-By Maryam Rastkerdar

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At any given time, a new diet plan is on the rise, but with so many new trends it is becoming harder to determine which plan is right for you. Strictly following one diet plan can not only be very problematic, but also difficult to maintain. Here is a quick insight on several popular diets.

Paleo Diet

The Paleo diet can be described as primal eating and focuses primarily on food from the paleolithic time such as meat, fish, vegetables, fruit, seeds and nuts. Excluded are processed foods, grains, legumes, dairy and refined sugar. The paleo diet suggests that legumes and grains contain anti-nutrients and pro-inflammatory properties but fails to consider the fact that cooking eliminates the anti-nutrient affects and whole grains do have health benefits. The paleo diet certainly has its appeal of being a lean and clean diet, but in the long run, it can be extremely restrictive and hard to maintain.

Gluten Free Diet

A gluten free diet excludes the protein gluten which is present in grains such as wheat, barley, rye and oats. A gluten free diet is essential for managing symptoms in celiac disease- a disease associated with an inability to properly digest gluten. A gluten free diet is, however, popular due to the perception of improved health, increased energy and weight loss. However, removing gluten from the diet typically leads to a limited intake of fiber and vitamins from grains and may not be beneficial for everyone.

Vegetarian/Vegan Diet

Vegetarians and vegans exclude animal products from their diet. A vegan diet however is more limiting and excludes all form of animal derived products including dairy, eggs, honey and gelatin. Vegetarian and vegan diets contain high levels of healthy plant compounds and high amounts of fiber and minerals, as well as low amounts of saturated fats and cholesterol. On the other hand, both diets can lead to several nutrient deficiencies and result in low intakes of calcium, zinc, iron, vitamin D and B12 and as omega-3 fatty acids.

Low Fat Diet

A low-fat diet mainly restricts fat and cholesterol and is intended to reduced obesity and heart disease. It should be noted however; many low-fat alternative foods are often high in sugar and calories and provide minimal vitamins and minerals. Evidence shows that not all fats are equally harmful and that healthy fats found in fish, avocado, nuts and seeds, are essential for heart health and lead to feeling satisfied longer.

Juice Cleanse

On a straight juice cleanse, the daily dose of fruits and vegetables are being consumed and the nutrients are easily absorbed. The downside however is blood sugar fluctuations due to the high intake of natural sugars which won’t lead to any actual weight loss. In addition to that, there is a lack of fiber and protein and if stayed too long it can lead to nutrient deficiencies.