14 Ways to Get Into Great SUP Shape in 2023 | Perfect Paddles

In Fresh Content, Health, Learning, Wellness by Daniel

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In this article, we discuss popular fad diets, the pros and cons of each, and what might be the best option for you! Check it out below...


SUP is an athletic endeavor...

As one, if you want to continue to enjoy it for years to come you need to make sure your health is in top shape.

To do this, it's important to consider one essential part of your life: a proper diet.

The question is, what diet is good for you? With so many options, it's difficult to choose.

There are, of course, guidelines that work across the board:

  • Limiting fried foods
  • Eating less sugar
  • Stop drinking carbonated soda
  • Forgetting about packaged foods
  • And avoiding extra ingredients such as preservatives, processed seed oils, and even caffeine will help to improve your health...

And how you feel.

But to truly understand what works so that you can remain in top paddling shape you need to know the pros and cons of each diet before you dive in...

Then you can test them for yourself. And stick with what works.

To help make this a possibility, we cover the pros and cons of the popular fad diets below (our information is sourced from experts within the field of dietary needs)...

After reading about and understanding each, our advice is to find what works specifically for you, your body, at this time in your life, and not get caught in a diet dogma that can limit your health.

Ready to pull back the curtain on popular fad diets? Let’s dive in!

Quick Disclaimer

We are not certified, nutritionists. Our knowledge of diet is solely from personal experience on what diets work for peak performance on and off the water as well as sourcing information from professionals within the field. If you have any questions or want additional information on these diet options, be sure to consult a registered dietician before giving any of these a try.

Let's start with number 1...

The Atkins Diet

What is it? To put it simply, it’s a low-carbohydrate diet. First created and marketed by Dr. Atkins, an American physician, and cardiologist, its initial intention was to help people lose stubborn belly fat and excess weight, without feeling hungry all the time. To do this, the idea was to cut back on unhealthy and at times unnecessary low-quality carbohydrates and replace them with high-quality protein and high-quality fats with the idea of slowly adding some carbohydrates back into the diet.


  • Protein and fat are not digested as rapidly as carbohydrates. This can suppress your appetite throughout the day and limit your caloric intake.
  • You still intake essential nutrients found in meat and vegetable sources.
  • Limiting your carbohydrate intake can reduce the amount of consuming food without a high nutrient density (pasta, bread, cereals, etc.)
  • By restricting simple carbohydrates, you can control your blood sugar better throughout the day


  • This fad diet excludes many fruits and vegetables, some of which provide essential vitamins, minerals, and fiber in the diet.
  • You’re allowed to eat processed meats, which over the long term can increase heart issues and even certain cancers in the digestive system.
  • You can experience constipation, low blood sugar, and electrolyte imbalances.
  • It can be too restrictive for some people causing them to gorge on carbs when they are reintroduced into the diet.

fad diets

The Ketogenic Diet

What is it? The Keto Diet is similar to the Atkins diet in that its aim is to lower carbohydrate intake. But unlike the Atkins fad diet, the Keto diet prioritizes fat as the main source of fuel for your body. It is believed that fat (or ketones) as a source of fuel burns cleaner, and more efficiently, and is better for your brain activity as opposed to burning the sugars found in carbohydrates. The breakdown of the standard ketogenic diet is 70% of daily calories come from fat, only 20% from protein, and 10% from carbohydrates. However, unlike Atkins and other low-carb diets, ketogenic diets don’t gradually increase their carbs. Instead, they keep carb intake very low to ensure followers stay in ketosis.

The Ketogenic Diet has seen a sharp rise in popularity over the last decade for its health benefits in losing weight.


  • Helps to manage blood sugar levels by decreasing the intake of simple carbs.
  • Fat in the form of ketones burns more efficiently and over a longer time period than carbohydrates.
  • There are more accessible and available keto alternatives to common foods that you can implement in your diet.
  • The decrease in carbs can cause the body to hold less water, which leads to quicker weight loss.


  • There is an adjustment period – if you used carbohydrates as your main source of fuel, cutting them out can lead to brain fog, fatigue, irritability, and even constipation.
  • May not lead to long-term weight loss or weight management. If you reintroduce carbs as a fuel source, you may regain the weight lost.
  • Eliminates some healthy foods such as a few different vegetables and fruits.
  • Does not differentiate between healthy and non-healthy fats. Though this can be done through personal research and implementation.
  • Burning ketones may not be a sustainable energy source over the long term.

fad diets

The Carnivore Diet

What is it? The carnivore fad diet is the latest craze in the online health space. It takes the ideas found in the Atkins and Keto diets to the extreme. Instead of low carbs, the Carnivore diet eliminates all carbs (when done in the most restrictive fashion) and prioritizes animal foods as the main source of calories. This includes beef, chicken, and fish, but also organ meats to supplement the diet as well with an emphasis on beef liver, salmon roe, bone broth, and even beef kidneys and brain. Consider this option the most extreme option on our list.


