Are ‘Fad’ Diets Right For Weight Loss?

Below is a list of 10 of the most popular diets.

When it comes to ‘fad’ diets, it’s not hard to find popular diets on the internet. Just search for the words ‘diet’ or ‘fad diet’ and the weight loss choices are overwhelming. Low-carb, high-protein, or liquid diet? There are so many. It is important to choose one that’s just right for you. You could start by talking to your doctor, but in these times that could be tricky:

Firstly doctors have almost no training in nutrition and secondly face-to-face discussion is becoming a thing of the past.

Nutritionists are the best route to go through as they are trained and will know about each aspect of nutrition and health in relation to each person’s specific needs. Before jumping into a fad diet it’s essential to know that rapid weight-loss is not sustainable. Quick weight-loss diets are not healthy and the weight is likely to rebound when you begin eating normally again. Diets that claim you don’t have to exercise are not good for your overall health. If you cannot stay on a ‘fad’ diet or ‘popular’ diet the rest of your life, it is better not to start.

If you are still shopping around for the best diet plan for your needs and lifestyle, one of these top 10 could be considered:

South Beach Diet Helps Control Hunger

Designed by a Florida-based cardiologist, Arthur Agatston, MD, who wanted to protect his patients from serious medical conditions like heart disease and diabetes, the South Beach Diet is one of the popular diets that stresses the importance of controlling hunger by eating before it strikes. Dieters are urged to disrupt the typical ‘hunger-overeat-gain-weight’ cycle by cutting out bad carbs and focusing on lean protein, low-fat dairy and good carbs (whole grains, vegetables and fruit). While the first phase of the diet is strict, the third, ‘Maintenance’ phase is meant to be a lifelong eating plan that allows you to enjoy occasional treats whilst maintaining a healthy weight.

Weight Watchers Has a Track Record of Diet Success

Though the Weight Watchers system (WW) has evolved over the years – eat a balanced diet, eat in moderation and eat what you want – the diet uses a points system to track what you eat and provides motivation through local support meetings (or virtual meetings online) with weigh-ins. Though the high level of flexibility and temptation can be difficult for some, WW has had a great track record of success for more than 40 years and remains one of the most popular diets today.

The Mediterranean Diet Emphasizes Heart-Healthy Fats

If a dinner of fish and veggies with a glass of red wine sounds like an ideal meal to you, you may have found your diet match in the Mediterranean Diet. This heart-healthy diet includes the food staples of people in countries surrounding the Mediterranean Sea, such as Greece, Spain and Italy. With an emphasis on heart-healthy fats (those containing unsaturated fats and omega-3 fatty acids), the diet is rich in seafood, nuts and legumes, fruits and vegetables, whole grains and olive oil, as well as red wine in moderation. 

Zone Diet Balances Proteins and Carbs

Celebs like Jennifer Aniston may come to mind when you think of the Zone Diet which maintains that changing the balance of the foods you eat (mainly adding protein to balance the carbs at every meal or snack) will help you lose weight, reset your metabolism and ward off chronic health conditions like heart disease and diabetes. Dieters follow a ‘30-30-40’ breakdown to help control insulin levels and hunger, getting 30% of their calories from protein, 30% from fat, and 40% from carbohydrates. Devotees give the Zone Diet praise for variety and ease of use, though others warn that the popular diet plan can feel restrictive and it is light on certain nutrients.

Is the Atkins Diet a Fad Diet?

No longer a diet of ‘all-you-can-eat’ bacon and scrambled eggs, the New Atkins Diet Revolution, created in 2002, is a streamlined version of the original diet; one that balances lean protein with controlled portions of fat and healthy carbs. One of the most popular diets, you begin with just 20gm of carbs a day and very gradually increase the amount each week. As with many other diets, the main idea is to stop eating foods made with refined flour and sugar, but even nutrient-dense whole-grain foods are off-limits until you reach the maintenance phase. While proponents tout the Atkins Diet’s short-term effectiveness and say it’s easier to stick to than other diets, detractors point out that you’re really not getting a well-balanced diet and may particularly be lacking calcium. Done correctly you switch from sugar to fat burning and this is perhaps the short term ‘go to’ diet for weight-loss before reviewing the diet for longer term health.

The Paleo Diet May Be Difficult to Maintain

In its purest form, the Paleolithic Diet (the Paleo Diet or Caveman Diet) allows only those foods that humans ate when we first roamed the planet half a million years ago: fish, lean meats, fruit, non-starchy veggies and nuts are in/starchy veggies, dairy foods, grains and processed foods are out. Because of its straightforward guidelines, focusing on nutrient-rich produce and emphasis on exercise, the Paleo Diet has earned a loyal following among fans who say it helps them not only lose weight but get (and stay) healthier. However, experts say the long-term results aren’t proven and the diet is difficult to maintain.

Lose Weight and Feel Full on the Volumetrics Diet

Lose weight by eating fewer calories yet still feeling full! Does that sound like the ideal diet for you? Perhaps try Volumetrics, which proposes that foods containing more water, such as fruits and vegetables, are healthier because they have lower energy density than sugary and fatty foods. Less a ‘fad diet’ than an approach to eating, Volumetrics is backed by sound research and strongly promotes eating to feel full. Drawbacks include an emphasis on at-home cooking, which can be a big adjustment for some.

The Raw Food Diet May Lack Healthy Nutrients

Advocates of the Raw Food Diet believe that cooking food and thereby breaking down its enzymes destroys many of its nutritional benefits. Restricting food to raw items, or food that is cooked/heated to no more than 118°F, this ‘fad diet’ allows you to eat as much as you want, as often as you want as long as it’s raw and vegetarian. Nutritionists praise the focus on fresh produce and avoidance of processed foods, Some opponents say the diet can lack nutrients and could be difficult to sustain. 

Nutrisystem Is Customized Just for You

If you desire a diet where the thinking and planning is done for you, Nutrisystem may be for you. With this fad diet plan, the meals are premade and engineered to deliver only a certain amount of calories per day based on your age and gender. While weight-loss success is certainly possible, a major drawback is the cost of the packaged meals.

The Macrobiotic Diet

The Macrobiotic Diet used to be one of the most popular diets. It promotes whole foods over processed foods and encourages meditation and slowing down your lifestyle along with your eating habits. Meals consist primarily of whole grains, fruits and vegetables, so weight-loss is achievable, but this plan’s rigid guidelines can make it difficult to maintain and can even lead to nutritional deficiencies. As with many diets, it’s important to do plenty of research before adopting a Macrobiotic lifestyle and work with a dietitian to ensure all your nutritional needs are being met.

The Vegan Diet

A Vegan or plant-based diet excludes all animal products, including meat, dairy and eggs. When people follow it correctly, a Vegan Diet can be highly nutritious, reduce the risk of chronic diseases and aid weight-loss.

Increasing numbers of people are moving toward Vegan Diets due to health, animal welfare, or environmental concerns. They tend to be rich in nutrients and low in saturated fats. Research suggests that the diet can improve heart health, protect against cancer and lower the risk of type 2 Diabetes. People eating only plant-based foods need to be more aware of how to obtain certain nutrients, including iron (spinach etc), calcium (soya milk, broccoli, sesame seeds) and vitamin B-12 (Marmite & supplements) that usually come from an omnivorous diet. A plant-based diet and the one I would personally advocate for longer term health can include yummy treats including dark chocolate, nuts, figs, dates, seeds, fruits, vegetables etc appropriately to sustain weight-loss. Vegan Diets are scientifically proven to provide all the right nutrients (if done correctly) to sustain long term health.

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