There are so many diets out there, it can be hard to know what will work best for you. We’re going to examine four of today’s most popular diets and explore not just how they help you lose weight, but also look at how they affect your overall hormone health.
The Keto diet is the latest in a string of low carb diets that have been popular for years. Ketogenic diets are low-carb, high-fat diets that reduce your body’s insulin and blood sugar levels keying your metabolism in on fat and ketones. It derives its name from the state of ketosis that your body goes through when you drastically reduce your carbohydrate intake.
Keto and other low-carb diets can have varying effects, depending on the person. They may be particularly beneficial to those who struggle with obesity, epilepsy, diabetes, polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS). However, in others, reducing the carbs you eat can affect your thyroid - leading to decreases in energy, weight gain, and possibly depression.
Ultimately, moderate carbohydrate consumption is best. Too few or too many carbs can lead to imbalance and corresponding health problems. Aim for about 15-30% of your calorie intake to be carbohydrates, and choose healthy, non-processed grains that are easier for your body to digest.
The Paleo diet focuses on foods that are presumed to have been eaten by early humans, foods that are nutrient dense and packed with energy. The diet primarily consists of meat, fish, vegetables, and fruit, but avoids processed food, dairy, and grain.
Paleo diets, when properly balanced, can be very good for your hormone health. Natural, non-processed foods help you produce the hormones you need in proper amounts - keeping you balanced. When you eat a wide variety of vegetables, proteins, fats, some fruit, you supply your body with the vitamins and minerals it needs for optimal hormone production.
A Mediterranean diet focuses on eating foods found in traditional Mediterranean countries. Lots of vegetables, olive oil, and moderate consumption of proteins like chicken and fish are trademarks of this diet. Many prefer the Mediterranean diet for its relaxed rules; this diet is more about the way you eat and less about what you eat. Its emphasis is on moderation.
The Mediterranean diet is very similar to Keto and some Paleo diets. The benefit of the diet is that encourages eating foods full of healthy fat (omega-3s) and fresh ingredients. While it may seem counterintuitive to think that fatty foods can help you lose weight, omega-3s are really important to many of your body’s functions, including hormone balance. When done right the Mediterranean diet should not have any negative effects on your hormone balance.
Whole30 is a 30-day diet that has you eliminate sugar (including natural sweeteners like honey and maple syrup), grains, legumes, soy, dairy, and alcohol from your diet. For thirty days you eat foods like meat, nuts, seeds, seafood, eggs, vegetables, and fruit, simplifying what you eat.
Once the 30-days are up, you reintroduce the foods you’ve taken out of your diet strategically. The point of the diet isn’t to lose weight or count calories, but to find the proper balance of foods that make you feel the best.
If you struggle with inflammation, skin breakouts, and other symptoms of hormone balance, Whole30 is a great way to examine what you eat and the effect it has on your overall health. Simplifying what you eat to the extreme, and then slowly introducing foods back into your diet can be a great way to explore food sensitivities and find the balance of foods that make you feel the best.
The Bottom Line
Most diets operate under the same principles: simplify your diet, eat more natural ingredients, take in more protein and healthy fats, reduce sugar and processed foods. These diets are great for inducing weight loss, and when done properly, they can also be beneficial to your overall hormone balance.