  • Introduces much-needed nutrients the average person is depleted in — vitamin K2, D3, choline, magnesium, folate, niacin, and vitamins B12 and B6.
  • Through red meat ingestion, it raises testosterone levels over the short term
  • It eliminates cookies, cakes, candy, sodas, pastries, and similar high-carb foods that are known to cause health issues
  • Can help with dental issues by reintroducing higher levels of essential nutrients required for teeth health


  • The major con — we don’t know enough about the long-term effects of the diet. There simply aren’t enough studies (or studies at all) that demonstrate this to be a safe diet over the course of a decade or longer.
  • Lacks certain micronutrients or beneficial plant compounds such as fiber, and antioxidants.
  • May not be suitable for those who suffer from kidney issues as it puts a major burden on these organs due to high protein consumption.


The Paleo Diet

What is it? The Paleo diet is designed to resemble the common diet of human ancestors who relied on hunting and gathering their food on a daily basis. This includes meat, fish, eggs, vegetables, fruits, nuts, seeds, herbs, spices, and healthy fats and oils. But more importantly are the foods that are excluded from this diet — processed foods, sugar, soft drinks, grains, most dairy products, legumes, artificial sweeteners, vegetable oils, margarine, and trans fats.


  • Eliminates processed foods which are the main cause of disease in the population.
  • While it is similar to the Keto and Atkins diets, the Paleo diet puts more of an emphasis on including plant foods that harbor key micronutrients and antioxidants.
  • A high intake of protein and fats can lead to better satiety and eliminate overeating throughout the day.
  • Emphasizes species-specific foods that humans were designed to ingest and digest.
  • Can be more of a long-term solution as opposed to the Keto, Atkins, and Carnivore diets.


  • May be expensive as it prioritizes high-quality meats, fish, and organic produce.
  • Eliminates some foods people enjoy including grains and legumes.
  • Can be difficult to maintain as it emphasizes a reduction in carbohydrate intake.

Primal Blueprint

What is it? Similar to the Paleo diet, the Primal Blueprint emphasizes a species-specific that early humans were believed to have eaten. The emphasis here is on high-quality meats and vegetables. But unlike the Palo fad diet, the Primal diet seeks to eliminate unnecessary and believed to be harmful processed oils such as:

  • Canola oil
  • Sunflower oil
  • Corn oil
  • Safflower oil
  • Rapeseed oil
  • Soybean oil
  • Grapeseed oil
  • Hydrogenated oil
  • Trans fats
  • Margarine
  • Vegetable shortening

And replaces them with animal fats, avocado, coconut, and olive oil. Foods to avoid on this diet include all grains, processed food, and artificial sweeteners.


  • May help with weight loss by eliminating unhealthy processed foods, high amounts of carbohydrates, and sugar.
  • It may help with metabolic health by eliminating processed seed oils that imbalance your omega-3 and omega-fatty acids.
  • Has been shown to help with monitoring blood sugar levels due to eliminating unnecessary carbohydrates.


  • Can include too many saturated fats and protein if not monitored correctly. Because of the emphasis on eating meat, including organ meat and red meat, protein, and saturated fat may far exceed the recommended amounts on the primal diet.


The Vegan + Vegetarian Diets

What is it? The vegan diet is the exact opposite of the carnivore diet. Instead of prioritizing consuming only animal products, the vegan diet eliminates all animal foods and even animal by-product foods such as eggs, milk, and honey. The Vegan diet prioritizes high-quality plant foods, nuts, seeds, and oils. This fad diet is usually adopted due to health concerns involving heart issues or as a moral stance against consuming animals and animal products.

The vegetarian diet is similar to the vegan diet except vegetarians tend to include some animal byproducts such as eggs, milk, and honey.


  • Scientific data indicates the heart benefits of a Vegan diet due to the high intake of legumes, whole grains, nuts, fruits, etc.
  • A study from the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition published a study indicating that vegetarians may be one-third less likely to die or be hospitalized for heart disease.
  • Plant foods tend to be lower in saturated fat, sodium, and cholesterol, resulting in a positive effect on blood pressure.


  • Difficult to reach protein goals.
  • If not done correctly, can result in serious nutrient deficiencies such as B-12, D3, zinc, omega-3 fatty acids, and iron. You must supplement these nutrients if on a strict vegan diet.

The Mediterranean Diet

What is it? Named after its location, the Mediterranean diet involves eating the way people located in this region have done. This includes high amounts of seafood, vegetables, nuts, legumes, and olive oil. In addition, this fad diet involves eliminating high amounts of red meat sugary foods, and dairy. Worth noting - two of the 5 Blue Zones (areas where the population has a higher life expectancy) are located in these regions.


  • Balanced, healthy and has been shown to increase heart health.
  • Has been shown to be effective in preventing diabetes and in maintaining diabetic health.
  • Aids in weight management due to the inclusion of satiating high-quality fats such as olive oil and nuts/seeds.
  • Reduces inflammatory markers — those who follow a Meditteranean diet long-term have been shown to have a reduction in markers that indicate high amounts of inflammation in the body.


  • There are no specific guidelines to follow which opens up the possibility of consuming foods that may be unhealthy for your system.
  • In addition to no guidelines, alcohol consumption in the way of wine is considered common in the Mediterranean area. This temptation to include alcohol can be negative for some people.


The South Beach Diet

What is it? It’s a fad diet plan created and implemented by Dr. Arthur Agatston and dietitian Marie Almon. It emphasizes a low-carb diet. Or as health.usnews.com states, “On the South Beach diet, there are good carbs and fats, and there are unhealthy carbs and fats. The key to weight loss is choosing the best of each. That means lots of nonstarchy vegetables, fish, eggs, full-fat dairy, protein like chicken and turkey, whole grains, and nuts. South Beach is lower in carbohydrates and higher in protein and healthy fats than the typical American diet.” It involves three phases of the diet that combine to induce weight loss and increase your health and wellness. Phase I kick starts the weight loss journey by eliminating certain food groups, phase II emphasizes achieving your target weight, and phase III focuses on adopting this new diet as a lifestyle and not as a fad.


  • No need to count calories or measure — all you need to do is choose any food contained on the extensive list included in the guidelines and enjoy it.
  • It encourages heightened awareness around the food you eat — one of the key tenets is to pay attention to how different foods and food groups affect your body.
  • It allows carbohydrates which means it’s less restrictive than other diets.
  • And part of the program encourages healthy amounts of exercise to supplement your new diet.


  • The first phase is restrictive — this means many people tend to not make it out of this phase.
  • It relies on a glycemic index — a food's GI value can change depending on how ripe it is, how it's cooked, and even what else you eat with it. As you can imagine, this can create quite a bit of confusion.

The Weight Watchers Diet

What is it? A point-based system that gives a numerical value to foods, drinks, and recipes. It’s designed to be easy to track points when creating and consuming meals to stay on track for weight loss goals. To follow this fad diet, you are given an allotment of points on a daily basis based on your weight loss goals.


  • Does not eliminate any food groups. You can eat whatever you’d like within in the point system.
  • Can develop healthier habits and increase your awareness about what you are consuming and how much.


  • Can be difficult to track points on a daily basis.
  • It can induce feelings of guilt or anger if you do not meet your goals and can cause unwanted stress surrounding your food/meals.
  • Some participants miss out on proper food education and what makes up a healthy meal because the diet is based on points and not on what you’re eating on a daily basis.
  • Can lead to disordered eating as you can develop an unhealthy addiction to only eating what the diet deems are correct or right.

The Zone Diet

What is it? The Zone Diet was first created and popularized by Dr. Barry Sears. It instructs its followers to stick to eating a specific ratio of 40% carbs, 30% protein, and 30% fat. The goal of the diet is to reduce inflammation in the body, increasing your health biomarkers and overall wellness. Or as they put it on healthline.com, “The Zone Diet claims to optimize your hormones to allow your body to enter a state called ‘the Zone.’ This is where your body is optimized to control inflammation from your diet.”


  • Doesn’t restrict any food choices. Instead, it emphasizes tracking the percentage of macronutrients in food.
  • Many of the food suggestions in the diet align with the Mediterranean diet.


The DASH (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension) Diet

What is it? It’s a diet plan to lower high blood pressure risks. A person will eat fruits, vegetables, whole grains, low-fat dairy foods, poultry, fish, nuts, and beans, but they will limit their intake of red meat, fat, sugar, and salt. As well as limiting foods that are high in saturated fat, full-fat dairy products, and tropical oils such as coconut, palm kernel, and palm oils and limiting sugar-sweetened beverages and sweets. Important aspects of the diet include portion size, consuming a wide variety of healthful foods, and obtaining the proper balance of nutrients.


  • Has been shown to effectively lower blood pressure and is backed by major health institutions and researchers.
  • The foods recommended in the diet are easily accessible in any supermarket.
  • Everything you need to learn about the program is available for free on the internet.


