Optimize your wellbeing: Exploring the benefits and drawbacks of popular diets

By Ghadeer Ghloum

KUWAIT: Diets have become increasingly popular in recent years, with many individuals turning to various types of meal plans and restrictions in an effort to achieve their health goals. A well-balanced diet consisting of the right proportion of carbohydrates, proteins, vitamins, minerals and fats is necessary for good nutrition. Proper nutrition provides energy to the body, supports the immune system and helps repair damaged cells. It also helps in the prevention of chronic diseases such as obesity, diabetes, heart diseases and cancer.

Consuming a healthy diet can also promote mental health by improving mood, cognitive function and reducing stress. However, the decision to follow a diet is not one to be taken lightly, as there are both benefits and drawbacks to consider. While following a diet can result in weight loss, improved digestion and increased energy, it may also lead to restrictive eating habits and nutritional deficiencies. US Licensed Clinical Nutritionist Noor S Al-Askar shared with Kuwait Times her opinions on three of the most popular diet examples that may help one make a more informed choice about whether or not to adopt a particular meal plan.

US Licensed Clinical Nutritionist Noor S Al-Askar

Askar says a healthy diet isn’t about horrible-tasting “specific” food; on the contrary it is about moderation and variety and nourishing your body from within. Generally, good nutrition means eating the correct types of food (variety) in the right amounts (moderation) at the right time of day (timing) to optimize your overall health and wellbeing during the days, months and years of your life. Askar also added her thoughts on a few examples of diets that may boost one’s mental and physical health. The Vegetarian Diet According to Askar, the vegetarian diet is a diet that excludes meat, poultry and fish.

It is rich in fruits, vegetables, legumes, whole grains and nuts. This diet is linked to several health benefits, such as reducing the risk of cardiovascular disease, obesity and some types of cancer. Vegetarian diets are also high in fiber, vitamins and minerals, which are essential for good health. However, vegetarians may have difficulty getting enough protein, vitamin B12, iron and zinc, which are mostly found in animal products. Additionally, some vegetarian diets may be high in simple carbohydrates, added sugars and processed foods, which can have adverse health effects.

The Paleo Diet Askar shed light on the paleo diet, saying it is a diet that is based on the eating habits of our ancestors during the Paleolithic era. This diet emphasizes whole foods such as meat, fish, fruits, vegetables, nuts and seeds, and excludes processed foods, grains and dairy. Paleo has been linked to several health benefits, such as weight loss, improved blood sugar control and reduced inflammation. However, the paleo diet may be deficient in some essential nutrients such as calcium, vitamin D and fiber, which are mostly found in dairy and grains. Additionally, the paleo diet may be high in saturated fat, which can increase the risk of heart disease if not followed correctly.

The Keto Diet Askar said the keto diet is a high-fat, low-carbohydrate diet that aims to put the body into a state of ketosis, where it burns fat for energy instead of carbohydrates. The keto diet has been linked to several health benefits, such as weight loss, improved blood sugar control and reduced inflammation. However, the keto diet may be deficient in some essential nutrients such as fiber, vitamin C and potassium, which are mostly found in fruits and vegetables. Additionally, the keto diet can have adverse health effects such as constipation, bad breath and nutrient deficiencies.

Kuwait Times also asked Askar about such diets’ impact on the environment, which is a growing concern due to the continuing increase in the world’s population, with rising demand for food consequently. According to Askar, the environmental impact of these diets varies. “The vegetarian diet is considered to have the lowest environmental impact, as it requires fewer resources such as land, water and energy to produce. On the other hand, the paleo and keto diets require more resources to produce, as they rely heavily on animal products,” she said.

“As studies have shown, the production of animal products has been linked to greenhouse gas emissions, deforestation and water pollution. Therefore, adopting a vegetarian diet may have a more positive impact on the environment. There is a world of diets out there such as intermittent fasting, the Mediterranean diet, the anti-inflammatory diet and the antiaging diet to name a few. Each of these diets has its own list of benefits for your health depending on which phase of life you’re at, what your goals are and what you are looking to achieve,” Askar explained.

The post Optimize your wellbeing: Exploring the benefits and drawbacks of popular diets appeared first on Kuwait Times.

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