If a person was to switch from eating a standard Australian diet to any of the trending fad diets (e.g. keto, vegan, paleo etc.), it is likely they will feel a whole heap better. While all of the fad diets may be different in the sense that they focus on different macronutrients and food groups, while excluding others, essentially at the core of them, they get people to eat more minimally processed whole-foods.
Eating more whole-foods can significantly improve your health as it increases the nutrient density of your diet. For example, a person changing from a pretty average diet to a strict vegan diet will always initially feel better in the transition, because they would be increasing their overall fruit and vegetable intake. This is considering the person is eating a whole-food vegan diet.
There is nothing special about any of these diets, they just simply get people to eat better quality foods, more often, after eating a pretty average diet beforehand. This is what then causes your friends to harp on about how good they feel or how much weight they have lost when they changed to diet X, Y or Z.
While I am all for people improving the nutrient density of their diet, I have 3 main issues with these fad diets.
- Often, the premises that they are built upon are often misleading and not backed up by robust scientific evidence, if any at all.
- These diets often demonize food groups and often have an ‘allowed’ food category and ‘not allowed’ food category. This is unnecessary as all whole-foods can play a specific role in someone’s overall diet and these principles can make the diets unsustainable, as well as increase feelings of guilt when people stray from them. Also, one thing I have noticed about human nature in my practice, is that when people fall off their new fad diet due to its unsustainability, they often revert back to their old diet, instead of taking some of the whole-food eating principles that they learnt on the diet.
- Lastly, all of the diet camps proclaim that their one is the best and the only way to eat in order to be healthy. This is because the whole foods that they tell people to remove and demonize (e.g. animal foods on a vegan diet) are said to be bad for your health. Usually there is no robust evidence to support these claims.
This last point really frustrates me because after sitting down with hundreds of patients in clinical practice, I have really come to realize that in the context of a minimally processed, whole-food diet, the best diet is actually the one that suits an individual’s needs. The dietary templates that I educate my patients on are based around their goals, symptoms, allergies, intolerances, food preferences and even cultural background. Fad diets do not take any of these factors into consideration and they are a one size fits all approach. The tailored approach is important because for example, while one patient may be intolerant to one food another may not.
Based on this, call Oak Health today or book an appointment online to get a tailored dietary template that is evidence based, practical, sustainable and geared toward your individual needs.