Jumping on the Diet Bandwagon


It’s that time of year. The beginning of a new year rolls around and everyone is standing around the water cooler at the office talking about which diet they are starting.

Rachel Wagner, MS, LD, a licensed dietitian at St. Elizabeth Physicians Weight Management Center tells us, “The latest diet trend always promises rapid weight loss, but the truth is, most people don’t keep the weight off after they stop the diet.”

Whether you are starting Keto, Pegan, Noom, or intermittent fasting, the key is to use that time to help you change your eating habits and develop a better relationship with food.

Rachel warns, “Trendy diets tend to have more negatives than positives. The positive effect is trendy diets can get people thinking about steps to improve their health.”

Is the Keto Diet Right for Me?

The Keto Diet, is a very low-carb, high-fat diet. It restricts carbohydrate intake and replaces it with fat. The reduction in carbs puts your body into a metabolic state called ketosis.

There is evidence this diet works well for some people. Ketosis can also lead to a decreased appetite, which helps with an overall restriction of calories. Eating fewer calories is really the only way to lose weight.

But, the diet can be very hard to follow and there is no cheating allowed. If you slip up and eat too many carbs, your body will go out of ketosis and you won’t see the benefits. You must also carefully plan your meals to ensure you have enough vitamins B and C, and fiber.

Is the Pegan Diet Right for Me?

The Pegan Diet, is a mixture of the paleo and the vegan diet. Your food is about 75% plant-based, mostly from vegetables and fruit, but also plant-based proteins and healthy fats (olive oil, nuts, seeds, and avocado).  The rest of the food comes from sustainably grown/harvested foods. No processed foods allowed. The diet also has you avoiding wheat, gluten, dairy, some legumes, and gluten-free grains. 

This diet requires a lot of planning, prepping, and cooking your own foods. Also added sugars are used as an occasional special treat.

Is Intermittent Fasting Right for Me?

Intermittent fasting, is a term for an eating pattern that cycles between periods of fasting and eating. There are two common forms—fasting for 16-18 hours a day or eating normally for 5 days and restricting to 500 calories for the remaining two days.

Like the Keto diet, this diet is supported by research because it sends your body into ketosis, which means you begin to burn fat. This is the easiest diet to follow and it can help you learn how to eat a balanced diet.

If you are accustomed to eating at specific times in the day, it can be tough to adjust to a period of fasting. But you have to hold yourself accountable to not eat only sugary foods.

Is a Web-based Accountability Program Right for Me?

There are countless web-based programs that focus on accountability, diet tracking and online support that may help you reach your goals.

Myfitnesspal is one of the most popular and you can access many features at no cost, including diet, weight and fitness tracking. To get access to all the program features, there is a fee. Myfitnesspal will also sync with your wearable fitness tracker to keep track of activity and steps. There are other programs similar to myfitnesspal, such as LoseIt, CalorieKing, and Diet.com.

Noom is a commercial, app-based weight loss program that includes health coaching. It requires you to log your food and exercise every day.  The focus of this program is a lifestyle change. Weight loss is slower but the end goal is to change the habits we have so we can keep weight off for good.  While there is a free trial period, this program does have a cost. 

The downside for trendy dieters—most fad diets do not work long term. They can create a yo-yo effect of weight loss and weight gain.

Wagner believes the only way to keep a healthy weight over the long term is to develop a healthy relationship with food. “You have to rethink how you think about food. It’s about feeding your body. Not feeding your soul.” If you need help keeping your weight goals on track, talk to your primary care physician or schedule an appointment at the St. Elizabeth Physicians Weight Management Center by calling (859) 212-4625.