When you navigate the internet, open a magazine, or watch late-night television, you are bombarded with ads that tout the latest dieting craze. You might have tried the Atkins Diet, the South Beach Diet, and Paleo. Before you decide on a diet that might work for you, you should research the diets and educate yourself about nutrition and health.
This article includes general information and the author’s personal opinion of the following diets that you can use to narrow your research:
The Belly Fat Cure
This diet was created by Jorge Cruise, who claims that carbohydrates (carbs) are the root cause of belly fat. Carbs trigger an insulin response that tells your body to turn the carbs into fat, or to not release existing fat. This diet consists of protein, fats, and vegetables with small amounts of sugar and complex carbs. You are limited to 15 grams of sugar from six servings of “smart,” fiber-rich carbs (one serving of carbs equals 5-20 grams of carbohydrate). Artificial sweeteners are not permitted. Readers are encouraged to eat the foods they love by making substitutions. There is no mention of total calorie consumption.
Flat Belly Diet
The Flat Belly Diet is a program developed by Prevention Magazine. The “secret” to this diet is the addition of a monounsaturated fat (MUFA), at every meal. MUFAs are found in olives, avocados, nuts, seeds, dark chocolate, soybean, flax, and olive and sunflower oils. The diet calls for four, 400-calorie meals spaced every four hours, and each meal includes a MUFA. Before starting on the 28-day plan, dieters go on a 1,200- to 1400-calorie, four-day anti-bloat jump-start period designed to reduce bloating and get dieters in the mind-set of a healthier eating plan. During the jump-start, dieters drink 2 liters of daily “sassy water,” a blend of spices, herbs, citrus, and cucumber.
Low Carb High Fat (LCHF) Diet
This diet, by the self-proclaimed “Diet Doctor” is actually very simple. It claims that you can eat fewer carbohydrates with a higher proportion of fat. The most important point to this diet is to minimize your intake of sugar and starches. That way you can eat other delicious foods until you are satisfied – and still lose weight. On this diet you eat meat, fish, eggs, vegetables growing above ground, and natural fats such as butter. You must avoid sugar and starchy foods like bread, pasta, rice and potatoes. Eat when you’re hungry until you are satisfied. It’s that simple.
Mayo Clinic Diet
The highly-respected Mayo Clinic doctors recommend eating according to the Healthy Weight Pyramid: being more physically active, adopting healthy habits, defining realistic goals, and staying motivated. The diet itself recommends 1,200-1,800 calories per day depending on your sex and starting weight. A sample menu for 1,200-calories includes 4 or more servings of vegetables, 3 or more servings of fruits, 4 servings of complex carbohydrates, 3 servings of lean protein or reduced-fat dairy, and 3 servings of healthy fats. Artificial sweeteners, alcohol, and sweets are not permitted during the initial, quick-start portion of the plan. After that, they are limited.
The theory behind the Paleo Diet is simple. The idea is that our bodies evolved (or were created) to eat the animals that roam the earth and eat the fruits and veggies that grow naturally. It claims that processed and lab-created foods have caused our biggest health problems. On this diet, you can’t eat processed foods, refined sugars, pasta, dairy, beans, or grain. If the caveman didn’t eat it, it’s off the plate, so to speak.
South Beach Diet
Everyone is pretty familiar with this diet or at least with it’s brother, the Atkins Diet. The plan is tiered. In the first 2-week phase, you are restricted to no carbohydrates. In the second phase, you can add healthy carbs that have a lower Glycemic Index. This diet specifies healthier fats than Atkins. Phase 3 is primarily about portion control.
The Wall Street Diet
The premise for the Wall Street Diet is that this is a diet plan for busy, professional people. The diet separates foods into categories and limits the amounts of each category that you can eat: Dry Carbs (0/day), Juicy Carbs (4-7/week), Fiber (1-3/day), Fruits (1-3/day), Vegetables (Unlimited), Protein (have at every meal), Beverages (unlimited water or tea), Alcohol (1/day), Fats/Oils (limit), Condiments (choose wisely), Snacks (less than 200 calories). Over time, you learn how many of each category that you can eat. You are supposed to keep a journal of your food to help you learn the system until it becomes a lifestyle change.
Weight Watchers is more like a program than a diet, though dieting is part of the process. Weight Watchers has been around for decades, but has revamped their Points system in the last few years. It’s now called Points Plus. Previously, points were calculated based on calories and fat. Points Plus are more advanced, and include carbs, fats, fiber, and protein. It is worth noting that even when the calories are the same for different food items, protein- and fiber-rich foods get fewer Points Plus to encourage dieters to eat more filling food for their allotted Points Plus. Calorie-dense foods that have more fat and simple carbs are assigned more points.
The Zone Diet
The Zone Diet claims that you can change your metabolism with a diet that is 30% low-fat protein, 30% healthy fat, and 40% low Glycemic Index carbohydrates. It contends that you can turn back encroaching heart disease, high blood pressure, and diabetes. Another often-mentioned advantage is better athletic performance. The book gives you a calculation to perform to determine how much protein you should be eating and you only worry about maintaining the 30/30/40 ratio of grams at every meal and snack.