  • Can be difficult to maintain in the early stages — the program recommends that you cut your salt intake to 2,300 milligrams of sodium per day and potentially to 1,500 milligrams per day which can be difficult for those who are used to eating a diet high in sodium.
  • No convenience foods — with an emphasis on real food choices, it is difficult to prepare every meal at home.
  • Requires food tracking which can become a burden and tiresome.

fad diets

The Blue Zone Diet

What is it? The Blue Zone Diet refers to specific populations around the world that tend to have long life spans. Through documentation, researchers found the populations within these areas shared a common diet. These regions are found in the three continents of Asia, Europe, and America. They include Okinawans in Japan, Nicoya in Costa Rica, Sardinia in Italy, Ikaria in Greece, and Loma Linda in California. Their diets are 95% plant-based. They add bulk to their food by choosing nutrient-dense and low-calorie foods typically in the form of fruits, nuts, and vegetables. In addition, they eat 125 grams of beans almost every day.


  • It’s not just about food – while the Blue Zone theory takes into account diet, there are additional factors that lead to a healthier lifestyle including exercise, community activities, and fasting.
  • It’s meant for everyone – the dietary theory is proven to work across continents and ethnic backgrounds
  • It is proven to extend lifespan and help people live a healthier and longer life


  • It’s not a fast approach to weight loss. If you undertake the Blue Zone Diet do not expect immediate results. You need to adopt the entire lifestyle for months to years in order to truly see the results you expect.


The High Fiber Diet

What is it? This diet is exactly as it sounds. It includes eating plenty of foods high in fiber content. These include asparagus, yams, onions, garlic, bananas, leeks, root vegetables, grains, and many green vegetables. The point of the high fiber diet is to improve the digestive system by moving the bowels and feeding the beneficial gut bacteria high amounts of prebiotic fiber that they thrive on. The aim is to rebalance the digestive system in order to feel better on a daily basis.


  • Helps with bowel regularity.
  • Reduction of harmful cholesterol numbers.
  • Helps to grow beneficial gut bacteria that aid in your immune system.
  • And can help with weight loss issues.


  • May lead to intestinal gas.
  • Can contribute to bloating issues.


The Blood Sugar/Insulin Resistance Diets

What is it? While it isn’t a diet per se, this way of eating combines knowledge of your body’s insulin response to the foods you eat throughout the day. Typically this is done with the help of a blood sugar tool. In fact, there are companies that now offer continuous glucose monitoring patches that send data directly to an app on your phone. With this knowledge, you’ll be able to alter your diet for more appropriate glucose and insulin responses.


  • Increases important knowledge about how your body responds to certain foods.
  • You can easily alter your diet once you have the information.


  • Requires a glucose monitoring tool of your choice in order to collect the data.
  • Can increase anxiety around foods your body doesn’t respond well to but is still tempted to eat.


Helpful Resources:

Noom: Noom is a subscription-based app for tracking a person's food intake and exercise habits. The company is known for its emphasis on behavior change and mental wellness. In addition, you work with a coach to reach your goals.

MyMacros: The app lists over 5 million foods to choose from so you aren’t limited while you track your macros count for the day and know what you should eat and when to reach your goals.

Paleo.io: Interested in what’s paleo and what’s not? Use this app to find out!

CarbManager: Perfect low carb and keto tracker throughout the day. This is an easy way to stay on track if you are trying to remain in ketosis.

Which One is Right For You?

A major part of living a healthy lifestyle off the water involves the foods you intake on a daily basis. In fact, the food found on the end of your fork can either satiate your body and increase your lifespan, or harm your body and decrease your overall health and well-being.

With this knowledge in mind, any fad diet you decide to follow is an improvement over the standard American diet (appropriately nicknamed the SAD diet). By understanding the food you eat on a daily basis, your portion sizes, and the micro/macronutrients you need to maintain a healthy weight and body, you’re already on the right track towards success.

And yet, you might still be wondering, “What fad diet is right for me?” The answer: not one particular one. At least not until you try one out for a while, track how you feel, and adjust when needed. Over time as you become more familiar with your body and its needs, choosing the correct foods becomes easy. And your health/wellness improves.

Questions? Comments? Want to learn additional ways you can improve your health and wellness? Head to our Knowledge/Resources section where you can find additional articles to improve your life. We’ll see you on the water!

What follows is a list of continued resources pertaining to each diet listed above. Use these to expand your knowledge and give your preferred diet a try!

1. Atkins Diet

2. Ketogenic Diet
3. Carnivore Diet
4. Paleo Diet
5. Primal Blueprint
6. Vegan Diet
7. Mediterranean Diet
8. South Beach Diet
9. Weight Watcher's Diet
10. Zone Diet
11. DASH Diet
12. Blue Zone Diet
13. High Fiber Diet
14. Blood Sugar/Insulin Resistance Diets
About the Author


Daniel is a travelling author with a passion for exploring new waterways and sharing his experiences with the world.

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