Personal choice or enforcement?
There are several types of diets. The choice is based on experiences, nutritional knowledge or beliefs, moral values, religion, tastes, and other social influences.
It may also be the choice of third parties which either they voluntarily follow, such as patients following the advice of doctors and dieticians or compulsory, such as children for whom parents decide.
In every case, different promotional and advertising techniques also play a key role.
But mainly, the dietary choices are simply a continuation of the tradition of the local culture.
Ideally, we should choose consciously and freely, as free from the burden of tradition as possible.
Different types of diets
Food is basically used to meet our nutritional needs. But it can also be seen as a pleasure, entertainment, addiction but also a way of socialization. Lately, more and more people perceive its role as a way of treatment or prevention. For instance, studies support that a well-designed vegan low-fat diet can, not only protect against various serious diseases but can also reverse Type II diabetes, some forms of cancer and various cardiovascular diseases.
Most types of diet are aimed at optimal health, weight loss, muscle mass increase, better athletic performance, and detoxification. While others may be the natural aftermath of ethical choices, such as the vegan diet (which we will see below).
Many types of diet, especially those that are not followed on an ethical basis (such as the vegan) not only do they have a few widespread variations but also some people often use them only as a basis, making additional variations on them. So it's very difficult to record them all.
The list below is for informational purposes only and we do not recommend anything that is described here. We simply mention different types of diets that, however, should only be followed as a personal choice after proper and valid information, and always taking into account personal medical history.
But first, let's take a look at the most common types of diets:
Omnivores consume foods of both plant and animal origin. Of course, in contrast to what the word "omnivores" describes (omnivore comes from the Latin words omni=everything, and vorare=to devour), they do not consume everything, but only what their culture allows them. For instance, Greek omnivores unlike Chinese, don't eat crickets. Just like an Indian omnivore doesn't eat veal and a German omnivore doesn't eat dog meat, which is consumed by omnivores in other countries.
It's the most widespread diet and is generally followed as a tradition of the local culture. Most people are raised as omnivores since birth, so basically it's not a personal choice.
More and more omnivores are changing their diet, either for health and well-being reasons, focusing mainly on plant-based diets, or because of their sensitivity to animal exploitation, so they follow not only the vegan diet but also the vegan way of life.
Vegetarians follow an omnivorous diet that excludes meat (including red meat, poultry and fish). It is usually followed as a dietary choice for health reasons. But it can also be followed for reasons of religion, fasting, weight loss or even as an act of opposition to killing animals. Also, many people turn to this diet for environmental reasons, as animal farming methods are one of the main causes of environmental damage.
There are several variations of vegetarian diet such as:
a. Lacto-Ovo Vegetarian
It's the most common type of vegetarian diet and when we hear the term vegetarian it usually describes the Lacto-Ovo Vegetarian diet. That is, the vegetarian diet which includes milk, dairy products, and eggs. The definition Lacto-Ovo defines dairy and eggs (lacto=animal origin dairy and ovo=eggs).
b. Lacto Vegetarian
Vegetarian diet including milk and other dairy products, but not eggs.
c. Ovo Vegetarian
A Vegetarian diet that includes eggs, but not milk and dairy products.
A Vegetarian diet including fish.
e. Pollo Vegetarian
A Vegetarian diet which, however, includes poultry, such as chicken and turkey.
f. Flexitarian or Semi Vegetarian or Flexi Vegetarian
A Vegetarian diet that includes small amounts of meat.
g. Demi Vegetarian
A Vegetarian diet that includes white meat (fish and poultry).
h. Jain Vegetarian
Vegetarian diet followed by those who live according to the ancient Indian Jain philosophy. This diet is based on the principle of non-violence in the sense of not causing harm to any living being, animal or plant. This prohibits meat and eggs, as well as roots, such as onions, potatoes, and carrots. However, it's allowed to consume animal derivatives that don't contain animal parts or blood, such as animal milk.
Some vegetarians go back to the omnivorous diet after a while or, if they followed a vegetarian diet due to their sensitivity towards animals, they follow the vegan diet and most likely the vegan way of life.
3. Whole-Food Plant-Based Diet (WFPBD)
This type of diet:
- Emphasizes on the consumption of the whole food . For example, a whole orange instead of its juice, whole olives instead of olive oil. However, they include e.g. peanut butter (as whole-peanut pulp) and smoothies (as whole-fruit pulp).
