7 Popular "Diets" Explained

I hate the word “diet.”

It sets an unrealistic expectation of how to live your life and sets you up for failure when you don’t follow the strict “rules” of a diet. While there are many different ways of eating, I’m going to give you the highlights of the more popular ways of eating so you can understand them in plain speak and  better navigate the recent trends in bite size pieces (see what I did there).

Note: there are so many ways of eating, this list is not completely inclusive. I’m merely pointing out the ones I had the hardest time navigating when I changed my eating habits.

  1. Ketogenic (“keto” for short)

    • Based on the process of ketosis where the body uses fat (ketones) for fuel instead of carbs (glucose). Your food intake should be 80% or more of fat, with the other 20% from lower carb veggies and protein.

    • You or your practitioner should be monitoring your ketone level as you’ll start producing glucogen that helps produce ketones and tells your body to start burning fat (ie. fast weight loss)

    • This way of eating should be temporary and be done intermittently as it’s difficult to maintain long term.

  2. Paleo

    • Primal diet, “if your ancestors didn’t eat it then it’s not included.”

    • Lots of meat, fish, and veggies, and healthy fats while eliminating grains, legumes and fruit.

    • This is more of a whole foods approach.

  3. Vegan

    • Omit all animal products and by-products.

    • The key is to diversify your food and get a lot of variety in terms of nutrients.

    • Watch your B12 levels as they may go down when you’re eating this way.

  4. Vegetarian

    • Plants on plants on plants type of approach.

    • Excludes meat, poultry, and fish but may consume dairy products, eggs, and healthy fats.

    • Like Vegans, the key is to diversify your food and get a lot of variety in terms of nutrients.

  5. Carnivore

    • Diet consisting of only animal products. Ie. red meat, poultry, eggs, duck fat for cooking (no olive oil or plant based oil), etc.

    • Not the same as keto as this diet doesn’t focus on how much fat you’re eating vs the amount of protein and this is a “no carb” diet vs keto you can have minimal carbs.

    • Ensure you’re eating grass fed and pasture raised animal products to avoid the contaminants in processed meats.

  6. Whole 30

    • An elimination-style diet that removes soy, dairy, grains, alcohol, legumes, and added sugars for 30 days straight.

    • At its’ core it’s designed to remove specific food groups and then reintroduce them after a certain time period to determine how you react to those specific food groups.

    • No calorie counting or weighing yourself, the goal is focus on how you feel.

    • Keep in mind that Whole 30 is always paleo, but paleo isn’t always Whole 30 as there are different food variations (like protein bars and desserts) that aren’t Whole 30.

  7. Pescetarian

    • Consists of all types of fish and shellfish, and includes vegetables, fruits, nuts, grains, and beans.

    • Red meat, poultry, or other land animals are eliminated.

Have you tried these ways of eating? What was your experience like?