Summer is just around the corner although truthfully, my body is deeply confused by this years spring. Heavy coat one day, flip flops the next, wind so strong I couldn’t open my car door… Welcome to Oklahoma, right?! It is this time of year, many are trying to work on losing weight so I thought I would review some of the top weight loss programs out there so you know more about them before jumping in. So, let’s talk skinny…

Keto vs Paleo vs Fast Metabolism Diet vs Vegan

All of these diet programs floating around there have something to offer and while there may be some similarities there are some important differences. Even though you may be following the diet there are some ways you may be sabotaging your own goals. So let’s get the skinny on these different diets.

The Keto(genic) Diet
This is a popular diet right now and that’s because it works. Those that follow this diet to the T will lose weight rapidly. BUT, it is hard to do correctly. The goal of this diet is to limit your total carbs to no more than 25 grams in a day. Just take a look at any label and you will quickly realize that one food product can have 25 grams in it (especially if processed food). So, this gets down to protein (meat, fish or eggs), some very low-carb veggies, rare berries and some dairy (cheese). If you eat even one meal that has a higher carb count then you are out of ketosis and while you may still maintain weight it won’t melt off like you want it to. The Atkins diet was a modified keto diet with a very low carb count in phase one (even lower than 25 grams) and then ramping up from there. It’s important as you come off this diet to slowly increase your carbs and keep them low to maintain this type of weight loss (usually around 50 grams of carbs). It works very well for insulin resistance and should be used with caution in diabetics (especially dangerous in type 1 diabetics).

Pro: It works and usually quickly.
Con: Challenging to maintain (cue plan, plan, plan) and keep variety in your diet and if you don’t change your eating habits the weight will come back on in a hurry when you stop it. Also, for it to work optimally you have to be in ketosis 100% of the time.

Need help with this diet? Natural Grocers is doing a FREE keto diet 101 program. Inquire with the store for more details but I can tell you the following schedule:

Natural Grocers on Western and 164th in Edmond: June 16
Natural Grocers on May north of 63rd in OKC: July 29
Paleo diet
There are so many modifications of this diet. I think most of the ones I hear about are really paleo-like and not a true paleo diet. A paleo diet is supposed to be similar to what our ancestors the hunters and gatherers ate. Therefore, anything that ran, swam or flew would be considered protein sources and food you could find naturally growing in the ground or picked off a tree would qualify. In my clinic, when someone tells me they have been doing the paleo diet I have come to expect high cholesterols because they are eating a lot of beef. Have you ever seen a cow run? Nope, they plod! Now, bison run. When an animal runs it is a leaner meat and therefore healthier. So, if you are going to do a paleo diet then you must gear your protein choices to active animals.

Pro: Easier to do than Keto. More variety.
Con: Way too easy to cheat all in the name of paleo so often don’t get the expected results.
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Fast Metabolism diet
Fast Metabolism Diet: This is one of my favorite diets because it has three phases all in the same week. You don’t get bored with what you are eating because it changes every few days. You aren’t hungry, in fact you will be amazed how much you have to eat. It makes you slow down by giving you specific exercise workouts during each particular phase.

Pro: Great for the person who is always hungry on a diet. Phase three is sustainable as a long term maintenance program.
Con: You have to plan because it is not easy meeting all the eating requirements and can get confusing which phase you are on.
The vegetarian diet consists primarily of vegetables, as you would expect, but it usually allows eggs and dairy as well as a lot of processed foods like breads/pastas etc. You have to be mindful of where you are getting your protein and really work on adding those foods to your day. A Vegan diet eliminates all food that has any animal protein in it at all so no eggs or dairy. There are some benefits to eliminating animal proteins in many medical conditions but the trick is to not introduce a bunch of what I will call vegan junk food. It is a fine art of feeling full without adding extra junk food in. I’ve seen people whose cholesterol numbers go up on a vegan diet because they add in foods that are nutritionally worse for them.

Pro: Many positive benefits if you do it right. Has been shown to help reverse heart disease.
Con: Be aware of “healthy” junk food, usually these diets are deficient in B vitamins and L-carnitine so take good supplements of each.

The key to all of these diets is plan, stick to it and give it long enough to work. If you are over 50 then plan on staying on it longer than you would typically plan for because it will take longer to see the reward. Don’t get impatient. Stay the course and you should see a result. If you don’t, then you are modifying the diet in such a way that is handicapping you.