Many of us realize that in order to lose weight, we have to change our diet. But just what is the best diet to help shed those pounds? What are the most popular weight loss diets and what is right for you?
There are a dizzying amount of diets to choose from. Each with their own strange names and unique set of rules. Some diets are designed for short term rapid weight loss, while others are designed as a permanent weight management solution. They all have the potential to be effective. However some require more motivation or may have potential side effects that you need to be wary of. This post compares 10 of them to help you select the right weight loss diet for you.
Intermittent fasting involves limiting what times you can eat. It does not involve starving yourself for days.(there are some diets that do preach this, but they are best avoided as they are not healthy). Instead it involves not eating any foods for certain periods of the day in order to encourage calorie burning. The 16/8 hour plan is one of the most popular intermittent fasting plans. This involves eating within an 8 hour window (such as 10am to 6pm) and fasting for the remaining 16 hours. Intermittent fasting does work, but requires a lot of motivation to overcome cravings, as is generally not a long-term solution. It’s also important to keep drinking water during fasting hours to avoid dehydration.
Meal replacement shakes
This diet involves replacing certain meals throughout the day with shakes. The shakes are designed to be lower in calories while keeping you full. Consuming meal replacement shakes is generally easier than skipping meals because it allows you to still fulfil cravings. The biggest risk of meal replacement shakes is choosing the wrong shakes. You don’t want to consume shakes that are high in sugar or low in protein. This is why you should do your research in order to choose the best meal replacement shakes.
Calorie counting involves restricting the amount of calories you consume each day. This typically involves looking at packets or using apps to work out exactly how many calories are in each food or drink. Calorie counting does lead to weight loss if you’re strict with it, and it can help you to identify hidden unhealthy foods in your diet. However, some people find that it can take the fun out of food by requiring every meal to be meticulously planned. It’s also important to make sure that a reduction in calories doesn’t mean a deficiency in certain essential nutrients.
The Atkins diet was devised in the 70s. Unlike some diets, it allows unlimited consumption of proteins and fats, but restricts carbs. It was so popular in the 00s that at one point it was blamed for reductions in sales of pasta and rice. Is it effective though? As a short term diet, yes – a low carb diet can get results. However, as much as it promotes itself as a durable diet, many experts do not recommend keeping it up for too long due to potential health risks (like heart disease).
The Keto diet was originally introduced as a treatment plan for epilepsy in the 20s, but was found to be effective at helping people lose weight. It is a low carb diet much like the Atkins diet, however it also puts a cap on proteins. It meanwhile allows high consumption of fat. While there are variations, the most traditional keto plan requires you to stick to a diet that is 70 to 80% fat, 10 to 20% protein and 5 to 10% carbs. Like the Atkins diet, it has health risks that have caused it to come under fire in recent years, however it has been known to get weight loss results. Keto supplements can help.
Sometimes referred to as a ‘caveman diet’, the paleo diet encourages participants to eat like our Paleoithic ancestors did – which means all natural foods and no processed foods. This includes meat, fish, eggs, vegetables, fruits, nuts, seeds and spices (experts recommend that at least 60% of each meal should be vegetables). By ditching processed foods, the paleo diet can end up being very nutritious and can help you lose weight by eliminating junk foods. However, it can be very hard to keep up – many people miss both the taste and convenience of processed foods and end up giving in.
A vegan diet can lead to weight loss, and it can have environmental benefits too. By ditching animal products, many participants end up eating less calories and upping their intake of nutrients. There are so many vegan alternatives to animal-based foods nowadays that it is quite easy to go vegan. Just be wary of some vegan processed foods as some can have high levels of salt or sugar.
The Mediterranean diet is often viewed as one of the healthiest and easiest-to-maintain diets. It promotes a rich balance of nutrients by consuming foods like tomatoes, olives, onions, whole grains and seafood that are traditionally eaten in the Mediterranean. Red meats and sugary foods are meanwhile greatly restricted. Studies show that the Mediterranean diet can reduce the risk of heart disease, diabetes, dementia and other chronic diseases. Its biggest drawback is that it does not always lead to weight loss.
Designed to treat fertility issues, the HCG diet has more recently been used to achieve rapid weight loss. However, it is one of the most extreme diets out there and does not have a great deal of scientific backing. This diet involves restricting calories to a very low amount – 500 to 800 calories per day – and supplementing the remaining calories with injections of a hormone called HCG (which is usually produced by the placenta in pregnant women). HCG is not approved for over the counter use and has potential unwanted side effects, so this diet is not recommended for weight loss.
Finally, there’s the teatox. This diet involves cleansing the body by drinking nutrient-dense laxative-containing teas, and has been used by celebrities for weight loss. Some teatoxing plans involve restricting meals, while others allow you to drink teas alongside your everyday diet. This diet can be an effective short-term solution to constipation, kidney infections and stomach bugs. There is little evidence to show any long-term health benefits though.
Final Thoughts on Popular Weight Loss Diets
There is no one size fits all when it comes to weight loss. Always consult with your physician before starting any weight loss diet. Keep in mind, you didn’t gain those extra 20 pounds in a week, you won’t lose it in a week. Weight loss diets are more of a lifestyle change than a diet. It’s a way of life and one that takes time to adapt to.
Best wishes on your new healthy lifestyle and if you have questions, drop a comment below.