Sunday, January 21, 2018

Worst Diets for Health 2018

Are you looking for a diet for good health?  Last week we talked about “eating healthy” and reviewed 3 diets that promote good health, the Mediterranean Diet, the  DASH Diet, and the Flexitarian Diet.  

Mediterranean Diet- A healthy diet
Unfortunately, some people choose diets that are actually bad for their health.  Why?  Maybe they are looking for a quick weight loss fix.  Maybe they are duped into thinking a diet is healthy when it is actually bad for their health.  When the US News & World Report ranks the Best Diets for health, they have diets that fall at the bottom of their rankings.  What diets are ranked the lowest and why?  Let’s review some of these not so good for you diets and provide you with some pros and cons of these diets.  

Whole30 Diet 
This diet is popular once again.  Even though it was created in 2009, many people are currently trying the Whole30 approach.  Whole30 claims it will “change your life”.  How?  Their website claims that by eliminating certain foods from your diet, the “gut-damaging, inflammatory food groups for a full 30 days, you can take away your aches and pains, lose weight, fix digestive ailments, seasonal allergies, and chronic pain. 

What foods do you eliminate on this diet?
This diet claims that certain food including sugar, grains, dairy and legumes are the foods that negatively impact your health.

What foods does the Whole30 diet eliminate for 30 days?
No added sugar whether real or artificial.  Forget the maple syrup on your pancakes, the sweetener for your ice tea, the Diet Coke. Not even sugar less gum is allowed.
No alcohol – no wine, beer or mixed drinks for you.
No grains – so no bread, no cereal, no toast, no bagels, no quinoa, no crackers
No legumes/beans – this means no peanut butter, no kidney beans, baked beans, peas.  Forget the soy sauce – banned. 
No Dairy – no milk, yogurt, sour cream, no ice cream no cheese.  No cheese pizza for you.

What foods are permitted on this diet?
Protein foods = meat, seafood
Vegetables and some fruit
Herbs, spices and seasonings
The diet focuses on whole and unprocessed foods so you will be eating your meals at home. 
You don’t have to count calories.  Exercise is not a part of this diet plan so diet is not really a lifestyle change approach to good health.

What ranking does US News & World Report give the Whole30 diet?  The experts looked at 40 diets and ranked the Whole30 diet as 37th.    Registered Dietitian, Jessica Penner, has also evaluated the Whole30 diet on her “Smart Nutrition” website. 
  • The Whole30 diet is very restrictive.  Eating out at restaurants, eating out at other people’s homes would be quite difficult on this diet.
  •  Many healthy foods are eliminated:  Any diet that eliminates food groups like dairy and grains, also eliminates the nutrients that those food groups provide.  Whole grains are foods we want to add to our diet for fiber and many trace minerals.  Dairy provides much needed calcium and vitamin D to our day.  So many Americans are deficient in vitamin D that the last thing they should do is cut more vitamin D out of their diets. Beans, peanut butter, nuts are very healthy and we should be adding more of these to our diets, not cutting back on them or eliminating them for 30 days.
  • Time-consuming – you will need to shop and prepare a lot of meals at home as the diet plan is quite restrictive.
  •  It is not a lifestyle change – it is not a plan that helps you learn how to eat healthier and exercise such as walks are mentioned by the change in diet is their key to good helath.
  •  US News & World Report noted the diet is not supported by research. 

What are the pros of this diet plan?
  • The diet does emphasize minimally processed food.
  • The diet promotes eating more fish and more vegetables.

What other diets are ranked low on the Best Diets list?
  • Atkins Diet is ranked number 36 out of 40 diets.  US News & World Report  states: “is not a good all-purpose diet, experts said.”
  • Body Reset Diet ranked #37, tying with the Whole30 Diet.  US News & World Report calls is a “gimmick” and an “unhealthy” diet for weight loss.
  • Keto Diet – ranked 39, almost dead last.  This diet is high-fat and low in carbs.  
So if you are looking to eat better for good health in 2018, there are many good diet plans to choose from.  There are also a number of fad diets one should avoid.  As I noted last week, healthy eating doesn’t mean giving up all the foods you like to eat, but adding some foods that promote good health like more fruits and vegetables, more whole grains, and more low-fat dairy to your day.