What’s the Best Type of Diet? One That Works!
The best type of diet is a diet plan that works for you. There are countless approaches to weight loss, but most approaches focus on dieting, or incorporating dietary changes as a means to control weight.
This article will discuss some pros and cons for some most popular weight loss diets. The bottom line is you must stick with the plan and change your eating habits. You must reprogram your brain. This is the only way to make it work.
Crash diets (also known as fad diets) involve a drastic modification in typical eating patterns. Some crash diets, such as the Grapefruit Diet, involve eating certain quantities of specific foods. As the name “Grapefruit Diet” would suggest, meals plans involve lots of fresh grapefruit and grapefruit juice, along with a variety of other foods.
Pros: You will probably lose weight on this diet, simply because it ends up reducing your caloric intake sufficiently, resulting in weight loss.
Cons: Without a long term strategy in place for dietary changes, you will regain any weight lost after going off this diet.
Another popular crash diet is the Cabbage Soup Diet. This diet rotates allowable foods over a seven-day period. Cabbage soup is eaten with every meal. The standard Cabbage Soup Diet is extremely low calorie.
Pros: None, really. You will shed water weight, probably very quickly, but this will be regained as soon as you resume normal eating.
Cons: This diet is unhealthy and too low in calories to be sustainable. Macronutrient ratios are skewed. You will likely feel hungry and irritable eating this way and any weight loss will not be permanent.
Low calorie diets focus primarily on reducing the amount of calories a person eats to reduce or control weight. The concept is simple, fewer calories in equals a drop in weight. Regardless of how the other macronutrients (protein, carbohydrates, fat) add up, if you cut calories, you will achieve some level of weight loss.
Weight Watchers is perhaps the most well-known reduced calorie approach to weight loss. Weight Watchers assigns a point value to foods that is based on the caloric content of those foods. Members are allowed to consume a specific amount of points over a set period of time, resulting in a net reduction in calories of approximately 1000 per day.
Pros: You get a to eat a variety of foods, no one food or food group is prohibited, group meetings are available for support and encouragement.
Cons: Some people find the counting too challenging. If you use your bonus points too quickly, you might not have enough to enjoy a special event or occasion taking place at the end of your week.
NutriSystem: The NutriSystem diet provides portion-controlled, precooked meals to clients. Women are allowed 1200 calories per day on this plan while men are allowed 1500 calories. Meals are shelf stable and microwavable, allowing for even the most culinary challenged person to enjoy calorie controlled eating.
Pros: This plan is extremely convenient and takes the guesswork out of counting calories.
Cons: At around $300 per month, it can be costly, especially when meals need to be supplemented with grocery store items such as fresh fruits and vegetables, and dairy products. This plan is not very family friendly, either, so you may find yourself cooking separate meals for your family, which can be both challenging and frustrating.
Low carb diets restricts the intake of carbs, primarily by forbidding or limiting foods such as fruits, starchy vegetables, many dairy products, nuts, seeds, legumes, and especially grains. Carbohydrates are the main fuel source for the human body.
Starches and sugars are broken down during digestion and converted to simple sugars, which are absorbed into the bloodstream. This blood sugar, or glucose, requires the aid of insulin to regulate it. Low carb diets decrease the insulin response, which is thought to aid in weight loss by forcing the body to burn stored fat for energy.
The Atkins Diet: The Atkins Diet is probably what most people think of when they hear about low carb dieting. This approach to low carb eating is broken up into four phases. The first phase, called Induction, requires the dieter to consumer no more than 20 net grams of carbohydrates per day. This phase lasts 14 days and some people report a loss of 10-14 pounds during this time.
The second phase, called Ongoing Weight Loss, allows for the very gradual increase of carb intake following a structured food hierarchy while the dieter closely monitors progress. This phase lasts until the dieter is within ten pounds of their ultimate weight loss goal.
The third phase, called Pre-Maintenance, allows for the reintroduction of some previously forbidden foods, but also very gradually. The dieter should be able to determine his/her Critical Carbohydrate Level for Maintenance while finishing losing all the weight they need to lose.
The final and permanent state, known as Lifetime Maintenance, carries with it the expectancy that a limited amount of healthy carbs will be consumed and if weight gain results, the dieter can go back to earlier phases of the diet.
Pros: Weight loss can be easily achieved. Hunger is easily controlled.
Cons: Dieters report feeling lethargic and may have headaches when adjusting to carbohydrate withdrawal. This typically resolves within the first week, when energy levels are reported to soar.
Low fat diets rely on the reduction of fat consumption to cut caloric consumption and typically emphasizes the eating of complex carbohydrates, such as whole grains, fruits, and vegetables.
Pros: This method of eating can be rich in vitamins and minerals and may improve your cholesterol profile.
Cons: Eating insufficient dietary fat can cause health problems. Replacing the flavor that is caused by reducing fat can actually raise calories and sugars in foods.
Mediterranean Diet: While there is no cohesive approach to the Mediterranean Diet, this way of eating emphasizes the consumption of plant foods, including fruits, vegetables, beans, nuts, and whole grains. Participants also eat some amounts of cheese, yogurt, eggs, poultry, and wine. The primary source of fat comes from the olive oil.
The diet is touted as among the best for protecting cardiovascular health and for preventing diabetes. These foods form the basis of the plan and provide thousands of micronutrients, antioxidants, vitamins, minerals, and fiber that work together to protect against chronic disease. Foods eaten are seasonal, fresh, and whole. Processed foods are discouraged.
Pros: An extremely healthy, well-rounded approach to nutrition.
Cons: Not an option for those wishing to eliminate grains from their diets.
The premise of the paleolithic diet is based on the way of eating our ancestors engaged in, prior to the dawn of agricultural farming. This allows for liberal consumption of meats and vegetables, although meats should be free-range, with the animals having access to their natural diet (meaning beef should be 100% grass-fed and grass-finished.)
Fruits are allowed with the knowledge that paleolithic man would not have had access to the enormous, fructose-laden fruits that are found in today’s grocery stores; therefore, fruit consumption should be restricted to the occasional handful of berries and small amounts of in-season fruits.
Pros: Adherence to this way of eating will likely result in an improved cholesterol profile, greater energy, weight loss, and decreased feelings of hunger and cravings.
Cons: Many people miss the presence of grains in their diet, as this diet prohibits even whole grains. Access to grass fed beef can be difficult and costly.