Diet Term Digest for the Curious

February 8, 2016

Diet terminology is utterly confusing. Take it from me—the guy who gained a ravishing 40 pounds in the last two years. With so many terms out there, here are the few you can get away with knowing. They are listed down as a cheat sheet in high hopes that they enlighten, inspire (debatable), and satiate those curious of their health conscious peers.

1. Ketogenic [kee-toh-jen-ik]


A diet where the goal is to achieve ketosis—it is similar to Atkins but more hardcore—where the body is forced to function on various forms of fat instead of carbohydrates. Originally used to treat seizures, the classic ratio of fat to carbohydrates and protein is 4:1 and 3:1.  While this diet may seem like a dream for anyone who loves to eat rich meals, the diet requires both a proper meal plan and medical supervision for it to work. Something that some Keto diet followers might not know is that it’s one of the five medically published diets used for treating epilepsy (all of which involve high fat consumption).

What you’ll be eating most: Fat in the form of butter and oil, fatty cuts of meat, and non-starchy vegetables
What you won’t be eating: Grains, starchy vegetables, and sweets

2. Paleolithic [pey-lee-uh-lith-ik]


A diet that mimics the food of pre-agricultural ancestors of man—hunter-gatherers to be exact. It revolves around the consumption of unprocessed animals and plants, while veering away from all kinds of processed food including sugar, dairy, and grain (that’s where pre-agricultural kicks in). Bronto Burgers, anyone?

What you’ll be eating most: Fruits and vegetables, lean meats and seafood, healthy fats
What you won’t be eating: Processed foods, dairy, and grains

3. Gluten-free [gloot-n free]


Gluten is a form of protein, primarily found in wheat, rye, and barley, that helps certain food maintain their shape. People with celiac disease, an autoimmune disorder where gluten can damage the small intestines, often observe a gluten-free diet. One of the biggest hurdles in the diet is cross-contamination; when gluten-free food come into contact with the protein during its preparation. Last year, a study has shown that the estimate sales of gluten-free products have doubled in the last four years—from $11.5 billion to more than $23 billion.

What you’ll be eating most: Practically anything that does not contain wheat, barley, and rye
What you won’t be eating:
 Anything that has or comes in contact with wheat, barley, and rye

4. Organic [awr-gan-ik]


Organic diets consists of ingredients without the use of pesticides, synthetic fertilizers, genetically modified organism, or ionizing radiation. For meats, they must not have taken antibiotics or growth hormones. The classification varies however since standards differ worldwide. While consuming organic may seem ideal, the biggest challenge is cost. Fun fact: to qualify that “organic” label, the item only requires 95% of the product to actually be organic.

What you’ll be eating most: Everything that carries an “organic” label
What you won’t be eating:
 Conventionally grown foods

5. Vegetarian [vej-i-tair-ee-uh n]


No meats. Period. That means red meat, fish, or poultry. With a wide array of meat and animal products out there, there are some offshoots of the practice.

Veggie-head variants:
Lacto Vegetarian – can eat cheese, milk, and yogurt
Ovo Vegetarian – can eat eggs and egg products
Pollotarian – can eat fowl and poultry
Pescatarian – can eat fish and seafood
Flexitarian – semi-vegetarian, can occasionally eat meat
Fruitarian – can only eat fruits in the botanical sense

6. Vegan [vee-guhn]


Vegan deserves a special mention for being the extreme form of the vegetarian diet. In addition to not partaking of any kind of meat, it also revolves around an ethical standpoint that shuns the use of animal products and by-products. Simply put, no animal exploitation.

What you’ll be eating most: Fruits and vegetables, whole grain products, seeds, nuts, and legumes
What you won’t be eating or using:
 All kinds of meat but also includes by-products like honey, leather, and cheese

Miguel Ortega SEE AUTHOR Miguel Ortega

Miguel once worked for a bank before realizing words did so much more for him than numbers ever could (because if you can't dazzle with brilliance, you sure can baffle with bullshit). He has since gone on to write regular articles for Rogue magazine and video scripts for large-scale corporations, on top of working as a communications associate.

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