Diet Types 101

Updated: Apr 23

Healthy eating is a complex topic, and many types of diets have been created to help people be healthy. This article will talk about 6 major diet types

  1. Standard American diet

  2. Paleo diet

  3. Ketogenic diet

  4. Vegan diet

  5. Elimination diet

  6. Medical Medium diet

The Standard American Diet is extremely unhealthy. Paleo and ketogenic diets were invented to reduce obesity and improve overall health. The vegan diet has been around for a long time, and it’s focused on overall health, as well as ethics and the environment. The elimination diet and Medical Medium diet are focused specifically for treating illness.


Standard American Diet

If someone in North America has not researched food and consciously tried to make healthy choices, then chances are, they are eating the Standard American Diet. This diet is full of

  • Processed foods

  • Sugar

  • Salt

  • Refined carbohydrates

  • Saturated and trans fats

  • Fast food and junk food

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These foods are addictive and have little nutritional value. Pretty much all health professionals agree that the Standard American Diet is horrible for our health. People who eat the Standard American Diet become at risk of diabetes, heart disease, stroke, osteoarthritis, digestion problems, and high blood pressure. These foods increase inflammation in the body, which is literally physical stress.


The Standard American Diet brings with it the standard American diseases. For example, the American government forced Native American tribes to stop their hunter gather lifestyles by the 1890s. The government then gave them lots of processed foods. As a result, obesity and diabetes became a big problem for those tribes, whereas it had never been a problem before.


Paleo Diet

The paleo diet is based on foods similar to what humans probably ate during the Paleolithic era, which happened around 2.5 million to 10,000 years ago. This diet is full of

  • Lean meats and fish

  • Fruits and vegetables

  • Nuts and seeds

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These are all foods that humans obtained through hunting and gathering. The paleo diet limits foods that became common when farming emerged about 10,000 years ago, such as dairy, grains, and legumes. The diet also emphasizes drinking plenty of water and being physically active every day.


The rationale behind this diet is that humans have spent millions of years adapting to the hunter gather diet, and the human body has not genetically adapted to foods that came after farming. This mismatch is believed to be a contributing factor to the prevalence of obesity, diabetes, and heart disease today.


Some studies have shown that the paleo diet may help people have a healthy weight and stay healthy, but there aren’t any long-term studies yet.


Ketogenic Diet

The ketogenic diet (keto diet) emphasizes high-fat foods and severely restricts carbohydrates. In fact, 60%-80% of your calories should be from fats on this diet.


This diet is full of foods like nuts, seeds, and dairy, with smaller amounts of meats, eggs, and fish. Fruits and vegetables that are high in fiber and low in sugar, such as leafy greens and berries, are also allowed.


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This diet is used by many people to lose weight and to lose body fat. The rationale for this diet is that when the body doesn’t get carbohydrates, it will shift to use fats as the main energy source. Instead of using glucose, the body uses fatty acids to create energy. This process is called ketosis, hence the name ketogenic diet. However, it can a few days or even weeks for the body to get into ketosis. Furthermore, eating too much protein can also interfere with ketosis.


According to a Harvard Health article, whether or not the keto diet works for weight loss in the long-term is still uncertain. The keto diet also has many risks, such as

  • Nutrient deficiency due to lack of vegetables, fruits, and grains

  • Liver problems due to too much fat

  • Constipation due to lack of fiber

  • Fuzzy thinking and mood swings due to lack of sugar; the brain functions on glucose


Harvard Health advises trying the keto diet as an experiment because the diet is very strict and hard to do correctly, and it carries many risks.


Vegan Diet

Veganism is a lifestyle that excludes all animal products, such as meat, fish, eggs, dairy, honey leather, fur, and down (similar to feathers). Vegans eat a diet full of

  • Fruits and vegetables

  • Whole grains

  • Nuts and seeds

  • Legumes, beans, lentils

  • Plant-based proteins such as tofu, tempeh, and seitan

  • Plant-based milk such as soy milk, almond milk, and cashew milk


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Increasingly, more and more people are going vegan for ethical, environmental, and health reasons. From an ethical perspective, the way humans factory farm chicken, cows, pigs, and fish is completely inhumane. Any quick internet search will reveal the torture that these animals are put through. From an environmental perspective, factory farming is one of the biggest contributors to environmental pollution. These factories dump toxic waste into the soil, water, and air. From a health perspective, factory farmed meat is full of unhealthy hormones that have been injected into the animal to make them grow big and fat in an abnormally short time. When killed, these animals’ bodies are also full of stress hormones. When humans eat the meat, the also eat these harmful hormones.


