By MH Staff - Posted on 27th March 2014
Why these diets may help you now but not later.
It’s surprising that we want to go to the eating habits of an era where we only lived to around 30 years old, says Megan Pentz-Kluyts, registered dietician. “Why would you want to go back there?” However, what the paleo diet does get right, is its aversion to processed meat. “They are looking at fresh fruit and vegetables and moving away from refined stuff, so that is a good thing because we need to move away from our regular intake of processed food.”
The Mediterranean diet ticks several boxes. “It punts monounsaturated fats with things like olive oil, olives, avocados andz even canola oil. Those are good oils and good fats.” It’s also more varied than most diets. “At least they tend to have a little bit of everything, and it’s proven to have beneficial effects on health long-term. Pentz-Kluyts points out that in South Africa we have don’t have the plentiful resources of olive oil that extend the life expectancies of those in the Mediterranean. “There’s sunflower oil or a move to polyunsaturated fats and obviously a world-wide skewing of omega-6 and omega-3.”
Though often touted as a high protein diet, there’s a bigger emphasis on fats. “Fats are not necessarily a bad thing,” she says but having such a small menu makes it a difficult diet to maintain. High protein diets may contain preservatives in processing the food, such as smoked chicken or biltong.
Most places cater for vegetarians, and “you can get most of the nutrients you need if people are clever about it,” says Pentz-Kluyts. “If you’re a lacto vegetarian or an ovo-lacto vegetarian, you can get enough protein in eggs and dairy.” Not everyone gets it right though. “The vegetarian diet is often misconstrued as a lot of white sauce on pasta with vegetables mixed in, and obviously that’s not a healthy option. If you go vegan (no animal products at all), it’s a little bit more tricky to get iron, calcium and vitamin B12.”
“It’s not a good long-term eating plan, so it’s not a healthly approach to food. Many of these so-called high protein sources have a high content of saturated fat, and you need to look at the portion size throughout,” says Pentz-Kluyts. Watch out for the high salt content, she adds.