How are diet trends evolving during the pandemic? Does your current diet plan complement your lifestyle?

Anu Jain
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Here are the answers you might have wanted to find since long.

In 2020, the world has already been through a lot, pandemic, viruses, lockdown, blasts and what not; but we’re taking a look back at the biggest health and wellness trends which have shaped our lives through this all. From diets to specialized products, we’ve seen a variety of wellness fads.

Our dietary habits usually change every two-three months but during the pandemic whatever diet trends people have followed their primary goal was and still is to remain fit and healthy.

Today, we talk about a variety of diet trends and what nutritionists and doctors have to say about them.

In conversation with Nutritionist & Diet CounsellorVandana Garg, when asked about peoples’ evolvement during the pandemic, she divided people into 3 different groups. “There are 3 types of groups right now, one which is at home consuming unhealthy habits, as they are spending more and more time at home. They eat whatever they want and whatever is available. The other group of people, which has become conscious about health is eating good food while having a balanced diet; and the last group is in which people are gulping down all the processed meals but also consuming the recommended kadas and taking immunity boosters, protein powders thinking that they will be safe from the virus.”

Recommending a healthy diet alongside a routine like exercising, Dr Garg said, “Immunity can be developed only by maintaining a good lifestyle, tough kadas and immunity-boosting juices are good but with inappropriate eating habits and no exercise, these things can do no good.”

  • People before a decade did not have so many diseases, what has changed and why are people getting ill so frequently?

The easy availability and accessibility of packed food in every household is the major cause of diseases. This holds true for even mid and low socioeconomic groups. The homemade ‘Poha’ and ‘Chillas’ are replaced by cornflakes, bread, and Instant mixes. Advertising plays a major role in the changed lifestyle of people. With Swiggy and Zomato, we have access to kitchens from all corners of the city. Eating out is a regular norm and even if anyone chooses to eat at home the platter have changed completely since the last two decades. Also, physical activities as simple as walking have declined among everyone making them prone to getting diseased.

  • Why has dieting become a trend and what are the most trending diets?

Everyone is made to believe that they are not good enough, thin enough, or toned enough or curvy enough by various channels. They then want to remold themselves so as to match the standards set by society and that too INSTANTLY. The diet industry is enchasing this trend by offering the latest diets by fancy names. The popular diets presently followed in India are Keto Diet, Intermittent Fasting, Water fasting, dry fasting. Eating lactose-free and gluten-free food or following veganism is also getting very popular.

  • Exercise & diet, are they inversely proportionate? Or is it a myth?

It’s a myth as they are directly proportional. The healthier we eat the better we can practice any exercise, the chances of injury reduces and motivation for workout increases naturally. The same is true with exercises, as soon as we start working out, the stress is relieved, and with better hormonal balance the cravings for junk declines. Irrespective of weight everyone should exercise.

  • What are the pros & cons of diets? And what kind of diet you’d never advice?

Diet is a regular word which means the kinds of food that a person or community habitually eats. Earlier this was constant by nowadays we change its pattern from time to time.

Switching from one dietary pattern to another is not good for health and should not be practised. Any diet which motivates us to eliminate any food group completely i.e. carbs or fats (Keto) should not be practised as keeping our bodies deprived of any nutrient can cause long term negative health outcome. Changing the diet also causes metabolic shifts making us more vulnerable to diseases.

The most effective diet is the one that is easy to follow for an individual and is sustainable. Hopping from one diet to another ruins the health in the long run.

For being sustainable it is advised to go for local food which is natural and is in season. Eating balanced meals cooked at home is the best practice I recommend.

Kinds of diet? Chose according to your aim!

Vegan Diet 

What is vegan or veganism?

It is a strict vegetarian diet which does not include consumption of meat, any dairy products, eggs, honey, or any product derived from an animal. A vegan diet should be full of a wide variety of delicious, nutritious foods, including vegetables, grains, nuts, legumes, seeds, and fruits. Often, people who follow veganism do not wear leather, fur, silk, or wool. Many refuse to use products that are made with animal ingredients, products that are filtered using animal parts (such as some wines, beers, and white sugars), and products that have been tested on animals.

