Which Diet?

Every time we open a new magazine, watch a talk show or chat to our friends, it seems a new diet has emerged and is the talk of the town. Who’s trying it, which celebrity it’s working for, how do you do it and when can I start? While some of these diets stick around a little longer than others they seem to go in cycles with popularity with slight tweaks and alterations over time. Many of these diets are imitations of one another, with slight variations to make them their own.

So I thought I might explain what some of them are, the major rules of them and maybe some opinions.

Atkins Diet – This one has been popular by many celebrities and was founded by Dr Atkins. The diet works through restriction of carbohydrate intake, which limits sugar highs and lows as many of us get our carbohydrate intake from simple carbs rather than complex. It is believed to help reduce those craving hits as well as induce the fat burning metabolism. Signing up to this diet plan actually allows you access to a diet plan not just information, forums, tools and assistance. The diet does not focus on a quick fix for weight loss but rather a number of phases to work through with the hope that the final phase your goals will be met and this will be your lifestyle.

gopaleoPaleo Diet – Unlike the Atkins diet, this is more a set of guidelines as to what is okay to consume, rather than a meal plan itself. Becoming the lifestyle of many including chef Pete Evans, the Paleo lifestyle by definition is the ‘older or ancient, relating to geological past,’ with this in mind it is in relation to consuming foods as our ancestors did, in their whole complete state, foraged and gathered by season and availability. The Paleo Diet works by eating any form of fresh fruit, vegetables, lean meats, seafood’s, nuts seeds and healthy fats. Foods that are processed or not in their natural form are not considered fully paleo although some allow leeway in areas. These no go foods include grains, dairy, processed foods and sugars, legumes, starches and alcohol. The paleo way is believed to benefit in reducing risk of cancer, obesity, diabetes, heart disease and Alzheimer’s, just to name a few. While not for everyone, and considered fairly expensive to stick to especially with a family, it allows for a diet high in vegetable of all variety and plenty of protein. Due to its restriction around starches, legumes and grains, it too is considered lower in carbohydrates then most of our typical intakes.
Kinds-of-Fat-good-fat-vs-bad-fatHigh Fat Diet – Fats, or good fats as they are commonly referred to in diet circles relates to a diet that lowers your carbohydrate intake and allows you to consumer more fats as your fuel source. This is in line with the Paleo rules of eating however not as restrictive to in season or unprocessed foods. People on this diet will often consume the dieters ‘calorie free’ noddles and similar in a bid to replicate the normal carbohydrate dense option that would otherwise not be allowed. This diet also doesn’t allow for the restriction around dairy but does suggest careful consideration around skim varieties which tend to involve high sugar, where possible full cream and even double cream varieties are preferable. Food that are high in fats include oily fish, eggs, avocado, oils such as olive oil, butters, whole egg mayo, nuts, seeds, flax oil, coconut oil etc. All other foods such as protein sources, fruit and vegetables (excluding high carb like sweet potato, banana, berries, potatoes, cauliflower, and squash) should be limited. The aim of this diet is to encourage your body to move from burning carbs and simple sugars to burning fat as your fuel source. It aims to reduce the blood sugar spikes and eliminate cravings. Anything that is high in sugar and sweet should be kept to a minimum.

SugarSugar Free – Going by the name it is obvious what this one represents, however depending on the extent you wish to take it. Sarah Wilson from I Quit Sugar first brought this one to a head and she has made a lovely living from it with blogs, recipes, books and stories to explain. This is again a guideline of rules to live by. Basically it involves the removal of sugar from a person’s diet. With sugar one of the major blame areas for out increased obesity and disease it’s no wonder people are jumping onto this one. While many health conscious parents have been restricting intake to their children for years, it is surprising the items that must be ruled out under this diet. Sugars can hide in jarred goods, packaged items, organic foods, basically anything processed which results in more at home cooking and reading of labels. Sugar free can range from restricting your sugar intake ‘x’ amount of grams per 100 to make it okay. Or under extreme cases anything not in its natural form that has sugar cannot be consumed. This means honey can only be straight out of the hive and fruit off the tree. Fruit that is to ripe is even not allowed as it increases the fructose content and dried fruit heavily restricted. One of the main aims for this is the prevention of blood sugar levels spiking based on high sugar intakes. While an effective method, it can be difficult to stick to 100%, and a partial commitment is usually easier adhered too.

