THE POINT This is an elimination diet, or what creator Melissa Hartwig, a certified sports nutritionist, calls a “30-day reset.” During that time, you swear off grains, legumes, dairy, sugar and booze, all of which she considers “commonly problematic” (i.e., blood-sugar disrupting, gut damaging and inflammatory). “There’s a lot of overlap with what we eliminate and what Paleo folks don’t eat,” says Hartwig. The difference is that Whole30 is a short-term experiment: When your month is up, you phase in the foods gradually, to pinpoint what’s causing your issues. THE PRO OPINION On the plus side, the Whole30 isn’t weight focused (though Hartwig says completers lose, on average, six to 15 pounds) and it’s big on whole foods. “Forcing yourself out of a routine of hyperprocessed food can be powerful, particularly if it motivates you to change long term,” agrees Nielsen. “Of course you are going to feel better when you are eating protein and vegetables all the time, particularly if you usually eat a pretty junky diet.” But, she says, it’s not necessary to nix everything on the Whole30’s no-go list to get healthy. If you aren’t well and you think an elimination diet could help, Nielsen advises trying one under the guidance of an allergy-savvy dietitian.
THE POINT Proponents say that weight loss is a matter of math: Eat fewer calories than you burn. The idea isn’t new, but it has never really gone away. Google “CICO” (calories in, calories out) to find Redditors’ trading strategy. THE PRO OPINION “At the end of the day, you need an energy surplus to h
gain weight and an energy deficit to lose, and that will always remain true,” says Freedhoff, who considers calories a useful metric for the weight conscious, especially if they can’t achieve their goal without keeping count. But calories aren’t the end-all: “Both the quality and the quantity of calories matter, period, full stop,” he says.
THE POINT No one wants to be hangry 24-7, but would you skimp on calories, say, every other day if it gave you a longer, healthier life? That’s the premise of intermittent fasting (IF). One theory holds that IF stresses the body in a mild way, prompting it to strengthen its cellular defences. The how-to varies: On a 5:2 program, you eat only 500 calories two days a week; others will fast for 12 to 16 hours daily. THE PRO OPINION “The body wasn’t designed for a constant stream of food; blood-sugar regulation and digestion function have a natural fed/unfed cycle,” says Nielsen. “There are actually some human clinical trials to support the use of IF in improving weight and disease outcomes. The challenge is making it a lifestyle.” How long can you go before you become miser
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up to 10 hours find the science on IF scary or ex
of protection, citing. If it works so you for can you and you love it, great, sleep he says. through “But in my experience, the that’s night. a small proportion of people—anecdotally, young male bodybuilders seem to enjoy it most.” vs. Always Ultra Thin Regular with wings © Procter & Gamble, 2018
THE POINT Used since the ’20s as a treatment for epileptic seizures, the ketogenic diet is ultra-high fat (approximately 65 to 75 percent), medium protein (approximately 15 to 25 percent) and low carb (approximately 5 to 10 percent). Once the body runs out of glucose for fuel, it acts as if it’s fasting or starving—burning stored fat instead. (This metabolic state is called ketosis.) Nicknamed “extreme Atkins,” keto is having a moment, in part because of Silicon Valley techies trying to “bio-hack” their way to better health. THE PRO OPINION “You have to be very regimented,” says Nielsen. “Women typically need to keep their carbohydrate intake below 30 grams a day—that’s an apple. And it’s not something you do for a week or two as a bikini-body plan. It takes weeks for your metabolism to adapt to the diet, and you need to be consistent. All it takes is a few gummy bears or a banana and—boom!—you’re no longer keto.”
VEGAN/ PLANT BASED
THE POINT Beyond its ethical and eco appeal, a plant-based diet (which broadly means eating more whole plant-based foods and less meat, dairy and refined/processed stuff) has been linked with a lower risk of heart disease and type 2 diabetes, among other health benefits. Due out this year, the revamped Canada’s Food Guide reportedly emphasizes plant protein while downplaying meat and dairy. THE PRO OPINION A vegan/vegetarian diet isn’t automatically clean (you could still be eating a lot of junk), says Freedhoff, but not overdoing processed and red meats is a wise idea. And you don’t need to be a plants-only purist to reap the benefits, says Nielsen: “Last year, a study was published that showed the closer you get to a whole-food, plant-based diet, the healthier you are, even if you still eat a bit of meat.” You could simply go veggie for certain meals or on certain days. n