U.S. News & World Report ranked the keto diet at the very bottom of their list of the best and worst diets of 2018. A panel of 25 nationally recognized experts, including Registered Dietitians, Professors, and Clinicians, looked at 40 diets and evaluated their nutritional completeness, ability to produce short-term and long-term weight loss, how easy it is to follow, its safety and potential for preventing and managing diabetes and heart disease. While keto ranked the worst, the DASH diet and Mediterranean diet ranked the best. Keep reading for more info on these diets.
What the expert says: ‘Like with atkins, you will lose weight quickly. The ketogenic diet is used in medicine, but under strict supervision and for set periods of time, so with appropriate support it can be safe in the short to medium term. The brain does use glucose as its fuel of choice, so ‘brain fog’ lethargy are common side effects. You’ll known when your body is running off ketones by your breath – it’s known as ‘keto breath’, and it’s bad. It also can affect your ability to exercise by due to a lack of quickly accessible energy.
I read in the news that the DASH diet was supposed to be THE top-rated diet by experts, so I took a closer look with this book. I was disturbed instead by recommendations of processed low fat cheeses, low fat yoplait yogurt (so much sugar and un-pronounceable ingredients I don't even understand why this was suggested), and sugar-free Jello. I prefer a whole-foods, plant-based, low processed approach - so this diet definitely isn't for me. I think I'll keep looking.
As both study groups acknowledge, additional research is needed to tease out any and all of the factors that may be producing the weight loss and decrease in HbA1c, says Dr. Gonzalez-Campoy, for example there may be other mechanisms of action that are helping these individuals to achieve weight loss, including changes in the gut microbiome, increased insulin sensitivity, enhanced leptin response, and decreased ghrelin levels, each of which contribute to weight loss.
The ketogenic diet is calculated by a dietitian for each child. Age, weight, activity levels, culture and food preferences all affect the meal plan. First, the energy requirements are set at 80–90% of the recommended daily amounts (RDA) for the child's age (the high-fat diet requires less energy to process than a typical high-carbohydrate diet). Highly active children or those with muscle spasticity require more calories than this; immobile children require less. The ketogenic ratio of the diet compares the weight of fat to the combined weight of carbohydrate and protein. This is typically 4:1, but children who are younger than 18 months, older than 12 years, or who are obese may be started on a 3:1 ratio. Fat is energy-rich, with 9 kcal/g (38 kJ/g) compared to 4 kcal/g (17 kJ/g) for carbohydrate or protein, so portions on the ketogenic diet are smaller than normal. The quantity of fat in the diet can be calculated from the overall energy requirements and the chosen ketogenic ratio. Next, the protein levels are set to allow for growth and body maintenance, and are around 1 g protein for each kg of body weight. Lastly, the amount of carbohydrate is set according to what allowance is left while maintaining the chosen ratio. Any carbohydrate in medications or supplements must be subtracted from this allowance. The total daily amount of fat, protein and carbohydrate is then evenly divided across the meals.
A 2012 CDC study found that the average adult consumes about 100 calories worth of alcohol daily, but favoring a glass of wine instead of beer or sugary cocktails can drastically reduce that figure and make your waistline slimmer. In addition to having fewer calories than most alcoholic beverages, red wine, in particular, is a good source of those waist-shrinking flavonoids that are also found in red fruits. Resveratrol, a particular flavonoid found in red wine, is believed to have heart health benefits because it helps prevent blood vessel damage and reduces your ‘bad cholesterol.’ Just remember to imbibe in moderation.
Eating out is possible on the DASH Diet, but proceed with caution. Restaurant meals are notoriously salty, oversized and fatty, so you’ll need to be conscientious if you dine out. NHLBI suggests avoiding salt by shunning pickled, cured or smoked items; limiting condiments; choosing fruits or vegetables instead of soup; and requesting the chef find other ways to season your meal. You can also drink alcohol moderately on the DASH Diet.
Due to the highly restrictive nature of the keto diet, it is not safe for certain populations, including pregnant or postpartum women, children or growing teenagers, or individuals with certain diseases. If you are considering this diet, it is important that you speak with your primary care physician first and work with a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist to make sure you are getting all of the essential nutrients your body needs to thrive.
In case you haven’t jumped on the keto train and are wondering what exactly all the hype is about, here you go: The diet is very high fat and (almost) no carb. The ratio of fat to carbs and protein is 4:1. The goal of the ketogenic diet is to burn fat for energy rather than carbohydrates, resulting in weight loss. And, advocates claim there are many benefits beyond the number on the scale going down.