Vegetarianism is similar to veganism, but it is less strict. Vegetarians don’t eat meat and fish, but they do use animal related products, such as eggs, dairy, honey, leather, fur, and down. Vegetarianism is a great stepping stone to veganism for those who are trying to be more ethical, environmental, and healthy.


According to Healthline, the vegan diet has many health benefits. First, it has proven to be very effective at helping people lose weight, even in comparison to a whole foods diet. Second, it helps regulate blood sugar, which reduces the risk of developing diabetes. Third it reduces bad cholesterol in the blood, which improves heart health.


While causality is not certain, vegan diets are also linked to other benefits such as

  • Lower cancer risk

  • Less pain and stiffness in joints for arthritis patients

  • Better kidney function

  • Lower risk of Alzheimer’s disease

According Harvard Health, “A mostly plant-based diet could prevent approximately 11 million deaths per year globally, and could sustainably produce enough food for the planet’s growing population without further damage to the environment.” Furthermore, it is appropriate for all ages, and a properly planned vegan and vegetarian diets are healthful, nutritionally adequate, and may prevent certain diseases. They need to plan

  • Protein: tofu, seitan, lentils, beans, nuts and seeds, plant milk

  • Healthy fats: olive oil, nuts and seeds, avocadoes

  • Calcium: tofu, Chinese cabbage, leafy greens, fortified plant milk

  • Iodine: seaweed, sea salt

  • Vitamin B12*: fortified plant milk or supplement


*In his book, Liver Rescue, The Medical Medium explains that pretty much everyone is deficient in Vitamin B12, whether they are animal-based or plant-based. The reason is that our bodies can’t actually use the B12 from meat. Instead, the liver produces the B12 our body needs, and to do that, it needs elevated biotics. Elevated biotics come from organic, raw, unwashed (or lightly washed) produce like cucumbers and leafy greens straight from the garden.


An important point to mention for the vegan diet is that there are still vegan junk food and vegan processed foods, such as potato chips, French fries, and white bread. To stay healthy, vegans need to avoid processed and junk foods and eat more nutrient rich foods.


The Elimination Diet

Unlike the previous diets, which tend to be focused on weight loss, the elimination diet is used to address any form of discomfort or even illness. It is a short-term diet that helps to identify foods that your body doesn’t tolerate well. There are two phases in the elimination diet: elimination and reintroduction.


In the elimination phase, you remove all potentially harmful foods for around three weeks. Foods to eliminate include

  • Nuts

  • Soy

  • Dairy

  • Eggs

  • Gluten (which is found in flour)

  • Corn

  • Pork

  • Seafood

  • Processed foods

  • Artificial flavors and coloring

  • Preservatives

  • MSG

After you’ve stopped eating all these foods for a few weeks, you should notice some improvement to your health or illness. Then add back foods 1 by 1. When you add back a food, give it 2 to 3 days and look for any changes in your body, such as

  • Skin changes

  • Joint pain

  • Headaches

  • Tiredness

  • Bloating or stomach pain

  • Depression

  • Anxiety

If you experience no changes when you introduce a food, you can assume that food is fine for you. Then move on to the next food. If you do find negative symptoms, then you know you have a sensitivity to that food, and you should avoid it.


The Medical Medium diet is not a mainstream diet, but it is becoming increasingly popular because it heals sick people. This diet focuses on four food groups: fruits, vegetables, herbs, and wild foods. According to the Medical Medium, fruits fight cancer, vegetables clean the body, herbs build the immune system, and wild foods help us adapt to stress.



Here are just a few examples:

  • Fruits: Apples, bananas, berries, grapes, lemons, mangoes, melons, oranges, papaya, pears

  • Vegetables: Asparagus, celery, broccoli, leafy greens (spinach, lettuce), potatoes, onions, cucumbers, sweet potatoes

  • Herbs: Garlic, ginger, turmeric, cilantro, licorice root

  • Wild Foods: Aloe vera, seaweed, mushrooms, coconut, raw wildflower honey, wild blueberries

It would take far too long to explain each food in detail, but he has a whole book on the healing benefits of over 50 foods called Life Changing Foods.


The Medical Medium diet also tells people to avoid troublemaker foods, which are eggs, dairy, gluten, soy, corn, and many more (see picture). The reason is because anyone who is sick with a chronic disease already has a weakened immune system and likely has a viral infection, and these foods are add stress to the body and/or feed viruses like EBV.


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The Medical Medium diet is actually lists many items on the elimination diet. The difference is that the Medical Medium explains why each food is harmful and which health conditions they apply to, which you can find out more about on his website or in his books. On the other hand, the elimination diet is trial and error, and you may not know why you have that food sensitivity.