There are many reasons why do people follow a vegan diet; it is moral, ethical and environment-friendly.

Youtuber and doctor Mike challenged himself with four weeks of veganism and concluded that: “To follow a strict like this – planning is critical; the energy during diet was fine (normal); did not become weaker but felt a lack in willpower; lost 3 pounds but did not feel lean and lastly; there was a lot of gas & bloating in the stomach.”

Doctor Mike hardly recommends a vegan diet to his patients because it is not the only healthy option available to follow. Mike would rather advise his patients to follow a “plant-focused” diet where they would get the majority of their calories from fruits and vegetables, with reasonable amounts of fish and lighter meats.

But if you’re an animal lover and  mean no harm to them, you should go for veganism.

The years 2019 and 2020 have seen the highest spike in the number of people turning to veganism. We are surrounded by our favourite influencers and celebs who have converted into vegans like Richa Chaddha, Sonam Kapoor, Zac Efron, Sia, Benedict Cumberbatch (named PETA’s most beautiful vegan in 2018), Miley Cyrus, and others.

(Liam Hemsworth was a vegan before April 2020, no longer is one after suffering from a kidney stone).

Paleo Diet (Plethoric era)

Typically includes lean meats, fish, fruits, vegetables, nuts & seeds — food which in the past could be obtained by hunting & gathering. A paleo diet caps a food limit i.e. became that common after farming emerged (10,000 years ago) such as dairy products, legumes & grains. A natural way of eating, one that almost abandons all intake of sugar. The only sugar in this diet comes from fruit. However, abandoning sugar is not the only stipulation. Processed foods and grains are also eliminated from the Paleo diet.

The diet’s reasoning is that the human body is genetically mismatched to the modern diet that emerged with farming practices — an idea known as the discordance hypothesis. The aim of a paleo diet is to find a way back to eating that’s more like early humans era.

Farming changed what people ate by establishing dairy, grains & legumes as additional staples in the human diet. According to the hypothesis, rapid changes in diet outpaced the human body’s ability to adapt. This mismatch is believed to be a contributing factor to the prevalence of obesity, diabetes & heart disease we find in today’s era.

Keto Diet (extremely low-carbohydrate, high-fat diet) 

“Ketogenic” is a term for a low-carb diet. The idea is for you to get more calories from protein and fat than from carbohydrates. The body’s fat-burning system relies mainly on fat instead of sugar for energy. You cut back most on the carbs that are easy to digest, like sugar, soda, pastries, and white bread.

Why do people follow Keto?

People these days are more focused on losing weight, which keto diet gives. It also helps to manage certain medical conditions such as epilepsy & heart disease, certain brain diseases, and even acne, but there needs to be more research in these areas.

If your weight loss goals are more immediate, a ketogenic diet may be able to help you achieve those results & it has shown to be very effective for short-term weight loss.

Some health experts believe eating a large amount of fat and protein from animal sources can increase your risk of heart disease and certain cancers. Cutting out almost all carbohydrates, that means giving up or limiting conventionally healthy foods like fruit, whole grains and some vegetables. Very low-carbohydrate diets may also be associated with more side effects than a low-fat diet, including headaches, fatigue and bad breath.

“If you’re following keto for 15 days and suddenly you even consume a small piece of cake, it can adversely affect your body,” said Vandana.

Not only headlines have held the names of these wellness trends, but celebrity social media posts have also promoted certain diets. The keto diet, for example, praised from “Jersey Shore” star Vinny Guadagnino, which he credits for losing 50 pounds. And although they never directly reference keto. Khloe Kardashian and Vanessa Hudgens both credit their weight loss to a high fat, low carb diet.

But there is no easy way to lose weight fast without work-out or exercise. Sometimes such diet trends take advantage of people (peer pressure), women in particular who are crumbling under the pressure of unrealistic beauty standards & women who are told, to have any value they must look a certain way. The unfortunate truth about many diet trends is that they cause the body to go under starvation mode. Don’t let yourself be exploited by the advertisements promising that you will lose weight in a fast and easy way.

