Paleo Diet Vs. Mediterranean Diet Vs. Atkins Diet

We all want to pursue a life of being fit and healthy. We all know that if we make poor food choices we will notice the impact on our hips, tummies and our sense of well-being. The problem with trying to change our lifestyle is that we are bombarded with useful and helpful advice from all corners of the globe: eat carbs and no fat, eat high fat and high protein with no carbs, eat all three but only two at the same time. The advice is endless and often contradictory, making it very hard to decide on which regimen to try. This article will examine the differences between the Paleo diet Vs. Mediterranean diet Vs. Atkins diet; so that you can decide which one is best for you.

Some diets are very restrictive and ban entire food groups, which makes it very hard to incorporate into a busy life. Still others use drink powders and cereal bars as replacements for meals, which may not be convenient for someone trying to cater for a growing family.

Three of the more popular diets at present are more accessible to all and advocate making long-term lifestyle changes. They all allow for personal tastes and preferences and all embrace the notion that food should taste good as well as being healthy for us. Let us look at them one at a time.

The Paleo Diet

Paleolithic diet - Healthy chicken dinnerThe Paleolithic Diet, also known as the Caveman Diet or the Hunter-Gatherer Diet, aims to send us back to our nomadic roots. Before we all lived in towns and cities and developed trading processes we foraged for our food; picking fruit, nuts and berries in season and relying on occasional success at hunting for a boost of fat and meat protein. The authors of the Paleo Diet believe that it is our modern food production methods that are responsible for much of the disease that plagues our society today. These include such things as heart disease, elevated cholesterol and blood pressure, obesity and related ailments, diet-induced diabetes and many cancers. Indeed, some of the foods we eat are over refined and high in unnatural substances such as trans fats, chemicals and excessive amounts of sugar.

The Paleo Diet relies on lean protein, plenty of fruit and vegetables and nuts and seeds, as well as a reasonable amount of healthy unsaturated fat. Foods and drinks to be avoided include alcohol, dairy products, grains, legumes, starchy foods and anything processed. A useful piece of basic advice for those trying the Paleo Diet is: If it looks like it did before it was food, it is good; if not, it is bad! Think of a meat pie versus a steak, on Paleo the choice would be the steak.

One of the major causes of overeating in modern society is the fact that our bodies are hard-wired to crave fats and sugars and the more of these we eat the more the body wants. This is because these substances are very rare in a wild and natural environment, and our bodies were designed to take advantage of finding them by consuming as much as possible. This is why often when we crave a fatty or sugary snack it is quite hard to not have another, and another, and another… Of course, now we have very easy access to foods high in these desirable substances but our bodies do not know this. By eating natural foods we can help to combat this craving whilst maintaining a fit and healthy lifestyle.

The Paleo Diet has been found to help control type II diabetes and reduce high cholesterol and blood pressure.

For a good introductory guide check this book out here – The Paleo Coach: Expert Advice for Extraordinary Health, Sustainable Fat Loss, and an incredible body.

The Atkins Diet

The Atkins Diet has been the center of a storm of controversy for many years – ever since its first publication over thirty years ago! A surprisingly high calorie regimen with plenty of fat and lots of protein but very little carbohydrate, the diet was believed to encourage heart disease, boost cholesterol levels and cause the body to go into a state of ketosis which was thought to be harmful. Ketosis is when the body is using fat for energy instead of Glucose. One type of ketone called acetone is bad for the body and usually excreted. It is this enzyme that is checked for when people are using dipsticks in urine to see if they are in a state of Ketosis. This is state is only dangerous when it becomes ketoacidosis which is making the blood more acidic. However what level of Ketosis is safe and what the long term effects of it is are still hotly debated. People with type 1 Diabetes are the group most at risk from this. If you are diabetic and thinking of starting on the Atkins diet or when similar then it is best to consult your health professional.

The author, Dr Atkins, argued the opposite, saying that while cholesterol levels rose initially, they soon dropped down again once the weight loss phase kicked. He added that by cutting carbs and consuming fat the body was being trained to use up fat stores, rather than the easier to burn glucose obtained from the carbs. A state of ketosis, he added, was an indication that the body was successfully burning through those fat stores, and that the side effects of the process (bad breath and constipation in some dieters) were very acceptable compared to the benefits of the regimen.

The first incarnation of the diet was heavily anti-carbohydrate, with very little being allowed, especially during the first two weeks; known as the 'kick start' phase. They were gradually allowed back in as the diet progressed, but many health professionals expressed concerns over the lack of fresh fruit and vegetables allowed in the diet. The regimen has now been re-worked, to allow a slightly more generous amount of carbohydrates to be eaten, which should go some way to alleviating medical concerns.

