This article is for informational purposes only and is not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Contact a qualified medical professional before engaging in any physical activity, or making any changes to your diet, medication or lifestyle.
With an ever-growing list of diets advertised on social media, the news and more, it can be hard to determine which eating plan might be right for you — or if you even need to diet at all.
While there are many nutritional plans aimed at improving health and longevity, there can be potential downsides to certain diets. Moreover, everyone's body has different nutritional needs, so before embarking on a new way of eating, Yahoo Canada recommends you speak with a dietitian or medical professional to determine your next steps.
From the paleo, keto and mediterranean diets to FODMAPs and intermittent fasting, here's the 10 most-searched diet trends of 2022.
10. Paleo diet
Also known as the "caveman diet," the paleo diet is based on foods people may have eaten during the Paleolithic Era, which dates from around 2.5 million to 10,000 years ago.
The diet includes fruits, vegetables, lean meats, fish, eggs, nuts and seeds, which are foods past people could get by hunting and gathering. However, the diet doesn't include foods that became common when small-scale farming began about 10,000 years ago, such as grains, legumes, sugar and dairy products.
Many celebrities like Gwyneth Paltrow, Miley Cyrus and Jessica Biel have made this diet a household name, but many doctors still argue that eliminating entire food groups can have negative health effects.
9. Keto diet plan
If you find yourself wanting to learn more about dieting or weight loss, chances are you’ve heard about the ketogenic or keto diet. The keto diet has become a popular method among people trying to lose weight and improve their health.
In this diet plan, people will focus on reducing carbs while increasing the fat and protein content of their meals and snacks. Some online tools and calculators can be helpful. When developing their plan to remain in a state of ketosis, people will aim to eat only 20 grams of carbohydrates per day.
To learn more about the keto diet in general, including potential pros and cons, refer to number three on this list.
8. Cabbage soup diet
The cabbage soup diet is an eating plan designed to help you lose weight fast. The promise? Eat a ton of cabbage soup for seven days and watch the pounds shed.
The diet works just as its name implies — for one week, you will eat almost nothing but homemade cabbage soup. You can also add 1–2 other foods each day such as skim milk, bananas or vegetables — but that's it.
Proponents of the diet say that it can help you lose up to 10 pounds in a single week, but many health experts warn that the diet is unhealthy and unsustainable. Additionally, the biggest struggle people face with this diet is boredom and lack of variety.
7. DASH diet
The DASH diet — Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension — is known to prevent and control hypertension. This diet is rich in fruits, vegetables, lean protein, whole grains and low-fat dairy.
While the DASH diet isn’t intended for weight loss, it's also become a way for people to keep healthy and sustainably shed pounds.
It’s also in line with dietary recommendations to prevent osteoporosis, cancer, heart disease, stroke and diabetes. That said, this eating plan is not cheap as fresh vegetables, fruits and meats can be expensive.
6. Diabetic diet
The diabetic diet is an eating plan that helps diabetics control their blood sugar. The plan also helps to manage weight and control heart disease risk factors such as high blood pressure and high blood fats.
With this diet, diabetics will stick to regular mealtimes and eat food that's naturally rich in nutrients and low in fat and calories.
Key elements are fruits, vegetables and whole grains. In fact, while this plan is intended for people with diabetes, it can be a great eating plan for people without the condition. That said, diabetics following this guide will work with a dietitian to properly assess their nutritional needs and develop a sustainable plan.
5. FODMAP diet
FODMAP stands for fermentable oligosaccharides, disaccharides, monosaccharides and polyols — which are carbohydrates (sugars) that the small intestine has issues absorbing. Some people experience digestive distress after eating them.
Examples of high FODMAP foods include beans, lentils, cruciferous vegetables, wheat-based products, dairy-based milk and some fruits including apples, pears and cherries.
The low FODMAP diet is intended for people with IBS or SIBO, to ease their digestive upset. People following this plan will eliminate high FODMAP foods and instead eat low FODMAP options such as eggs, meat, water-based vegetables like eggplant, zucchini, tomatoes and cucumbers, and fruits including oranges, grapes, strawberries and pineapple.
Research has found that the low FODMAP reduces symptoms in up to 86 per cent of people with IBS or SIBO. However, because the diet can be challenging and restrictive, it’s important to work with a doctor or dietitian who can ensure you’re following the diet correctly.
4. Contrave diet pill
The contrave diet pill is used to help manage or lower weight in obese or overweight adults with weight-related medical problems. This medicine is used together with diet and exercise under medical supervision.
The pill works by targeting the parts of your brain responsible for your appetite and food cravings.
The pill does not treat any weight-related medical condition including high cholesterol, high blood pressure or diabetes, and should only be used if recommended by a doctor.
3. Keto diet
A ketogenic diet, or keto for short, is an extremely low carbohydrate and high fat diet. This puts your body into a state of ketosis, where you body begins to break down its own fat (instead of glucose) to use as energy.
While the diet has gained notoriety as a treatment for epilepsy, many people use the diet as a way to lose weight.
That said, due to the restrictive, high fat/low fibre make-up of keto, the Government of Canada says there are many side effects including constipation, muscle craps, nutritional deficiencies, general weakness and headaches.
2. Intermittent fasting
Like its name suggests, intermittent fasting is an eating plan that switches between fasting and eating on a regular basis. Research has shown that intermittent fasting can manage weight and prevent certain diseases.
While many diets focus on what you eat, this diet centres on when you eat. With intermittent fasting, you only eat during a specific time, which can help your body burn fat. Some popular approaches to intermittent fasting include:
Alternate-day fasting — eat normally one day and either completely fast or have one small meal the next day.
Five to two fasting — eat a normal diet five days a week and fast for two days a week.
Daily time-restricted fasting — eat normally but only within an eight-hour window each day.
While there has been some noted benefits, it can also cause extremely hunger, fatigue, nausea and headaches. If you're interested in trying intermittent fasting, please speak to a health professional.
1. Mediterranean diet
The Mediterranean diet is a heart-healthy eating plan based on the traditional flavours, ingredients and cooking methods of Greece, southern Italy, Spain and other countries that border the Mediterranean Sea.
Plant-based foods including whole grains, vegetables, legumes, fruits, nuts, seeds, herbs and spices are the foundation of the diet. Olive oil is the main source of added fat. Fish, seafood, dairy and poultry are included in moderation.
So far, research on the effectiveness of the diet has been favourable, with reports showing a decreased risk of heart disease and type 2 diabetes, lowered blood pressure and a longer cancer mortality rate.