Have you ever read about a diet for weight loss, jumped in head first, only to be disappointed by the results? You’re not alone. With a promise of “treating” you to quick results it’s no surprise that these diets have gained popularity! In most cases, trendy diets work initially, but are not sustainable long term due to the strict avoidance of certain foods and lack of flexibility. Two diets, the ketogenic diet and the gluten free diet, were both originally formulated for specific medical conditions but have recently gained popularity as methods for weight loss.
Keto: Also known as the ketogenic diet, this low carb/very high fat diet was originally prescribed to patients to treat epilepsy. When done correctly, your body enters “ketosis” and burns stored fat for energy, leading to weight loss.
- Treat: While followers of this diet are limited by the low carb restriction, high fat foods such as bacon and butter are encouraged along with plant based fats such as nuts, seeds, avocados and oils.
- Trick: True ketosis is difficult to achieve and maintain. Any weight loss achieved is not usually maintained after stopping the keto diet. Restricting carbohydrates can also lead to headaches, fatigue, nausea and lightheadedness.
Gluten Free: Following a gluten free diet is the only known treatment for the autoimmune disorder, celiac disease. By following this diet, you eliminate all sources of gluten, a protein found in wheat, barley and rye. Many people that follow a gluten free diet do experience some weight loss because of increased consumption of naturally gluten free foods such as fruits, vegetables, proteins and legumes.
- Treat: Gluten free products are readily available on restaurant menus and in grocery store shelves making it easy to identify “safe” products. And yes, bacon and ice cream are typically gluten free!
- Trick: Restricting entire subsets of food can lead to feelings of deprivation and gluten free versions of bread, bagels, pop tarts, cakes, donuts, etc. often contain additional sugar and lack the same protein as their counterparts.
As a registered dietitian I advocate that all foods fit and focus on moderation when giving advice about weight loss. Nutrition is highly individualized and what works for your neighbor, may not work for you. Be sure to consult with your physician or registered dietitian before starting any weight loss plan - but a good rule of thumb to follow is if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is!