5 Popular Diet Terms Defined

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Raw food diet

Raw food diet

A raw food diet is based on the belief that heating food damages valuable nutrients. As a result, the eating plan includes consuming foods that have not been heated above 118 degrees Fahrenheit. The diet is largely composed of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, nuts, and seeds. Some dehydrated or dried foods also meet the raw food criteria depending on the dehydration process.

The basis of the raw food diet is somewhat controversial. While some nutrients may be destroyed when foods are heated, others are enhanced and made more available to the body.

Clean eating

Clean eating is often used to describe a diet of more whole foods in their natural form and fewer packaged, processed foods. It is not an eating plan with strict guidelines but more of an approach to eating that influences your food choices. For example, clean eating means you choose grilled fresh fish over battered frozen fish and whole fresh fruits versus canned fruits in syrup. By eating clean, you can increase nutrients while reducing your intake of excess calories, fat, sodium, and sugar found in processed foods.

Flexitarian

Flexitarian is used to describe a person who eats a heavily plant-based diet, but includes meat and other animal products from time to time. A flexitarian style of eating closely resembles a vegetarian diet by being rich in fresh fruits and vegetables, and whole grains, but occasionally a flexitarian may choose to eat fish, poultry, pork, or red meat.

Paleo

The Paleo diet resembles what was likely eaten during the Paleolithic era, when our ancestors were hunters and gatherers. The diet is based on the belief that chronic disease is associated with eating foods like grains, legumes, and dairy. Therefore, it is largely made up of meat, poultry, fish, eggs, vegetables, fruits, nuts, and seeds. The exact eating plan can vary from person to person, but sugar and sodium intake are limited because the Paleo diet does not allow processed or pre-made foods.

Gluten-free

A gluten-free diet contains no wheat products. Gluten is a protein found in wheat that must be avoided by those with celiac disease. When people with the disease eat gluten, their bodies produce antibodies that damage the lining of the small intestines, reducing the absorption of nutrients. Rye and barley are two additional grains that contain proteins similar to gluten and must also be avoided. A gluten-free diet contains fresh fruits and vegetables, dairy products, beans, unprocessed nuts, unprocessed meats without breading, and gluten-free grains.