We are getting closer to the new year – time to party, dance and gorge away to glory. And, yes, it also means worrying about all those pretty pounds you will end up putting on after all that wolfing. But, fret not! What better resolution to have for the New Year than to decide to shed the extra fat you have accumulated in your body and reach your ultimate size zero dream (well you don’t really need to go that extreme). You can then party and still give Kendell Jenner a run for her money!
While exercise works wonders, you need to also focus on your diet supplement as well so that you can get back into shape. There are tons of diet plans out there – while some are endorsed by celebrities who swear by them, others get the thumbs-up from scientists. So, how do you decide which one is best for you without ending up with the opposite result?
Read on to find out about six popular diet plans, what they consist of and their pros and cons.
Ketogenic diet: When you eat food that is high in carbohydrates, your body produces glucose and insulin which is then used as the primary source of energy. The keto diet, which involves cutting down carbs, follows the principle of ketosis – a metabolic process where the body burns fats stored in the liver when it does not have enough glucose for energy. This then results in the build-up of acids called ketones in the body. Hence, a keto diet is a low-carb, high-fat diet.
Eat: Meat, leafy vegetables, high-fat dairy, nuts and seeds, berries and fats such as coconut oil, salad dressing, etc.
Avoid: Grains such as wheat, rice, corn; sugar; fruits such as apples, bananas, and tube vegetables such as potatoes and yam.
Pros: The diet helps to burn fats faster, is effective in removing harmful abdominal fats, increases the level of HDL (good) cholesterol, reduces blood sugar and insulin levels and also helps reduce blood pressure. The diet is also known to be good for the brain and has even been found to help treat epilepsy in children.
Cons: Since carbs are eliminated, the keto diet may induce dizziness, low blood sugar levels, sleep problems, diarrhea or constipation, and could cause palpitations in certain individuals.
Vegan diet: More a way of life than a diet plan, vegan diets involves excluding all animal products from your diet. The plan arises from the philosophy that extensive farming is harmful to the environment and does away with all products that are associated with animal exploitation.
Eat: Depends on the diet you choose:
- Whole food vegan diet: Whole plant foods such as fruits, vegetables, whole grains, legumes, and nuts
- Raw-cooked vegan diet: Raw fruits or vegetables that have been cooked at temperatures of less than 48 degrees.
- Starch solution programme: A starch-based diet with fruits and vegetables added on.
- 80/10/10: Organic, fresh, ripe and whole fruits along with leafy vegetables, nuts, and seeds.
Avoid: All animal-based products.
Pros: Helps prevent health problems including cardiac illnesses and even certain kinds of cancer, regulates blood sugar levels and improves kidney function. It is rich in fiber, antioxidants, and nutrients such as potassium, folate, magnesium and Vitamins A, C and E.
Cons: Vegan diets can be low in high-quality proteins, vitamin B12, and nutrients such as zinc, calcium and Omega-3 fatty acids. Followers of the diet also tend to up their intake of soy and nuts, which contain high levels of phytic acid that can lower absorption of nutrients.
Atkins Diet: The Atkins diet is a low-carbohydrate one which focuses on controlling the insulin levels in the body. It has four phases:
- Phase 1: Involves eating proteins, fat and only 20 grams of carbs from vegetables, daily.
- Phase 2 (Balancing): Add more nuts, low-carb vegetables, and some fruits on to your diet.
- Phase 3 (Fine tune): Add more carbs to your diet as you get closer to your ideal weight.
- Phase 4 (Desired weight goal): You can eat as many healthy carbs as you can take, without adding back the weight.
Eat: Lean meats, healthy fats and high-fiber vegetables, poultry, seafood, eggs, cheese and healthy oils
Avoid: Refined carbohydrates such as white bread, pasta, potatoes, grains such as wheat and rice, trans fat, chips, and cookies.
Pros: Helps speed up weight loss, reduces the craving for sugar and sweets, improves blood pressure levels, reduces inflammation. The diet is also known to reduce the risk of heart diseases by normalizing cholesterol levels.
Cons: Completely cutting down on carbohydrates can impair parts of the body such as the gut from functioning properly. The diet may also lead to low bone density and brittle bones. High protein diets may be harmful to people who already suffer from chronic kidney disease.
Paleo Diet: The Paleolithic diet is based on the principle of eating the way our cavemen ancestors did. The diet focuses on what people in the ancient days would gather or hunt and eat.
Eat: Meats, nuts and seeds, fruits, vegetables, fish and healthy fats.
Avoid: Refined carbohydrates from food such as pasta, bread, cereals, processed food, dairy, refined sugar, refined vegetable oil potatoes, salt, wheat and other grains and legumes.
Pros: By avoiding all processed food, you are avoiding chemicals, to a large extent. Paleo diets are also a good source of Omega-3 fatty acids as a major source of protein for the diet comes from cold-water fish. You also avoid sugar and other refined and processed food which cause inflammation to the gut. With vegetables and fruits a major part of the diet, you up your intake of healthy nutrients.
Cons: Not meant for vegetarians as the main source of proteins in the diet comes from meat, fish, and egg since legumes and beans are not allowed. It is also low in carbohydrates, hence, not ideal for athletes and others with a very active lifestyle.
Weight watchers diet: While you can eat what you want to, the emphasis here is on shifting towards a healthier diet and an active lifestyle. The programme works on a point based system where every food you eat is assigned SmartPoints based on four pointers – calories, saturated fat, sugar, and protein. Foods that are higher in sugar or saturated fats are assigned higher points and foods that are higher in lean proteins are assigned lower points. You are given a daily and weekly allowance, and you can eat what you want within that budget. The final goal for all the members is to have a healthy weight and ‘BMI’ of under 25.
Pros: It teaches you to eat everything but in moderation. It also focuses on making changes to your lifestyle and includes exercises. The diet is great for people who need motivation and support system to carry on.
Cons: Could be expensive since you have to pay a registration fee. You also need to keep attending weekly weigh-ins, which is charged and time-consuming.
Mediterranean diet: Touted the world’s healthiest diet, the Mediterranean diet, is followed in Southern Europe.
Eat: Fruits, beans, whole grains, nuts seeds, olive oil, and fish. Cheese and yogurt are the main dairy products in the diet, small amounts of red meat, up to four eggs a week and a small amount of wine.
Pros: The diet focuses on monosaturated fat, which is found in olive oil and some nuts, which over time is known to lower possibility of heart disease, cancer, depression and helps reduce weight.
Cons: The diet does not specify how many servings should be taken a day, hence it is difficult to keep track of your calorie total. The diet also recommends moderate consumption of wine, which may not be suitable for all.
These diets will surely help you lose weight, but to sustain it, you ultimately need to listen to your body – it tells us so many things but we end ignoring it most of the time. Your body will tell you what works, when you are pushing too hard and when to stop. So, block out all the other cacophony and tune in to yourself!
About The Author:
I am Emily Connor, a 26-year-old psychology student, and a content contributor at Quality Dissertation Writing Services My interests range from productivity, an inspiration to reading anything motivational over the internet. I love dogs over cats and music over talking.