- Consists of raw vegetables, fruits, seeds (such as cereals and legumes) and nuts. Hence "plant-based".
- Excludes processed foods (such as flour, and sugar). In a variation, people consume foods slightly processed.
- Includes food that are, as much as possible, seasonal, organic, and locally produced.
It's usually followed for health reasons.
The vegan diet excludes all foods of animal origin, but also those whose production involves the exploitation of animals. For example, vegans don't eat meat, dairy or honey, but also no plant products whose production process involves direct or indirect exploitation or abuse of animals. Such as processed sugar for the treatment of which animal bones are used or palm oil for the production of which are caused directly and indirectly deaths in many species of animals and mostly orangutans.
A vegan diet is usually a result of ethical choices (read here about what is vegan), often taking into consideration, though secondarily, the positive effects on health and the environment.environment.
However, some may follow a vegan diet, but not a vegan lifestyle. Thus, their diet may not include anything animal, but for example visiting zoos or buying bone jewelry. In this case it is followed for health or environmental reasons.
5. Raw food diet
A diet based on eating raw foods. Mostly fruits, vegetables, nuts and seeds. It excludes processed foods as well as cooked foods at high temperatures as a way to avoid the loss of enzymes, vitamins and other nutrients contained in them. This temperature is not clearly defined, but temperatures above about 40-49°C/104-120°F are reported as upper limits.
In addition to cooking at low temperatures, there are alternative and compatible food preparation processes, such as soaking, sprouting, fermentation, and the use of a dehydrator (electric food dryer).
a. Raw Omnivorous
An omnivorous diet with the limitations of a raw food diet. That is, with the consumption of all foods (animal and plant ones) little or not cooked.
b. Raw Vegetarian
A vegetarian diet which is however raw food diet. It also includes raw eggs and unpasteurized animal milk.
c. Raw vegan
A vegan diet that is also a raw food diet.
Basically, a vegetarian diet consisting mainly of fruits and secondary nuts, provided they are harvested without damaging the plant. It's usually an ethical choice for people who respect the lives of animals and plants. But it can also be followed for nutritional, health, religious, environmental or financial reasons.
Some fruitarians collect their food only when it has naturally fallen off the plant. Others don't eat seeds, as the seed is a potential future plant. Other variations of this diet may include other foods such as pulses, other seeds or sprouts. Rarely it may include oil, honey, and chocolate.
Its most popular variant is Liquidarianism. A fruitarian diet that includes fruits, vegetables, cereals, and nuts, only in liquid or creamy form. It's usually followed for health reasons or for weight loss and for short periods.
As fasting is usually defined the deliberate abstinence from certain foodsIt's usually followed for short periods for health reasons or even as a religious practice. Various religions dictate to their followers to abstain from certain foods for specific periods, linked to important dates of each religion.
Beegans follows a vegan diet that includes honey. It's usually followed as a dietary choice or, less often, from vegans who do not accept that bee products are a result of bees' exploitation.
Unlike vegans, they don't have the same ethical basis and do not exclude bee products or other insect products, such as silk (which is produced by silkworms).
9. Breatharian (Inedia)
The belief, mainly on a religious basis, that people don't need solid or liquid foods to survive. That is, that they can feed themselves, for life, only with air and sunlight. The term "breatharianism" comes from the word "breath". In a variant of breatharianism even water is avoided. Sunbathing is followed us a feeding practice.
There is a strong outcry for this particular feeding practice, as common sense says that since humans cannot photosynthesize, it's impossible to survive with this type of diet.
A term that describes those who eat for free, usually from foods that end up in the garbage cans of restaurants. The same term, Freegan, describes the diet itself.
It is mainly selected as an act of resistance to the waste of food produced without being consumed. But it can also be selected for financial reasons.
Those who generally follow a vegan diet, but follow an omnivorous diet when it's provided for free, are also called Freegans. Even though it's a blend of the terms Free (free) + Vegan, the term vegan here describes only the type of diet and not the vegan way of life, which is against any kind of non-human animals' exploitation by humans.
11. Flexi Vegan
A term that describes a variant of the vegan diet. Flex stands for flexibility, so it actually means Flexible Vegan diet.
In this diet, when no vegan food is available, then any non-vegan food can be consumed. It's purely a dietary choice, but financial reasons can also play a part.
