Compare popular diets in one place with the help of a nutritionist – ABC News

Posted: February 9, 2020 at 6:44 pm

So, you've resolved to to get healthier. Maybe you want to lose weight, eat more nutritiously, or simply feel energised instead of sluggish.

But where do you start? Should you follow your friend who swears by their keto regime? Can you trust "scientific" claims about eating based on your blood type? Do you need to follow a diet at all?

To separate the (possibly gluten-free) wheat from the chaff, we've researched seven popular diets and made a handy guide for each. They've all been reviewed by Dr Rosemary Stanton, a public health nutritionist.

Here's a run-down of the diets we've profiled, from A to P, to help you get a handle on where they came from, whether they work and what you can and can't eat.

Thinking about trying a new diet? Before you do, read this advice from Dr Sandro Demaio

The philosophy behind this eating plan is that Western diets are too acidic and lead to acidic waste build-up in the body, wreaking havoc on our organs and leading to chronic disease.

Advocates claim that by eating 70 per cent alkaline foods and 30 per cent acidic foods, you'll create an environment in your body that is optimal for health and physical exercise.

Find out what foods are allowed in the alkaline diet and why experts are critical of its health claims.

Created by Dr Robert Atkins and popularised in the 1970s, this eating plan is based on the theory that if we limit our carbohydrate intake, our body will begin burning fat for energy.

There are four phases of the diet and sample menus feature protein-rich foods like meat, poultry, seafood, eggs and cheese, along with fats.

We've broken down the pros and cons but the majority of medical experts say the cons of Atkins outweigh the pros.

The blood type diet is based on the theory that the body interacts with foods differently according to your blood type.

It was developed in the mid-1990s by naturopath Peter D'Adamo who created specific diets for each blood type O, A, B, and AB that ranged from a Paleo-style eating plan to a low-fat vegetarian regime.

However scientific evidence does not support the claims of this diet.

The 5:2 diet became popular in 2012 after it featured in a documentary by BBC journalist Michael Mosley.

It advocates for people to fast on two non-consecutive days per week and eat a usual diet on the other five days. (On fasting days, women must limit their intake to 2,100 kilojoules and men to 2,500 kilojoules about one-quarter of the recommended intake for normal-weight adults.)

The jury is still out on the benefits of intermittent fasting, and it's unsuitable for many people.

You might be surprised to learn that the ketogenic or 'keto' diet was first developed in the 1920s to treat children with severe epilepsy who weren't responding to drugs.

To do the keto diet (and become ketotic), you need to limit your carbohydrate intake to around 10-20 grams a day says Monash University's head of dietetics, Helen Truby: "That's like half a slice of bread."

The keto diet is no silver bullet, and available research on the diet for weight loss is still limited.

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More food philosophy than a 'diet' as such, this eating plan doesn't cut out any major food groups.

Vegetables, seafood, and healthy fats (hello extra-virgin olive oil) feature in this diet, along with wine and occasional sweets. Though consumption of red meat is low.

The Mediterranean diet has been linked to improved heart health and reduced risk of diabetes. And, when coupled with portion control, can be an effective tool in weight management.

The Paleo or Paleolithic diet first appeared in the 1970s, but it's received renewed interest over the last few years.

It's based on a pre-agriculture approach to eating, which means meat, poultry, seafood, eggs, fruit and vegetables are in, while cereal grains (including wheat), dairy products and processed foods are out.

Experts say there are some useful messages in this diet, including the need to avoid salt, processed food and most types of alcohol. But there are health concerns about cutting out entire food groups, and eating too much of others.

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