Dieting is the only game where you win when you lose.
Chances are, you’ve come across some information about popular diet trends recently. Perhaps you have a friend who achieved dramatic weight loss through keto or a colleague who swears by intermittent fasting. In fact, today it seems nearly impossible to avoid talk about diet trends. After all, many of us share the common goal of trying to eat better, be healthier, and lose or control our weight. The trouble is that diet fads aren’t the solution.
For most of us, trending diets are unsustainable. They impose restrictions which are difficult to manage over the long-term, and when we fall off the wagon, it feels easier to simply resume our normal patterns. To produce lasting results, we therefore need to make lasting changes – in particular, ones that are sustainable for the long haul.
Cenegenics believes in a different approach to eating. Nutrition, when implemented properly, has the power to truly nourish your body, optimize its functioning, and even decrease your risk for serious disease. There’s no “quick fix” when it comes to eating well; instead, it requires a lifelong approach to making wise dietary choices.
Of course, it can still be overwhelming to know where to start. And, since many fad diets come with rigorous instructions to follow (not to mention the promise of remarkable results), it may be tempting to give them a try. After all, set-in-stone restrictions and allowances may be tempting to someone who has had little nutritional guidance in the past. Yet, before you jump in and try one of the following diet trends, here’s what you should know first.
The paleo diet gets its name from the premise that followers should restrict their intake to foods that would have been consumed during the Paleolithic era – some 2.5 million to 10,000 years ago. The goal is to cut out the weight loss mindset and think more along the lines of aid in appetite management.
Yet, this specific approach automatically takes foods that would be healthy when consumed as part of a balanced diet, including dairy and legumes, out of the equation. The paleo diet, which also goes by the names hunter-gatherer, caveman, or Stone Age diet, prioritizes fish, lean meat, fruit, vegetables, nuts, and seeds. 
Yet, the goal of eating as our ancestors did raises a number of concerns. For one, genetic research tells us that humans have evolved and are now better able to break down the very foods the diet forbids, including dietary starches. Moreover, some archaeological research suggests that humans did in fact consume wild grains up to 30,000 years ago, even before farming existed.
According to the Paleo way of thinking, whole grains in particular can be excellent sources of fiber. Dairy, which is also excluded, acts as a good source of protein and calcium. Most importantly, there is no long-term clinical evidence which examines the benefits or possible risks of the Paleo diet, and experts believe a healthy diet rich in fruits and vegetables can yield the same results it promises – without having to eliminate key sources of nutrients. 
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Established in the 1960s by cardiologist Robert C. Atkins, the Atkins Diet encourages the consumption of protein and fats while restricting carbohydrates. It doesn’t mandate portion control, with the exception of carbs. In doing so, it promises burning of the body’s fat stores. Carb restriction takes place across multiple phases. In the first phase, the Atkins Diet claims up to 15 pounds of weight loss can be achieved. However, research suggests that the diet is no more effective than other approaches, and more importantly, most individuals regain any weight they lose. 
The 2000s’ answer to the Atkins diet, the keto diet also restricts carbs. Yet, the difference is that keto focuses more heavily on fat than protein. It restricts carbohydrate consumption to 20 to 50 grams per day (one banana alone has 27 grams, to put it into perspective), and encourages consumption of nuts, seeds, avocados, and olive oil. In doing so, it prompts the body to use ketone bodies, fuel produced by the liver from stored fat, as a source of energy, instead of glucose.
Yet, the keto diet encourages high amounts saturated fats, which are linked to heart disease when consumed in excess. By restricting carb-rich fruits and vegetables, it also poses the risk of nutrient deficiencies. Keto followers are at risk for deficiencies in magnesium, vitamins B and C, phosphorus and selenium, in particular. Finally, the diet could lead to liver problems, kidney issues, constipation, and even cognitive issueslike confusion and mood swings. While it has been used in the past for controlling epilepsy, its application as a weight-loss tool hasn’t been studied over a long-term basis. 
Similarly, you may have also seen the low-FODMAP diet trending recently. “FODMAP” stands for fermentable oligo, di, monosaccharides and polyols, or carbs which could irritate the intestines and cause bloating in certain populations. FODMAPs are found in certain dairy products, fruits, and vegetables. Yet, unless you have a known sensitivity to them or a condition such as irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), it’s unlikely you’ll experience any benefits from cutting them out of your diet.  The same goes for any complete exclusions of potentially healthy food sources; without a known allergy or intolerance, most natural, unprocessed foods need not be excluded from a well-rounded diet.
Cenegenics prioritizes diet as a means of helping you achieve long-term weight regulation . Yet, it does so in a way that can be sustained and adjusted according to your needs. Discover how our approach is different below.
Each patient has unique nutritional needs. Our Elite Health Evaluation aims to discover any deficiencies, intolerances, or other issues which could call for specific dietary adjustments. We factor these results into our dietary recommendations to ensure our patients receive the nutrition that their body can benefit most from. At the same time, we also bear in mind health priorities, which could be weight loss or minimizing the risk of a certain disease. Finally, we prescribe realistic nutritional advice which accommodates demanding lifestyles. Contrast this with fad diets, which require the individual to change their lifestyle to fit their dietary restrictions.