Healthy Diet Tips

The goal of learning all these different diet types is to make healthy eating choices. We’ve already learned that we should avoid junk food, fast food, and packaged foods from the Standard American Diet. Instead, we should eat lots of natural and whole foods like vegetables, fruits, and whole grains.


Here are four more tips for healthy eating:


Tip 1: For produce (fruits and vegetables), look for organic

Produce is not the same as before. They have been genetically modified to be bigger, prettier, and resist bugs. Their taste is also much more bland as a result. Fruits and vegetables are grown in sick soil that’s filled with chemical fertilizers. The chemicals in the fertilizers hurt the soil, which then hurts the plants, which then hurts the people who eat them. The farmers also spray the produce with A LOT of pesticides. They use so much that they have to wear full-body suits with masks because breathing in those pesticides is harmful. And farms will have a “Do not enter” sign because it’s dangerous to breath all those pesticides.


When you buy fruits and vegetables, try to get organic if your budget allows it. It’s more expensive, but it’s much healthier for you and for the Earth. Organic food also tastes so much better. You will enjoy the taste of the actual food and not want the taste of sugar, salt, or artificial flavors.


Tip 2: For animal products, look for free-range

Meat is not the same as 200 years ago. In our modern society, most meat comes from factory farmed animals. These animals are injected with growth hormones to make them extra big and grow really fast. They live in extremely crowded spaces with no hygiene. They barely have breathing space. They live extremely stressful and short lives, so their body is full of hormones related to fear, stress, and anger. They are also sprayed with lots of chemical pesticides to kill insects that carry disease. Moreover, the food that they eat is sprayed with up to 20 times more pesticides than what is allowed for human consumption.


When we eat meat from the grocery store or a restaurant, we are also eating all those dangerous chemicals and unhealthy hormones. In the short term, that creates stress and inflammation in the body. Compounded over time, that leads to disease.


Free range means the animal was not factory farmed. They had the freedom to roam in a field. It’s more expensive, but it’s much healthier for humans and better for the Earth.


Tip 3: Eat more home-made food

Instead of eating fast food, packaged food, and restaurant food, try to eat home-cooked food with fresh ingredients. We already know why fast food and packaged foods are bad, but what about restaurant food?


Restaurants are businesses, and most of them nowadays care about profit and not the health of their customers. They use cheap, unhealthy oil in their cooking. They add lots of flavoring like salt and MSG to make the meal taste better, but that’s very bad for the customer’s health.


When you cook at home, you know exactly what went in your meal. Cooking can be very easy and simple. Just cut up a bunch of different colored vegetables and stir fry them in pan. Add a bit of salt for flavoring, and you have a great tasting meal. Now, for many people, that meal might taste bland, and that’s because their tongue is so used to the excessive artificial flavors from fast food, packaged foods, and restaurant food. But if you stop eating those unhealthy foods for some time, your tongue will be able to taste vegetables again. And if you use organic ingredients, the taste will be very rich.


Tip 4: Drink water instead of processed drinks

It’s probably not surprising to you that we should avoid processed drinks made in a factory, such as sodas and juices. These drinks have a lot of sugar, artificial flavors, and preservatives added to them.


The easiest way to be healthy with our drinks is to drink water. If you want, you can also drink natural fruit juices without added ingredients. You can even drink the juice of certain vegetables such as celery, which has tremendous health benefits.


Conclusion

Diet is a big topic in modern society, where health research is abundant yet obesity and chronic illness are on the rise.


All health experts agree that the Standard American Diet is horrible for people. But unless you make conscious effort to avoid the Standard American Diet, you are probably eating some of it. The paleo diet mimics what cavemen used to eat. The keto diet is focused on fats and risky to do. The vegan diet has been shown to be very healthy. The elimination diet and Medical Medium diet can help people recover from illnesses.


Some additional tips for healthy eating are to buy organic produce and free-range animal products. Eat more home-cooked meals instead of restaurant food because restaurants prioritize their profits over customer health. When it comes to drinks, water is the easiest healthy option.


Check Your Understanding Questions:

  1. What kind of foods are in the Standard American Diet, and why are they unhealthy?

  2. What kind of foods are in the paleo diet? What are the benefits of this diet?

  3. What kind of foods are in the keto diet? What are the risks of this diet?

  4. What kind of foods are in the vegan diet? What are the benefits of this diet?

  5. Explain why and how to use the elimination diet.

  6. What kind of foods should you eat and avoid in the Medical Medium diet?

  7. What are some other tips for healthy eating?


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