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A Positively Sustainable Diet?

Diets such as calorie centred meal replacements, nutrient focused and the intermittent fasting method are some of many styles that have been used interchangeably to achieve weight loss. These are quite challenging to follow long term.

Is it truly possible to go without or have very limited amounts of bread, pasta or grains life-long and be honestly contented? Or go through many hours of daytime fasting on a long term basis? Though these restrictive diets are valued for their ability to act as a quick fix, it is not always possible to do them life-long and this can set the scene for frustration from weight regains and a truck load of clinical issues like deficiencies and accelerated chronic conditions as not one diet fits all and not all diet styles are practical for long term use.

Take the keto diet for example. We hear the raves about how effective it is for weight loss and managing blood glucose levels in non-insulin dependent Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus (NIDDM); how easy a diet it is to follow and how good the diet has made them feel. This medical therapeutic diet is made up of high amounts of fat, an adequate amount of protein and low carbohydrate and calories. This diet style was originally used to management seizures with the use of ketones which is the product of a high fat diet. The value of this is of course debatable. Later, over time, various versions of the keto diet crept up all over the internet.

One version used butter, oil and cream as the main fat source with protein from red meat, fish and eggs and carbohydrate from fruit and vegetables. Another version used refined coconut oil as the chief source of fat; with more carbohydrate allowance than other versions and the most popular version I have recently found which is the carbohydrate restricted version with no limitations on fat and protein intake and little regard for the quality of dietary fat and protein and their impact on health.

As promising a diet style may seem, some questions that one should be asking are:

. Will this diet be suitable for me?

. Will this diet impact me negatively?

. Will I have nutrient deficiencies ?

. Will this diet affect risk factors adversely ?

. Will this diet truly help me ?

. Will this diet be sustainable long term?

Always question the credibility of a diet and look at the scientific evidence available before you commence it. What helped a family member, a friend or a stranger on the internet may not necessarily help you. Be accurately informed. Do not rely on the testimonials of others who have done the diet. Their experience is subject to their individual lifestyles and health conditions. Ask a dietitian who specialises in the area.

A diet should be practical not difficult, beneficial not detrimental and sustainable long term and not a quick fix. Quick fixes do not always benefit everyone and it is definitely not value for money.

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