Over the last few years, the way people eat and how they manage their nutrition and daily diet has changed significantly. Today, more and more people are turning towards plant-based foods compared to animal products. This is because there is sufficient evidence to support the health benefits of plant-based foods. However, the number of healthy diets proposed each day has created significant confusion for people. From grain-fed to gluten-free, from paleo to plant-based dairy – which diet is the one for you?
Here is an overview of seven trends that have become very popular recently:
- Vegan and plant-based foods: A diet based on vegan and plant-based foods consists primarily of plants. Vegans respect animal life and try to minimize the harm to the environment by their food choices. Overall, a plant-based or vegan diet is healthy, but some experts believe that there is a risk vegans who follow a very strict diet could develop nutritional deficiencies if they completely avoid certain food groups.
- Microgreens: This is the latest trend in the world of nutrition. In the simplest terms, this involves the growing and consumption of plant foods with high nutritional value. The aim is for people to grow their own foods and preserve the ecosystem and nature. Foods like radish sprouts, bean sprouts, sunflower sprouts, and wheatgrass can be easily grown at home. They are also eaten raw because cooking can destroy valuable enzymes and vitamins. Again, eating home-grown greens is good for you, but it is important to keep in mind that a microgreens diet may not be realistic for everyone. Some people may not get the nutrition they need and may have to augment their diet. A microgreen diet is more a way of life rather than a specific diet.
- Biohacking: This is a novel trend in the world of nutrition. With biohacking, one attempts to change the physiology and chemistry of their body by making changes in their diet, emotional wellbeing, and physical performance. Nutrition is combined with several other disciplines like yoga, spiritualism, and meditation to enhance the physical and mental body processes. While lifestyle changes are good for everyone, many people may find it difficult to keep up with too many changes at one time.
- Fermented drinks: Some people recommend fermented drinks like kombucha, kefir, sauerkraut, yogurt, and kimchi. These drinks are kept in the fridge or at room temperature and allowed to ferment with the help of bacteria. Advocates of this diet claim that these drinks can improve digestion, lower the risk of heart disease and help with weight loss. But great care should be taken with fermentation because there is a risk of food poisoning, severe diarrhea, weakness, and muscle cramps. Fermented drinks should not be consumed regularly as they are not healthy on their own.
- Ketogenic nutrition: A ketogenic diet generally consists of 75% fat, 15%-30% protein, and less than 5% (20 to 50 g) of carbohydrates each day. The diet also recommends a daily intake of fewer than 1,000 calories. While people may lose weight on a ketogenic diet, it is often hard to sustain. Other problems are reported with the ketogenic diet, including kidney stones (due to dehydration), low blood pressure, severe constipation, nutrient deficiency, and premature heart disease.
- Cooking with coconut oil: Coconut oil is widely used for sauteing, searing and frying foods in some parts of Asia. Many health benefits have been linked to coconut oil. It also gives the food a nice texture and a pleasant taste. These days, coconut oil is being heavily promoted in North America. But while coconut oil is safe in small amounts, it is important to know that it qualifies as saturated fat. What this means is that it is unhealthy when used in large amounts as it can promote atherosclerosis. Therefore, coconut oil should be used sparingly.
- Green smoothies: These have been in vogue for quite a while. Smoothies are made using green veggies like kale, kelp, spinach, cabbage, etc. One of the benefits of green smoothies is that they are packed with fiber which can help regulate bowel movements, relieve constipation, and lower blood glucose and cholesterol levels. Green veggies are also rich in vitamins (A, C) and minerals like folate, iron, and potassium. While there is no downside to consuming green veggie smoothies, the diet can become monotonous in the long term.
There is no question that a plant-based diet is superior to an animal diet regarding health and longevity. But micro-processing every grain of every food and turning it into a new diet can cause confusion and chaos. No food is bad if it is eaten in moderation, but it is important to avoid trendy diets that have too many limitations in terms of the food groups you can consume, the calories you can eat, and so on.
It is better to eat a diet that comprises all food groups but where you are not overeating. Along with this, it is important to be physically active, discontinue smoking and limit your alcohol intake. If you have a high BMI and are facing other health issues related to your diet or weight, it is best to consult with a nutritionist, dietician, or qualified health coach. They can help create a personalized nutritional, exercise, and wellness plan that is based on your body type, your weight loss goals, and your health status.