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From Vegan to DASH, the list of healthy diets is (almost) never-ending. Studies support the claim that the last decade witnessed one of the major awakenings of health-freaks, where people switched to adopt healthy lifestyles and habits. Health experts point it to the equally rising number of health problems which have exponentially resulted in the high number of deaths from lifestyle diseases such as heart disease and stroke; obesity and type 2 diabetes; and diseases associated with smoking, alcohol and drug abuse   .
Healthy eating has become a significant part of an active lifestyle, with youths to adults engaging in a healthy lifestyle which help optimise one's overall performance  . However, you have to understand that healthy eating is not about strict limitations, staying unrealistically thin, or depriving yourself of the foods you love. It is all about feeling great, having more energy, improving your health, and boosting your mood -without feeling slump.
Benefits Of Healthy Eating
Healthy eating does not have to be complicated. The primary and also the central element in the habit of healthy eating is to replace processed food with real food whenever possible. Because consuming food that is as close as possible to the way nature made it is the best means to consume it.
A healthful diet includes a variety of fruits and vegetables of many colours, whole grains and starches, good fats, and lean proteins. Eating healthfully also means avoiding foods with high amounts of added salt and sugar and has various benefits such as the following:
- Promotes healthy weight loss
- Reduces cancer risk
- Manages diabetes
- Improves heart health and prevents stroke risk
- Promotes bone and teeth health
- Improves memory and overall mood
- Improves gut health
- Promotes sleep quality
An unhealthy diet is a major risk factor for several chronic diseases, such as high cholesterol and blood pressure, diabetes, obesity, cardiovascular diseases, cancer and many more. While many diets may work for you, the key is finding one you like that has a positive effect on your health. Because not all diets are healthy as advertised.
With thousands of diet plans out there, it can get a bit confusing to choose the right one. While some diets focus on weight loss, others can be for weight gain, heart health, diabetes management and so on.
Studies have pointed out that many of the popular diets out there are unhealthy and do not do any good for your health. These diets, also known as fad diets make far-fetched claims and are based on highly restrictive or unusual food choices.
In a recent study, dieticians have created a list of healthy diets you can follow and the unhealthy ones that you should avoid. Take a look.
1. The Mediterranean Diet
If you are looking forward to adopting a healthy lifestyle this year, these are the best options.
The Mediterranean diet focuses on the pattern and proportion of the food being consumed. It is an extremely nutritive diet incorporating a lot of fruits, vegetables, legumes, nuts, olive oil, poultry and fish and limiting red meat and taking red wine in moderation.
Regarded as one of the best diet plans, the Mediterranean diet is the diet followed by the people of the Mediterranean regions and has been associated with reduced levels of inflammation, a low-risk factor for heart attack and stroke and Alzheimer's disease.
One of the other major benefits of following the Mediterranean diet is that it requires you to sit down and savour the meal with your friends and family. This is in contrast to the habit followed by most of us such as gobbling the food down while sitting slumped in front of the television. A combination of a variety of foods such as plant-based foods like vegetables, fruits and dairy.
2. The Mayo Clinic Diet
The Mayo Clinic diet is a balanced meal plan that focuses on healthy foods and regular exercise. It is primarily fruits, vegetables, and physical activity, which is followed by carbohydrates, protein, fats, and finally sweets. The sustainable and healthy option promotes the consumption of a healthy breakfast, four servings of vegetables and fruits per day, whole grains like brown rice and barley, healthy fats like olive oil and limit the consumption of saturated fats and avoid trans fats.
The diet also requires one to walk or exercise for 30 minutes or more every day. The requirements of the Mayo Clinic diet are rooted in promoting one's health, such as encouraging consumption of fruits and vegetables, regular exercise and portion control.
3. The DASH Diet
One of the most effective and healthy diets, the DASH diet is designed for combating blood pressure and reducing the risk of heart disease, the diet is beneficial currently considering the rampant hike in the number of individuals suffering from heart disease, kidney failure and stroke.
Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension or DASH diet was developed to prevent or treat hypertension and focuses on the incorporation of vegetables, fruits, whole grains and lean meat into one's daily diet.
By reducing the consumption of processed foods and too much-added salt, the diet is rich in potassium and calcium and contains a moderate amount of sodium. The DASH diet has very low dietary acid load than typical diets, which is linked with reduced risk of kidney diseases. The diet is asserted to have a positive impact on weight loss, decreasing cancer risk, lowering metabolic syndrome risk, reducing the risk of diabetes as well as heart disease risks.
Some of the other best diets you can consider following are the Weight Watchers (WW) diet, Vegan diet, the Flexitarian diet and the MIND diet.
1. The Werewolf Diet
Below is the list of diets that are cancelled in the year 2020! The new decade is no place for any diet that is not backed by science and facts.
The werewolf diet, also known as the lunar diet and the moon diet, is a fad diet that works according to the lunar phases. An individual following the diet have to consume food according to the cycles of the moon. You have only juice for 24 hours during a full moon and not eat anything after 6 pm during other moon phases. The lack of scientific proof and any plausible benefits of the diet makes it one of the unhealthy diets.
2. The Keto Diet
Deemed to be one of the most effective diets to follow, the Keto diet is restrictive and unsustainable. The low-carb, high-fat diet is adopted by people to lose weight in a short span. The diet requires you to give up grains and starches, fruits, root vegetables and tubers and so on. Although it is beneficial to some extent, there may be some initial side effects while your body adapts.
The diet causes something called a keto flu that usually subsides with some days' time. Keto flu causes poor energy and mental function, increased hunger, sleep issues, nausea, digestive discomfort and decreased exercise performance - all of which can affect your overall health negatively.
3. Juice Cleanses
The year 2019 saw a surge in juice cleanses. A juice cleanse is a type of diet that involves consuming only juices from vegetables and fruits in an attempt to lose weight and detoxify the body. The diet is highly restrictive in terms of food groups and calories and has been linked with various health risks.
According to study findings, an individual regularly undergoing juice cleanses are prone to illnesses. Drinking large quantities of juice may be harmful to those with kidney disorders and can cause temporary weight loss, which is never long-lasting. Consuming an insufficient number of calories can cause a person to experience symptoms relating to low blood sugar such as fainting, weakness, headaches and extreme hunger.
Some of the other diets to be avoided are Dukan diet, Raw food diet, Atkins diet, Paleo diet etc.
On A Final Note…
On analysing and comparing the different types of diet plans, the Mediterranean diet was ascertained to be the best diet overall and the WW diet was the best suitable for weight loss. If you are looking for a new diet for this new decade, you know which one to choose now.
-  Mitchell, S. J., Bernier, M., Mattison, J. A., Aon, M. A., Kaiser, T. A., Anson, R. M., ... & de Cabo, R. (2019). Daily fasting improves health and survival in male mice independent of diet composition and calories. Cell metabolism, 29(1), 221-228.
-  World Health Organization. (2019). Healthy diet (No. WHO-EM/NUT/282/E). World Health Organization. Regional Office for the Eastern Mediterranean.
-  Seal, C. (2019). The importance of whole grains in improving diet quality: is it a valid public health policy goal?. Cereal Foods World.