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Are Healthy Diets Really Healthy?

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When it comes to healthy diets, there are no one-size-fits-all solutions. What works for you, might not work for the next person. It all just depends on your body’s needs.

There are countless diets out there, all vying for our attention. So, it’s important to figure out which one’s right for you because even the healthiest diets can be detrimental to your well-being if they’re not appropriate for you. Here are some diets that may or may not be healthy for you.

DASH Diet and Other Low-Fat Diets

The DASH diet was put together by the U.S. National Institute of Health (NIH). DASH stands for “Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension”. Therefore, it’s an ideal diet for people who need to regulate their blood pressure. Some studies show that it’s effective in helping people lower their blood pressure in just two weeks.

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It encourages mainly fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and low-fat dairy products. It also aims to help people consume less sodium, too. While the aim of these recommendations is great, the DASH diet may present some problems for certain individuals.

For example, if you are lactose intolerant, or if you have allergies or intolerances to grains or gluten, it can be difficult to follow this diet. Similarly, not consuming adequate amounts of saturated fat or fat in general, can have a negative impact on your heart, brain and lung health, just to name a few.

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Paleo Diet and Low-Carb Diets

The Paleo diet has become quite a trendy lifestyle choice for many people. It focuses on eating as our early ancestors did. They were hunters and gatherers. So, this diet recommends consuming the same types of food groups they would’ve had access to. With the Paleo diet, you can have meats, fish, poultry, vegetables, as well as some fruits, nuts, and seeds.

Because of the diet champions whole, natural food sources, there’s zero processed food and also no grains. And there are many benefits that come from this type of diet.

For example, because it’s low in carbohydrates and higher in healthy fats, it’s a great weight loss approach. For those who have difficulty with grains and gluten, this can also be an efficient way to eat well without feeling deprived.

But since it’s such a low-carb diet, some individuals can actually have negative experiences. Without adequate amounts of carbohydrates, your brain function may suffer. And things like concentration, memory, and focus can weaken.

What’s more, with low carb diets, your body starts to use body fat to make blood sugar. And for some people, this can lead to problems like fatigue, brain fog, headaches, and weakness.

Vegan Diets

There are many reasons why people choose to go vegan. Some choose it for health reasons, others for spiritual, philosophical or ethical reasons. And although it draws people from different walks of life, the vegan diet is very restrictive, and for some, too narrow.

Vegans eliminate all animal products, all the way up to honey. This can be very appealing to those who wish to cut out all animal food sources. And it can either be a way to lose weight or to create a lifestyle in line with your values.

However, vegan diets do pose some problems. Animal products contain several necessary components that are simply not available in plants. Vitamin B12, for example, is found exclusively in animal products (with the exception of slight amounts in certain algae). Because vegans eschew all animal foods, they also run the risk of being deficient in this crucial nutrient.

This study actually revealed that 92% of vegans had inadequate amounts of Vitamin B12 in their systems. Vegans also usually struggle to obtain enough amino acids, which we can only get in their entirety from animal proteins.

Vegans consume less fat and no saturated fat from animal foods, but saturated fats are actually good for your health. And they’re not associated with cardiovascular disease, as this study of over 300 thousand people shows.

Finally, in an attempt to enjoy foods that are solely plant-based, vegans can consume many products that are less than ideal alternatives. Many vegan food products are made with vegetable oils and soy. But foods made from soy can be endocrine disruptors and cause problems during developmental stages. They can also adversely affect sexual hormones, too.

In order to live healthily as a vegan, you need to educate yourself and make sure you’re supporting your body without the use of animal products.

HCG Diet

The HCG diet, is by far, the most extreme diet in our list today. It allows only 500 calories per day, along with injections or supplements of a hormone called, human chorionic gonadotropin or HCG.

With such a low caloric intake, you’re bound to lose weight. But you’re sure to be hungry, and that’s where HCG comes in.

The body makes this hormone in women’s bodies during pregnancy, and HCG is already used to help women with fertility problems. In the HCG diet, people use this hormone because it’s considered to be a strong appetite suppressant. But little is known about its safety as a diet method. For this reason, the FDA has discouraged its use as a weight loss approach.

While you may lose weight and lose your appetite with the HCG diet, such extreme caloric restrictions come at a cost. People risk having gallstones, electrolyte imbalances, and irregular heartbeats. Plus, those on the HCG diet can feel fatigued, depression, restlessness, and irritability.

Going on a diet can be hard enough, but these negative experiences combined with a questionable hormone certainly don’t make it easier.

Find Your Perfect Diet

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As you can see, diets come in all shapes and sizes. They’re influenced by different schools of thought and come with their own lists of pros and cons. Because of the wide variety of diets out there, it’s crucial to do some research on your own.

No matter how healthy a diet is, if it isn’t meeting your body’s needs, it’s not a healthy diet for you. So, when approaching a new diet, always bring a healthy slice of skepticism with you.

And as you do your own research, don’t be afraid to consult a health professional. They can help you sift through the vast amount of diet information out there to find the diet that’s healthy for you.

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