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Diet is a dirty word for good reason — a lot of the most popular ones are far too extreme. Most diets order you to give up carbs, sugar, grains — I could go on and on. Well, what if I told you that you could take all of the best tips from current diets to actually transform your health for the long haul?
It's possible... And you don't have to go to extremes or set cruel restrictions on everything you eat! Most diets do have some redeeming advice. Here are five popular diets, and the best health tip to pull from each of 'em:
1. Whole 30: Avoid processed foods and added sugar.
I believe in making changes that create lasting habits when it comes to your diet and lifestyle. So while I may not be head over heels in love with the idea of following an uber-strict lifestyle (for a limited amount of time), I do love that good habits can come from it.
Taking out all processed foods and added sugar is one habit that I’d be happy to see stick (at least 90 percent) for most people. Also, the idea of a reset is a good one, which is why I’m a longtime advocate of cleansing with healthy foods. The Whole 30 meal plan is made up of lots vegetables, meat, seafood, eggs, some fruit, herbs and spices, all in the form of whole, unprocessed foods.
2. Paleo: Eat high-quality meats and fish with veggies.
Paleo peeps say this diet will help minimize your risk of chronic disease (based on the premise that our ancestors didn’t suffer from the ones we now face) and lead to weight loss.
What I really like about the paleo diet? You eat meat from animals raised the way nature intended (i.e. grass-fed beef, pasture-raised chicken). So, if you’re going to be a carnivore, this is the way to do it. In addition, you eat other healthy foods such as wild-caught fish and other seafood, fresh vegetables and fruits, eggs, nuts, seeds, healthy oils like olive and avocado, and small amounts of raw honey and maple syrup.
Eating high-quality meats and fish with tons of veggies and no processed foods is basically a great formula for weight-loss and long-term health.
3. Vegan: Fill up on ancient grains, fresh fruit and veggies.
Vegans get more fiber than meat eaters, pescatarians and even vegetarians alike. Vegans (who eat responsibly and don’t fill up on diet soda and pasta!) do fill up on whole real foods including ancient grains, fresh fruit and vegetables, legumes, nuts and seeds. These foods will not only help you steer clear of processed packaged foods filled with unhealthy chemicals, but they will also contribute to your intake of fiber.
4. Ketogenic: Embracing fat in your diet.
Ketogenic diets are high in fat with moderate protein and very, very low carb intake. While this is not a sustainable lifestyle for many, there is some interesting research that points to potential benefits of eating this way. Some research has found it may promote weight loss, lower blood sugar and increase insulin sensitivity in diabetics, which are all definite pros for many people. There also may be brain health benefits. Studies have shown it can reduce seizures in children with epilepsy. Some studies also suggest it may slow the progression of Alzheimer’s disease, although the research in that area is far from definitive.
5. Raw food: Eating veggies 24-7 provides you with lots of antioxidants.
Another diet that might be hard to sustain but does come with benefits is the raw food diet. The biggest benefit of a raw food diet is that it’s almost impossible to not get in loads of fruits and veggies. In fact, fresh produce will be filling your plate 24-7, and that’s an obvious plus.
I love that this means you’ll be getting lots of antioxidants (and fiber too) without even trying, and very little sugar and bad fat. And, cooking some foods does destroy certain nutrients, depending on the food. (Vitamin C in spinach and carrots, for example.) Another positive: it’s really hard to overeat on a raw food diet, which can be good for weight loss and maintenance, for some people.
For more tips on how to live a nutritious life, follow Keri on Instagram @nutritiouslifeofficial.