12. Ethical Omnivorous
A variation of the omnivorous diet where animal-derived foods come from "ethical" sources. That is, from free-range animals, that live outdoors. These animals are fed with Non-GMO foods, and plants that are grown without the use of pesticides as well as without the use of antibiotics and hormones.
Fish are selected either from the corresponding so-called "viable" aquaculture or from free fishing .
This diet is followed by those who believe that animal foods are essential for humans, but at the same time, they're against the modern way of producing them on both a moral and a dietary basis.
A diet based on Buddhist philosophyIts purpose is the Yin-Yang balance, which in Chinese philosophy we would briefly say it describes the opposites and the way they coexist.
This diet restricts the consumption of animal products (due to toxins). Also, processed foods are excluded, as well as foods that are not seasonal, but also those that are not locally grown. That is, the ones imported from distant areas.
The diet includes small and sparse meals, and good chewing.
It is followed mainly for religious and health reasons.
14. Intermittent fasting
Fasting with periodic character. The basic principle for those who follow it is that fasting and non-fasting periods are alternated, with the same or different duration, and so on.
These periods vary by creating several variations of it. For example, one can fast twenty-three hours a day and eat the twenty-fourth or he may eat one day and fast the next one.
There are no specific foods that should be eaten or avoided.
It's followed mainly for short periods for health reasons but also for weight loss.
15. Organic Diet
Diet defined by the consumption of organic and unprocessed foods. It's usually vegetarian.
The goal is to reduce the intake of toxins, preservatives, artificial sweeteners, pigments, processing aids, enhancers and other additives that usually non-organic products contain.
It's followed for health, taste and environmental reasons.
16. Low Sodium Diet
A type of diet followed for health reasons. Mostly preventively, but also in cases of hypertension, kidney and heart disease. It may, also, reduce the chances of developing cancer.
Eating salty foods is avoided and, generally, controlled sodium intake is sought. Foods that are either banned or consumed in moderation are:
- cold cuts
- fast food (burgers, pizzas, french fries, etc.)
- ready-made sauces
- processed foods
In general, it's a diet that helps in many diseases. Very reduced sodium intake, however, may in some cases be harmful to the heart.
Keto and Paleo Diet
The following two diets, even though they're not exactly diet types or do not necessarily have a repetitive nature, they're popular enough to be worth mentioning.
17. Ketogenic diet (Keto)
A diet followed mainly for weight loss or for health reasons and usually followed for short periods of time. The goal is to get the body into ketosis, where it essentially feeds itself from the stored fat. This is achieved by calorie intake mainly from fats, far less from carbohydrates and even less from proteins. It's considered a safe diet, only under medical supervision.
It is said to help treat very serious conditions such as epilepsy, heart disease, type II diabetes, and polycystic ovaries. Adverse side effects mainly include the keto flu with symptoms such as headaches, weakness, fatigue, mental confusion, indigestion, cramps, diarrhea, nausea, and bad breath, which are said to subside after the first three days.
In the long term, the kidneys become overworked and kidney stones may develop, as well as cholesterol increase and osteopenia.
In rare cases, ketoacidosis might occur which is a life-threatening condition.
18. Paleolithic Diet or Paleo Diet or Caveman Diet or the Stone Age diet
A diet similar to that of our distant ancestors of the Paleolithic period (from about 2,500,000 BC to 10,000 BC). As its supporters claim, the diet followed by the people after the agricultural revolution (around 10,000 BC) is incompatible with the nutritional needs of the human body. Hence the assumption that the people of the Paleolithic period were not obese, nor did they have diabetes, cardiovascular disease, cancer or allergies.
Paleo diet includes what is believed people of that time consumed. Organically grown vegetables, fruits, nuts, and seeds, as well as eggs and lean meat from free-range animals, and fish not derived from aquafarms. Pulses, cereals, potatoes, dairy, sugar, salt and, generally, processed foods are prohibited.
Also, one to three "free meals" every week are allowed, where someone who follows the paleo diet can consume anything. Even the forbidden foods.
It is mainly followed because of the belief that the ideal diet is that of the Paleolithic people or for weight loss.
Note: Wherever animals are mentioned, we refer to all animals except humans. We do this as this use of the term has prevailed, although the term animals clearly includes humans as well.
If you are following a type of diet that is not listed here or a variation of the above, you can add it in the comments.