"Excuse me… is this meal zoned, paleo, vegan, gluten-free and keto; and will it fit my macros during my intermittent fasting window?"
I don’t know about you, but reading that sentence makes me go a little cross-eyed – and it reminds me of what it’s like to be in conversations about food and nutrition these days. All around, there’s “new” ways of eating popping up and you’ve probably got more than a couple of friends who seem to start a new diet every other week (or maybe that’s the seat you find yourself in!).
But what does it all mean?
In the sections below, you’ll find details on some of the latest and greatest food trends floating around the interwebs and health circles. You’ll also find that I do not tell you which one is best. Why? Well, to be frank, none of them are better than the other. How your body responds and how consistent you are with your nutrition is what truly makes a difference.
A note about nutrient variety:
While I don’t recommend rotating nutrition styles weekly, there is value in creating variety in how we eat to keep our bodies nourished. Researchers have found that, compared to people who stick to the same foods, those who consumed a variety of foods were 21% less likely to develop metabolic syndrome, as well had a lower likelihood to develop multiple health conditions such as high blood pressure, high blood sugar and increased body fat which increase chances of developing heart disease and diabetes. Nutrient variety also promotes bacterial diversity in your gut and this diversity can be crucial in maintaining a healthy weight while reducing chances of several health problems.
What’s that mean? No matter what nutritional plan you choose – make sure to change things up from time-to-time!
With that in mind, let’s explore.
Counting macros (short for macronutrients) goes a step further than your usual calorie counting to include specific goals for eating a certain amount of protein, carbohydrates, and fat each day. While you may be able to make those donuts fit, you’ll find very quickly that whole foods give you more options and more actual food to consume than typical processed food options. This does mean more time on the front end to weigh and measure food, but it also creates more awareness around portion sizes, food quality, and amounts consumed than other styles of eating. Click here for more information on counting macros.
The vegan diet is a more restrictive vegetarian diet. Veganism excludes meat, eggs, dairy products, and all animal derived products such as honey and some wines. The diet consists of grains, nuts, beans, legumes, vegetables and fruits. These things can be combined in many different ways to create various meals to prevent boredom. It’s more work, but not impossible, to reach protein needs and goals through veganism. Find out more about the vegan diet here.
Keto is short for Ketogenic diet and it simply means an extremely low carb, low protein, high fat diet. As your body shifts into a state of ketosis, which is a type of metabolic state, your liver turns fat into ketones to provide energy to your brain and your body begins to use fat for energy, rather than glycogen (which you would use in a higher carb diet). For a deeper dive, jump over to my post Keto Diet – Is It For You? from a couple months ago in the Health & Fitness channel of the #thrivetoday app.
The raw food diet is usually plant-based and consists of consuming foods that have never been heated over 104-118 degrees Fahrenheit. Most raw food diets are made primarily of fruits, vegetables, nuts and seeds. Grains and legumes are usually permitted as well, but typically need to be soaked or sprouted prior to eating. Check out the scoop on the raw foods diet here.
The carnivore diet is exactly what it sounds like – eating entirely meat and animal products. The goal is zero carbs – yes, you read that right. Zero. You can consume endless amounts of meat, fish, eggs, animal organs, and minimal dairy products (mainly hard cheeses and butter). The complete elimination of carbs does lead to the elimination of foods like cakes, cookies, and chips – but the highly restrictive nature of this particular way of eating does require a high level of commitment. Find more information of the carnivore diet here.
Intuitive eating is what I like to call “the non-dieters nutrition plan”. It refers to mindful eating practices and body awareness around things such as hunger and fullness cues. There are practices (or principles) tied in to intuitive eating that eliminate the need for a guideline or traditional approach around when and what to eat. Find out more about the specific intuitive eating habits here.
There are many nutrition styles to choose from to keep nutrient variety high and meal boredom low. As for any major body overhauls, though, we always recommend checking with your doctor before making any drastic changes.
Have you tried any of these nutrition trends? Do any spark your interest? We’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments!
This article is a part of our #thrivetoday Fitness Challenge. Visit our website to subscribe to email updates and be a part of future challenges!
In addition to her work as an MJST Success Coach, Christina Schroeder has been actively coaching in the fitness and wellness community for 7 years. Her certifications include: CrossFit Level 1, CrossFit Level 2, Stages Cycling, and Precision Nutrition Level 1. She'll also be beginning her Precision Level 2 certification training in the near future. She is based out of Omaha working for Mark Jewell Speaking & Training and Nerve Health and Fitness.
Note: Please work with your physician or other qualified health professional when addressing your unique fitness, nutritional and health needs. Have questions? Check out the fine print here.