dairyLactose/Dairy Free – While all have a slightly different meaning they tend to be looked at under the same category. Taken on by most for the purpose of a lactose intolerance or otherwise preference it involves generally avoiding milk based products such as milk, butter, cheese, cream etc. Dairy refers to milk, and any product derived from milk, therefore milk, cream, butter, cheese etc and includes any that is taken from a mammal. Lactose however is an ingredient in milk and therefore it is this component that is aimed to be avoided. Therefore a product labelled dairy free will be lactose free, but a product that is lactose free may not be considered dairy free. It is the lactose component removed from the product, while dairy remains behind such as the casein or whey, therefore if you have issues with these areas they too must be avoided. It is becoming more common for people to choose to go dairy or lactose free out of choice and either developing an intolerance overtime that is forcing this change or creating one by the choice to remove from the diet. While many do argue it is bad for your bone health and structure, it is also noted by many that it may not be safe or right to consume the milk of another mammal.

Low carb/high carb – Opposite to one another, they involve the over intake of carbohydrates or the very restricted intake of carbohydrates. These methods are often taken on predominantly by the body building industry. For most to lose weight a low carb diet is the one that is taken on board. It involves the restricted, not normally removed, intake of carbohydrates. Often these carbohydrates come from grains such as quinoa, whole grains and sweet potato. This is reminiscent of the Atkins Diet structure. Due to the low carb nature, where typically many of our daily intake is from, it means it is easier to limit the calories consumers. It is important to note that fuel still needs to come from somewhere therefore a diet higher in good fats in normally included. On the other end of the spectrum is a high carb intake. At times this high carb intake can involve intake from either copious amounts of rice and sweet potato, again in line with a body building angle or simply a high intake or anything calorie dense so high in simple or complex carbs, ti doesn’t really matter. This concept matches in with the ‘bulking diet’ and it aimed at those wishing to increase their size and up their intake for ‘gains’. Depending on the actual goal of the individual would dictate which they would choose but neither can be confused with the other.

Foods high in carbohydrateCarb cycling – This is another method that is taken on by many in the body building industry. It involves days of little to no carbohydrates, to days of very high carbohydrates. The purpose of which is to ‘refuel’ on the high carbohydrate days and on days of heavy workouts when your body requires the increased intake for its building and repair. Generally such diets are managed by careful calculations or implemented by a trainer and monitored. They are considered beneficial for those looking to reap some maximum rewards from the training they put in.

Bulkiindexng’ diet – Another adopted by the body building industry this type of diet can be split into two categories; a clean bulk and a dirty bulk. A Clean Bulk would take into consideration most of the foods that are mentioned in the above diets such as healthy whole foods, carbohydrates and protein courses. It involves calculating your daily requirements, but consuming beyond that to give your body additional fuel to burn, put on weight and in turn the aim to increase your output. Under the same category but different method the dirty bulk is the same concept, only they seek to do this by any means possible. Unrestricted from how they get their calories in they don’t mind if it’s consumed from pasta, pizza or 2dozen eggs. While many criticize a dirty bulk to not be healthy as it is often laden with numerous amounts of bad food and significant weight gain, it is a method of food enjoyment for many off season body builders.
Gluten free – Gluten, is a product that comes from all wheat products, rye, barley and oats. Over a number of years many have developed intolerance to gluten and in some cases are coeliac, meaning it cannot be consumed even in small doses. With an increased number of people opting for this diet choice due to digestion issues, concern or it becomes apparent as a by-product of another diet, many products that do not contain gluten make this clear on packaging, as well as the ability to have the coeliac Australia endorsement logo. It must also be labelled as ‘may contain gluten’ on the label by Australia labeling laws. Any products that are fresh fruit, vegetates, eggs, protein, nuts, legumes and gluten free gain such as rice, corn, quinoa etc. are safe for consumption. Due to the removal of most starchy and wheat products it becomes a low carb diet generally as a result. However many more options are now available where this was once seen as a healthy alternative, gluten free chocolate, biscuits, sauces and desserts now line supermarket shelves. Therefore consideration into the product label must still be given if watching your intake. This diet option is become easier to follow with most restaurants and food outlets also notifying of gluten free options or alternative to switch.

