What is the best diet for me? I hear this all the time. It is so confusing what to eat these days. There are so many diets out there all proclaiming different miracle cures. Everyone from your best friend to your neighbour sprouts their nutrition tips and what worked well for them.
And this is usually just for weight loss diets. What about all those diets out there that are more therapeutical to heal specific health conditions.
But how do you navigate the hype from the diets that have both clinical and scientific evidence to back up their efficacy?
Then how do you work out which is the best one for you?
Well as a naturopath, the answer to that question is the speak to your choice of a nutritional health professional who can help to prescribe the right diet for you. There is no one size fits all when it comes to functional nutritional therapy. When dealing with health problems getting the correct advice is vital. Don’t use Dr Google as your primary healthcare provider!
Having said that, I have put together a little table listing out the most common therapeutic diets that nutrition professionals use to achieve real results.
Any diet that you progress on to needs to meet the bare minimum of being based on whole foods that are free from processing, chemical ingredients and preservatives.
So to help you get a better understanding of some of the most common therapeutic dietary plans, here is a little summary for you.
What diet is best for me?
|Basic Elimination Diet||Food allergies or intolerances, digestive complaints, allergies, inflammation||The most common allergenic foods such as gluten, dairy and sugar is removed from the diet for a prescribed amount of time.||This is a great starting point to investigate food triggers that may be causing your symptoms
|Extensive Elimination Diet||Extensive food allergies or intolerances, digestive disorders, allergies, immune conditions, leaky gut||In addition to the above foods, other allergenic foods such as eggs, soy, nuts, soy and shellfish are removed from the diet for a prescribed amount of time.||When the basic elimination diet doesn’t resolve symptoms, patients will progress to this diet plan.|
|Nightshade Elimination||Auto Immune disease, inflammatory conditions, joint diseases, leaky gut||Food in the nightshade family such as tomatoes, capsicum, eggplant, paprika, chilli and goji berries are removed from the diet.||In certain people night shades can contribute to inflammation in the body. Because of this, people with inflammatory conditions such as auto immune conditions should experiment with avoiding these foods.|
|SCD (Specific Carbohydrate Diet)||Digestive disorders such as IBS, IBD, celiac, diverticulitis, starting point to cleanse the digestive system||Excludes grains, processed meat foods, some legumes, commercial dairy, starches. It will allow some properly prepared legume such as lentils, kidney beans)||This diet allows only single chain carbohydrates that are easy to digest. More complex carbohydrates are thought to be too hard for those with severe digestive disorders to digest and can contribute to bacterial overgrowth, gas and bloating.
|GAPS (Gut and Psychology Syndrome)||Digestive disorders, ADD/ADHD, autism, mental health issues, food allergies, auto immune conditions||Basic elimination diet plus exclusion of grains, coffee, chocolate, processed foods, whey, commercial dairy, nuts, seeds, soy, peanuts and some vegetables||The GAPS Diet is derived from the SCD diet and focuses on removing foods that are difficult to digest and damaging to gut flora and replacing them with nutrient-dense foods to give the intestinal lining a chance to heal and seal.|
|Paleo||Auto immune conditions, weight loss, athletic performance, digestive disorders, blood sugar regulation, inflammation, muscle building||Excludes dairy, grains, sugar, seed oil, legumes, beans. Promotes pasture raised meat, wild fish, fruits, vegetables, eggs, raw honey, nuts, seeds, coconut oil, avocado and olive oil.||Based on the concept that our digestive system has not evolved as fast as commercial food production and agriculture. By moving to a diet similar to what our ancestors ate is more healing and nourishing to our bodies.|
|Primal||Auto immune conditions, weight loss, athletic performance, digestive disorders, blood sugar regulation, inflammation, muscle building||Similar to Paleo, but it allows raw/fermented dairy and small amounts of properly prepared grains||Very similar to paleo|
|WAPF (Weston A Price Foundation)||Auto immune conditions, weight loss, digestive disorders, blood sugar regulation, inflammation||Similar to primal/paleo with a heavy influence of bone broths, fermented food, organ meat and soaked/sprouted grains||This is a great template to introduce whole food principles and to nutritionally rebuild.|