Hydration is an often-overlooked source of nutrition and is certainly disregarded by most diet trends. Yet, we prioritize the consumption of water with our patients, giving recommendations based factors on such as age and body composition. Ample water helps to regulate body temperature, lubricate the joints, ensure cells receive the nutrients they need, and maintains optimal organ functioning. Hydration can also improve:
Even the healthiest diets can leave certain nutritional gaps. This is especially true as nutritional needs change with age. When clinically indicated, our team can recommend high-quality nutraceuticals, prescribed specifically for your unique needs and made without any harmful additives.
Protein builds and repairs tissue, and it also aids in protein regulation, digestion, and oxygenation throughout the body. Moreover, it satisfies the appetite and allows us to feel full for longer, especially when combined with fiber. This can help you maintain nutrition by minimizing the urge to overeat or snack on foods with little nutritional value. For this reason, we help our patients incorporate a variety of high-quality protein sources into their diets. 
As mentioned in several of the highlighted diets above, it is debated among experts as to whether or not dairy, in general, is a recommended way to obtain necessary protein. For those with allergies or intolerances, it should be avoided or limited. However, by including low to zero lactose options, like strained (“Greek”) yogurt or high quality whey protein supplements, dairy may be a suitable high protein for some individuals.
Insulin sensitivity measures how sensitive the body’s cells are to insulin, a hormone produced by the pancreas which enables the body to control levels of sugar in the body (glucose). Insulin resistance occurs when the cells fail to absorb glucose effectively, causing high blood sugar levels which could lead to diabetes if left unmanaged. Diet is an important component in improving insulin sensitivity/resistance, so Cenegenics clinicians take this factor into close consideration when encouraging dietary choices. Dietary trends, on the other hand, fail to account for a patient’s insulin sensitivity. Recommendations such as fewer carbohydrates and increased unsaturated fats may be provided to patients with low insulin sensitivity. 
It is of note that while a Low-FODMAP diet offers benefits to some, it is not recommended by Cenegenics as a rule. It is shown through extensive research that grains can possess an inflammatory component, especially in individuals with poor insulin sensitivity. It is not necessary to have Celiac disease or even possess certain intolerances to benefit from limiting the consumption of grain-derived products.
Our nutritional team will also consider your energy demands. Not all individuals share the same caloric needs; for example, a competitive athlete would need to replenish energy with a higher-calorie diet than someone with a more sedentary lifestyle. Fortunately, our team can help you find the balance that will work best for your body.
Nutritional needs are complex and vary from one person to the next. Thus, a “one-size-fits-all” diet trend simply won’t do to satisfy most people’s unique dietary needs. That’s why Cenegenics tailors our nutritional approach to each patient, not the other way around. Our Elite Health Evaluation, included in the Cenegenics cost, will help us shape a roadmap towards a healthier you, with nutritional guidelines as an important component. See how we’ve already helped many patients feel healthier through our program by checking out some of Cenegenics’ reviews online.
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About the Contributor
Global Director of Nutrition & Exercise
Rudy Inaba is Cenegenics’ Global Director of Nutrition & Exercise. He is a recognized fitness and sports nutrition consultant with nearly 15 years of experience in clinical exercise physiology and lifestyle management. After pursuing his Master of Science in Clinical Exercise Physiology at the University of Nevada Las Vegas, Rudy joined Cenegenics where he leads 20 clinical locations nationwide in their advancements in kinesiology, nutritional biochemistry, and their analyses of industry research & market trending.
This guide was produced with contributions from the following key resources:
The Cenegenics Education and Research Foundation
The Textbook of Age Management Medicine Volume 1: Mastering Healthy Aging Nutrition, Exercise and Hormone Replacement Therapy
Jeffrey Park Leake, M.D., CPT
Dr. Jeffrey Park Leake is a Partner and Director of Education at Cenegenics Elite Health specializing in age management and wellness. Having trained hundreds of physicians worldwide, Dr. Leake is also the Director of Education for the Clinical Strategies for Healthy Aging course at AMM Educational Foundation.
Todd David Greenberg, M.D., CSCS
Dr. Todd Greenberg is a practicing physician with a broad range of expertise, including wellness, exercise, sports injuries, and MRI of sports injuries. He is a Radiology Clinical Associate Professor at the University of Washington.
 Paleo diet: What is it and why is it so popular? May Clinic Staff. Derived from: https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/nutrition-and-healthy-eating/in-depth/paleo-diet/art-20111182
 See above. Derived from: https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/nutrition-and-healthy-eating/in-depth/paleo-diet/art-20111182
 Atkins Diet: What behind the claims? Mayo Clinic Staff. Derived from: https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/weight-loss/in-depth/atkins-diet/art-20048485
 Should you try the keto diet? Harvard Health. Derived from: https://www.health.harvard.edu/staying-healthy/should-you-try-the-keto-diet
 Gluten-free diet. Mayo Clinic Staff. Derived from: https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/nutrition-and-healthy-eating/in-depth/gluten-free-diet/art-20048530
 Health & Wellness: The Skinny on 7 Diet Trends. Ravindra, Lisa. Derived from: https://www.rush.edu/health-wellness/discover-health/skinny-7-diet-trends
 The importance of hydration. Harvard School of Public Health. Derived from: https://www.hsph.harvard.edu/news/hsph-in-the-news/the-importance-of-hydration/
 Why is protein important in your diet? Peidmont Healthcare. Derived from: https://www.piedmont.org/living-better/why-is-protein-important-in-your-diet
 Natural ways to improve insulin sensitivity. Medical News Today. Derived from: https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/323027.php