You are what you eat…apparently. Well, if only it could be as simple as that. As more is seemingly known about diet and nutrition and the link with fitness, the less clear, and more complex the menu of foodie dos and don’ts becomes. It is one reason why more people are seeking a little help from fitness experts to come up with a more holistic, overall plan, rather than jumping from one fad to the next. Half the problem is digesting what the different diets out there are about.
Even if you’re on the periphery of the diet world and simply have an interest in your own body, it’s easy to get confused with what the diet trends of the day are. Some people brush off these new idea as detracting from sensible nutritional advice which is to eat a balanced diet that is low in fat and high in protein. However, advances in understanding of the body suggests that while a healthy diet is essential there may be other ideas out there which are certainly food for thought.
Found in wheat, barley and rye, gluten is the protein that celiac disease sufferers are allergic too. For those who have an allergy there are many more people who are intolerant and have symptoms ranging from bloating to a foggy head. In the last few years it seems that awareness of gluten-intolerance is gaining ground. Even pizza restaurants – once forbidden land for gluten intolerants – are offering dough made of gluten-free ingredients. While some celiacs are skinny, there are many who struggle with their weight because of bad vitamin and nutrient absorption. Eating a slice of bread can lead to a full, heavy and bloated gut that is uncomfortable and unsightly. Often the main way intolerants identify their sensitivity is by cutting out gluten and seeing the results.
Sometimes referred to as the Stone Age Diet, the idea is that you eat a diet that is in line with your genetics. What this means is adopting a menu that wouldn’t have been out of place with your ancestors some two million years or so ago. In essence, the diet includes eating fish and lots of grass-fed meats, as well as eggs and vegetables. Not included on the paleo list are processed foods, dairy products, as well as legumes and grains. One main argument put forward by advocates of the diet are that it constitutes a healthy diet for modern man, without all the toxins that create weight gain and health problems. On the flip side the argument is that we no longer forage for foods and if we did then we wouldn’t be able to collect the same food as our cave dwelling relatives.
This is the latest diet idea that has gained huge popularity in the West. Its main focus is on losing weight and the basic concept is that you eat in your usual fashion for five days of the week before limiting your calorie intake to just 500 calories for two days for women and 600 a day for men. So it is really taking the traditional idea of fasting and giving it a new twist. Those who are promoting the diet plan don’t just say it can help you lose weight either and some advocates are saying that this type of diet plan can improve cognition and actually increase your lifespan. Given that it is early days in terms of collecting any evidence, a lot of the buzz about the 5:2 system is anecdotal.
As with any diet plan what you need to make sure is that there are no medical reasons why you can’t try a diet. While you don’t want to be switching between different diets there is something to be said for researching and finding one that seems to fit you. What is clear that a diet plan without a fitness plan doesn’t seem to make sense and what follows from this is listening to experts and your own body.
Do you need help in working out a nutrition and fitness plan? It doesn’t have to be for weight loss, it could be for weight gain or to help you recoup after an illness or injury. Get in touch and look out for Part 2 where we talk about some other interesting diet trends.