Healthy eating jargon buster

Sirtfood diets, going Paleo and eating like a Viking are some of the biggest buzzwords in the world of healthy eating but what do they actually mean?

With so much jargon and different diets around, we can be left feeling baffled. From eating bugs to ‘activating’ your pulses and grains, there are some weird and wonderful trends.

Darren Beale from Muscle Food said, “It’s great that healthy eating has become so trendy and people are becoming more aware of how important it is to take care of themselves.

“However, with all these different terms being thrown about, it’s difficult to know what the diet actually involves, let alone whether it’s right for you.”


Read on for a debunking of the industry’s most used jargon and explanations of what they actually mean…

1. Paleo

Returning to our ancestors’ roots, the Paleo diet is based on foods eaten by early humans, consisting mainly of meat, fish, vegetables and fruit, leaving out dairy or cereal products.

2. Macros

Short for macronutrients, macros are the three key food groups we need for our bodies to function: carbohydrates, fats, and proteins. Fitness gurus recommend counting your macros, not calories. You may have seen IIFYM, which stands for If It Fits Your Macros. Get the balance right and you’ll be more effective at burning fat and building lean muscle. It’s all about knowing that ten calories of fat will be used differently to ten calories of carbohydrates.

3. Clean eating

It’s one of the most popular hashtags on Instagram but what does clean eating actually entail? The diet involves avoiding anything artificial, processed and staying away from anything with additional or refined sugars in.

4. Entomophagy

Entomophagy is the practice of eating bugs. This new food movement is slowly moving west as a sustainable alternative to eating meat. The crunchy critters are low in saturated fat too so make a great swap to a packet of crisps if you don’t mind a few odd looks.

5. Activating

Activating is the process of soaking pseudocereals, pulses and nuts to make them more nutritious and easier to digest. Try placing a serving of quinoa in water overnight then drain in the morning until the water runs clear.

6. Plant based

Also know as veganism, this diet involves eating foods derived from plants including vegetables, wholegrains and fruits with no animal products.

7. Probiotics

These are foods that are good for your gut and give you a happier digestive system to reduce bloating. Try yoghurts, miso paste and pickled vegetables.

8. Ancient grains

A favourite of Angelina Jolie, this diet involves adding grains, seeds, quinoa or chia seeds to meals wherever possible. It is also said to give beauty benefits like glowing skin and shiny hair.

9. Viking

Forget about the Mediterranean diet, it’s all about going Scandinavian. The Viking diet involves eating seasonal local produce, canola oil, fatty fish and high-protein yoghurt to give more energy.

10. Biodynamic

These foods are grown in an environmentally friendly farm, free of artificial pesticides and fertilisers. Good for you and for the environment.

11. Raw food

This involves eating uncooked fruit, vegetables, grains, seeds, nuts and beans. This diet can consist of lots of smoothies, juices and cold soups.

12. Mindfulness

Healthy eating focused on attitude rather than calorie counting. Importance is focused on feeling fuller for longer and savouring the eating experience.

13. Elimination diets

Helping you figure out if you have are intolerant to certain foods by cutting out gluten or dairy and seeing if you feel drastic benefits.

14. Anti-inflammatory diets

Cutting out inflaming foods like coffee, wheat, red meat and alcohol is said to increase health benefits.

15. Flexitarianism

This is essentially being veggie with occasional meat consumption. Give it a try by halving your meat intake and double your vegetarian protein consumption.

16. Sirtfood diet

New for 2016, the Sirtfood diet includes foods rich in antioxidants (green tea, red wine, grapes, kale, dark chocolate), which trigger your metabolism to break down more fat and naturally reduce appetite.

17. Alkaline diet

A favourite of Victoria Beckham, this diet is rich in fruit and veg to keep the body’s pH balance between 7.35 and 7.45.

18. Sprouted foods

Sprouted grains, unlike wholegrains, have begun germination so they are easier to digest. They are packed with key nutrients and essential amino acids. The sprouted grain is available in certain forms of breads, breakfast cereals and flours.

19. Adaptogens

Adaptogens, or super herbs, are said to help your body adapt to stress. Good ones include maca, ginseng and moringa.

20. Keto diet

This diet being coined the ‘new Atkins’ goes against the grain as it suggests you stock up in foods that are high in fat like nuts, cream and butter, while avoiding all carbs. This results in ketones replacing glucose as an alternative fuel and this transition from glucose to fat metabolism can include weight loss. However the diet, which was originally developed as a cure for epilepsy, should be treated with caution.

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