Debaters on both sides of the Atkins debate have seized on Dr Atkins' heart attack in 2002 and sudden death at 73 in 2003. Detractors claim that his diet 'must' have caused the heart attack and is therefore unhealthy. Those in favor of the diet mention Atkins' assertion, which was backed up by his physician that the heart attack was actually caused by an infection. His death, which occurred when he slipped and suffered a head injury, had absolutely nothing to do with his weight or his diet, despite a host of malicious rumors to the contrary that spread like wildfire shortly after his passing.

While medical authorities are still loath to encourage their patients to follow the Atkins Diet, they have to admit that it does work as regards losing weight. They cannot provide any proof that it raises blood pressure or cholesterol levels. As one doctor said 'It seems to work, but we just don't know the long term effects of such a diet as yet.' There seems to be an air of waiting for the negative side to present itself – surely eating all that fat and protein must have a downside?

This book is a god one for showing you how to incorporate Atkins into your daily life. Fo reviews and pricing have a look here – New Atkins for a New You: The Ultimate Diet for Shedding Weight and Feeling Great.

The Mediterranean Diet

Mediterranean diet - FishThis diet is widely accepted as being a very healthy and easy to follow regimen. Loosely based on the natural eating pattern of Italy, Greece and Southern France in the 1960s, the diet embraces whole grains, low fat dairy products, plenty of fresh fruit and vegetables with generous amounts of seafood, moderate poultry allowance and small amounts of red meat. Wine may be drunk with meals, and the intake of plenty of water is encouraged. It was discovered that despite there being limited medical service in the poorer areas of the above countries, that life expectancy was high, and that elderly people remained fit and active for longer than those in other areas. This was found to be due to the strongly family-oriented society and the wonderful healthy and tasty meals they ate.

The Mediterranean Diet can best be described with a pyramid. The base, which is the widest part, meaning that most of the food eaten should come from this grouping, is made of locally produced and seasonal fruit, vegetables, herbs, spices and evens nuts, seeds and beans. Whole grains appear here too, and this must not be substituted with refined products. Water to drink appears on this base layer too. The next layer of the pyramid comprises fresh seafood, especially fish, caught recently and cooked very simply using only natural ingredients. The middle layer consists of poultry, and low fat dairy products. Eggs and cheese appear here, and are excellent to add flavor and texture to dishes. Wine sneaks in somewhere around this point, as a glass of wine with every meal is considered quite acceptable and even healthy for most. If you suffer from a liver complaint or similar, or even simply prefer not to drink at all, that is absolutely fine. Topping the pyramid, and therefore forming the smallest group, is the naughty but nice foods. Red meat and sweets and treats can be found here. While they are permitted your intake should be carefully monitored and regulated.

Another aspect to the Mediterranean Diet is just as important as watching the foods you eat. The regimen advocates an active lifestyle and puts a strong emphasis on sharing meals with the whole family, with everyone participating in the conversation. Apart from being a great way to have a meal, this daily gathering can help the whole family to de-stress.

Meals made along the principles of the Mediterranean Diet tend to be tasty, simple, made with just a touch of olive oil, and very colorful, enabling everyone to 'eat a rainbow every day!' For a great cookbook this one gets some great customer reviews check it out here – The Mediterranean Diet Cookbook: A Mediterranean Cookbook with 150 Healthy Mediterranean Diet Recipes

Paleo Diet Vs. Mediterranean Diet Vs. Atkins Diet  – Which one is best?

To kick-start the weight-loss process and lose those first few pounds quickly, the Atkins Diet seems to be the best. For a long term, sustained healthy lifestyle, especially while raising a family to eat well and enjoy their food, the Mediterranean Diet comes out on top. For those who are more active and sporty, able to concentrate on sourcing food very precisely, the Paleo Diet will keep you trim and well nourished.

All of these regimens can translate to a permanent lifestyle change, or you may want to start with the Atkins Diet to drop the weight, and then switch to the Mediterranean Diet to maintain your progress or dip into the Paleo Diet if you feel that you can get by with less carbohydrates in your diet.

All lifestyle changes should include keeping active, performing some activity at least five times per week that raises your heart-rate for half an hour or so. Essentially you need to create a negative calorie total in your body to lose weight, and exercising boosts your metabolism as does eating those foods that encourage your body to work properly. Taking control of your lifestyle is just the first step in making sure your life goes the way you want it to!

I hope this article has given you some useful insights into deciding which diet to follow. Leave a comment below to let us know who wins the Paleo diet Vs. Mediterranean diet Vs. Atkins diet for you.

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