The Truth Behind Popular Diet Fads

Please consult your doctor before making any changes to your diet!

Fad diets have always been around, some are practical and sustainable, others are just absurd. If you follow them or not, it’s hard to miss them when the media is always putting them on blast or discussing their benefits. We also have celebrities flooding our social media feeds with promotional posts. It’s difficult to decide what is real and what isn’t. What will work for us and what won’t?

Today, we’re breaking down some of the popular diets of 2019.


The Whole30 diet is a 30-day elimination diet that promotes avoiding certain food groups. The co-creator or the diet, Melissa Hartwig, claims that certain food groups could potentially have a negative effect on your health. It is thought by eliminating these foods, your body will have 30 days to recover from the effects the food is causing; be that bad skin, weight gain, fatigue, seasonal allergies or digestive problems. The diet is often described as being ‘anti-inflammatory’ and is a ‘reset’ for your body, allowing you to heal physically and improve your relationship with food.

The diet promotes eating moderate portions of seafood, meat, eggs, some vegetables, some fruits, natural fats, herbs and spices. However, the Whole30 diet is not for the faint hearted – the list of foods to avoid is quite daunting for most people:

  • Added Sugar (real or artificial)
  • Alcohol
  • Grains (wheat, rye, barley, oats, corn, rice, millet, bulgur, sorghum, sprouted grains, and all gluten-free pseudo-cereals like quinoa, amaranth, and buckwheat)
  • Legumes (beans (black, red, pinto, navy, white, kidney, lima, fava, etc.) and peas, chickpeas, lentils, peanuts, soy sauce, miso, tofu, tempeh, edamame).
  • Dairy
  • Carrageenan, MSG or sulphites
  • Baked goods and junk food

Who is it good for?

The Whole30 diet is good for people who are wanting to kick off on a new lifestyle. If you’re a strong-willed person with enough determination and self-control, you will likely succeed in the thirty-day period. If you also have mild food intolerances, the process of elimination can be helpful in figuring out what food isn’t agreeing with you.

What are the downfalls?

While it might do the body wonders over the thirty-day period, it’s a difficult diet to follow. Doing more than 30 days will be unsustainable for most people. If you’re looking for a quick reset, Whole30 is great, however if you’re looking for a lifestyle change that is long-term and sustainable, Whole30 may not be the diet for you.


Mediterranean Diet

The Mediterranean diet focuses on the traditional eating habits of people from countries bordering the Mediterranean Sea (France, Spain, Italy and Greece). As the diet varies between regions and countries, there is no definitive list of foods one must absolutely avoid like other diets on this list. The diet promotes eating foods including; lots of vegetables, lots of fruits, legumes, nuts, beans, cereals, grains, fish and olive oil. It promotes a lower intake of foods including meat, dairy and saturated fats. According to the NHS, the diet is linked with good health benefits, one being a healthier heart.

Who is it good for?

The Mediterranean diet is good for anybody who is looking to improve their health in a very sustainable way. The pounds may not come flying off, but there are proven long-term health benefits from this diet and it could improve your relationship with food. It’s also easy to follow and you won’t feel left out while eating out and socialising. juan-gomez-685967-unsplash

What are the downfalls?

You can still be overweight whilst sticking to the Mediterranean diet as you have to combine this diet with a calorie deficit in order to lose weight. Don’t expect the weight to drop off if you are still eating large volumes of foods.


5:2 Diet

The 5:2 diet involves restricting your calorie consumption to 25% of your calorie needs 2 days a week and eating a normal diet the rest of the week. This means you’re consuming less calories over the week, so you should lose weight. By following this diet, you are fasting for two days a week and you can split the fast days up or do them in a row. The ‘fasting’ word might worry you, however you never go a day without actually eating food. Depending on your height, weight and gender, the average limit for fasting days is between 500 and 600 calories. On a typical fast day, it’s suggested you avoid calorically dense foods and stick to fruits, vegetables, soups, and small portions of meats, fish or eggs. Dieters are encouraged to avoid processed carbohydrates during their fasting days.

Who is it good for?

The 5:2 diet is good for overweight people who have issues sticking to a daily calorie deficit in order to lose weight.

What are the downfalls?

If you are significantly overeating the rest of the week, you may not see any results. You will still have to cut down if you have a particularly unhealthy diet. On the other hand, if you’re not eating enough the rest of the week, the 2 fasting days can be extremely difficult. If you are an athletic person who trains, fasting days could be very draining.


Keto Diet

This is very popular and is increasingly becoming more mainstream in 2019. The Ketogenic diet is a high fat, low carbohydrate diet which is believed to help you burn fat more effectively. ‘Keto’ refers to the state of ketosis your body goes into when following the eating plan.charles-464970-unsplash Ketosis is a metabolic state where your body burns fat instead of carbohydrates for fuel. This is said to cause rapid and substantial weight loss.

The Keto diet promotes eating foods including:

  • Meat (red meat, steak, ham, sausage, bacon, chicken and turkey)
  • Fatty fish (salmon, trout, tuna and mackerel)
  • Eggs
  • Butter and cream (grass-fed)
  • Cheese (cheddar, goat, cream, blue or mozzarella)
  • Nuts and seeds
  • Healthy oils (extra virgin olive oil, coconut oil and avocado oil)
  • Avocados
  • Low-carb veggies (greens, tomatoes, onions, peppers)
  • Condiments (salt, pepper and other healthy herbs and spices)

 The foods to avoid are:

  • Sugary foods
  • Grains or starches (wheat-based products, rice, pasta, cereal, etc)
  • Fruit (all fruit, except small portions of berries)
  • Beans or legumes (peas, kidney beans, lentils, chickpeas)
  • Root vegetables and tubers (potatoes, sweet potatoes, carrots, parsnips)
  • Low-fat or diet products
  • Some condiments or sauces (These often contain sugar and unhealthy fat)
  • Unhealthy fats (processed vegetable oils and mayonnaise)
  • Alcohol
  • Sugar-free diet foods

Who is it good for?

The keto diet is good for people who want to lose weight. There are some studies that suggest it can also help with disease prevention.

What are the downfalls?

It can be difficult for the liver to release ketone bodies – eating too much protein or carbohydrates can interfere with ketosis. The diet is also high in fat which can effect your cholesterol, liver and kidneys.


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