The Hamilton Spectator - - FOOD -

Dr. Janet Pritchard of McMaster Uni­ver­sity’s School of In­ter­dis­ci­pli­nary Sci­ence and Ki­ne­si­ol­ogy ex­plains the sci­ence (or lack thereof ) be­hind some re­cent food trends.

Raw food diet: A plant-based diet con­sist­ing of un­cooked or un­pro­cessed foods, such as fruits veg­eta­bles, seeds and nuts.

Good: One study pub­lished in the Jour­nal of Nu­tri­tion in 2005 showed that peo­ple who con­sumed a raw diet for at least 24 months had lower bad (LDL) choles­terol and higher good (HDL) choles­terol, which may be ben­e­fi­cial for heart health.

Not-so-good: Peo­ple who follow a raw food diet are at higher risk of de­fi­cien­cies in vi­ta­min B-12 and pro­tein, which are needed for blood cells and skele­tal mus­cle health, re­spec­tively. (Jour­nal of Nu­tri­tion, 2005)

Pa­leo diet: Foods avail­able dur­ing the Stone Age: fruit, veg­eta­bles, lean meats, poul­try, fish, nuts and seeds.

Good: A 2016 re­search re­view in the Aus­tralian Family Physi­cian jour­nal showed the Pa­leo diet can re­sult in weight loss and im­prove­ments in blood sugar and blood pres­sure. Not-so-good: A 2014 study found that although peo­ple who follow the Pa­leo diet lose more weight at six months compared to peo­ple fol­low­ing a con­ven­tional diet, the weight loss is not sus­tained for two years on the diet. Also, avoid­ing dairy can re­sult in cal­cium de­fi­ciency and os­teo­poro­sis.

Juice cleanse: Con­sum­ing a diet mainly con­sist­ing of fruit and veg­etable juice, some­times for an ex­tended pe­riod of time.

Good: Juices that con­tain nu­tri­ents such as folic acid, an­tiox­i­dant vi­ta­mins and carotenoids may have a ben­e­fi­cial ef­fect on the health of blood ves­sels, ac­cord­ing to a re­view in Pro­ceed­ings of the Nu­tri­tion So­ci­ety in 2009. But the im­pact of juice cleanses alone on heart health has not been stud­ied.

Not-so-good: There is no sci­en­tific ev­i­dence sup­port­ing claims that juice cleanses lead to sus­tained weight loss or re­moval of tox­ins from the body. Peo­ple who try juice cleanses may ex­pe­ri­ence cramp­ing, bloat­ing and a lack of energy, and any weight lost dur­ing the juice cleanse will likely be gained back when a nor­mal diet is read­opted.

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