Twelve week challenges – becoming increasingly popular 12 week challenge guides are popping up all over facebook, Instagram, through ebooks and alike. They first became most popular by Michelle Bridges who has the 12WBT with sites, tracking, progress and plans set out. Under this diet you typically sign on for the program and check in at set intervals to help stay on track and track progress. You are provided with diet guidelines, meal ideas and options and the plan changes as you progress, suggestions around training and often training groups are organised in capital cities for those involved. What makes these so popular is the ability not to have to do all the work and thinking yourself, you are provided the information and the guidelines and just have to do the work. They allow for encouragement and to see yourself change. Another enticing concept is that it is only for a shorter period of time, it doesn’t seem like your whole life. With many success stories its little wonder they are so popular. However criticism comes from those that drop weight to fast, in some cases twelve weeks can be too fast and therefore the ability to keep it off after. Some plans are poorly set up and those that signed on are left wondering after the twelve weeks, where to next. They can leave a door open for failure and rebound for some individuals.

Soup Diet – This has been around for a while and comes and goes in popularity, while not sustainable over the long term, it involves making a broth of soup from any low carb vegetables and eating only this for a period of time. As the vegetables added to this after low carb, generally there energy used to consumer and process such a meal is greater than the energy (or calories) consumed. This leads you to the inevitable weight loss. However for many it also leads to increased hunger and weight gain once considerably ‘normal’ foods are consumed. It’s taken on by most as a quick fix for weight loss and only for a temporary period.

smoothie_surrounded_by_fruit_and_wrapped_with_a_tape_measureShake Diet – Similar to the soup diet, it consists of replacing or initially all meals with calorie controlled shakes. These shakes aim to provide the essential nutrients and just what the body needs at a low calorie level, but they do not consider the difference between a person doing high strenuous exercise and a person sitting on the couch. Therefore each person receives the same intake. They work on a system of starting out on mainly all shakes, while slowly introducing meals back in place of these shakes. The point is to make the swaps from the shakes to real good as good food choices rather than a chocolate bar. Essentially this is not a long term diet change, but a method to initially lose weight and to coach yourself into making better choices. Many brands line our shelves now as options including Rapid Loss, Optifast, Ultraslim, Tony Fergusson as well as protein shakes. They are often criticized as they don’t teach the benefits of real food or teach you how to manage your meals, some people even develop a poor relationship with food believing that in order to lose weight liquids are the only option.

detoxDetox – A detox is a process, or a period of time in which one works to rid the body of toxins or unhealthy substances, it relates to ‘cleaning the blood’. Detoxes are a common method taken on by people commencing a new lifestyle and diet plan, after a big weekend on alcohol or party substance. They are also used by people that may have unexplained fatigue, irritated skin, bloating, allergies, menstrual problems just to name a few. They are not a permanent lifestyle change but rather a small plan adhered to for a period of time, generally 3-10days with 7 being the most popular as it does take time to clean the blood. They aim to eliminate toxins from kidneys, intestines, liver, lungs and skin as well as refueling with healthy nutrients, improving blood circulation depending on your reason for a detox will generally determine if it is done through means of liquids, fasting of nutrient rich foods. All detox programs involve the removal of alcohol, coffee, cigarettes as well as reducing refined sugars, processed foods and saturated fats. Some of the most common detox diets include: simple fruit and vegetable, smoothie cleanse, juice cleanse, sugar detox and hyper-allergenic detox. All detoxes require an increased intake of water.

