Different Diet Plans
It is estimated that half of the American adult population is trying to lose weight every year.
One of the best approaches for this one is to follow a healthy and proper diet.
However, despite the number of diet plans available, some are having difficulties in getting started. The reason being is because they're not sure which ones are effective, suitable, and sustainable.
Most diets will require you to reduce your food intake, while there are those that restricts your calorie intake and either carbs or fat.
Also, majority of these diets don't only provide weight loss benefits but can also go beyond that.
So, for you to get started, check out these diet plans that could take off those extra pounds and improve your overall health.
1. Intermittent Fasting
This dietary strategy cycles between periods of eating and fasting.
There are several versions of this wherein they involve limiting your calorie intake to 8 hours each day, and even restricting your calorie intake to only 500-600 calories every week.
How it works: Intermittent fasting restricts your time for eating, which sounds simple since it just reduces your calorie intake. This can make you lose weight unless you make up for your hunger by eating too much food when it's time for you to eat.
Weight loss: In recent studies, it shows that intermittent fasting can make you lose weight by 3-8% in a period of 3-24 weeks, which sounds promising compared to other methods.
It can even reduce your waist circumference by 4-7%, which is an indication for a harmful belly fat.
There are some studies which shows that intermittent fasting can burn fat faster while preserving muscle mass, which can improve your metabolism.
Other benefits: Intermittent fasting can also provide anti-aging effects, improved brain health, increased insulin sensitivity, reduce inflammation, and other benefits.
Downside: Intermittent fasting sure is a safe way to lose weight for adults. However, if you're sensitive to a decrease in your blood sugar level or pregnant, then you need to talk to a healthcare professional first before taking on this diet.
2. Plant-Based Diets
This form of diet can also make you lose weight. Veganism and vegetarianism are popular versions of this diet, wherein you are restricted from eating animal products for environmental, ethical, and health reasons.
However, there are also flexible plant-based diets that also exist, such as flexitarian diet, wherein it allows you to still eat animal products but in moderation.
How it works: There are many forms of veganism wherein most of them involves restriction of eating animal meat, fish, and poultry. Some would even avoid eggs and dairy as part of their program.
The vegan diet takes things to the next level because not only do they eliminate animal products from their meals, but also animal-derived products such as albumin, casein, dairy, honey, gelatin, and whey.
There are no clear rules for the flexitarian diet since it can be classified as a lifestyle change rather than a diet. It encourages the individual to eat mostly fruits, legumes, vegetables, and whole grains but it permits them from eating protein and animal products in moderate amounts, which is why it is a popular alternative.
Most of the restricted food groups are high in calories, so avoiding them can promote weight loss.
Weight loss: According to researchers, plant-based diets are effective in losing weight.
People who participated in this diet have lost an average of 4.4lbs compared to those who still includes animal products. Also, those who strictly follows the vegan diet have lost an average of 5.5lbs compared to people who aren't eating a plant-based diet.
Plant-based diets are effective in weight loss because they are rich in fiber, which are known for being low in high-calorie fat and can make you stay full longer.
Other benefits: Plant-based diets sure have lots of benefits including reducing your risk of chronic conditions like diabetes, certain cancers, and heart disease. They are also good for the environment compared to most meat-based diets.
Downsides: Even though plant-based diets are healthy, they can still limit your absorption of certain nutrients found in animal products including calcium, iron, zinc, vitamin D, vitamin B12, and omega-3 fatty acids. But if you're considering the flexitarian approach or taking proper supplements, then it can make up for the loss of these nutrients.
3. Low-Carb Diets
Low-carb diets is also a popular method for weight loss. This diet includes the ketogenic (keto) diet, Atkins diet, and low-carb, high-fat (LCHF) diet.
There are some versions that reduces carbs more than the others. For instance, very low-carb diets such as the keto diet has a macronutrient restriction of under 10% of the total calories, compared to the 30% or less in other versions.
How it works: Low-carb diets restricts your carb intake, but it makes it up for protein and fat.
They're higher in protein compared to low-fat diets, which is important, since protein can raise your metabolism, curb your appetite, and conserve muscle mass.
Very low-carb diets like keto can make your body start using fatty acids instead of carbs for energy by converting them into ketones. This is a process known as ketosis.
Weight loss: Studies show that low-carb diets can help in weight loss and can be effective than the conventional low-fat diets.
Individuals who follow low-carb diets have achieved more weight loss than those who are in low-fat diets. Additionally, low-carb diets seem to be quite effective at burning your harmful belly fat.
Other benefits: Low-carb diets can reduce your risk for heart disease, including high cholesterol and blood pressure levels. It can even improve the insulin and blood sugar levels for anyone suffering from type 2 diabetes.
Downsides: There are cases that a low-carb diet can raise LDL (bad) cholesterol levels. It can sometimes be difficult to follow and may even cause some people to experience upsets in their digestive system.
In very rare situations, a very-low-carb diet can trigger a condition called ketoacidosis wherein it is a dangerous metabolic condition that can be fatal if left untreated.
4. The Paleo Diet
This is a diet that recommends eating the same foods that our hunter-gatherer ancestors allegedly ate.
It is based on the theory that the Western diet has paved way to modern diseases, as proponents believe that the body didn't evolve yet to process dairy, grains, and legumes.
