Spotlight on... popular diets
Make sure you have all the facts before following a diet. Our expert guides have everything you need to know about popular diets including keto, 5:2, Paleo and Sirtfood.
Whether you're aiming to lose weight or improve your overall health, there are a wide range of diets currently in the public spotlight, each with different health benefit claims and levels of scientific backing. From the low-carbohydrate keto diet and intermittent fasting, to Mediterranean diets, Paleo and the controversial alkaline diet, our expert dietitians take a look at the facts behind these eating plans.
Read our analyses of each diet to help make an informed decision on the best regime to suit your needs and ensure you’re getting a healthy balance of nutrients.
Discover nutritious recipes and tips on everything from special diets to the health benefits of your favourite foods on our health hub.
What is a keto diet?
The aim of ketogenic diets is to send the body into a state of ketosis by adhering to a very strict low-carb regime. We look into how keto diets work, and explain the fat-burning process of ketosis. Discover the efficiency of ketones for weight loss and the potential side effects.
What is the Fast 800 diet?
Developed by Dr Michael Mosley, the Fast 800 diet claims to potentially cut your risk of type 2 diabetes, heart disease and cancer. This involves initially following a low-calorie diet (VLCD), followed by a period of intermittent fasting and then finally, a maintenance phase. Nutritionist, Kerry Torrens, discusses how safe and effective the diet is, and whether it can easily be sustained in the long-term.
What is the 5:2 diet?
The part-time diet that still allows you to eat chocolate cake. Dieters are recommended to consume a ‘normal’ number of calories five days a week and then, for two, non-consecutive days, eat just 25 per cent of their usual calorie total – 500 calories for women and 600 for men. Discover the evidence behind this diet and whether it is a regime to suit you.
What is a plant-based diet?
A plant-based diet is any diet that focuses around foods derived from plant sources. There are many variations, but this mainly centres on fruit, vegetables, grains, pulses, legumes, nuts and meat substitutes such as soy products. In some cases, a small amount of meat and dish are also consumed. Check out the health benefits of following a plant-based diet and how you can maximise its results.
What is a flexitarian diet?
Flexitarianism or ‘casual vegetarianism’ is an increasingly popular, plant-based diet that claims to reduce your carbon footprint and improve your health with an eating regime that’s mostly vegetarian yet still allows for the occasional meat dish. Follow our tips for getting the nutrients you need on this diet, along with several flexitarian recipe suggestions.
What is the pescatarian diet?
A pescatarian diet typically includes vegetables, grains and pulses along with fish and other seafood, but generally excludes meat and sometimes dairy. Discover the health benefits of a pescatarian diet and how to get the right nutritional balance following this regime.
What is the Paleo diet?
A way of eating that truly goes back to basics, Paleolithic diets are all about eating like our ancestors did – opting for grass-fed meats, an abundance of fruit and veg and other wholefoods like nuts and seeds.
What is the carnivore diet?
Similar to the Paleo diet, this high-fat, low-protein regimen involves consuming predominantly animal products such as meat, fish, eggs, animal fats and small amounts of low-lactose dairy products. Dietitian Emer Delaney breaks down the basic points, potential benefits, and downsides to be aware of.
What is a Mediterranean diet?
A typical Mediterranean diet includes lots of healthy fats, vegetables, fruits, beans, cereals and cereal products, as well as moderate amounts of fish, white meat and some dairy. Research shows it may reduce our risk of developing conditions like type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure and high cholesterol, as well as prolonging life expectancy.
What is the Pioppi diet?
Named after a village in southern Italy where the population are said to enjoy a longer life expectancy, the Pioppi diet is more a lifestyle change than just a diet. Discover which foods are allowed on the Pioppi diet and how it differs from most Mediterranean eating plans.
What is the Dukan diet?
Pierre Dukan’s high-protein, low-carb plan attracted an army of celebrity followers when it reached the UK in 2010...
What is the Atkins diet?