5 on 2 off diet – Also known as intermittent fasting, this diet trend has recently come on board as one of the newest trends. Basically it works that on the 5 days of the week, you can basically eat what you want, while it is recommended that you stick to your recommended intake of food for the day this is not a set requirement. While on the 2 days of choice, you consume just 25% of your usual intake. That means about 500calories for women and 600 for men. There is no restriction to what foods are consumed to make up these number just that they are met. That’s what is making this so popular. It allows for the freedom of choice, to still socialise and feel less restricted than normal diets. You can choose your fasting days to be ones when you have no social commitments and are busy to remain distracted. It is assumed that about 1pound is lost per week on the diet, assuming the 5 days are reasonable intake. While the diet is fairly new and tests have resulted in longer living, reducing heart risk and cancer, as well as improving cholesterol and blood sugar, these results have only been on animals and only with a balanced and nutrient rich diet on the 5 days. A 5 day alcohol and takeaway bender will not allow for the results.

vegetarianVegetarian – To be vegetarian is generally more of a lifestyle choice then a diet. While many that turn to being vegetarian based on health reasons over moral ones tend to bounce back to a meat included diet after a couple of years, it is something many of us have tried. It is becoming increasingly popular to limit intake or adopt plans like ‘Meat free Mondays’ and there are many more food choices available to consumers making the change far easier. Many will take on the vegetarian approach due to religious reasons preventing the consumption of meat, due to morals of animal rights or due to health reasons. A vegetarian will not consume meat that includes poultry, game, beef, eggs, fish, shellfish and other sea animals. There are many levels of vegetarian within the heading. Lacto-ovo-vegetarian will eat both dairy and egg products. Lacto-vegetarians eat dairy but avoid eggs. Pescestarianism is when a person avoids meat products but consumes white fish. While they do not eat meat or animal products most vegetarians do not mind the use of products such as fur, leather or wool. It is generally very important to ensure that vegetarians do get the proper intake of iron and calcium whether through supplements or nutrient rich foods like mushrooms, lentils, chickpeas and other varieties.

Vegan-logo-sign-icon-avatarVegan – This is a form of vegetarian and generally the most extreme. It is becoming increasing popular in the health industry as an option with more products adding this tick to their label if they adhere to the guidelines. To be vegan means to not eat meat, eggs, dairy or a product that is derived from animals such as honey. Vegans will also refrain from the use of products derived from animals including fur, leather, wool and many beauty products that test on animals. Vegans will generally have a much stronger view politically on animal rights and welfare and this is what encourages them to make this lifestyle change. Vegan diets are very effective of eliminating common allergens such as dairy or shellfish, however like vegetarians need to be mindful of substance they are lacking such as iron, vitamins, B12 etc. These may need to be taken in the form of a supplement. While it is becoming easier to adapt to such a diet, to stick to it fully requires a belief and commitment.

If it fits your macros – IIFYM this diet is increasing in popularity, like the 5/2 diet it allows you to make your own flexible food choices, assuming it fits your allowance. Unlike the 5/2 diet however it does require daily calculations of your food and therefore constant consideration and calculations to ensure you remain in the guidelines. Basically it is the determination fo what your daily macros are depending on your goals, that being losing weight, gaining muscle, increasing size, maintenance etc and working out what foods can be consumed within those predetermined numbers to meet your goal. It results in control, flexibility and it stuck to your results. Some people can find the pressure of numbers and calculations restricting and daunting and often it is people that have attempted restrictive diets and failed that move towards this IIFYM method. Criticism around this diet is that it allows the consumption of sugars, saturated fats and other processed foods which for a dieter is not considered healthy. It often doesn’t consider macro-nutrients and therefore some areas can be missed.

Clean Eating – the arguing diet compared to the IIFYM clean eating is the method of avoiding ‘bad foods’ while it is hard to define what a ‘bad food’ is and will vary depending on who you ask in which industry opinions can range from avoiding processed packaged food sugars, refined foods, artificial foods, gluten free, only buying organic, white potatoes and starchy foods are not okay either. Basically it is a method of consuming whole foods and is often comparable to the Paleo Diet however it allows the consumption of dairy and grains. Clean can be a subjective term however, while dried fruits and peanut butters can be seen as a poor nutrition choice, if they are organic, raw and unprocessed they are considered by many to be ‘clean’. Clean does not refer to low calorie or low fat, many foods that would be included in this lifestyle include nuts, oils and other calorie dense foods that still need to be carefully included in the diet. A ‘clean eating’ diet can be misconceived for aiding in weight loss, muscle gain, staying leaner while consuming surplus calories etc. If not considerate of the foods you consume results still will not be achieved. It is important to note that moderation is key in this diet.

rawfoodRaw food Diet – Just as the name suggests it is based on only being allowed to consume raw foods, this would include all fruits, vegetables, nuts, grain, seeds, herbs, spices, beans, seaweed and coconut milk/water. While it does allow the consumption of some seafood as well. Raw foods can be blended, dehydrated or juices. While this is the basis of the diet there are strains that have been adapted to allow for better coping whilst on this include the ‘Raw till 4’ method so you can only consume raw foods until 4pm and enjoy a cooked meal for dinner or the allowing for 75% of your diet to be raw while the other component can consist of some cooked pasta or baked potatoes. Restaurants have now been set up that are more in favor of this diet choice. The best thing about the raw food diet is the amount of fresh product that can be consumed including a range of fiber, antioxidants are increased and nutrients not lost through the cooking process, shopping and preparation is easier and quicker and generally weight loss as a result. However some find that the diet cannot be as appealing as raw food is less appetizing, does not often have the smell enticing consumption, low levels of B vitamins and calcium can be experienced. For those that do consume raw dairy or meats increased risk of bacteria exposure can occur.

weight_watchers_logoWeight watchers – This diet has been around for more than 40 years now, founded by Jean Nidetch it is used by millions with millions of success stories. It aims to help people make better food choices, focusing around eating in moderation and eating the foods you want because of this. It does not wish to be a depriving diet. The diet involves signing up to their program which allows you to input the food you eat. Each food is labelled in a point system. You are provided with a number of points based on your goals therefore the foods you select need to be from the points that suit. There are no ‘must eats foods’ on this diet you simply put together your own diet based on your points. The Weight watchers brand has a whole food range available in supermarkets which allows for convenience and access. Generally weight loss is slower but the rebound effect of the diet not as high as it is not restrictive and based around portion control and real living options. Backed by many doctors and an ongoing method of weight loss and control it will be sticking around.

greek-study-shows-benefits-mediterranean-dietMediterranean diet – The Mediterranean diet is about consuming the staple foods that those in the 16 countries around the Mediterranean have lived off for years, such as Greece and Italy. This diet emphasizes healthy fats which are those containing omega-3 fatty acids such as olive oil, avocados, nuts, legumes and fats from fish etc as well as the consumption of fresh whole foods. The diet is believed to help support a healthy heart. The diet is not necessarily developed as a weight loss method but has actually evolved over the years based on foods available around the region. This is more of a lifestyle adaption rather than a diet and many do find it easy to stick too. While it is a high fat diet, it does mean you need to be mindful of the amount you use as there are still limits on the amount of saturated fat should be consumed. This method works for weight loss when the whole diet is considered and preparation put into food choices.

3 hour diet – Becoming a healthy habit by most people, and a way to get you through the urge to snack between meals, consuming smaller meals every three hours rather than you 3 big meals a day is becoming common among many. It involved breaking down your portion size to more snack sizes and consuming them at regular intervals, for example 7am, 10am, 1pm, 4pm and 7pm. This would allow you 5 meals for the day. The purpose of this is to keep you metabolism firing over the day and not slowing as it gets hungry in between breakfast and lunch. It also allows for smaller meals and aims to prevent blood sugar spikes, prevent cravings and keep you full. For many this diet means additional preparation and therefore can be hard for busy people. It also means taking meals with you which again can be painful and interruption of your daily schedule. Each meal should be considered as a healthy choice though to ensure health benefits are gained but it does allow for treats to be thrown in as well within a portion control. If a person is not able to control their portion sizes weight gain can be a resulting factor of such frequent eating.

