In a current climate saturated with influencers giving diet and exercise advice alongside the popular desire to be healthy, look healthy, and do so in a healthy way, it can be hard to determine good advice from bad. We’ve all seen friends post about the newest apparently healthy boxed foods delivered straight to our door. Thus said, the majority of these influencers and we ourselves are not licensed dieticians nor physical trainers and in order to optimally attain the best advice we should not blindly follow that of amateurs and should consult professionals. Here are some pros and cons to popular diet programs and supplements.
Keto has been established as one of the most popular, difficult, and highly successful diets out there. Keto demands the replacement of carbs with fat calling for essentially no carb consumption. The Keto Diet aims to put the body in a metabolic state called “ketosis” which happens when fat fuels our bodies instead of sugars. When we ingest carbs, these carbs turn into sugars in the blood stream, raising blood sugar levels, and whatever isn’t used for energy is stored in our fat.
This diet is effective in making the body burn fat, however what are some dangerous effects of a little-to-no carb diet? When we cut out our body’s typical source for fuel this often leads to imminent fatigue, lethargy, exhaustion, and potentially flu-like symptoms in our body’s initial adaptation.
Another concern involves the long-term effects of the diet. When we cut out carbs for a long period of time, we are cutting out natural fuel and training our bodies away from utilizing carbs as fuel, in the same we trained our bodies to use fat for the same purpose. This will eventually slow down our ability to metabolize carbohydrates causing us to regain sometimes more of the fat we lost from the diet.
Takeaway: The Keto Diet can be a successful tool for quick weight-loss. Nutritionists recommend the diet for 30-90 days to prevent reduction in our body’s ability to metabolize carbohydrates. Ease into the diet to avoid initial extreme fatigue and lethargy.
The Paleo Diet brings us back to the hunter-gatherer age in terms of the foods allowed under this umbrella. This diet primarily involves lean meats, fish, fruits, vegetables, and nuts. The goal: to eliminate foods introduced by farming such as dairy, salt, legumes, processed foods, and grains. According to the hypothesis of the diet, eliminating such foods can help transition us away from obesity, heart disease, and diabetes. Why? Because the introduction of dairy, grains, and the aforementioned outpaced the body’s ability to adapt to their ingestion, in other words, too many new types of foods too quickly from what humans ate for millions of years.
This diet works as a great tool for healthy eating, heart health, and healthy weight loss/weight maintenance. It also calls for consistency and meal prep, which often helps with our day-to-day business. However, the long-term effects of withdrawing grains, legumes, and dairy has yet to be thoroughly observed. We rely on these for fiber, various nutrients, vitamin D, and calcium. Since the diet also restricts us to foods rich in saturated fats and protein we can potentially be more at risk to kidney and heart disease as well as different types of cancers.
Takeaway: The Paleo Diet provides a plan for healthy eating promoting foods we’ve been consuming for millions of years. However, no clinical studies have yet been conducted to ascertain the long-term hazards of the diet with a possible increased absence of fiber, essential nutrients, vitamin D, and calcium.
Pre-workout supplements range in variety and when used, deliver a surge of energy, motivation [and jitters] enabling a powerful workout with less fatigue. In a nutshell, pre-workout delivers harder and longer workouts, the goal for most active exercisers. However, adverse side-effects and dangers accompany pre-workouts, even when consumed moderately.
Pre-workouts consist of a hodge-podge of caffeine, creatine, amino acids, nutrients, and artificial sweeteners. Despite boosting athletic performance, nutritionists recommend being completely aware of our body’s intake of exactly how much of each ingredient we’re actually consuming. Especially when combined with other supplements, such as fat burners, which can contain high amounts of caffeine and many of the same components, our bodies essentially develop resistance to essential nutrients as they’re overloaded.
One of the least apparent side-effects of pre-workout is the inability to work out without it after having taken it. Becoming accustomed to the rush and the capability to train as enabled by the supplement can be difficult when absent from one’s workout ritual. Pre-workout often contains more than the daily-recommended dosage of most of its ingredients. Despite the brand, pre-workout has been linked to increased blood pressure, anxiety, impaired sleep, intestinal distress, and in severe cases, straight up cardiac arrest!
Takeaway: Be aware of the ingredients and how much consumption of each goes into a scoop of pre-workout. Although pre-workout is proven to successfully enhance exercise, the risks involved with such a workout may not be worth the benefits reaped.
Whey protein remains at the top of the list of supplements for many exercisers surpassing the idea of a trend. When we think of weightlifting, protein powder is almost synonymous with the thought of going to the gym. Why protein? Because protein aids to build and repair tissue acting as an important building block for muscles amongst other things. And what makes Whey, specifically, so popular? Primarily, Whey is a complete protein containing all 9 essential amino acids and a low lactose content.
Whey not only aids in the repair and growth of muscles, it has also successfully preserved lean muscle and been a catalyst for trimming body fat compared to its absence in a diet. It can also support cardiovascular health in helping lower blood pressure and LDL cholesterol.
No extreme or adverse side-effects and risks accompany its use though some exist. Those present include stomach pains, cramps, reduced appetite, headaches, fatigue, and nausea. When consumed in consistently high doses, Whey can additionally cause acne and as a natural ingredient in milk, those allergic to milk may also have an allergy to Whey.
Takeaway: Amongst the many supplements and diets available, Whey protein is ostensibly one of the safest with merely slight known side-effects and a multitude of health benefits. There’s a reason Whey has been such a popular product often surpassing the cycle of surfacing trends.
Safety in Health
Although the above outlines merely a few supplements and diets, we can establish a foundation of how to be healthy, look healthy, and do so in a healthy way. When it comes to exploring ways to be healthy, there are a lot of wrong answers. Moving forward how should we proceed when new trends and products surface? Some key principles to implement into our lives: consume everything in moderation, do some research and ascertain consumption of ingredients, consult a professional, and ultimately employ education into a foundation working toward healthy living.