Several diet plans have emerged within the scope of nutrition, some of which are believed to have positive effects in the management of non-communicable diseases.
Diet plans such as the Mediterranean diet, DASH diet, Ketogenic diet are popular and have been adopted by many. The Pioppi diet is a relatively new entrant to the world of diet plans.
The Pioppi diet provides a simple 21-day lifestyle plan for good health. It is named after its place of origin, Pioppi, an Italian fishing village that has been named the spiritual home of the Mediterranean diet. Not surprisingly, the Pioppi diet is similar to the Mediterranean diet in several ways. Both encourage consumption of whole-grains and olive oils and encourage the consumption of oily fishes for proteins rather than red meat.
Main features of the Pioppi diet
- Characterized by a high fat content.
- Endorses oily fish like salmon and sardines.
- Discourages cooking with industrial seed oils such as sunflower oil and sesame oil.
- Encourages eating more vegetables
- Discourages consumption of starchy carbohydrates and sweetened treats.
- Strictly avoids all added sugars including honey. No refined carbohydrates especially the flour-based products including pasta and bread.
- Recommends sticking with weekly 500g limit for unprocessed red meat as recommended by the world cancer research fund
- Encourages more consumption of sea foods for proteins
In addition to the aforementioned dietary guidelines, the Pioppi diet also makes some lifestyle recommendations:
- Fasting once a week: fasting should be started after dinner one night till dinner the next day and only fluids may be consumed during the time.
- Recommends a minimum of 7 hours of sleep per night
- Encourages exercise for a good health
Many of the recommendations in the Pioppi diet are supported by current scientific understanding. For instance, epidemiological evidence has suggested that increased intakes of whole grain cereals can reduce the risk of cardiovascular diseases and diabetes by up to 30%. Research further indicates that diets that are low in carbohydrates and rich in fibre result in greater improvement of glycemic control and an increase in HDL (i.e. good cholesterol).
Analysis of data from over 5 million participants from 137 prospective cohort studies show that long sleep was significantly associated with mortality, incident diabetes mellitus, cardiovascular disease, stroke, coronary heart disease, and obesity.
A number of epidemiologic studies have reported an association between self-reported sleep duration and long-term health. Individuals who report both an increased (>8 hours/day) or reduced (<7 hours/day) sleep duration are at increased risk of cardiovascular disease and developing symptomatic diabetes.
On the other hand, some aspects of the Pioppi diet lack clarity and sound scientific backing. Although the diet endorses the consumption of oily fishes which are rich in omega 3 fatty acids, it also promotes the idea that people can eat as much saturated fat as they like. In contradiction, a majority of Public Health guidelines on cardiovascular diseases recommend low intake of saturated fats (about 9% of total fat in the diet).
It is a healthy choice when fibrous vegetables constitute a greater portion of the meal. However, the guidance to cut out starchy carbohydrates such as bread, pasta is nearly impossible as practical living typically includes these foods. Rather, a suitable dietary modification that ensures adequate combination of the forms of carbohydrates and recommendation of a larger portion being fibrous vegetables and fibre may help achieve dietary regime compliance.
People are advised to contact registered dietitians for evidence-based guidance on food choices, healthy weight loss strategies and management of Non-Communicable Diseases.
People are advised to contact registered dietitians if they are uncertain about food choices and healthy means of weight loss as well as management of Non-Communicable Diseases.
Joseph Bamfoh Danquah
Anna Amoako – Mensah