It seems there’s always a new one every couple of months. Here’s an introduction the 5 most popular today.
Comfort is a cup of kopi and a generous plate of char kway teow.
Yet, your friends or colleagues who are watching their weights may shy away from its springy, smoky goodness. While some diets call for a cut in carb intake and sugary foods, some recommend a full plant-based diet. Before you jump into one though, learn about the pros and cons of the five diets that are popular among Singaporeans.
- Vegan Diet
In Singapore, a small but growing group of parents are raising their kids vegan. This is because animal products are believed to be unhealthy and are linked to various diseases. Veganism is a step further than vegetarianism. Besides doing away with meat, a vegan diet is also dairy-free – this means chomping down on dietary fibres without any eggs or cheese.
While your body will benefit from the variety of plant-based protein and nutrients, nutritionists caution against bloating, loose stools and constipation, which are associated with a high-fibre intake. Consuming excessive fruits and vegetables – especially pumpkin and carrots – can cause carotenemia, a condition that turns one’s skin an orange-yellowish colour. Unfortunately, a full plant-based diet may also lead to insufficient protein intake.
- Ketogenic Diet
If you think you need carbs to live, think again. People on the keto diet restrict the amount of carbohydrates they eat. They will opt for only a small portion of bread, noodles or rice – or none at all! Instead, they will plan for 70 to 80% of their meal to be fat. This is because when we restrict the amount of carbs we eat each day, the body goes into ketosis, a state in which fat reserves are burnt for energy instead of carbs. This helps us lose weight.
However, a low-carb intake can lead to sleep loss and mood swings. As a diet that is high in fat, it may also increase your cholesterol levels and risk heart disease, cancer and stroke. While this low-carb, high-fat diet has drawn mixed responses around the world, it may be beneficial for you if you modified your next meal, or choose cai png without rice.
- Paleo Diet
Like the keto diet, the paleo diet is a low-carb plan. However, proponents of the paleo diet believe that eating like a caveman from the Stone Age brings you better health. After all, cavepeople are believed to have very few ailments because of the whole and natural food they ate. They were hunters and gatherers who did not leave the neighbourhood supermarket with a cartful of highly processed foods.
Choose high-protein foods such as fish, grass-fed meats and vegetables, fruits, seeds and nuts over processed or sugary foods like cakes, sausages and potato chips. These are natural sources of food that help you lose weight and body fat while improving blood sugar levels and blood pressure. Unlike a keto diet, the paleo diet doesn’t leave you stressed out over maintaining ketosis. However, ensure that you get adequate calcium since the diet excludes dairy products.
- Alkaline Diet
The alkaline diet is all about keeping your body’s pH between 7.35 and 7.45. It is believed that our body’s acidic nature makes us prone to weight gain and diseases such as arthritis, kidney and liver disorders, diabetes and cancer. As such, alkaline dieters eat 80% alkaline foods and 20% acidic foods to minimise acid build-up in the body.
Alkaline foods include vegetables, fruits, nuts and legumes, while acidic foods include dairy products, alcohol, coffee, tea and meat. If you are on an alkaline diet, you are likely to easily meet your daily recommended servings of greens. However, skeptics believe that the body naturally controls and regulates its pH levels, and that the alkaline diet is only successful because it encourages the intake of healthy and fresh foods.
- Intermittent Fasting
Your colleague may have insisted that she only eats lunch at 12pm and not a minute earlier. This is because her diet doesn’t allow her to eat past 8pm. Called the 16-8 method, this intermittent fasting diet approves of only an eight-hour period during which you can eat a day. You can either skip breakfast and eat lunch and dinner, or eat breakfast and lunch and skip dinner, but the general ideal is to not eat for the remaining 16 hours. Others may follow the 5-2 method, where people eat normally for five days and keep a very low calorie diet of about 600 calories for the other two days.
The good news is that there is no restriction on any food groups for intermittent fasting, which gives us the opportunity to enjoy all our favourite dishes. However, the drastic swings in calorie intake may lower our metabolism. Those of us who continue to eat well above our needs during our cheat meals may also find ourselves gaining rather than losing weight.
Regardless of how you go about losing weight, consider consulting a dietician to assess your diet plan to ensure that your body gets the right balance of nutrients. For more information, please check out these helpful links below: