With all the choices of diet plans out there, have you ever wondered what’s the right diet for you?
Choosing the right weight loss program for yourself can be the difference between reaching your fitness goals or bailing on the diet because it just doesn’t fit in your life. It’s tempting to just jump into a program that seems to be the most popular or a program that one of your friends seems to be having a lot of success with. But how do you choose a diet plan that you will stick with?
Each year, US News & World Report puts out a list of the best diets in a number of categories. You can find the report HERE. We’ll discuss the most well-known options that have been proven to work for weight loss and the major benefits of each one, to help you choose based on your main goals.
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The Mediterranean Diet
For 2020, the Mediterranean diet was again given the spot for the best diet plan overall.
The Mediterranean diet plan is modeled after the diet of countries around the Mediterranean Sea, like Italy and Greece. This diet plan is made up of fruits, vegetables, fish that are high in omega-3 fatty acids, nuts, and high-quality olive oil.
Even though saturated fat, sugar, and red meat are minimized, you can have moderate amounts of foods like cheese and wine. The flexibility of the Mediterranean Diet helps people to stick to this program over the long term, and so contributing to long term weight loss success.
The DASH Diet
DASH is short for Dietary Approaches to Stopping Hypertension (aka High Blood Pressure).
The U.S. government developed this diet program as a way to try to help people to lower their high blood pressure naturally. This diet encourages foods like fruits, vegetables, lean protein, whole grains, and low-fat dairy. These foods are filled with nutrients like potassium, calcium, protein, and fiber that help lower blood pressure.
Those following this diet plan avoid fatty meats, full-fat dairy products, sugary beverages, and sweets. Over the course of this program, the number of calories are decreased from 2,300 a day down to 1.500 a day. So following this type of meal plan results in weight loss as more calories are burned than are consumed.
The Flexitarian Diet
The Flexitarian diet is largely a plant-based type of diet program. A plant-based diet seems to be the healthiest type of diet plan that people can follow. It not only helps with weight loss but helps people to maintain a healthy lifestyle in general. It is recommended that people following this diet should eat, in addition to vegetables and fruits, whole grains, nuts, and seeds. These foods are filled with antioxidants and are good for the body, especially in reducing inflammation naturally.
The good part about following the Flexitarian diet plan is that there is no need to go completely vegan or vegetarian to enjoy healthy weight loss.
This diet is similar to the Mediterranean Diet because you will be eating vegetarian most of the time, but you can have occasional meats if you would like. A Flexitarian diet appears to be a good diet plan for weight loss. And the flexibility makes it easier to follow long term.
Following a completely vegetarian or vegan diet program obviously has its own positives and negatives. Vegetarians and vegans tend to have a much more normal BMI (body mass index), weigh less than their peers, as well as have lower cholesterol levels. However, it is possible that never eating animal products can result in low levels of vitamin B12, which is important for a normally functioning body.
The Atkins Diet
The Atkins diet is a program that has about 50 years of research behind it. It is the most famous low carb diet.
The theory is that carbs make us fatter because they tend to get stored in our bodies as fat instead of being burned for energy. So if you limit the amount of carbs you eat, you will lose fat and therefore weight, because your body will be using the fat you already have stored as fuel.
The average American eats 300 grams of carbs in a day. When you first start with the Atkins program, you can only eat 20 grams of carbs per day for the first 2 weeks. So this will be a diet plan that you can use to lose 10 to 20 pounds fast.
The Ketogenic Diet
In the Keto diet, carbs are replaced with lots of fat and protein. This particular program of eating puts the body into a state called ketogenesis. This is when the body burns fats for fuel instead of sugars (that come from carbs).
Following the Keto Diet plan will help you lose weight and fast. In fact, it is one of the quickest ways to lose weight. You will lose weight twice as fast as calorie counting.
Most people feel fuller because fat and proteins are more filling than carbs. So you end up eating less, which speeds up your weight loss. And even though dieters are eating foods high in fat, their cholesterol levels often improve. Many people like this diet because the increased amount of protein means better hair, skin, and nails.
The Keto diet is not all protein and fat. This particular diet program also means a diet rich in greens, nuts, olive oil, and some fish. But if you have a sweet tooth, the Keto diet can be tough because the carbs are cut out.
There is some concern that people may lose a lot of weight in the short term, and there are questions about whether they will be able to keep it off in the long run. Partly because the list of foods allowed in the Keto Diet is somewhat short, following this diet can be expensive, and since Keto will usually mean a lot of meat, full-fat dairy, hard-boiled eggs, etc., it’s not very vegetarian-friendly.
Intermittent Fasting (IF) is a simpler diet program compared to the others. This plan involves eating normally with a long break, usually around 16 hours between food. This means that you may end up skipping breakfast or fasting for an entire day.
Research has suggested that this type of diet lengthens life and has positive effects on the brain.
Intermittent fasting apparently increases the resistance of nerve cells in the brain to some types of stress. Studies have shown that Intermittent Fasting increases antioxidants in the brain, and help to make the brain stronger, healthier, and more efficient.
However, the obvious downside to following this diet is stress from being hungry. Some point out that it could make eating disorders worse, or cause the dieter to miss important nutrients, so this not a good choice for everyone.
Final Thoughts on Choosing the Right Diet For You
Unfortunately, most diets do fail. Some dieters end up gaining back more weight than they lose while on a particular diet.
But that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t try to lose weight or to follow a healthy lifestyle. It may be that you just need to change your approach or make smaller changes. The more you practice it, the more likely it will become a habit, which will contribute to a longer, healthier life.
Which type of diet plan are you following?
Which diet do you think you would be most likely to stick to? Share in the comment section!
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