Many individuals truly need to follow a certain diet due to complications like diabetes, high blood pressure, or food allergies. But, a lot of individuals are just playing the guessing game as to which diet to follow. If they read the right propaganda, every diet seems to have a very good point, suddenly making the last diet that seemed perfect, seem ridiculous. But any time we start making strict rules about what we eat, completely eliminating certain foods from our diet, we risk eliminating important nutrients, too. We also risk triggering the cravings that come when our body is missing nutrients, and indulging those cravings can bring its own set of problems. Most popular diets can keep a person quite healthy, but it’s important to be aware of their downsides so you can avoid them. Here are the pitfalls of the most popular diets.
Gluten-free & alternative bread
If you decide to remove gluten from your life, but still want baked goods like bread, muffins, and bagels, you’ll start turning to the gluten-free versions of these foods. Sadly, the ones that have that chewy, doughy consistency you want contain something called xantham gum, which can cause digestive discomfort because it sticks to your insides, resulting in constipation.
Gluten free & missing carbs
If you decide the way around eating xantham gum is just not having any carbs at all, you’ll wind up feeling exhausted and hungry. If you do decide to go gluten-free, find healthy ways to get your carbs in, like brown rice and sweet potatoes.
Dairy-free & overdosing on soy
Removing dairy from your diet can be tricky if you absolutely love things like cheese and milk. So maybe you’ll turn to soy cheese, soymilk, soy ice cream, soy cream cheese…that’s a lot of soy all of a sudden. Overdoing it on soy can have its own risks, and is just one of the things to know about before quitting dairy.
Dairy-free & missing calcium
Quitting dairy can also leave you low in calcium, which you need for strong bones. Make sure to take a calcium supplement if you quit dairy, and eat other foods high in calcium like almond, navy beans, sesame seeds, and kale.
Vegetarian & overeating
Deciding to go vegetarian can put one in the mindset, “I eat so healthfully that I can eat as much as I want.” Then you run into the issue of over-eating. Vegetarian foods can be just as high in fat and calories as meat can be, if not higher. Your body doesn’t care that the calories are vegetarian; if you just consume too many of them, that will result in weight gain.
Vegetarian & fake meat
If you just miss the taste of meat so badly that you turn to fake alternatives—like faux chicken nuggets and burger patties—you can run into issues. First off, many of these are wheat-based, so if you’re going easy on the gluten, that’s a problem. The second issue is that many just contain tons of artificial ingredients that your body doesn’t know what to do with. You’ll have to get your protein from wholesome sources like beans and nuts.
Vegan & low protein
It can be hard to find vegan protein sources. Vegans have to fight pretty hard to meet their minimum protein requirements each day. Meat eaters can generally meet those requirements at just one meal. If you do go vegan, keep a count on the grams of protein you get each day and don’t fall short of the daily requirements.
Vegan & low on vitamin B12
It’s very difficult to get vitamin B12 on a vegan diet. This vitamin almost exclusively comes from animal products. If you are going to be a vegan, make sure to take a B12 supplement to avoid a depleted immune system, constant headaches, fatigue, depression, and other issues.
Keto & diabetes
The Keto diet is much debated still, but one thing is for sure: it is not safe for diabetics or anyone at risk of diabetes. The whole concept behind the Keto diet is forcing insulin levels to get low so your body starts burning fat. Messing with insulin levels is not safe for pre-diabetics or diabetics.
Low-carb diet & protein overload
If you decide to cut carbs, you may find yourself hungry. To compensate, you’ll load up on protein. But overdoing it on protein can be quite bad for your kidney, and can lead to digestive issues.
Low-carb diet & brain fog
A low-carb diet can also leave you feeling foggy. Good carbs (not like white bread and doughnuts, but like potatoes and quinoa) help fuel our brains. It’s hard to function without them.
Low FODMAP & missing probiotics
The Low FODMAP diet can relieve many people of digestive issues. There’s just one problem: it doesn’t allow kombucha, kimchi, pickled vegetables, or any of the foods that are naturally loaded with probiotics. If you’re going to be on this diet, make sure to take a bottled probiotic.
Low FODMAP & general confusion
The Low FODMAP diet also just comes with a lot of general confusion. Most people are unclear on what exactly it is. When it comes to eating at restaurants or a friend’s house on this diet, it’s easy to mess up. Make sure to keep a copy of the chart of allowed foods with you at all times.
Paleo diet & missing carbs
The Paleo diet essentially asks that we eat the way cavemen did. Cavemen did not have access too grains or potatoes, so this is pretty much a carb-free diet, which we already know has some issues.
Pescetarians & high mercury
Pescetarians will have an easier time getting enough protein than vegans or vegetarians, but they can’t just have fish at every meal. This puts them at risk for mercury poisoning. Pescetarians should aim for around 12 ounces of fish or seafood per week, and supplement in with vegetarian protein at other times.