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Keto, Atkins, Paleo, Whole30, the list goes on and on. You’ve probably heard people talk about these diets and more and how their plan is the best for you to either sheds those pounds or feel healthier and revitalized overall.
Yet, many don’t tell you why each works and what they actually mean for you. That’s what we’re here for!
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The ketogenic or “keto” diet is a high-fat, low-carb, and moderately low-protein diet. The idea behind this strategy is that when the daily carbohydrate intake is kept low, your body uses fat from your diet and from your body as its energy source rather than the glucose (or sugar) found in a carb-heavy diet.
Health benefits of the keto diet include weight loss (since you are burning fat stores for energy), increased energy, healthy aging, increased lifespan, better brain health, and a decrease in chronic inflammation (a causative agent in many disease processes).
Some tips to follow this diet:
- Keep carbohydrate intake low (5-10% of the diet)
- Increase the intake of healthy fats (70 to 80 percent of the diet)
- Keep protein moderate (15 to 25 percent protein)
The Atkins diet is similar to the keto diet in that both are low-carb and higher-fat strategies. Yet, the Atkins includes a higher protein intake and allows the dieter to eat some grains as opposed to none in the keto diet. It is more of a weight loss program than a lifestyle strategy as is the case with the keto diet.
Some health benefits of the Atkins diet include increased weight loss, decreased symptoms of GERD (gastric reflux), a decrease in acne, and fewer headaches.
Some tips for the Atkins diet:
- Keep carbohydrate intake low
- Keep protein high (30 percent of daily calories)
- Increase fat intake
The Paleo diet emulates how Paleolithic-era hunter-gatherer, early-humans ate before modern farming was introduced. This diet focuses on real, whole foods and avoids grains, dairy, legumes, and all processed foods (considered to be inflammatory). Similar to the keto diet, the paleo diet is more of a lifestyle choice with the goal less to lose weight but to overall improve general health. However, unlike the keto diet, the paleo diet allows for higher amounts of carbohydrates, such as those found in honey and maple syrup.
Some health benefits of the Paleo diet include weight loss, increased energy, and improved gut health.
Some tips for the Paleo diet:
- Remove all processed foods from your diet
- Focus on food quality over macronutrients
- Eat “as cavemen did”
TThe Whole30 program consists of 30 days of strictly eating “real food” (foods that have not been processed, refined, or had ingredients added to them). The premise behind this plan is that sugar, dairy, grains, and legumes all have a negative effect on digestive health, blood sugar balance, skin health, and the ability to lose weight. Like the keto diet, Whole30 is a restrictive diet that avoids sugars and sweeteners and is gluten-free. However, unlike the keto diet, Whole30 allows for starchy vegetables such as sweet potatoes.
Health benefits of the Whole30 plan include increased weight loss, increased energy, better athletic performance, and improved focus and mental clarity.
Some tips for the Whole 30 plan:
- Avoid all processed/packaged foods for 30 days
- Avoid sugar for 30 days
- Eat real, whole foods as your energy source for 30 days
Each of these paradigms has their own unique strategies for weight loss, burning fat, or promoting general health. Finding which one is right for you comes down to personal lifestyle compatibility and preference. Just remember though, no matter what diet or weight loss strategy you pursue, regular exercise is key to maintaining healthy weight loss and promoting a healthy lifestyle.
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