Whole30 Diet

The aim of this diet is to change the way you feel and eat in a nutritional. The 30 in the name represents days and removing all of the potentially inflammatory foods and beverages in your diet (added sugar and sweeteners, alcohol, grains, legumes, dairy, processed foods and beverages, baked goods, and junk foods) for these many days. Intake of meals made with Whole30-approved ingredients comprised of meats, seafood, veggies, and eggs is all you’ve to do.

The ones who followed the diet moulded in 6 ways, having a flawless skin; reduced dark circles; energetic-self; sleeping better; more balanced mind; feeling deflated and de-bloated.

For those who tried it, claimed that the diet changed their life & lifestyle sense.


This diet highly is promoted by the US National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute to stop (or prevent) hypertension/ high blood pressure. It emphasizes the foods you’ve always been told to eat (fruits, veggies, whole grains, lean protein and low-fat dairy), which are high in blood pressure-deflating nutrients like potassium, calcium, protein and fibre. DASH also discourages foods that are high in saturated fat, such as fatty meats, full-fat dairy foods and tropical oils, as well as sugar-sweetened beverages and sweets. Following DASH also means capping salt at 2,300 milligrams a day, which followers will eventually lower to about 1,500 milligrams.

It also helps to reduce LDL (“bad”) cholesterol and lowers the risk of stroke and heart disease. DASH diet may cause weight loss though it was not designed to (can be a positive aspect for some)

A Mediterranean diet 

Incorporates the traditional healthy living habits of people from countries bordering the Mediterranean Sea, including France, Greece, Italy and Spain. Varies from country to country. It’s high in vegetables, fruits, legumes, nuts, beans, cereals, grains, fish, and unsaturated fats such as olive oil & a low intake of meat and dairy foods.

To have a healthy heart one can benefit from this diet. Its main components include

  • Daily consumption of vegetables, fruits, whole grains and healthy fats.
  • Weekly intake of fish, poultry, beans and eggs
  • Moderate portions of dairy product
  • Minimal intake of red meat

Drinking a glass of wine & having spent time with friends & family is what one can additionally do beyond the diet.

Plant-based, not meat-based

The base of the Mediterranean diet is vegetables, fruits, herbs, nuts, beans and whole grains. Meals are built around these plant-based foods. Moderate amounts of dairy, poultry and eggs are also central to the Mediterranean Diet, as is seafood. In contrast, red meat is eaten only occasionally. Aim for 7 to 10 servings a day of fruit and vegetables.

Which APPS comply best to your routine?

Short Workout Apps

Busy schedule? Work Deadlines/ Pressure? But want to work out? The Johnson & Johnson Official 7 Minute Workout – a free app with a classic seven-minute workout that you can do anywhere. In the category of short workout apps, this is by far the best. You do the moves with the app shows and it counts down from 30 seconds as you do them. Besides, the app has the availability of various types of routines.

Nutrition-Tracking Apps

MyFitnessPal, MyPlate, Lifesum & Noom – nutrition apps often focus on weight loss, but they can be helpful to use if you’re shifting to a new diet. For example, moving to a plant-based diet, you might want some help figuring out if there is enough protein. Nutrition apps will do this for you.

Activity-Tracking Apps

A few activity-tracking apps in the list, which log your activities as you do them. If you run, it will count the distance, time, and other relevant stats. If you wear a heart rate monitor while doing an activity, the app will show a graph of your heart rate for the session. Map My Fitness is a top recommendation for people who are just getting started on a fitness journey. Charity Miles, another one of the best apps for tracking activity which motivates you by donating money to charity for every mile you run, walk, or bicycle.

Music Workout Apps

Fit Radio and RockMyRun – a couple of fitness apps bring you music designed to power your workouts, no matter what it is you do to get fit. With these apps, you can get professional DJ quality mixing, songs that match your running tempo or tracks made for your activity of choices, such as elliptical training or yoga.

While you workout on these apps, keep your diet sorted and prepared because planning is important while following a diet and remember, don’t cheat on it!

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