|Auto Immune Protocol||Auto Immune conditions such as Hashimoto’s, rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, Graves Disease||Similar to paleo. Also exclude nuts, seeds, eggs and night shades||Very restrictive but it has been shown to help put auto immune conditions into remission. This is not a long term eating plan, but it is great for getting control over auto immune conditions|
|Low FODMAP||Digestive disorders especially bloating and gas, SIBO||Excludes foods high in fructose, lactose, fructans, galactans and polyols||Certain carbohydrates have been identified as being difficult to digest for some people. By removing FODMAP foods for several weeks and then reintroducing them into the diet can identify what might be irritating the digestive system.|
|Low Salicylates||Allergies, red cheeks/ears, behavioural issues, night and day wetting, respiratory issues, diarrhoea, skin rashes||Salicylates are a natural chemical found in plant based foods. The list foods high in salicylates is very extensive.||When basic and full elimination diets don’t provide improvements, salicylates are often the next step on the elimination program. Often great results in children.|
|Low Oxalates||Kidney stones, autism, brain fog, fatigue, sleep disorders, joint pain, candida, mitochondrial disorders, seizures, fibromyalgia||Oxalates are a natural chemical found in foods. It is also produced by the body. In certain health conditions oxalates may build up within the body.||When basic and full elimination diets don’t provide improvements oxalates may be|
|Low Amines||Histamine intolerance, eczema, migraines, depression, hyperactivity/defiant/aggressive behaviour, chronic diarrhoea||Amines are natural chemicals found in food during the breakdown of protein or fermentation of foods. Amines give foods a lot of flavour, so often ripe and rich flavoured foods are high in amines.||When basic and full elimination diets don’t provide improvements amines may be removed if suited to symptoms.|
|Low Glutamates||Brain fog, anxiety, hyperactivity, headaches, asthma, digestive issues, hunger dysregulation, food sensitivities/allergies||Glutamates are formed from protein in foods. Can be a problem for sensitive people.||When basic and full elimination diets don’t provide improvements glutamates may be removed if suited to symptoms.|
|Ketogenic||Fat loss, blood sugar regulation, neurological disorders such as Parkinson’s, ALS, MS, epilepsy, autism, brain injuries||Generally less than 50gm of carbohydrates per day, moderate protein and high fat intake.||Patients will measure ketones in their urine to detect if they are in a state of ketosis (where your body burns fat for fuel rather than glucose). Quite restrictive, yet often great weight loss and mental clarity results.|
|Body Ecology/Anti Candida||Gut dysbiosis, candida, blood sugar regulation, autism spectrum, severe digestive disorders||Focus on 80/20 rule where you eat until 80% full and alkaline foods. Includes fermented food, green vegetables, sea vegetables, selected root vegetables, low GI fruit, meat, fish, ghee, herbs, spices, alkalizing grains.||A great starting point for those with candida over growth or bowel dysbiosis.|
|Gluten Free||Celiac disease, digestive disorders, brain fog, fatigue, auto immune conditions||Avoids gluten containing grains such as wheat, rye, barley, spelt, kamut, bulgur, couscous.||Life saving for those with celiac disease. Those with Non-Celiac Gluten Sensitivity also find great results when removing gluten from the diet.|
|Dairy Free||Digestive disorders, chronic respiratory conditions, recurrent ear infections||All dairy food such as milk, yoghurt, ice cream, cream, cheese.||Easy to follow with many plant based alternatives. Results can be great for those unable to digest either lactose or casein (milk protein)|
|Low Glycaemic||Diabetes, blood sugar regulation, weight loss, fatigue, PCOS, acne||Avoids foods high on the glycaemic index. Focus on vegetables, meats, seafood, quality fats and whole grains||Great for those wanting a long term eating plan that can easily be adopted as a lifestyle diet.|
I hope this gives you a better understanding of the reasoning and what is involved in each therapeutic diet. Please note that this is just a general guide to these diets and they are usually much more involved than what is just listed above. It is not recommended to self-prescribe yourself any of these diets, always speak to your health professional to see what plan would be most suited for you.
Still unsure as to what diet is best for you? Send me a quick email to firstname.lastname@example.org and I can help you out.