In my last column, I wrote about the Mediterranean diet. Nutrition trends are popular and frequently discussed topics. There are as many opinions on the best diet as there are a variety of diets. The industry has taken an active approach in marketing to us to impact the way we eat. Marketed products come in the form of vitamins, powders, planned meals and drinks. Specialized diets have become so popular that it is not unusual to see diet-related options on restaurant menus. In the long run, proper nutrition depends on individual consumption and how our bodies respond to nutrition interventions. Lifestyle, current health, and genetics also significantly impact how we react to a diet. Two people of the same age, sex, height and weight will respond differently to the amount of weight loss in the same period and see weight loss in different areas of their bodies.

I am not suggesting that you go on the Paleo diet, but it is an interesting subject. Enthusiasts of the Paleo diet believe it is the healthiest way to eat because it works with your genetics, resulting in more energy and keeping you lean and strong. The Paleo diet has a heavy focus on protein consumption. It is considered a caveman diet or a stone-age diet consisting of foods thought to be eaten by humans in the Paleolithic era, dating approximately 2.5 million to ten thousand years ago. The significant difference in eating during this time was the food was obtained by hunting, gathering fruit, vegetables, nuts and seeds. When farming emerged, foods that became part of our diets included dairy products and legumes. Advocates of the diet believed that the addition of legumes and dairy products resulted in obesity and heart problems.

Preferred Paleo foods are vegetables, fruit, nuts, seeds, wild game, grass-fed lean meat, fish rich in Omega 3 fatty acids and olive and walnut oils. People on the Paleo diet are advised to drink lots of water, black coffee or green tea. Foods to avoid are grains, legumes, dairy products, sugar, salt and potatoes. Some examples of a Paleo menu: Breakfast — smoothies with a combination of kale or spinach, banana, apple and almond milk or scrambled eggs with sauteed spinach, grilled tomatoes and pumpkin seeds. Lunch — mixed salad greens, fried sea bass, pumpkin seeds and olive oil dressing or roasted chicken with mixed greens, tomatoes and olive oil dressing. Dinner — roasted chicken stuffed with carrots and fresh rosemary or baked salmon with roasted asparagus.

The Paleo diet emphasizes fruit, vegetables, animal proteins, nuts and olive oil. The Mediterranean diet emphasizes fruit, vegetables, whole grain products, nuts, seeds, olive oil, fish and less consumption of meat products.

A safe approach to weight loss involves losing one to two pounds per week. Fad diets that cause a large amount of weight loss in a short time are not sustainable.

A healthy approach to dieting includes a combination of diet and exercise. While going on a quick-fix diet for a special occasion or trying a friend’s diet can be tempting, the bottom line is that a sustainable lifestyle with good eating habits will result in a healthier you. Avoid processed foods, sugary drinks, saturated fats and sweets.

Take your time selecting a diet and educating yourself or see a qualified nutritionist for meal plans. Live, love life with health and diet.

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