As research has found, nearly half of America tries to lose weight each year. And, as we all know already, you can only succeed with that by adopting healthier habits and a strong mentality. Among those healthier habits, this includes changing your diet as well.
Yet, there are so many options nowadays and diet plans, that it might be confusing and difficult to get started. How do you know which type of diet fits your metabolism? How can you tell if you’ll feel better or worse? While some diets are focusing on reducing your appetite to reduce your food intake, others are suggesting a more restricted intake of calories and reducing carbs or fat.
There are many diets that will consistently improve your lifestyle as well, but there are also diets that will make you deeply unhappy. How do you know which one is right for you? Here are some of the most famous diets and some basic info about them, so you can choose what’s best for you.
- Intermittent fasting – Intermittent fasting is a dietary strategy that limits the periods you’re eating in a day. There are many versions of this diet, including the 16/8 method, and the 5:2 method. The 16/8 method involves limiting your calories intake to 8 hours a day. The 5:2 method restricts your calorie intake to 500-600 calories twice/week.
- Plant-based diets – Vegetarianism and veganism have become extremely popular these days. These diets restrict eating animal products for health, ethical, and environmental reasons. There are more rigorous plant-based diets and others more flexible(flexitarian diet), which allows you to eat animal products in moderation. The main rule for these plant-based diets is to consume mostly fruits, vegetables, legumes, and whole grains, but also some animal protein in moderation. Why is it working? Because many of the restricted food groups are high in calories, so reducing them alternatively helps with weight loss.
- Low-carb diets – These diets are wildly popular, mostly because they focus on reducing a declared enemy of our waistline: CARBS! Some of the most famous low-carb diets are the Atkins diet, ketogenic diet, and low-carb, high-fat (LCHF) diet. How does it work? Well, it basically says one thing: fewer carbs but more protein and fat. They’re typically higher in protein than low-fat diets, because protein can curb your appetite, raise your metabolism, and conserve muscle mass. The downside of these diets is that in some cases, they can raise the LDL(bad) cholesterol levels. Plus, a very low carb diet can harm some people, because it causes digestive problems.
- The paleo diet – This diet advocates that humans haven’t evolved to process legumes, grains, and dairy, so modern diseases are linked to the Western diet. The idea is to eat the same foods that your hunter-gatherer ancestors ate. The Paleo diet is based on eating whole foods, fruits, vegetables, lean meats, nuts, and seeds. Eating processed foods, sugar, and dairy is restricted.
- Low-fat diets – A low-fat diet involves restricting your fat intake to 30% of your daily calories, because fat provides about twice the number of calories/gram, in comparison with other two macronutrients: protein and carbs. However, studies show that a low-carb diet is a more effective approach. The downside of this diet is that restricting too much fat can lead to health problems, as fat plays an important role in hormone production, nutrient absorption, and cell health.
- The Mediterranean diet – This diet is based on foods that people in the Mediterranean region are eating, like Italy and Greece. Originally, this diet was designed to lower heart disease risk, but it can also be attached to weight loss. It basically advocates eating plenty of fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, legumes, tubers, whole grains, fish, seafood, and extra virgin olive oil. Foods like poultry, eggs, and dairy products are added in moderation, while red meat is limited.
- WW( Weight Watchers) – This program is one of the most popular weight loss programs worldwide. It doesn’t restrict any food groups, but the people that are on a WW plan must eat within a program to reach their ideal weight. Its system is designed to assign value to different foods and beverages, so you can have control over your calories, fat, and fiber consumption.
- The DASH diet – DASH comes from Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension. It is an eating plan designed to help treat or prevent blood pressure, or hypertension. It’s based on eating plenty of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and lean meats, and is low in salt, red meat, added sugars and fat. An average person on the DASH diet would eat 5 servings of vegetables, 5 servings of fruits, 7 servings of healthy carbs and 2 servings of low-fat dairy products, with 2 servings or fewer of lean meat/day.