Blog by-VICTORIA VEST
We all strive to live a healthier lifestyle-we all have some ideal physic in mind, some sort of fitness goal we ultimately want to reach. However, we also know it’s not necessarily all that simple. They say “abs are made in the kitchen,” but with all the diet plans out there these days who even knows what that ends up referring to anymore? What exactly am I even doing in the kitchen?? To clear up some of this confusion, let’s break down three common diet plans: keto, macro counting, and paleo. Hopefully, this will narrow down which one might be best for you!
I’m sure we’ve all seen on the cover of recent health magazines the “keto diet”. But what exactly is it? This diet is based on the idea of minimal carb and high fat intake. The increase in fats with minimal carbs forces the body to get its energy source from the fats. How does this work? Well, typically carbs in food are converted into glucose and sent all over the body including the brain. If we take away carbohydrates our body then goes into a state where our liver converts into ketone bodies and the ketones replace glucose for our main energy source. This is referred to as ketosis. So what is a major benefit of being on the keto diet? It has been shown to reduce insulin levels and blood sugar levels in addition to restricting carb intake.
There’s also the popular phrase “if it fits your macros” or seen the hashtag on a gym rat’s Instagram #IIFYM, but macro counting diet has been proven to not only work for those training to be the next Mr. Olympia. Macronutrients are the three categories of nutrient we get our energy from not just for exercise but for our everyday lives. These three energy sources consist of protein, carbs, and fats. This diet suggests your protein intake be from chicken, turkey, lean beef, and eggs; your carbs come from leafy greens, fruits, and grains; and fats from coconut oil, olive oil, avocado, and almonds. Macro counting consists of tracking your intake of these three within your daily caloric intake, ultimately resulting in making overall better food choices! For example, if we allotted ourselves to have 2,000 calorie day we couldn’t just eat 2,000 calories worth the hot Cheetos. We need proteins too! Counting your macros also offers nutritional benefits besides picking the right foods, such as portion control. And the best part about this diet plan is that its totally customizable to each individual! A typical macro diet would start at 2,000 calorie diet, 50% carbs, 25% protein, and 25% fats. Adjustments would be made to fit your age, activity levels, and ultimate goals. So what’s the best way to get started on a customized macro diet just for you? Research suggests seeking out a professional nutritionist or you can even use an online calculator or the very popular app “My Fitness Pal”.
Lastly, lets talk about the very popular Paleo diet. This diet is based of the idea that our bodies were meant to consume the same foods that were consumed during the Paleolithic era. These foods consist of lean meats, fruits, veggies, seeds, and nuts; essentially the foods the were hunted and gathered. This diet also restricts any foods that were brought about through farming such as dairy, legumes, and grains. The idea was that when the farming era began and brought these foods into our diet it created an imbalance in our bodies. This imbalance came from our bodies not being able to adapt to these new food items, also known as the “discordance hypothesis”. This hypothesis stated that the imbalance in our bodies from legumes, dairy, and grains lead to obesity, diabetes, and heart disease. So what foods are allowed/forbidden on the paleo diet? This diet suggests we eat fatty fish high in omega 3s, lean grass-fed beef, cage-free chicken and eggs, fruits and leafy greens. It forbids grains such as wheat, barley, and oats; legumes such as beans, peanuts, and peas; dairy products such as milk and butter; and lastly refined sugar and highly processed foods.
No matter which diet plan you decide is best for your lifestyle, it’s important that we minimize our intake of anything with a label! Labels indicate ingredients instead of whole foods. Whether you decide to stick to Keto, macro counting, paleo or any other plan, clean eating is the key. Eating whole foods with no added ingredients will lead to a longer life, lower your risk of heart disease, and prolong your ability to live a independent life.