to stay healthy and strong. All those ads for protein shakes, supplements, and powders, are doing you a disservice. Protein is one nutrient that Americans are known to consume in excess. Throughout the course of a normal day, you are likely to get more protein than you need, without even trying! In fact, too much protein can have negative effects. Possible consequences include compromised liver and kidney function, dehydration, and weight gain.
- Juicing This hip trend is practiced in varying degrees – from a daily juice drink, to a full-blown juice cleansing diet. On an individual scale, juices are not recommended when used in place of a whole fruit or vegetable. You lose out on the fiber and other nutrients, and load up on the sugar and calories. In a juice-exclusive diet, consuming all your calories from one food group leads to deficiency in other essential nutrient groups, and muscle loss may result. Additionally, the likelihood of sticking to it is small. Don’t forget that your body contains its own natural cleansing system in the kidneys, liver, and colon. Therefore, a cleansing diet is entirely unnecessary.
- Organic Produce All the rage these days, organic produce refers to crops that have been treated in an environmentally friendly way. Organic foods may be better for the environment, but not necessarily for the consumer. No convincing evidence exists to support the claim that organic items are more nutritious than their non-organic counterparts. The health media will attempt to have you associate the term “organic” with “nutritious.” To start, there is nothing wrong with going organic. If you are an environmentalist and can afford it, go ahead. A small amount of research on a small number of foods found that the organic variety contained more nutrients. Research at this point is not plentiful enough to provide a definitive argument either way, though the evidence currently available indicates there are no significant differences between organic and non-organic foods. Rest assured that pesticide-treated produce conforms to guidelines which ensure safe levels of pesticide.
- Weight Loss Drugs To all those looking for a magic weight loss solution: there is none! Real, maintainable weight loss cannot be achieved with the pop of a pill. The FDA has approved selected weight loss drugs, but don’t get too excited. Along with the weight loss, multiple side effects may occur. Also, there’s no certainty you will lose as much weight as you had hoped. Although minimal weight loss can yield health benefits, other health risks may develop. In addition, keeping the weight off is a job you may not be able to uphold. As with anything in life, if you want to lose the weight, you have to work for it. Aim to consume fewer calories than you burn, and strive to incorporate physical activity into your daily routine.
Miriam Shonek is a registered dietitian nutritionist in the Five Towns area. Focused on providing personalized nutritional care, she assists clients in achieving weight loss goals, as well as creating diet plans for a variety of medical conditions. She can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.