It seems like every day there is another fad diet: paleo, gluten-free, vegan, keto, high carb-low fat, high protein, high fat-low carb, Atkins, South Beach, and many more. They all claim to help you lose weight, and many do; but once you return to your normal eating habits you tend to gain the weight back. So which diet will help you lose weight and keep it off for the long haul?
Types Of Diets
Paleo (Paleolithic) Diet The paleo diet centers around the idea of eating like a caveman (hunter-gather). Foods consumed in the paleo diet include fresh meats, fresh seafood, fresh fruits, nuts, and fresh vegetables. It encourages grass-fed livestock and organic foods because those foods weren’t treated with pesticides, hormones, or antibiotics back then. It cuts out all processed foods, dairy, and legumes (e.g., beans, peanuts, and lentils). Gluten-Free A gluten-free diet is used primarily by people who have celiac disease and those with an allergy or sensitivity to the gluten protein. Foods that need to be avoided are those that contain wheat, barley, and rye. Vegan Diet A vegan diet avoids all meat and animal products (e.g., honey, eggs, and milk). Ketogenic Diet A ketogenic (or keto) diet is an approach to eating that forces the body to use ketones as a main source of fuel instead of glucose. This diet is very high in fat (~70-75 percent), very low in carbohydrates (~5-10 percent), and moderate in protein (~15-20 percent). The minimal carbohydrate intake causes the body to make ketones from fat. This diet needs to stay moderate in protein intake so that the body does not make glucose from the excess protein intake. High Carb-Low Fat Diet A high carbohydrate-low fat (HCLF) diet is often followed by vegans or vegetarians. It promotes eating mostly carbohydrates (primarily fruits and vegetables) with minimal fat intake. High Protein Diet There are no exact guidelines for a high protein diet. What one person considers to be a high protein diet, another may view as a low protein diet, depending on height and weight. These diets are found predominantly among people who are into bodybuilding and other high-intensity sports. Atkins Diet Dr. Robert Atkins created this diet, which is very much like the ketogenic diet, but with different phases. It starts off at a very low net carbohydrate count (total carbohydrates minus carbohydrates from fiber and sugar alcohols) and gradually increases the amount of net carbohydrates you can consume while you make your way through the phases. One of the goals of the Atkins diet is to increase the amount of net carbs the person can consume while still losing weight. It emphasizes using fat as a source of fuel instead of carbs in the same way that the ketogenic diet does. South Beach Diet The South Beach diet is also broken down into phases. Phase 1, which lasts for 14 days, centers on stabilizing blood sugar and reducing food cravings. It restricts certain foods and focuses on nutrient-dense foods. In phase 2 you will start to re-introduce foods. This phase still results in weight loss, but more gradual than in phase 1. Phase 3 is the maintenance phase, in which individuals return to eating all foods–but in moderation, with an aim of keeping the weight off for good. All of the above-mentioned diets can result in long-lasting weight loss. One of the main things to keep in mind is eating at a calorie deficit, that is, taking in fewer calories than your body needs to maintain its current weight. If you follow any of the above diets at a calorie deficit you will more than likely experience weight loss. Sustained weight loss probably will not occur if you only follow one of these diets part of the time. This is what happens with yo-yo dieters. They see a rapid weight loss while on a diet and then gain the weight back–and sometimes more–when they fall off the diet. Finding a diet that fits your lifestyle is the key to long-lasting weight loss. References: Atkins.com; Southbeachdiet.com