New Beginnings- Diets

Different diets to follow for a healthier you

Kianna Glenn

Over the last few generations, there has been a transformation in the way society addresses the idea of food and dieting. In the last two decades, a plethora of fad-diets have been brought to fame. These food trends are promoted by celebrities and influencers, however, they are often dissected and condemned by nutritionists a short time after. Many of the notorious diets turn out to be harmful or ineffective under close review.

Before making a decision, it’s important to consider the purpose of a diet. Good reasons for starting include promoting a healthy lifestyle, weight loss, weight gain, weight maintenance, muscle growth and definition, better athletic performance, and medical adherence. It’s also important to acknowledge the concept of dieting as simply a thorough understanding of your food consumption to promote nutritional stability. Dieting, rather than being a burden or strain, should make you feel accomplished and be effective long-term. Dieting consists of multiple trial-and errors. Just like any new lifestyle transformation, it takes time, patience, discipline, and effort.

It’s also important to tackle a new diet with baby-steps because a sudden shift in lifestyle -especially one that includes restriction and regulation- can be extremely challenging. This could mean gradually cutting out bad food habits for a period of time (such as abstaining from potato chips for one week, then additionally refraining from all fried foods the next).

It’s crucial to understand personal habits, addictions, and weaknesses before jumping into any diet. Take time to self-reflect and thoroughly interpret exactly what types of foods are the least and most beneficial. Do some research,ask a nutrition-savvy friend for help. Also, it may be helpful to consult with a nutritionist, dietician, or doctor for those looking for a more prominent shift in their lifestyle.


*These will be turned into an infographic-type table


  1. The Ketogenic Diet

The Ketogenic (Keto) Diet has undoubtedly taken 2018 by storm. It has lately gained considerable attention from celebrities and nutritionists as a weight-loss strategy. When the body has no carbs to break down into glucose into fuel, it moves to a state called ketosis. During this, the liver converts the fat into ketone bodies, the primary energy source.

Eats: red meat, fatty fish, poultry, eggs, butter, cream, cheese, yogurt, nuts, oils, low-carb veggies

Avoid: pastas, grains, refined sugar, root vegetables, high-carb fruit

Effects: has been proven to be effective for rapid weight loss; including possible muscle loss; increase insulin sensitivity (for diabetics); low blood sugar

Disclaimer: Some doctors believe that the Keto diet is only necessary for extreme cases, such as obesity, diabetes, epilepsy, or if specifically directed by a doctor. It is also believed that this diet should only be used for brief periods of time, as ridding yourself of carbohydrates for a long time can be harmful.



2) The Mediterranean Diet

The Mediterranean Diet focuses on staple foods eaten by the 1600 Greeks, Italians, and indigenous peoples around the Mediterranean Sea. It revolves around the intake of protein, healthy fats, complex carbs, vitamin-, mineral-, and fiber-rich foods, and vegetables.

Object: This diet is very flexible and lenient, and its objective is simple: eat nutrient-rich foods, carbs, fat, protein, and all. Avoid what lacks nutrition.

Eats: fresh veggies & fruit, whole grains, beans, nuts, fish, chicken, pasta, *moderately eat red meat, cheese, yogurt, eggs

Avoid: processed, packaged foods, refined sugar, refined grains, oils

Effects: moderate weight loss, typical weight maintenance, or weight gain (depending on objective) ; good for muscle building; good for heart health



3) Vegetarianism

Vegetarianism is one of the most controversial diets, and there are many different reasons for pursuing this regime. Whether it may be for religious convictions, health reasons, or concerns for animal welfare, the restrictions are much more simple.

The two main branches of vegetarianism are lacto-ovo-vegetarianism, and veganism.

*Lacto-ovo-vegetarianism* Object: To avoid animal flesh or meat with the exception of eggs. The diet promotes the sole consumption of all non-meat food products.

Eats: fruits, vegetables, beans, nuts, complex carbohydrates, beans, legumes, dairy products, eggs

Avoid: fish, poultry, meat

Effects: Long term effects are not clearly visible, although is may have been associated with reduced risk for chronic diseases

Disclaimer: The diet itself is broad enough that it’s still easy to consume refined sugar, saturated fats, and unhealthy foods that still follow the guidelines of no meat. Participants should be conscious of portion sizes and nutrients along with avoiding meat.

*Veganism* Object: To avoid animal flesh in any way, shape, or form, along with the by-products of animals including dairy and eggs.

Eats: ^, minus dairy products and eggs

Avoid: poultry, meat, fish, eggs, dairy products

Effects: ^

Disclaimer: ^

-other forms of this diet include pescetarianism, ovo-vegetarianism, lacto-vegetarianism



4) Clean Eating

This diet is the fundamental base of all others. Usually when people claim they are “dieting,” this is what they’re subconsciously referring to. This is a personal recommendation for beginners, and people who’s simple objective is to just “be healthier.” It’s broad, lenient, and easily manipulated to work around personal events. Object: It has a non-strict, straightforward purpose of balancing a high amount of nutritious foods, a moderate amount of less-nutritious foods, and a minimal amount of unhealthy food

Eats: it’s up to you! Try new recipes and experiment with nutritional foods to make meals you enjoy, and will not regret

Avoid: consumption of refined sugars, refined grains, trans and saturated fats, should be kept at the bare minimum

Effects: a lifestyle that you feel you have more control over; weight loss, weight gain, or weight maintenance, depending on how you diet

Disclaimer: with great power comes great responsibility. It’s easier to abuse the rules with less strict guidelines, so it’s important to stay focused on your pre-determined goals and eat substantially, but not over-eat.




The most important thing to remember is that YOU are in charge. Maybe you need to manipulate a meal plan so it works for you, your schedule, your preferences, and personal needs. Your diet should be effective, and benefit you both physically and mentally. Dieting is not necessarily about restricting the things that you enjoy, and it’s not about eating lettuce for every meal. It’s about exploring new, healthier options to replace old habits, and it’s about finding a happy balance of eating things that your body loves, and things that your mind loves. Acknowledgement of unhealthy patterns, and the determination to change is the first step to molding a beautiful, nutritious lifestyle that will positively affect your future.





  • Download meal-planning apps to help you track your nutrition and calories. Personal recommendations are Lifesum and MyPlate. *calorie counting is not necessary for everyone; only do it if it will help you work towards your goals
  • Consult with friends with similar dietary interests and goals as you, exchange recipes, experiences, and advice for first-hand judgment on food matters from people you trust/respect
  • Follow Instagram accounts that post recipes, food tips, and helpful nutrition facts. Personal recommendations are @mealplans, @healthy_foodies, and @healthyfoodadvice.
  • Keep a food diary, to a) track your meals as you eat them, or b) pre-plan your meals before each day/week. Doing this will make you more aware of your food consumption and leave you more likely to make better choices with your food.



  • Avoid diets that promote fasting, going periods of time without eating (Intermittent Fasting Diet, 5:2 Diet)
  • Avoid diets that rule out/ dangerously restrict intake entire food groups (besides vegetarianism, if that’s right for you)
  • Avoid diets that only include one food group or meal (Cabbage Soup Diet, Grapefruit Diet)
  • Avoid supplement/pill based diets
  • Avoid “cheat days,” where you dedicate one day to binging on unhealthy food. Instead, plan ahead for a moderate amount of cheat snacks throughout the week to please cravings, and not ruin progress made through the period