I love nutrition. I have tried just about everything under the sun because I don’t feel comfortable telling someone to eat a certain way without first testing it out. It has been really interesting to watch a new “diet” be hailed as the new best thing eveyr year or two and the coolest part is seeing people have results with the new thing because it actually works. Now I know a lot of people have success with buying in wholesale to this new movement and if that helps you to commit to eating healthy (and usually different) then go for the next new thing! If you are curious about why the next new thing works, I will lay out the changes that lead to results and you can bypass the next new thing and just do these.
The first thing the new big diet trend does is it limits or cuts sugar. You can debate a ton of different aspects of nutrition but sugar isn’t really one of them. All of the diet trends will cut sugar in different ways – usually by making anything high in sugar not fit into its restrictions. If you eat sugar on Keto, it will blow you past the ketosis carb number, paleo and Whole 30 strictly avoid it, and things like macros and Atkins allow it in theory but it will blow up your numbers for the day and leave you eating chicken and veggies for every other meal (and a ton of it).
The next thing that every trend has is some form of calorie awareness. This one is super interesting because a lot of these “diets” do it in a less obvious way than macros (where you up straight count your carbs, protein, and fat). Keto does it by comprising the diet of mostly protein and fat which are super filling and hard to overeat. Paleo and Whole 30 do it by only allowing food that are very nutrient dense and filling – especially with a focus on vegetables. While Intermittent fasting does it simply by closing down your eating window making it hard to eat the same amount of calories you ate in a full day of eating.
The next diet trend always has an emphasis on eating vegetables. Eating vegetables is super important for any healthy way of eating mainly because they are filling. They have a ton of other benefits (micronutrients, may have properties to help fight off cancer, fiber) but the short term benefit is that they make you feel full without the extra calories (and sugar so they check the two boxes above as well). Even keto which avoids some vegetables that are high in carbs has a list of keto friendly vegetables that should be a centerpiece of your diet.
The last thing every diet trend has is a focus on protein. Each new diet trend has a focus on eating more protein than the average person does in a day. This is because the protein is filling and it is also the building blocks of the human body – we need protein to build and repair tissue, make our hormones, and build strong bodies. A very basic way to think about macro nutrients (very basic) is that we should be eating enough carb/fat to fuel our bodies for the day and enough protein to rebuild. If we under eat protein, then carbs and fat are a poor replacement for protein. Also, if we undereat carbs and fat then protein becomes an energy source (and does a subpar job at that).
So if you want to hop on the keto train, go for it! Just make sure you are hitting these 4 points so you are on a successful keto journey. If you like some other form of nutrition better, then make sure you are limiting sugar, have calorie awareness, are eating vegetables, and focusing on protein. If you hit those 4 things, you will be successful.