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Well-known nutritional diets:

Macrobiotic diet
Macrobiotics (from the Greek "macro" (large, long) + "bio" (life)) is a lifestyle that incorporates a dietary regime. The word was first coined by Christoph Wilhelm Hufeland of Germany with his book, "Makrobiotik oder Die Kunst, des Menschliche Lebens zu Verlängern" ("Macrobiotics, or the Art of Extending Ones Life"), in 1796.

Japanese philosophers and physicians inspired Georges Ohsawa to finally formalize this methodology. Among them chronologically were Kaibara Ekiken, Andou Shoeki, Mizuno Nanbaku, and Sagen Ishizuka and his disciples Nishibata Manabu and Shojiro Goto.

Macrobiotics was brought to Europe from Japan by the philosopher Georges Ohsawa, after spending much time with Nishibata Manabu, (who taught extensively in Paris), and subsequently to North America in the late 1960s by his pupils Herman Aihara, Michio Kushi and Aveline Kushi among many others. Before the word Macrobiotics became global in usage (and also how the term translates from the Japanese language) it was known as the Unique Principle.

In Practice
For those wishing to adopt the diet, it is recommended, as for all diets, to read more about it, and consult a Dietitian or Physician before starting, or in the case of illness. Some even consult a macrobiotic counselor. It is generally recommended that any diet be adopted gradually, for instance, reducing animal products, refined flour, sugar, dairy products and adding more whole grain and vegetable quality foods.

Mediterranean diet
The Mediterranean diet is a nutritional model inspired by the traditional dietary patterns of the countries of the Mediterranean basin, particularly Italy, Greece, and Spain.

These common patterns include a high consumption of fruit and vegetables, bread and other cereals, olive oil and fish. Also wine should be consumed, but in moderate quantities.

“Discovered” in 1945 by the American doctor Ancel Keys, who disembarked in Salerno (Italy) with the U.S. Army, the Mediterranean diet has gained common currency only in the 1990s. It is based on what from the point of view of conventional, mainstream nutrition is considered a paradox: that although the people living in Mediterranean countries tend to consume relatively high amounts of fat, they have far lower rates of cardiovascular disease than in countries like the United States, where similar levels of fat consumption are found.

One of the main explanations is thought to be the large amount of olive oil used in the Mediterranean diet -- in contrast to the high amount of animal fats in a typical American diet. Olive oil lowers cholesterol levels in the blood, while animal fats tend to increase cholesterol levels. In addition, the consumption of red wine is also thought to be a factor, because it contains flavonoids with powerful antioxidant properties (this effect of the red wine is also called the French paradox, due to France's high red wine consumption).

Dietary factors may be only part of the reason for the health benefits enjoyed by these cultures. Genetics, lifestyle, and environment may also be involved.

Muslim diet
Muslim dietary laws provide a set of rules as to what Muslims eat in their diet. These rules specify the food that is halal, meaning lawful. They are found in Qur'an, the holy book of Islam, usually detailing what is unlawful, or haram. There are some more rules added to these in fatwas (which are not often held to be authoritative by most Muslims) by Mujtahids with various degrees of strictness.

Islamic law prohibits a Muslim from consuming alcohol, eating or drinking blood and its by-products, and eating the meat of a carnivore or omnivore, such as pork, monkey, dog or cat. For the meat of an animal to be halal it must be properly slaughtered by a Muslim or a Person of the Book (Christian or Jew), while mentioning the name of God; for instance, the animal may not be killed by being boiled or electrocuted, and the carcass should be hung upside down long enough to be blood-free. According to some fatwas, the animal must be slaughtered only by a Muslim. However, other fatwas dispute this, and rule from the orthodox Qur'anic position, that according to verse 5:5 of the Qur'an (which declares that the food of the People of the Book to be halal), the slaughter may be done by a Jew or a Christian. Thus, many observant Muslims will accept kosher meat, especially if halal options are not available.

Some of these traditional dietary restrictions may have been created to prevent trichinosis, which can be caught from undercooked pork, and other similar diseases.

Natural Foods Diet
The Natural Foods Diet is the avoidance of all unnatural and refined/processed ingredients. These ingredients include refined sugars, refined flours, milled grains, hydrogenated oils, artificial sweeteners, artificial food colors, artificial flavorings, and other similar ingredients. Unlike most other popular weight-loss programs, there is no counting required for practitioners of the Natural Foods Diet.

Note that Sucanat, Stevia, raw honey, and maple syrup are allowed as sweeteners as they are non-processed and all natural. Sea salt is also preferred over table salt.

Proponents of the natural foods diet argue that unnatural ingredients promote obesity, diabetes, cancer, heart disease, and mood problems.

Negative calorie diet
In a negative calorie diet and several versions of this diet, dieters are to eat and drink food products that are nutritous but are claimed to have a negative caloric effect; i.e., they provide fewer food calories than the calories needed to digest them. There is no evidence that any foods are truly negative calorie. The "negative calorie" foods allowed in this diet are mainly vegetables and fruits, including:

  • apples
  • asparagus
  • beets
  • blueberries
  • broccoli
  • green cabbage
  • cantaloupes
  • carrots
  • cauliflower
  • cranberries

It is difficult to obtain well-balanced nutrients from this diet, and so these foods are more effective as substitutes for caloric snacks than as means for losing weight.

No-Grain Diet by Dr. Mercola
The No-Grain Diet was developed by osteopathic physician Joseph Mercola. He claims that overconsumption of grains and sugars is the cause of many degenerative diseases, such as diabetes and cancer as well as obesity. The purpose of the diet is mainly for optimum health, and is claimed by its adherants to improve or heal those diseases. Recently, he is calling this diet the "Total Health Program" including a 3-stage "Nutrition Plan".

The No-Grain Diet emphasizes organic vegetables with limited fruits, quality meats, eggs and oils such as virgin coconut and virgin olive oils. It discourages the eating of any grain-products, sugars, most fish, most polyunsaturated oils and processed foods. It is controversial, in that it calls eating grains an "addiction", and goes against the recommendation of mainstream nutritionists, who advise multiple servings of grains per day.

"Metabolic Typing" is seen as essential, which provides adjustments of the diet depending on each person's metabolic needs. Metabolic Typing is based on the assumption that each person has a unique way in which food is metabolized in the body, making it impossible to find one diet which works for all people. Three metabolic types are distinguished as Carb, Protein or Mixed Type, depending on the ratio of carbohydrates, proteins and fats each type of person is supposed to require in his daily diet. The diet is then adjusted to those metabolic types. This part of Mercola's diet appears to be identical to the Metabolic Typing Diet by William L. Wolcott




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