40-30-30_balanced_nutritionZone Diet – This is aimed to help eat a balanced diet of protein, fats ants and carbohydrates. On this diet you will consume 30% of your calories from protein, 30% from fat and 40% from carbohydrates. As with all diets the zone diet has an emphasis that your meals are made up of beans, fruits, whole grains, vegetables and lean meats. Due to the portion control of each component it ultimately leads to weight loss. The zone diet offers variety, control and easy to use structure. While it also doesn’t favor dairy this can be a nutritional downfall for people on this diet as well the same 30-30-40 structure for all individuals rather than tailored to an individual’s needs.

The macrobiotic Diet – A macrobiotic diet is not just about changing the way you eat but also aims to change how you live. It promotes both healthy eating within its guidelines but also encourages a healthy mind through encouragement of meditation, yoga and slowing down. It is derived from elements of Buddhism and simple eating. It eliminates dairy, meat and fatty foods based on their effects on the body and toxins. Half your intake of calories comes from whole grains while the rest from fruits and vegetables. On occasion the inclusion of nuts, seeds, whitefish and Asian condiments are allowed. A macrobiotic diet believes foods are sacred and should be prepared carefully and quietly. While the diet can improve your nutrition intake, promote weight loss, reduce the risk of diseases, and create a better mental health its negatives include no supplementation, nutrient deficiency in iron, calcium, B12 and Vitamin D as well as unrealistic expectations for preparations, meditation etc. The diet should be considered to meet your personal needs rather than following its strict rules.

Blood Type Diet – Developed by Naturopathic physician Peter D-Adamo, this diet is about eating the foods that are beneficial to your blood type being A, B, AB or O. It is under his belief that eating the wrong foods for your blood type can result in ill effects such as a slower metabolism, disease and side effects such as bloating. For a brief overview Blood Type O will function best on a diet high in protein of lean meats and fish, limited grains and breads and intensive exercise. Blood Type A emphasizes soy proteins, grains and vegetables with a restriction on red meat and preference to lighter exercise. Blood Type B can tolerate dairy and can enjoy more meats, this one restricts corn, wheat, lentils, and tomatoes and suggests moderate exercise. Type AB is as the name suggests a combination of A and B and therefore has the most choice, allowing for soy products, seafood, dairy and most produce with a suggestion of a balanced fitness routine between calming and rigorous. This diet focuses on everyone being different based on their make up. While it poses no calorie restrictions this means there may be less weight loss if your intake is not monitored. Tailored diets under this method however can be obtained.

The Hormone Diet – Its primary focus is on fluctuations in hormones can result in weight gane. Therefore it is about the control of hormones to try and prevent and manage this from happening. The hormone diet is a 6 weeks, three step process that is designed to sync hormones and promote overall healthier self through a combination of diet, exercise, nutrition supplementation and detoxification. The Diet does tell you what to eat and when, therefore there is minimal stress from your part in trying to consider what you should be eating and when. Broken into phases the first phase is a two week detox and your diet is made up mostly of supplementation, bowel cleansers, fish oil and probiotics. Foods that are avoided during this time are fish, meats, olives, avocados, eggs, soy, feta, goat’s cheeses, gluten and many fruit and vegetables. Moving onto phase two creates less restriction with the inclusion of more fruit, vegetables and meats the avoidance of hormone hindering foods like high in fructose corn syrup, high in mercury fish, non-organic foods, and some dried fruits. It also requests the removal of man made products such as anything processed, artificial, nitrate containing foods and refined grains. Phase three, the final phase, is about physical and mental wellness and exercise, the food phase continues from phase two. It claims to help boost hormones to help burn fat and control your hormone levels more that hinder where fat is stored. The major downside is the restriction and the intense supplement component of phase one.

