In this post from Bazaar, Hannah Morrill clears the air on 5 fad diets that have swayed the masses in the recent past. Decide for yourself if these 5 trendy food fads are worth the hype.
Do all the diets your friends swear by actually make a difference on the scale? We asked the experts.
The Hype: Eating like a caveman—that is, yes to meats and organs (!), seafood, game, nuts, seeds, seasonal fruits and leafy greens, no to grains, legumes, dairy, and processed foods—is the key to optimal health. Believers cite studies that show once humans adopted modern agriculture, we lost stature, bone density, brain size and immune integrity.
Reality Check: “From a nutrition perspective, it’s about jam-packing every meal with naturally available vitamins and minerals, and delivering these foods in a way that they’re as absorbable as possible, thus fueling repair, restoring balance to the nervous system, and boosting immunity. By choosing foods that are nutrient-dense and nourishing, energy levels increase as does weight loss, shaping and toning.”—Pete Evans, author of The Paleo Chef (forthcoming January 2015)—Pete Evans, author of The Paleo Chef (forthcoming January 2015)
2) Coconut Oil
The Hype: Trust us, we’re guilty of drinking the Kool-Aid—or should we say pulling the oil—on this one, too. When it comes to health benefits, believers claim it can boost metabolism and strengthen immunity.
Reality Check: “Coconut oil really does have legit benefits for immunity and weight loss, since the lauric acid can reduce body fat. That being said, it’s an oil, so don’t go crazy. A tablespoon should do you.”—Lauren Slayton M.S., R.D., and founder of Foodtrainers, a nutrition consultancy in New York City
3) No Sugar
The Hype: Sugar is kind of a drug. Like all addictive substances, sugar stimulates the brain’s reward centers. Sugar binging puts this reward center into overdrive and causes loss of control when eating, craving, and even sugar tolerance. It’s also no secret that the more calories you consume, the more weight you’ll gain. In terms of overall health, sugar can lead to the onset of diabetes, increased blood pressure, and inflammation.
Reality Check: “It’s impossible to have a healthy, sugar-free diet, so the best bet is to make sure sugar isn’t the primary source of pleasure and calories. Beware of hidden sugars in things like salad dressings and sauces, don’t let carbs control your eating habits. And don’t be afraid of all sugar—fruit is an important source of fiber, and the fiber in fruit lowers cholesterol and glucose, and reduces blood pressure and inflammation.”—Nicole M. Avena, Ph.D., author of Why Diets Fail
The Hype: It’s the best thing in the world you can eat. Or, it’s full of vitamin C, calcium, and vitamin K, a potent bone builder.
Reality Check: “Could anything actually live up to the hype surrounding kale? Here’s my take. It’s a green, it’s loaded with B vitamins, it’s good raw, cooked or blended in smoothies. But there are other greens that deserve attention. I’m thinking dandelion for 2015.”—Lauren Slayton M.S., R.D., and founder of Foodtrainers, a nutrition consultancy in New York City
The Hype: Wait, there’s a carb that’s actually on the yes list? This gluten-free, protein-rich ancient grain has only 172 calories per half cup dry.
Reality Check: “Quinoa is technically a seed and it has a notable protein content, which means it will fill you up and keep you satisfied longer than carbs like rice. Plus, quinoa has potassium, which has a major debloating benefits.”—Lauren Slayton M.S., R.D., and founder ofFoodtrainers, a nutrition consultancy in New York City