Disclaimer: SportsGrub does not employ a licensed dietician and therefore is not a source of diet-based information. We do not make recommendations on diets. Instead, we work to provides student-athletes with healthy meals and empower students to learn more about how their diet affects their health.
It seems every year there is a new diet trend that sweeps across the nation. 2019 saw a meteoric rise in intermittent fasting and the keto diet. Every diet has its supporters as well as its critics. Some people even criticize diet trends overall as not providing longterm results. But in order to understand a diet, it is important to break down a diet and its potential pros and cons. Because none of these diets are endorsed by SportsGrub we are able to write an unbiased look at these recent diet trends.
The Keto Diet: Pros & Cons
The keto diet is short for ketogenic diet. Much like gluten-sensitivity dies, the keto diet was actually invented to treat specific digestive diseases. However, when news of its benefits spread, it became a new trendy diet that was claimed by many fitness professionals and dieting companies.
What Is The Keto Diet: The ketogenic diet focuses on forcing the body into a state of ketosis. Ketosis is the state where the body burns stored fat. In order to make the body enter ketosis, you work to limit carbohydrates through fasting and eating specific foods.
The Pros of the Keto Diet: Some studies that were published in the early 2000s showed that long-term users of the keto diet could reduce body mass, lower the levels of glucose in the blood, and increase the levels of “good cholesterol”. For these reasons, the Keto diet became very popular.
The Cons of the Keto Diet: There are many different keto diets and even more foods and grocery products that market themselves as being “keto”. At their core, the keto diet creates a ratio of 3 calories of fat for every 1 calorie of protein or carbohydrate. That ratio can be unattainable and hard to stick to long-term. Results may be unsustainable long term. Your body needs carbs, and purposefully removing carbs from your diet can be difficult. Many people who saw significant weight loss on the keto diet also reported that they saw the weight return when they got off the diet.
The Paleo Diet: Pros and Cons
Similar to the keto diet, the paleo diet focuses on restricting carb-intake. Paleo comes from the term Paleolithic. It bases its diet off anthropological studies of early cave-dwelling humans. The theory is that if humans could eat similar diets to the diets that our ancestors ate we would have healthier bodies.
The Pros of the Paleo Diet: Paleo focuses on eating foods that are high-protein and low-carb. Similar to keto, the paleo diet can put the body into a ketonic state where body fat is quickly burned. One of the core strengths of paleo is the choice to remove processed foods out of the diet.
The Cons of The Paleo Diet: Much like Keto, Paleo is not sustainable long-term and the results are often reported as not sustainable. Many critics point out that any diet that restricts necessary food groups is not as sustainable or healthy as a diet that focuses on portion control and balance.
Intermittent Fasting: Pros and Cons
Many proponents of intermittent fasting would argue that it is not a diet, but instead, it is an eating pattern. There are many forms of intermittent fasting. Some people argue that every day, users should start and stop eating at the same routine times. Other people argue that you should have on and off days which force your body to constantly adapt to the inconsistent nature of your diet.
The Pros of Intermittent Fasting: From a dietary standpoint, the real benefit of intermittent fasting is that it doesn’t limit specific food groups. Instead, it achieves the ketonic effect through fasting instead of through eliminating a core dietary need.
The Cons of Intermittent Fasting: Many people are quick to note that intermittent fasting is extremely inconvenient and hard to manage. Plus, there isn’t an exact agreement on what version is best. Others argue that it is not the fasting that is beneficial, but the fact that fasting actually forces people to consume fewer calories per day. If a person overeats between fasts, it would completely negate the benefit of the eating pattern.
As mentioned above, SportsGrub does not recommend a specific diet or eating plan. Instead, we would argue that the most important things to learn as a student are how to balance daily exercise with a healthy intake of calories. Portion control and a well-balanced diet have been proven to have longer-lasting effects. This is partially because we have studied those diets longer and the newer trendier diets have not had as much time to be researched. Overall, a healthy understanding of the different elements of food is vital for athletes and students. Learn more about health and nutrition from our monthly blog.