In this meta-analysis, the researchers looked at the results from a total of 20 randomized controlled trials with more than 3,000 subjects, most of whom had type 2 diabetes.  Although the authors concluded that low-carbohydrate, low-GI, Mediterranean, and high-protein diets should all be considered as a dietary strategy for diabetes management, the low-carb diet proved itself as being superior in 6 of the 8 studies.
HCG, or Human Chorionic Gonadotropin, is a hormone produced during pregnancy by the placenta after implantation, and doctors sometimes prescribe it for fertility issues. But this hormone has also gained popularity as a weight-loss supplement — and using it as such can be dangerous. In fact, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) warns against purchasing over-the-counter hCG, as these supplement products are illegal. (34)
As always, I encourage you to speak to your own doctor about whether or not this diet may be right for you. And, if you decide to go for it, be sure to check in with your doctor regularly to make sure your body is responding well. Those patients who do respond well to the diet will be rewarded with less symptoms and may even be able to completely get off of their medications.
DASH=Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension. This originally began as a diet to address hypertension (high blood pressure). However, the diet was retooled to also address weight loss. All in all, the plan is pretty sensible to me. It does not have the absolutism of Atkins and is more flexible, even though it is from a similar perspective--high protein and low carbohydrates. This approach, in juxtaposition with the standard medical establishment view that accepts the following (page 5): "It was ...more
Both the Mediterranean and DASH diets are plant-focused diets, rich in fruits and vegetables, nuts, with low-fat and non-fat dairy, lean meats, fish, and poultry, mostly whole grains, and heart healthy fats. Perfect together. You fill up on delicious fruits and vegetables, paired up with protein-rich foods to quench your hunger. This makes a plan that is so easy to follow. Learn about the Mediterranean diet and the DASH diet plans and browse sample menus.
When you eat foods high in carbohydrates and fat, your body naturally produces glucose. Carbohydrates are the easiest thing for the body to process, and therefore it will use them first – resulting in the excess fats to be stored immediately. In turn, this causes weight gain and health problems that are associated with high fat, high carbohydrate diets (NOT keto).
The most effective diet for healthy weight loss just got better! THE DASH DIET WEIGHT LOSS SOLUTION turbocharges the DASH diet, ranked as the "Best Overall Diet" by US News & World Reports for 8 years in a row, with proven NIH research on DASH (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension) to create a program guaranteed to speed weight loss and boost metabolism.
What the diet advocate says: Controversial Canadian psychologist Jordan Peterson is a fan, crediting the diet for curing his daughter’s various ailments, from juvenile arthritis to depression. But it was popularised by Shawn Baker, author of the aptly titled ‘The Carnivore Diet’ – in which he describes the diet as ‘a revolutionary, paradigm-breaking nutritional strategy that takes contemporary dietary theory and dumps it on its head’.
In 1993 Oldways created the Mediterranean Diet Pyramid – in partnership with the Harvard School of Public Health and the WHO – as a healthier alternative to the USDA’s original food pyramid. Today, the Mediterranean Diet is more popular than ever, with new research every month documenting its beneﬁts, and chefs and home cooks alike embracing Mediterranean ingredients and ﬂavors. Starting at the base of the pyramid, you’ll ﬁnd:
Interested in following a more historical approach to eating? The Primal Blueprint is similar to the Paleo diet, which has roots in how our long-ago ancestors supposedly ate. This plan ditches grain, sugars, and processed foods while focusing on clean eating with plenty of protein (both animal- and plant-based), lots of vegetables, fruits, and healthy fats. The Primal Blueprint acknowledges other health factors too, advocating for lots of low-intensity activity, some high-intensity exercise, strength training, and plenty of sleep.
Speaking of standout breakfast foods, Greek yogurt is another option worthy of the spotlight thanks to its high-protein content. Per study in the journal Appetite, researchers from the University of Missouri compared the satiety effects of high-, moderate-, and low-protein yogurts on women aged 24-28, and found Greek yogurt, with the highest protein content, to have the greatest effect. What’s more? Probiotics in items such as yogurt and fermented foods, like pickles and sauerkraut, help good bacteria in the gut process food more efficiently. Hello, weight loss! If you want to get even more protein in your yogurt, check out Icelandic yogurts, which can have two to three more grams of protein per serving compared to Greek.
