Deciphering Different Diets
With today’s ever-changing diet culture, it’s hard to know what we should be eating. Whether it’s for weight loss or simply boosting your overall health, there’s supposedly a diet out there for everyone and everything.
Here at Fodbods, we believe no one size fits all. We’re all about following a balanced lifestyle, doing things that make us and our bodies happy, but understand this may look different for everyone! That’s why we created our bars to suit many different dietary requirements - they’re vegan, dairy, and gluten-free plus low FODMAP. They’re also formulated by dietitians so you can trust they’re only made with wholesome ingredients providing balanced macros! What more could you want?
In terms of the different diets, we’ve done the research for you - here's what you need to know!
Plant-based eating is definitely on the rise and for good reason. Research shows that plant-based diets have a number of health benefits including reduced risks of heart disease, obesity, diabetes, hypertension, and even certain types of cancer.
These diets primarily focus on fruits, vegetables, grains, legumes, and nuts with little to no animal products. However, there are a couple of different approaches when it comes to plant-based eating, so let's have a closer look at them all.
Typically, a vegetarian diet eliminates all meat, fish, and poultry. Depending on which animal products you choose to include or exclude determines the type of vegetarian diet you follow. These can be summarised as:
- Lacto-vegetarian: includes dairy products
- Lacto-ovo-vegetarian: includes both dairy products and eggs
- Ovo-vegetarian: includes eggs
- Pesco-vegetarian: includes fish (also known as Pescatarian)
In addition to eliminating all meat, fish and poultry, a vegan diet also restricts all dairy products, eggs, and any animal-derived products, such as gelatin or honey. This diet is the strictest form of plant-based eating so it’s important to incorporate particular nutrients that could be lacking, such as protein, iron, calcium, and B12.
Also known as the “casual vegetarian”, this diet primarily focuses on including more plant-based foods and fewer animal products (although not excluding them entirely). This diet is a great place to start if you’re wanting to introduce more plant foods into your lifestyle.
Low Carb Diets
As the name suggests, these diets limit carbohydrate intake and focus on eating foods higher in protein and fat. While some may find it hard to put down the bread and pasta, research shows low-carb diets promote weight loss and lower the risk of disease in overweight people. However, they also exclude many whole grain sources which are vital for our overall health.
This “OG” low-carb diet is split into four phases, including an initial phase where you restrict carbohydrate intake to approximately 20g per day (which is equivalent to one banana?!). Over time, you slowly reintroduce healthy carbohydrates as you approach your desired tolerance without regaining weight.
Also known as “Keto”, this diet restricts carbohydrate intake to 25-50g per day. Unlike Atkins and many other low-carb diets, the Keto diet doesn’t gradually increase carbohydrate intake, instead aims to remain in ketosis. This is where our body uses fat instead of carbs as our main source of energy. Given how restrictive the diet is, it is unlikely to be sustainable long-term.
Short for “Paleolithic”, this diet claims to eat the same foods as our hunter-gatherer ancestors. It includes fruits, vegetables, nuts, and meat while limiting all whole grains, legumes, dairy products, and other processed foods. While it has been shown to lead to weight loss and improve glycaemic control, it eliminates multiple core food groups, often resulting in nutrient deficiencies (similar to the above low-carb diets).
Other Popular Diets
There are a lot of diets and trends out there, many of which aren’t included in this list. Here are three final diets we thought deserve a mention – two that are recommended for overall health and one that’s intended for the treatment of IBS symptoms.
Based on foods from Mediterranean countries, this diet has been proven to have multiple health benefits, including reduced risks of heart disease, combating inflammation, aiding weight loss, and even reducing depression. It advocates eating plenty of fresh fruits, vegetables, nuts, legumes, whole grains, fish, and extra virgin olive oil. Poultry, egg, and dairy products are eaten in moderation while red meats and highly refined, processed foods are limited.
This diet doesn’t specify what you can and can’t eat, rather what time you should and shouldn’t eat. It cycles through patterns of eating and fasting, with the most common method involving a 16-hour fast with an 8-hour eating period. This has been shown to have powerful benefits on our overall health, including reduced risks of heart disease and insulin resistance, combating inflammation, aiding weight loss, as well as preventing some types of cancer!
The FODMAP diet was developed by Monash University to provide relief for IBS sufferers. It involves a 3-step process of elimination, where you begin following a low FODMAP diet (this step is only temporary and doesn’t exclude any entire food groups). Once symptoms improve, you reintroduce one FODMAP group at a time to identify your personal trigger/s. Finally, you tailor your diet to exclude only the FODMAPs that you’re intolerant to. Research suggests the FODMAP diet is the most effective way to manage IBS – helping up to 75% of sufferers!
So, what diet is best for me?
The truth is that no one diet is best for everyone. What works for you may not work for someone else. Everyone is so different - what we like and don’t like, when we want to eat and who with. The way and what we choose to eat is based on multiple factors like our health, religion, social, financial, environmental, or ethical beliefs. For whatever reason you choose to eat, it's important to ensure what is eaten provides the most benefit to YOU. For individualised advice, we recommend seeing an Accredited Practising Dietitian.