Lifestyle Diets and the Pharmacy Connection — part two

May 18, 2018By Focus on the Pharmacy Front End Blog, Independent Pharmacy, Step into Natural

by Jen Johnston, CHHC, senior marketing services account manager, for the Step into Natural blog series

In my previous post, I wrote about how lifestyle diets are anything but short term and that the majority of followers believe that humans are designed to eat the foods the diet proposes. In that post I also provided an overview of three lifestyle diets popular in 2018. In this post, I will cover four more examples. Throughout the year, I will take a deeper dive into these diets and expand upon their implications for independent pharmacy.

Paleo: According to Mayo Clinic, “A paleo diet typically includes lean meats, fish, fruits, vegetables, nuts and seeds — foods that in the past could be obtained by hunting and gathering. A paleo diet limits food that became common when farming emerged about 10,000 years ago. These foods include dairy products, legumes, and grains.” Other names for a paleo diet include Paleolithic diet, Stone Age diet, hunter-gatherer diet and caveman diet. Paleo products are now making their way into the pharmacy, including certified paleo toothpaste.

Allergen Avoidance: Researchers estimate that up to 15 million Americans have food allergies, including 5.9 million children under age 18, according to FARE. About 30 percent of children with food allergies are allergic to more than one food. For people with food allergies, avoiding allergen(s) in food, drink, personal care products, make-up, and medications is mandatory. Eight major food allergens – milk, egg, peanut, tree nuts, wheat, soy, fish, and crustacean shellfish – are responsible for most of the serious food allergy reactions in the United States, and allergy to sesame is an emerging concern.selection of food

Ketogenic: The ketogenic diet is a high-fat, adequate-protein, low-carbohydrate diet that was first used in the 1920s to treat children with refractory epilepsy. Wikipedia says the diet forces the body to burn fats rather than carbohydrates. Since there is little carbohydrate in the diet, the liver converts fat into fatty acids and ketone bodies. The ketone bodies pass into the brain and replace glucose as an energy source. An elevated level of ketone bodies in the blood, a state known as ketosis, leads to a reduction in the frequency of epileptic seizures. Today, people are using the ketogenic (keto) diet for weight loss, increased energy, better focus, increasing HDL cholesterol, lowering blood pressure, and more. Most experts believe this works best as a short-term diet, but others are promoting a “keto lifestyle.” Due to the strictness of the diet, patients may be interested in monitoring the carbohydrate content of their prescriptions to achieve the desired effect.

Fasting: There are many types of fasting, but intermittent is the one you are more likely to see patients follow. One popular plan is the 5:2 plan. According to Medical News Today, 5:2 is a plan that involves eating the recommended calorie intake for 5 days a week but reducing calorie intake to 25% for the remaining 2 days - to 500 calories a day for women and 600 a day for men. Dr. Michael Mosely, author of The Fast Diet, says, "Studies of intermittent fasting show that not only do people see improvements in blood pressure and their cholesterol levels, but also in their insulin sensitivity.” There are also products coming to market that mimic the benefits of fasting, including ProLon®. Pharmacists should consider counseling patients that are fasting as a lifestyle or for religious reasons as it can cause altered absorption in prescription and OTC medicines along with increased potential for adverse side effects.

More details on these lifestyle diets and their consumer profiles, influencers, and effects on pharmacy will appear in future posts, so be sure to sign up to receive updates and information from  HRG.