produce artfully laid over green background

The beginning of every year, right after the feasting end of year holidays, is when you see the commercials and ads for various diets, gyms, and lifestyle changes as people make (and then usually break) their New Year’s resolutions.

Some of the most popular and most talked-about diet trends right now are keto, paleo, pescatarian, and veganism. Maybe you’ve heard of these trends, maybe you haven’t. Either way, we’re going to dive into them one by one!

Please note that you should always speak with your doctor or nutritionist before making any drastic changes to your diet and lifestyle, but we hope this will help you cut through the clutter of options out there right now.


The keto diet trend is probably the most criticized diet trend. There is the joke that when on keto, people only eat meat and cheese and that is not a healthy diet. The keto diet trend is a high-fat, low-carb, low-sugar diet where the body is forced to burn fat, rather than carbs. Therefore, meat and cheese are perfectly acceptable foods to be eating when on keto. However, going keto does have health risks, including low blood pressure, kidney stones, constipation, nutrient deficiencies, and increased risk of heart disease. 

Why go keto? 

When on keto, your goal is to achieve ketosis, which is a natural metabolic state that can be achieved by following a keto diet. While keto dieting can cause low blood pressure, for people with high blood pressure it can actually help them regulate.

Additionally, it is possible to obtain many high-fat items from plants, including nuts and avocados, which is definitely a plus for the environment. By eating more plant-based foods, which are hopefully locally grown and sourced, you are shrinking your carbon footprint by avoiding the emissions created by livestock agriculture and the long-distance transporation of food. 

However, some sources have reported that the keto diet has negatively impacted the agriculture industry or the earth as a whole because if enough people were to eliminate wheat and grains from their diet, the entire agriculture economy would crash. Grains are not only great for consumption, but they are also incredibly important when it comes to producing other crops. Additionally, most meat sourced in the US is not sustainable and eating a keto diet consisting heavily of meat is contributing to an inefficient and unsustainable production system.


The paleo diet is meant to resemble what human hunter-gatherers ate thousands of years ago. Essentially, this diet consists of eating whole foods like vegetables, meats and fruits. Several studies have reported that the paleo diet can result in overall health improvements. The paleo diet is great when it comes to avoiding things like processed foods and sugar. 

Why go paleo? 

The main goal of going paleo is to return to the way of eating more like what early humans ate. Many people who go paleo believe our bodies are meant to digest those things so it will improve their health. Two of the main risks when going paleo is a lack of grains which provide energy and can be good for your health as well as the lack of carbs being inefficient fuel for your body, especially if you are an athlete or very active. 

While paleo dieting is very nutrient-dense, it can actually increase your environmental footprint quite drastically depending on where you are getting your food from. When certain fruits and vegetables are not in season locally, they are often imported and that creates a huge carbon footprint. Like keto, when eating even locally sourced meat, it is often produced unsustainably.


cooked prawns on a plate

A pescatarian diet involves anything that is not an animal product with the exception of seafood. To better explain, a pescatarian diet is essentially a vegetarian diet but with the addition of seafood which helps when it comes to consuming enough protein. By eliminating meat, pescatarians have the health benefits of lower blood pressure and less risk of heart disease. By adding fish to their diet, pescatarians also get the benefit of healthy omega-3 fatty acids and vitamins such as B-12 and zinc which support the immune and nervous systems. However, there is the risk of causing damage to water ecosystems from overfishing and waste.

Why go pescatarian?

The main reason people choose a pescatarian diet is that eating seafood can prevent nutritional deficiencies many vegans face. Health benefits include lower blood pressure and lower risk of abnormal heart rhythm or heart attack. Versus going vegetarian, pescetarians are able to consume more protein through fish which can give active people more fuel and energy they need.

The main difference between lower blood pressure in a pescatarian diet versus a keto diet is with a pescatarian diet, you’d want to eat very clean foods and with keto you can eat processed foods. One is not necessarily better than the other overall in that respect, it’s just about preference and personal health benefits.

From an environmental perspective, however, pescatarian diets can reduce your carbon footprint, depending on where you are sourcing your fish from. Compared to land based protein sources, fishing involves a much lower emission cost. However, overfishing, or unsustainable fishing, can be a huge problem that negatively impacts marine ecosystems and you want to make sure you’re not replacing one problem with another!


sliced fruits and vegetables

A vegan diet is one that consists of mostly plant products, as the goal is to avoid animal products entirely. However, a big risk with going vegan is becoming B12 deficient, among other things, because of a lack of nutrients and protein that mainly come from meat or other animal products. When going vegan, there are different recommendations on supplements you’d need to better fuel your body, so you might want to check with your doctor first before going vegan to make sure it is safe for you. This is something to consider when comparing diets such as keto, veganism and paleo.

Why go vegan?

Many people chose to go vegan because of the health benefits, including lower blood pressure and cholesterol.  In addition to health benefits, many people go vegan because of the environmental benefits. One source stated that going vegan could be the single biggest way to reduce your environmental impact on earth by eliminating your carbon footprint in relation to meat and dairy products. According to the USDA, 80-90% of US water consumption is dedicated to agriculture. It takes 477 gallons of water to produce one pound of eggs. These statistics alone should make anyone feel ethically immoral, but so many of us continue to eat meat and dairy products because going vegan, as a concept, seems too hard.

A lesser commitment but still a very effective way to help eliminate your carbon footprint in relation to meat and dairy products is called the veganuary challenge. This challenge involves going vegan for the month of January. In January 2021 over 500,000 people participated in this challenge which was a 25% increase from 2020. 

Another lesser commitment to veganism is aiming for one vegan meal a day or a few vegan meals a week. This is something that I personally practice, because every decision and action makes a difference! By eating one plant-based meal a day for a year, you could save almost 200,000 gallons of water and the pollution equivalent to roughly 3,000 miles driven in your car. That is a great call to action!

Final Things to Consider

Before making any drastic changes to your diet, I definitely recommend speaking to your doctor first. When making a drastic change to your diet, it is important to consider what is going to be best for your lifestyle. Whatever your choice, know that by eating better, you can make a positive impact on your health and the planet, too!