Keto, Atkins, Paleo, Carnivore….OH My!
If you don’t live under a rock, I’m guessing you have heard of these trendy diets a time or two. These are all diets that are actually pretty old, and have been around many years, but have recently gained popularity. So what is the difference between them?They are all similar in that they all center around REAL FOOD, but they do differ in their macronutrient ratios.
The Ketogenic (Keto) Diet has been around for many years. It actually dates back to the 1920’s when it was used to treat epilepsy for patients. The classic ketogenic diet calls for 90% fat, 6 protein, and 4% carbohydrates. This was very high fat to ensure the brain/body used ketones instead of glucose to prevent seizures. Keto has a more modified version, which is what most follow, which is more 70% fat,15- 20% protein, 5% carbohydrates. The limiting of carbohydrates to about 20 grams a day in keto allows the body to switch from burning glucose to burning fat. However, you still need to be aware of your calories just with any weight loss plan. These carbs come fast so you focus on green vegetables and low glycemic fruits like berries. The ketogenic diet is not just used for weight-loss. Research has shown it has helped with seizures, depression, anxiety, Alzheimer's, some cancers, and more. This lifestyle really interests me, because I do carry the APOE4 variant gene, which can cause Alzheimer's. There are so many great resources for this diet. The Charlie Foundation https://charliefoundation.org/diet-plans/ is a great resource to get great information and different variations of the diet. Also, Maria Emmerich, who will be talked about a lot more in these coming weeks has a fantastic site https://mariamindbodyhealth.com/page/3/ with free recipes that are amazing.
The Atkins Diet is also a diet that has been around for several years. The Atkins Revolution was published in 1972 by Dr. Robert Atkins, who was a cardiologist, and saw that our nutritional system wasn’t working. The Atkins Diet today has different plans and phases. It is not as low carb (20g) as Keto, and in certain phases you can increase your carbs but, it is still a low -carb diet. The Atkins Diet can also be a higher protein diet. In fact, Keto has a modified Atkins version, where you can go up to 30% of calories coming from protein. So... Atkins, more protein, little more carbs, which are usually low glycemic and include lots of veggies, you also use healthy fats it’s just not as many vegetables.
The Paleo diet is pretty much what it sounds like. It was created in 1975 by a gastroenterologist named Walter Voegtlin. It has been popularized in 2002 by Loren Cordain. This diet focuses on vegetables, fruits, roots, and meat. This diet can actually be higher in carbohydrates if you eat sweet potatoes, squash, and more fruits. There are no processed foods and usually no dairy, breads, legumes, and processed oils. It focuses on eating foods prior to the Neolithic Era, hence the name. I mean, again, this diet is all about eating real food and not junk. There are different versions and variations of this diet. I feel wrong even calling these diets, because it is all about eating real food, and food that works for the individual. No-one ever compromised their health for not eating a bowl of cereal. I know it can be hard for some people to wrap their head around the fact that cereals and whole grain bread has whole list of added ingredients that you would be better off not consuming.
Lastly, the latest trend in nutrition is the Carnivore diet. It basically is what it sounds like. You eat all meat products, no plants. A lot of people who try this use it as an elimination diet, since most plant based foods are the most allergenic. The people who try this diet, actually, see great results in their health and body fat. It’s been recently popularized by an orthopedic surgeon, Dr. Shawn Baker, who you can follow on social media like instagram. He also has a website http://meatheals.com where there are lots of success stories from people who have gone carnivore. Some of these people have seen arthritis go away, skin problems clear up, and gut issues get resolved. There are no studies out there showing that this diet "cures". All of the evidence is anecdotal, basically what people have reported. However, sometimes you don’t need a scientific study to tell you what makes you feel good or lousy. Brussel Sprouts are one of the “healthiest” foods. They contain B vitamins, magnesium, fiber, and are great for gut health. However, nope, not so great for me. I’m not going to keep eating them if they make me feel lousy.
So would you consider these diets a trend or a lifestyle? Many people have experienced more than weight-loss using Keto, Atkins, Paleo, or Carnivore and have made it a lifestyle. Consistency, is the key in whatever “diet” you choose and having be attainable. I think a positive aspect from these diets is that they all focus on real whole foods and eliminating processed foods. These diets are also trying to use food and lifestyle changes to help with health issues before jumping to another medication.
Disclaimer: This article/blog is intended only for information/educational purposes only. This is not medical advice. I am not a medical professional, and you should always consult with your doctor.