HG_TheGrapefruitDiet_size640x480The grapefruit diet – Used for more than 80 years, it is a diet aimed at quick weight loss. It is a 12 day plan with protein rich meals and grapefruit of juice at every meal. There are multiple versions of the diet, but the consistent key is a daily calorie intake of less than 1,000 cal per day. This diet allows meals within the guideline to use as many spices, herbs, dressings and butter as a person likes. Some guidelines also request no food be cooked at high temps, no extremely cold foods and keeping protein meals and starch meals separated by 4 hours. While the results are proven and initially encouraging, maintaining 1,000calories a day is extremely difficult. The diet claims magical fat burning enzymes from the grapefruit, however such claims have never been backed. This is a useful diet to kick-start another plan straight after.

390_profile_img1_southbeachThe South Beach Diet – Developed in Miami by cardiologist Arthur Agaston and Marie Almon the aim was to help lower the risk of developing heart disease. The main point of the diet was a low fat and high carb method which at the time was the popular dieting method. The diet focuses on replacing ‘bad carbs’ with ‘good carbs’. Bad carbs, according to the diet, are those with a high glycaemic index (spike blood sugar levels fast) and prompt you to feel hungrier than you are and encourage overeating. Therefore refined sugars and processed grains are removed and favor a diet high in vegetables, beans, and whole grains. Like the hormone diet, it also focuses on a three phase cycle. Phase one involves the banning of all sugars, fruits, alcohol and most carbohydrates and lasts two weeks. Phase two, the ‘good carbs’ are reintroduced into the diet and this phase lasts as long as the dieter continues to their goal weight. Phase three is the maintenance period and the person should feel this is a maintainable lifestyle change now the goal weight is reached. This diet does not have too much restriction and plenty of food options, but it is not a quick fix for dropping kgs.

volumetricsThe Volumetric Diet – A common sense eating plan that aims to empower those on it to quit on-off dieting and live a healthy lifestyle balanced with good foods and exercise. Basically foods that can be consumed on this plan are those of low energy (calorie) dense foods and a high water content such as fruits and vegetables. It is the belief that these foods as they are so low calorie can be eaten at any quantity and eliminates feelings of hunger, fatigue and depression that is often associated with other diets. Foods that are included are fruits, vegetables, low fat dairy, whole grains, beans and lean meat. A very flexible and fulfilling way to diet, this has ongoing proven results. The downside, is that the diet does take a lot of time to prepare which can be difficult for those on a heavy schedule.

dukan-diet-4phasesThe Dukan Diet – Created in 2000 by Pierre Dukan, the consumption of lean protein, oat bran and water with a daily walk are the heart of the plan. The theory, along with so many is that eliminating carbs will force your body to burn fats. Basically you can eat whatever you like within the list. The diet consists of four phases. The first phase is the attack phase for up to 10 days were you eat all lean protein you like, 1.5tablespoons of oat bran and water daily. The second phase, or the cruise phase can last several months where you add unlimited unstarchy vegetables into your diet plus an increased tablespoon of oat bran. Phase three is the consolidation phase where you can continue with the vegetables plus a piece of fruit, 2 slices of wholegrain bread and a serve of hard cheese. During this phase the addition of a serve of starchy food is allowed and a ‘celebration’ meal. The final stage is the ‘stabilization’ phase. This phase is about maintenance. You can now consume what you like every day but one day you revert back to the attack phase and only work to those guidelines. With limited food options this diet makes shopping easy and proven results, experts do worry about the lack of some nutrient foods as well. However it has been seen that once returning to the ‘stabilization’ phase, if healthy choices are not made one ‘attack’ day will not counteract the damage done.

It’s about doing your research. Every Diet has a target audience. Some have fast results, some long term. Some aim for a quick fix, others a lifestyle change. Some are a huge commitment others require small changes. Work out what your goals are, and where your weak points are but ensure you seek the right advice and do it in a healthy manner. All diets can be unhealthy if taken to the extreme and the main focus on all diets is about health and well being.


About nfrain

A passion for a healthy life, body and mind. A discussion of my experiences and thoughts with some tips and tricks along the way.
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