Losing weight is a hugely popular goal for many people for health, aesthetic, and self-esteem reasons. However, as anyone who has tried can tell you, doing so successfully is far more difficult than saying so. Exercise plays a part, but nutrition is ultimately the most important. As a result, there are hundreds of diets out there that purport to help you lose weight. Many of these can be successful, but it is also important that you choose one you can stick to. Here are 7 of the most popular.
One of the most calorific food groups that make up a large part of our diets is carbohydrates. Carbs are our main source of energy and refer to starchy foods such as bread, pasta, and potatoes, as well as foods containing sugars. Snacks like chips and chocolate are also high in carbohydrates. The ketogenic, or keto, diet thus works by almost entirely restricting your intake of carbohydrates. This forces your body to instead burn fat for energy. This means that successfully following the diet can cause rapid weight loss, though it does severely limit your choice of food.
People following the keto diet may want to seek out non-carbohydrate substitutes to make the diet easier, such as a monk fruit erythritol blend, in place of sugar.
The Atkins diet, similar to the Ketogenic diet, works by severely restricting your intake of carbohydrates, and instead relying on high-fat and high-protein foods. The key difference between the two is that Atkins allows some intake of carbohydrates. Individuals are also supposed to gradually increase how much carbohydrates they can have as they reach their target weight. It thus comes with the same downsides as the keto diet. One of the most notable of these is that it can put you at risk of heart issues, due to overconsumption of saturated fats.
Weight loss is essentially an equation where you need to burn more calories than you ingest. In this sense, the 5:2 diet is refreshingly simple. This diet works by restricting your calorie intake to under 500 calories a day for 2 days a week. This makes it simple for you to lose weight since you don’t need to eat any specialist foods, and don’t need to worry about the diet for most of the week.
As a result of this major advantage, the 5:2 diet is one of the most popular diets out there today. However, fasting days can cause severe fatigue for some people. It can also be possible for adherents of the diet to overeat on non-fasting days. In doing so, they can partially negate the benefits of when they are fasting.
It is the broad perception that people follow plant-based, vegan diets for reasons of animal welfare, or for environmental concerns. However, such a diet can also come with a whole host of health benefits. Vegan diets entirely omit the consumption of any meat or animal-based products, such as eggs, honey, and dairy products. Naturally, the holistic benefits of mass veganism are an overall reduction of carbon emissions, resulting in fewer adverse effects of climate change.
Conversely, for individuals, the health benefits mainly stem from a reduction in your intake of red meat. Red meats, and processed meats, in particular, can be high in fat, and also increase your risk of cardiovascular issues. In addition, high consumption of some forms of red meat has been linked to the development of cancer. Consequently, several scientific studies have linked vegan diets to weight loss.
Raw Food Diet
Raw food diets, as alluded to in the title, involve at least three-quarters of your diet being made up of raw, uncooked foods. In addition, raw food diets entirely omit the consumption of processed food and drink. Foodstuffs consumed on such a diet include nuts, fresh fruit and fruit juices, and dried fruit and vegetables. Some adherents also choose to eat raw animal products or meats, though the majority of these diets are plant-based.
Some of the supposed benefits are a strengthened immune system, weight loss, and a higher intake of nutrients. However, following such a restrictive diet can be immensely tough for long periods of time, and many of the purported health benefits are yet to have sufficient evidence to substantiate them.
The Mediterranean diet aims to replicate the traditional dietary habits of inhabitants of southern Europe, in particular, those of the Greeks and Italians. Generally, these diets include a lot of fresh, plant-based foods, such as fruits, nuts, and seeds, along with small to moderate amounts of poultry and red meat. Dairy intake is also primarily restricted to yogurts and cheeses. The broadness of this diet means that is likely not the most effective in regards to weight loss, but there is a host of evidence that points to its substantial benefits. Among these are links to a reduced risk of disease, an improved quality of life, and the extension of life expectancy.
The thesis of the paleo diet is similar to that of the raw food diet, in that it claims our current dietary trends do not fit with how our bodies evolved, hence its name. Paleo diets thus aim to change our nutrition to be more similar to those of our prehistoric ancestors.
In practice, then, the paleo diet encourages the consumption of seafood, grass-fed meats, fresh fruit and vegetables, and non-processed oils. The lack of processed foods in paleo diets means that it can significantly reduce your calorie intake, leading to effective weight loss. As the diet is high in protein, this can also contribute to you feeling fuller and more energetic for longer periods of time. On the other hand, as with the raw food diet, the strictness of the paleo diet means that it can be extremely difficult to maintain for a long enough time to see the benefits. The diet also has some notable nutritional deficiencies.