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  • Writer's picturePatty Hopker

A New Way to Analyze Your Approach to Commercial Diets

There are so many diets out there! All of them are beneficial to someone somehow, but it just goes to show how diverse we are as a species and how we all respond differently to foods, whether it be mentally, culturally, or physically.

There are only a handful of commercial diets that I’ve been able to experiment with and study their science and philosophy. They all seem to have standard components that they address: calories, protein, carbohydrates, and fats.

My objective here is to give you information to sift through to navigate the maze of information. If you have difficulty understanding any diet element, it will more than likely hinder your success.

Most of us, as we age, have certain medical conditions that surface. Most commonly, those conditions are: Heart disease, Insulin Resistance, Diabetes, auto-immune, Gluten sensitivity, being overweight or underweight, and our family history of stroke, dementia, and Alzheimer’s disease needs more urgent attention. Each one has different research, with different dietary recommendations behind them. It’s up to you to figure out the priorities and get feedback from your doctor about which methods best fit your medical and nutritional needs. But let’s start with some diets commercially promoted out there.

Weight Watchers a tried and true approach to weight loss and lifestyle management for years. It seems they come out on top as #1 or #2 as a most recommended diet every year. Some Insurance companies will even pay for your membership fees. Different levels are suggested depending on your goals. The food eaten is assigned specific points based on a holistic approach to healthy eating. You can eat what you want, but the better your choices, the more you can eat. Most fruits and vegetables are categorized as “free” foods, so vegetarians have it made at Weight Watchers. It’s a great company that offers all the support one could ask for as well.

Dash Diet Dash stands for Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension. It encourages eating more fruits and vegetables, fat-free and low-fat dairy, fish, poultry, beans, nuts, and vegetable oils while limiting fatty meats, full-fat dairy, and tropical oils. Sugar is also limited

Mediterranean Diet: Lots of fruits and vegetables, fish, poultry, whole grains, legumes, dairy, and extra virgin olive oil makes up the building blocks. It is a favorite as the healthiest of the diet smorgasbord by many publications.

Mind Diet: Combines the Dash Diet with the Mediterranean Diet to feed the brain with foods needed for long term healthy brains.

Vegetarian and Vegan Diets: Exclude Meat and any animal products. Strictly Fruit and vegetables. Some Vegetarians do consume eggs, fish, and dairy, but most exclude.

Flexitarian Diet: More flexible than a vegetarian diet in that a small amount of meat is allowable. Lean poultry is preferable, but an occasional steak or burger is permissible.

Low Carb Whole Food and Paleo: Vegetables, meat, fish, eggs, fruit, nuts and fats, low starch foods, low sugars, and low processed foods.

Keto and Atkins: Low carbohydrate meat and low starch vegetables. High-quality fats and oils. Atkins starts very low in carbs and gradually adds more carbohydrates. Keto remains low carb and high fat. Both diets burn fats rather than calories for weight loss. The main goal is to maintain a physical reaction called ketosis.

Gluten-Free Diet: This is specialized for those who have gluten sensitivity. Gluten is a protein found in wheat, rye, and barley.

Jenny Craig Diet: Meals are pre-prepared frozen and packaged. Products can be ordered online and delivered weekly.

These are ten diets or areas of popular diets to help give you an idea of what’s available. Most of them have in common a reduction or elimination of sugar and processed foods. Similarities also include more vegetables with lean proteins and quality oils like extra virgin olive oil.

If you have difficulty chewing meats, nuts, and seeds, other proteins are available like beans, chickpeas, and tofu. Suppose shopping and preparation of food is a problem for you. In that case, a delivery service like Jenny Craig might be an excellent choice. Any other home delivery service such as Dinnerly or Hello Fresh companies might be helpful. You have options! Now we have the information to begin creating your eating plan--made by you--specifically for you.

Like I said before, these are diets that I have studied and used during different consultant work. These are not my ratings. I am not promoting any one diet over another. The final approval for you would be in conversing with your physician.

After reviewing the diets listed above and comparing the list with what your needs are as far as nutrition, we can begin to see a pattern of how your eating style and needs may fit together. Try a few angles to change your eating patterns and style this week.

If you get confused about choosing what to do, send me an email to help steer you in the most comfortable direction. I can make suggestions and keep you on track and motivated to feed your body exactly what it needs--physically, culturally, and emotionally.

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