Pros and Cons of the Most Popular Diets

Published On January 8, 2014 | By Christa Schueler | Eating Healthy, Health, Weight Loss

According to Google, the most “searched” diet in 2013 was the Paleo diet, also known as the Paleolithic diet or Stone Age diet. Other popular diet searches on the list included the Mediterranean, Master Cleanse and Fruitarian diets. Yet, just because the Paleo diet was the most popular last year, doesn’t necessarily mean it was the best. According to CNN Health, the Paleo diet ranked last on U.S. News & World Report’s “Best Diets Overall” list for 2014. In fact, only a couple of diets that were on the most searched list could be found on Best Diets list. So, why would so many people be interested in diets that aren’t the best? Could it be that people were focusing on the benefits rather than the disadvantages? You be the judge as Recess lists the pros and the cons of a few of 2013’s most popular diets.

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Paleo Diet

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The idea behind the Paleo diet is that we should be eating like our ancestors and I’m not talking about great-grandpa. By ancestors, I mean the prehistoric ones. This diet primarily consists of what caveman were believed to have eaten: meat, fish, fruits and vegetables. Foods that would be on the no-no list would be dairy, refined sugar, grains and legumes; however, eggs and certain oils are allowed.

Pros

You don’t have to count calories which is a huge bonus. And you definitely won’t feel hungry on this diet since many of the foods you can eat are filling. Those who have issues with gluten and sugar would also benefit greatly with this diet since pasta, bread and sugary desserts are definitely out.

Cons

You have to like meat and fish in order to be on this diet or you’ll be even more restricted with what you can eat. So my daughter, who’s a vegetarian, would not be able to follow the Paleo diet. Also, no processed foods are allowed on this diet so be prepared to spend a lot of time in the kitchen making your own meals from scratch.

Learn more about the pros and cons of the Paleo diet on WebMD.

Juice Cleanse

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Ranking #2 on the list of most popular diets was the Juice Cleanse diet. Similar to the Master Cleanse, this diet is way of detoxing your body. Followers of this diet consume juiced fruits and vegetables, usually for a specified amount of time.

Pros

It can temporarily relieve you from bad eating habits such as soda consumption and overeating. Also, since juicing has become more popular, you can find juices that have already been made, such as Life Juice and Organic Avenue, to save you time and energy.

Cons

Juicing is not a good way to lose weight in the long term according to experts. Again, the juice cleanse is more of way to detox your body so if you’re looking to lose weight, consider another diet. Also, those pre-made juices are quite expensive so if you do the Juice Cleanse, be prepared to make them yourself if you want to save money.

Read more about Juice Cleanses from Health.com.

Mediterranean

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This diet was in the top 10 on both the “most searched” and “best diets” lists. This diet traditionally consists of fruits, vegetables and grains with bread playing an important part. Personally, I can see why this diet is popular; you can eat bread and bread is awesome.

Pros:

This diet is considered to be extremely healthy and is known to lower the risk of certain diseases and cancers. It’s also not as restrictive as most diets since you can eat both grains and meats but emphasizes healthy fats and herbs and spices. So, no salt and instead of lathering bread with butter, olive oil or plain is preferred.

Cons:

There really weren’t many that I could find (perhaps that’s why this diet made both lists). The only thing I could come up with is time factor. What I mean by this is that if you’re looking to lose a ton of weight quickly (which isn’t healthy by the way) then this diet would disappoint you. Not only would you have to remain on the Mediterranean diet for quite some time to see results, you’d also have to keep an active lifestyle; in other words, exercise. Bread doesn’t burn off on its own.

Learn more about the health benefits of the Mediterranean diet from the Mayo Clinic.

Ketogenic Diet

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Rounding out the top 5 of the popular diet searches is the Ketogenic diet. This diet, very similar to Atkins, is high in fat, moderate in protein and low in carbohydrates and has been primarily used to treat childhood epilepsy. The purpose of following the Ketogenic diet is to trigger ketosis which will turn your body into a fat-burning machine.

Pros

As with most low carb diets, you can lose a lot of weight and see results rather quickly.

Cons

This diet was initially designed by medical professionals to assist children suffering from epilepsy and therefore was very precise in order to avoid harmful side effects since ketosis can be dangerous. Trying to do this diet on your own is not wise according to WebMD.

Read more about the Ketogenic diet on WebMD.

The best diet is one that is healthy, moderately simple and effective. Diets are not one size fits all and you have to consider what your long term goals are. And don’t forget, exercise is key to shedding pounds so don’t rely on just your diet alone.

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About The Author

UNLV graduate, wife, mother of three, blogger and aspiring novelist, Christa Schueler brings her writing, editing and research skills to Recess. As an advocate for education and health reform and a 25 year Las Vegas resident, Christa understands the need for providing a platform and a "voice" for women in Southern Nevada. Despite Las Vegas being one of the fastest growing cities in the country, Christa has seen continual lack of community connection and strives to change that. Now, she's joined the sandbox revolution!

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