Many Americans are critically deficient in many important nutrients, and instead feast on foods known to be high in fat and sugar.

Regardless of whether you would like to get in shape or simply improve the quality of your diet, if you are like most people in the U.S., you could probably stand to eat a bit healthier.

 

Healthy Eating Is the Key to a Healthy Life

They say that you are what you eat, so it follows that if you eat healthy, you are healthy.  In reality, the truth is much more complicated.  However, choosing a healthy diet is one thing that anyone can do to improve their health and wellbeing.

What is nutrition? Nutrition’s definition entails a wide variety of processes and metabolic needs.  The purpose of food is to nourish the body.  Eating provides energy, which fuels the metabolic functions of a living thing, as well as vitamins and minerals, which allows said metabolic functions to be carried out properly.  It provides water, which is necessary for life as we know it.  Food provides any number of organic compounds that promote health, such as fiber, antioxidants, and phytonutrients.

Science is still working to figure out the exact role that many nutrients play in the body, but as we work to get a more thorough picture, we begin to understand even better the ways that food is important to the human body.

 

There Are Many Different Diets for People to Try

When people think of the word “diet,” they typically think of being on a diet, as in, modifying their eating habits in order to lose weight. In reality, a diet is simply the set of foods that we typically eat.  Most people don’t adhere to a specific kind of diet, and instead just eat what they like.  While they may make efforts to include certain foods for health reasons, they are not necessarily adhering to any particular plan.

For many people, this isn’t necessarily a bad thing. The most important component of any diet is getting adequate nutrition.  However many Americans are deficient in key nutrients.  Similarly, heart disease and type 2 diabetes are prevalent due to the overconsumption of sugary foods and high fat items such as fast food.  Meals and even appetizers from fast food and casual dining restaurants can have outrageous amounts of calories.

Many Americans are becoming increasingly health conscious, which is a good thing. Some are actively choosing diets because they want to lose weight, while others are just practicing a change in lifestyle.  They are starting to pay more attention to the nutrition facts of what they eat. Whatever the reason, here are a few diets that people commonly use.

 

1. The Paleo Diet

This diet is designed to have practitioners eat “like cavemen.”  The point is to cut out processed foods as well as carbohydrate foods that result from mass agriculture, such as rice and wheat.  This results in a diet that is high in fat and low in carbohydrates, with what few carbs that are ingested coming from fruits and vegetables.

Critics are correct to point out that many contemporary foods are selectively bred to have the properties they possess today and are very different from how they were in the wild.  As a result, it’s more or less impossible to eat the same way our ancestors did.

 

2. The Mediterranean Diet

The Mediterranean Diet is so named due to its focus on Mediterranean foods, such as olive oil.  Adherents focus on the healthy fats found in olive oils as well as seeds and nuts.  They use vegetables, legumes, and whole grains, consuming more plants than other kinds of food.  Red meat is limited but poultry and seafood are regularly eaten. The Mediterranean diet is demonstrated to have many health benefits including lower mortality due to cardiovascular problems.

 

3. The Ketogenic Diet

The Ketogenic Diet is probably the most extreme low carb diet out there.  Originally developed for children suffering from drug-resistant epilepsy, this diet has gone from a niche practice that treats seizures to mainstream exposure.

Adherents consume as few as twenty grams of carbohydrates each day in order to force their bodies into a metabolic state known as ketosis.  In ketosis, the body is forced to turn fat into ketones to use as fuel instead of running on glucose that comes from carbs.  Keto dieters also work to get only the protein that they need each day and get the rest of their calories from fat.

What makes people excited about the Ketogenic, or Keto Diet, is the fact that people lose more weight on this diet than on diets that are high in carbohydrates.  They also lose more of their weight in fat, as weight loss while in ketosis rarely comes from muscle loss.  Despite the high fat content, the diet is demonstrated to be effective at controlling cholesterol levels.  It can be difficult to get enough of certain nutrients on this diet, however, such as potassium and fiber.

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