Many of us believe that the new year marks the perfect time to start new changes in our lives. The most popular of these changes seems to be starting a new diet. 2020 is no exception to this rule. With the start of the new decade, we can see the rise in diet trends across the country. Diet trends that vary drastically in the foods you can eat and which ones you should avoid. These diets can range from cutting out meat to others where you only eat meat and everything in-between. So which of these diets are trending this year, and do they benefit us in the ways they claim?
We have examined the growth of plant-based diets in the past, but did you know about the diet trend where you don't eat plants? The carnivore diet is a meat and animal product-based diet, which excludes all other foods. This is a type of elimination diet, where you cut things like processed foods, refined sugars, and carbohydrates out of your diet. These types of diets can be very beneficial to those who suffer from autoimmune disorders like rheumatoid arthritis.
Proponents of the carnivore diet claim that it can aid weight loss, help mood issues, and blood sugar regulation, among other health issues. While this may be the case for some who use the diet short term, long term effects may be unhealthy due to its extremely restrictive nature. The diet only includes meat, fish, and other animal foods like eggs and certain dairy products. No other foods are allowed, including fruits, vegetables, legumes, grains, nuts, and seeds. This has raised some concern as to whether you can get all the nutrients typically found in plants with an all-meat diet.
The whole idea behind the carnivore diet comes from the controversial belief that human ancestral populations ate mostly meat and fish and that high-carb diets are to blame for today’s high rates of chronic disease. Unlike other popular low-carb diets, the carnivore diet aims for ZERO carbs. This is a feat that isn't too difficult when you only eat meats that don't contain any carbs.
So what are the results of this diet? The most well-known proponent of the carnivore diet is former American orthopedic doctor Shawn Baker. Baker cites testimonials from those who follow the Carnivore Diet as proof that it can treat depression, anxiety, arthritis, obesity, diabetes, and more.
This may be evidence that should be taken with a grain of salt since Baker’s medical license was revoked by the New Mexico Medical Board due to concerns about his competency. However, there may be other evidence supporting the carnivore diet's ability to aid in weight-loss. For instance, studies have shown that high-protein and low-carb diets can promote weight loss in people.
Overall, the carnivore diet might be a good short-term way to shed a few pounds quickly, but probably its the healthiest diet for long-term use. Because the Carnivore Diet consists solely of animal foods, it can be high in saturated fat and cholesterol. Saturated fat may raise your LDL (bad) cholesterol, which may increase your risk of heart disease. Plus, the processed meats that many eat on this diet are high in sodium. Excessive sodium intake has been linked to an increased risk of high blood pressure, kidney disease, and other negative health outcomes. What's even more concerning is that processed meat intake has also been linked to higher rates of certain types of cancer, including colon and rectal cancer. Research studies need to be done to get a better idea of the benefits and the dangers of the carnivore diet.
Restricting carbohydrate intake isn't exclusive to the carnivore diet. Other diets have embraced this idea for a long time and have been steadily gaining popularity over the years. While low-carb diets, in general, are trending this year, the keto diet may eclipse all others combined. The keto or ketogenic diet is high in fat, which makes it very satiating, but very low in carbohydrates. By reducing carbs, your body goes into a state of ketosis. During ketosis, the body becomes better at turning fat into energy. It also turns fat into ketones in the liver, which ultimately improves brain function.
Much like the carnivore diet, the ketogenic diet is a type of elimination diet, just not as extreme. This diet allows you to eat foods from any food group while trying to limit carbohydrate intake and maximize fat consumption. Evidence shows that this process can cause massive reductions in blood sugar and insulin levels. This, along with the increased ketones in the body, has numerous health benefits.
Most of the research done on the keto diet shows its ability to aid in weight-loss and lower risk factors for disease. This research also suggests that the ketogenic diet is far superior to the often recommended low-fat diet. One study found that people on a ketogenic diet lost 2.2 times more weight than those on a calorie-restricted low-fat diet. Triglyceride and HDL cholesterol levels also improved.
The benefits of the keto diet don't end there. Several aspects of this diet have been shown to promote benefits in those with diabetes. One study found that the ketogenic diet improved insulin sensitivity by an incredible 75%. In another study, 95.2% of the ketogenic group were also able to stop or reduce diabetes medication, compared to 62% in the higher-carb group.
Many other studies have linked the ketogenic diet to benefits like improving risk factors for heart disease, cancer, Alzheimers, epilepsy, Parkinson's disease, and more. These benefits may be a result of the foods that are eliminated in this diet, including sugary foods, grains, starches, most fruits, beans, legumes, low-fat foods, and unhealthy processed oils.
The keto diet also offers variations to accommodate individual needs. The standard keto diet is a very low-carb, moderate-protein and high-fat diet. It typically contains 75% fat, 20% protein, and only 5% carbs. Then there is the cyclical ketogenic diet, which involves periods of higher-carb refeeds, such as 5 ketogenic days followed by 2 high-carb days. Targeted ketogenic diets allow you to add carbs around workouts for added energy. High-protein keto diets are similar to a standard ketogenic diet but include more protein. The ratio is often 60% fat, 35% protein, and 5% carbs.
Recently, a whole new variation of this diet has taken form and is gaining popularity in 2020. The ketotarian diet is a plant-based version of the low carb, high fat keto diet. This takes two of the fastest growing diet trends and puts them together for a combination of desired results.
The ketotarian diet allows you to have all the benefits of the ketogenic diet along with those of a plant-based diet. All while providing a little flexibility with foods like eggs but being restrictive with carbs. We know keto is an effective weight loss diet and highly anti-inflammatory. Much like the keto diet, vegetarian diets have anti-inflammatory effects. They have also been shown to benefit heart health, weight management, and blood sugar control.
So the right diet for you in 2020 depends on what your goals are. If they are to shed some weight quickly and go back to your normal routine, you may want to look into the carnivore diet. If you are looking for a more long-term lifestyle change that can aid in weight-loss and overall health, the ketogenic diet might be just right. If you don't like the idea of eating only meat or fatty meats, the ketotarian diet can give you the benefits of keto without sacrificing your personal beliefs. One thing is for sure, these diet trends are here to stay and they are only going to get bigger and gain popularity in the future.