Robert Atkins may not have been the first to harness the appeal of carb-free, but he was certainly the first to bring the concept to the mainstream dieting public...
What is a detox diet?
Nutritionist Kerry Torrens discusses the pros and cons of drastic detox diets.
What is the prediabetes diet?
This diet is generally recommended for patients who have higher blood sugar levels than normal, but not high enough to be classified as diabetic. Read our advice around the risks of prediabetes and how to manage the condition.
What is a low-FODMAP diet?
Have you ever suffered with bloating or abdominal pain? Did you know certain carbs could be contributing to your discomfort? Dietitian Emer Delaney explains the low-FODMAP diet and how it can help.
What is the Sirtfood diet?
This plan recommends eating a diet rich in 'Sirtfoods' – including dark chocolate, red wine and green tea. Dietitian Emer Delaney offers her opinion...
What is the dopamine diet?
Famed as the Tom Kerridge diet, this weight loss plan claims to improve mood, too. But does the dopamine diet work? Our dietitian investigates.
What is the military diet?
Designed as a rapid weight-loss method, the military diet involves dividing your week into three low-calorie days, followed by four healthy eating, non-diet days. Find out what can you eat on the diet and how safe and effective this is for weight loss.
What is the cabbage soup diet?
The cabbage soup diet has been around for years, and is known as a popular quick-fix way to lose weight in the short-term. It mainly revolves around eating homemade cabbage soup, along with a few additional low-calorie foods such as fruit, vegetables and skimmed milk. We take a closer look at this controversial diet to weigh up whether it really is effective.
What is a fruitarian diet?
There is no definitive description of fruitarianism, but generally followers will eat primarily a plant-based diet, omitting all meat or animal products. It's generally acknowledged that 55-75 per cent of the diet should be made up predominantly of raw fruit. We take a closer look at this restrictive way of eating and whether it's safe to follow in the long-term.
What is the raw food diet?
In this plant-based diet that claims to increase the enzymes in the body, refined, canned and chemically-processed foods are out – as well as heating above 48C.
What is the DASH diet?
Diagnosed with high blood pressure and advised to cut back on your salt intake? Nutritionist Kerry Torrens takes a closer look at the DASH diet – what it is, how it may help and what its limitations are.
What is the macro diet?
Rather than solely focusing on counting calories, this increasingly popular diet places an emphasis on tracking the three main macronutrients: carbohydrates, proteins and fats. Individuals on the diet are able to consume any foods that fit within their daily macronutrient (‘macro’) and energy requirements. Dietitian Tai Ibitoye explains how healthy this is and how to count your macros.
What is the planetary health diet?
A flexitarian-style diet, the principle goal of the PHD is to pave the way for a sustainable food system which supplies healthy, nutritious food to an expanding global population. We delve into what the diet involves, where it originated and what it means for us and the planet.
What is a low-histamine diet?
When our levels of histamine get too high or we can’t break it down properly, it can start to affect normal bodily functions which may lead to allergy-like symptoms, including itching, sneezing, headaches, joint pain, an irritable bowel and nausea. Read our tips for managing these by eliminating certain high-histamine foods in your diet.
What is the alkaline diet?
This highly controversial diet is based on the theory that you can change the pH balance of your body and blood through the food that you eat. By balancing an 'acid excess', advocates claim this diet can help to alleviate conditions like arthritis, osteoporosis, kidney and liver disorders, and even cancer. We look into whether there is any scientific evidence to support these health claims.
What is the apple cider vinegar diet?
Famed as a centuries old health tonic, apple cider vinegar is seen by some as a weight loss aid. We asked a dietitian the health benefits to apple cider vinegar, how much you should consume and who should avoid the diet.
What is the Banting diet?
The first of many low-carb programmes, the Banting diet promotes the use of fat stores as fuel. It is split into four phases and involves a colour coded system of food – green, orange and red. Discover whether this diet is safe and effective for weight loss.
Which diet would you like us to take a look at next? Let us know in the comments below...