The following measurements were made every other week: anthropometric and vital sign measurements; urine testing for ketones; and assessment for hypoglycemic episodes and other symptomatic side effects. Weight was measured on a standardized digital scale while the participant was wearing light clothes and shoes were removed. Skinfold thickness was measured at 4 sites – the average of 2 measurements at each site was entered into an equation to calculate percent body fat . Waist circumference was measured at the midpoint between the inferior rib and the iliac crest using an inelastic tape; 2 measurements were averaged in the analysis. Blood pressure and heart rate were measured after the participant had been seated quietly without talking for 3 minutes. Certified laboratory technicians assessed urine ketones from a fresh specimen using the following semi-quantitative scale: none, trace (up to 0.9 mmol/L [5 mg/dL]), small (0.9–6.9 mmol/L [5–40 mg/dL]), moderate (6.9–13.8 mmol/L [40–80 mg/dL]), large80 (13.8–27.5 mmol/L [80–160 mg/dL]), large160 (>27.5 mmol/L [160 mg/dL]). Hypoglycemic episodes and symptomatic side effects were assessed by direct questioning of the participant and by self-administered questionnaires.
In the study, the researchers fed mice a ketogenic diet for several days and expected to find a favorable outcome — perhaps weight loss or another indication of improved health. Instead, they found that the liver began resisting insulin almost immediately and the mice were unable to regulate their blood sugar levels after only three days on the diet. (Insulin resistance, meaning that cells in the body don't respond to insulin, is a key characteristic of type 2 diabetes.)
– When eating the Mediterranean way, you’ll notice that we don’t eliminate any food groups. But we do rely more on vegetables, fruits, legumes and grains to supply more of what we eat. We also eat mostly lean proteins. So with that, if eating tempeh or other soy-based foods or if drinking green tea is something you enjoy, then that is up to you…and I would again encourage figuring that out with an RD or someone who can better assess your specific needs and advice you accordingly.
The DASH diet plan focus on increasing vegetables, fruits, whole grains, and legumes; choosing lean meats, low-fat dairy, nuts and healthy fats; and limiting added sugars, trans fats, added salt, and processed foods. Serving sizes from each food group are based on individual calorie needs (see below for a 1600-calorie plan), and you’ll likely find that the plan looks pretty close to the MyPlate plan, as well as another consistently rated “top diet,” the Mediterranean Diet. Here’s a breakdown of the recommended nutrients in a typical day and week on the DASH diet:
With the keto diet, your body converts fat, instead of sugar, into energy. The diet was created in 1924 as a treatment for epilepsy, but the effects of this eating pattern are also being studied for type 2 diabetes. The ketogenic diet may improve blood glucose (sugar) levels while also reducing the need for insulin. However, the diet does come with risks, so make sure to discuss it with your doctor before making drastic dietary changes.
Bueno NB, de Melo ISV, de Oliveira SL, da Rocha Ataide T; “Very-low-carbohydrate ketogenic diet v. low-fat diet for long-term weight loss: a meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials” (2013) British Journal of Nutrition 110(7): 1178-1187. Accessed 4/23/2018 https://www.cambridge.org/core/services/aop-cambridge-core/content/view/6FD9F975BAFF1D46F84C8BA9CE860783/S0007114513000548a.pdf/verylowcarbohydrate_ketogenic_diet_v_lowfat_diet_for_longterm_weight_loss_a_metaanalysis_of_randomised_controlled_trials.pdf
Cons: That same study on the perks of being a keto athlete also found those same dieters had a lower exercise economy (how efficiently you use oxygen while moving). And whereas pretty much every other diet offers flexibility in the macro range, eating a few too many grams of carbs or protein will knock your body out of ketosis, so you have to be pretty committed to see the perks of this one. Lastly, the low protein count required to stay in ketosis may be holding you back here: A study analysis in Nutrition, Metabolism, and Cardiovascular Diseases found upping protein on a keto diet by just 5% tripled fat loss.
The keto diet changes the way your body converts food into energy. Eating a lot of fat and very few carbs puts you in ketosis, a metabolic state where your body burns fat instead of carbs for fuel. When your body is unable to get glucose from carbs, your liver converts fatty acids from your diet into ketones, an alternative source of energy. Burning ketones in place of glucose reduces inflammation and spurs weight loss.