How it works: The paleo diet involves eating fruits, vegetables, nut, seeds, lean meats, and whole foods. It eliminates the consumption of eating dairy, grains, sugar, and processed foods, though there are also less-restrictive versions that allows dairy products such as cheese to be included.
Weight loss: The paleo diet can really help in weight loss and reduce harmful belly.
14 adults who followed the paleo diet have lost an average of 5.1lbs and reduced the circumference of their waist by an average of 0.6 inches. It would also seem that the paleo diet is more filling compared to other diets due to its high protein content.
Other benefits: If you're doing the paleo diet, it could reduce several risk factors of heart disease, such as high cholesterol, blood pressure, and triglyceride levels.
Downsides: There's no doubt that the paleo diet is healthy, but it restricts several nutritious food groups including dairy, legumes, and whole grains.
5. Low-Fat Diets
This one has gained popularity over the years just like low-carb diets.
A low-fat diet would mean reducing your fat intake to 30% of your daily calories.
There are also very- and ultra-low-fat diets that even limits fat consumption to under 10% of the daily calories.
How it works: Low-fat diets reduces your fat intake since fat provides about twice the number of calories per gram, compared to other 2 macronutrients which are carbs and protein.
Ultra-low-fat diets even requires fewer than 10% of calories from fat, with around 10% of the calories coming from protein and 80% from carbs. They are also mostly plant-based and limits the consumption of meat and other animal products.
Weight loss: Since low-fat diets restrict calorie intake, they are indeed suited for weight loss.
73,500 participants who followed this diet have achieved small but relevant changes in their weight and waist circumference.
Even though low-fat diets seem to be more effective than low-carb diets for weight loss, low-carb diets still work better on daily basis.
Other benefits: Low-fat diets can reduce your risk of a stroke and heart disease.
Downsides: In the long term, restricting fat too much can cause health problems since fat plays a major role in cell health, hormone production, and nutrient absorption. Additionally, very low-fat diets are linked to a higher risk of metabolic syndrome.
6. The Mediterranean Diet
This diet is based on consuming foods that people from Greece and Italy are used to eating.
It was primarily designed to lower the risk for a heart disease, but numerous studies have shown that it could be effective for weight loss as well.
How it works: The Mediterranean diet requires the person to eat plenty of fruits, vegetables, seeds, nuts, fish, tubers, legumes, seafood, whole grains, and extra virgin olive oil.
Foods like eggs, poultry, and dairy products can be eaten but inly in moderation. Red meats are also limited for this diet.
As for restricted foods, it includes added sugar, refined grains, refined oils, processed meats, trans fats, and other highly processed foods.
Weight loss: Even though it may not have been classified as a weight loss diet, studies show that the Mediterranean style of eating can still help you lose weight.
19 individuals who followed this diet combined with some exercise and calorie restriction have reduced their weight by an average of 88lbs compared to those who are on a controlled diet.
Other benefits: The Mediterranean diet includes eating foods that are rich in antioxidants, which can help fight off inflammation and oxidative stress by neutralizing the free radicals. It also has a link to reduced risks of heart disease and premature death.
Downsides: This diet is not strictly for weight loss, and it won't help you lose weight unless you consume fewer calories.
7. Weight Watchers (WW)
This is known as a popular weight loss program worldwide.
Even though no food groups are restricted from this diet, people who follow the WW plan must eat within their set daily points so that they can reach their ideal weight.
How it works: This diet is a point-based system wherein a value is assigned to different foods and beverages, depending on their fat, calorie, and fiber contents.
You can reach your desired weight if you remain within your daily point allowance.
Weight loss: Studies have shown that WW can also help you lose weight.
45 individuals who followed this diet have reduced 2.6% more weight than those who received standard counseling. Additionally, these individuals seem to maintain their weight loss even after several years, compared to those who did the other diet programs.
Other benefits: This diet is flexible which makes it easy to follow. It allows people with dietary restrictions like food allergies to be compatible with the plan.
Downsides: Even though it's flexible, WW can be pricey depending on the subscription plan. The flexibility feature can also be a downfall if the foods chosen are unhealthy ones.
8. The DASH Diet
Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension (DASH), is an eating plan that can help treat or prevent high blood pressure, clinically known as hypertension.
This diet emphasizes in eating lots of fruits, vegetables, lean meats, and whole grains while being low in salt, fat, added sugars, and red meat.
Even though this isn't entirely a weight loss diet, but many people seem to experience losing weight from it.
How it works: The DASH diet requires specific servings of different food groups. There are several servings you can eat depending on your daily calorie intake.
On average, a person following the DASH diet would eat 5 servings of vegetables, 7 servings of healthy carbs, 5 servings of fruit, 2 servings or fewer of lean meats, and 2 servings of low-fat dairy products per day.
You can also eat seeds and nuts 2-3 times per week.
Weight loss: The DASH diet can also help in weight loss.
13 individuals who followed this diet have lost more weight on an 8-24-week period compared to those who are on a controlled diet.
Other benefits: This diet can help reduce blood pressure levels and many heart disease risk factors. It can also fight recurrent depressive symptoms and lower your risk of colorectal and breast cancer.
Downsides: Even though the DASH diet can help you lose weight, there are some mixed evidence on blood pressure and salt intake. Additionally, eating too little salt can increase insulin resistance and increase the risk of death in people suffering from heart failure.
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