What Is The Best Approach For Weight Loss?
Diet plans for weight loss have been increasing in popularity over the last few years.
According to the research organization IbisWorld, Australians spent $280.7 Million in weight loss products and $332.8 Million for weight management counseling in 2013 – 2014.
IbisWorld forecasts that Australians will spend more on weight loss products and counseling services in 2018 – 2019 with estimates at $327.6 Million and $385.8 Million respectively.
These figures suggest Australians are more committed than ever to losing weight and staying fit and healthy.
Many of these weight loss products were conceptualised to conform to diet plans that proliferated in the market the past decade.
But do these popular diet plans for weight loss work?
All of these diets claim to be backed by research and actual tests.
Some were designed by doctors or nutritionists. Several became popular because they were endorsed by celebrities, athletes and other influential people.
Here are 7 of the most popular diets for weight loss:
The Atkins Diet
For years, the Food Pyramid promoted carbohydrates as the foundation of a well balanced diet.
Dr. Robert C. Atkins, a cardiologist saw otherwise and maintained that carbohydrates were to blame for the rates of obesity.
Atkins believed a diet high in carbohydrates increases the amount of insulin in the blood.
Excess insulin that is not converted to glucose is stored in the body as fat. In 1972, he conceptualised a diet plan which restricted the amount of carbohydrates a person can consume per day.
By reducing carbohydrate consumption, the body uses stored body fat as energy and blood sugar levels are normalised.
The Three Hour Diet
Fitness Trainer Jorge Cruise claims he lost 20 kilos of fat by following a meal plan that required him to eat small portions of food every 3 hours.
It takes calories to burn calories. So by eating every 3 hours your metabolism remains high which makes you burn more body fat.
There are no restrictions on what you can eat as long as the portions are kept small.
Cruise believes eating frequent small portioned meals throughout the day keeps you from getting hungry.
When your body enters “starvation mode”, it begins to store body fat as an efficient fuel source.
The Blood Type Diet
Naturopathic Physician Peter D’Adamo believed that each blood type digests food proteins differently.
Eating the wrong foods for your blood type can lead to unwanted health conditions such as slow metabolism, bloating and illnesses as serious as cancer.
By eating foods that are compatible with your blood type, D’Adamo believes you can achieve overall health and wellness.
Examples of food choices per blood type are as follows:
- Type “O” – High protein of mostly lean meats and limited carbohydrates.
- Type “A” – Emphasises plant based proteins and less red meat.
- Type “B” – Restricted consumption of corn, wheat, lentils, tomatoes and peanuts.
The Caveman Diet (aka Paleo Diet)
More popularly known as “Paleo”, the Caveman Diet focuses on consuming the same foods as our ancestors from the Paleolithic Era, these being natural, unprocessed foods.
Paleo followers start the day with a large glass of water then “graze” throughout the day with small- sized portions of mostly raw vegetables, fruits and unsalted nuts.
At nighttime, Paleo followers “feast” for one meal where they consume any food they want.
Paleo restricts the amount of processed carbohydrates taken in during the day which make muscle cells more insulin sensitive.
By the time of the feast, the muscle cells are nearly depleted of glycogen.
Carbohydrates that are ingested during the feast are quickly assimilated and prevented from being stored as fat.
French Women Don’t Get Fat Diet
The creator of this diet, Mirielle Guiliano, claims that French women never get fat because they have developed a healthy relationship with food.
Guiliano believes French women are mindful of what they eat and how they eat.
A typical meal for a French woman is consists of lean meats, fresh fruits, vegetables, bread, olive oil and plenty of water.
For Guiliano, lack of portion control is the reason why obesity is high in other countries.
As an example, Guiliano points out that the croissant produced in the United States is much bigger than a croissant in France.
French women also “eat with the five senses” which allow them to savor food better and get by with smaller portions.
Skinny Bitch Diet
This diet was designed by best friends Rory Friedman and Kim Barnouin.
Skinny Bitch advocates a “tough love” approach by challenging women to stop “eating crap” and eat wholesome, natural foods.
Unlike most of the popular diets, Skinny Bitch promotes carbohydrate consumption in the form of whole grains and whole wheat pasta.
Skinny Bitch bans refined carbohydrates, white flour, meat, dairy, alcohol and caffeine.
The Skinny Bitch diet is rich in organic fruits and vegetables, soy, nuts and legumes and appears to be more aligned with the vegan lifestyle.
South Beach Diet
Similar to Atkins, the South Beach Diet was conceptualised by a cardiologist, Dr. Arthur Agatston and a nutritionist Marie Almon who were both based in Miami Beach, Florida.
The diet was designed to lower the risk of Dr. Agatston’s patients developing heart disease.
Just like Dr. Atkins, Dr. Agatston believed the carbohydrate was responsible for the rising obesity rates.
The principles of the South Beach Diet are similar to Atkins except that it promotes more heart- friendly foods which are high in fibre.
Thus, advocates of the diet claim South Beach is not a “fad” and should be part of a holistic healthy lifestyle.
Many people have found success with these diets. So yes, these diets could work for you.
But before you jump on the band wagon and try any one of these diets, you should first get medically cleared by your doctor, nutritionist or a licensed health professional.
Second, you have to do your own research. Some of these diets do not appear to be based on sound research principles.
For example, the “French Women Don’t Get Fat Diet” appears based on conjecture and opinion rather than cold, hard science facts.
How we process food is largely a function of our DNA which is a product of several generations.
The typical Asian diet consists of large amounts of carbohydrates in the form of white rice or noodles but their obesity rates are among the lowest in the world.
What we have learned from these diets is that all is not what it seems to be.
During the years of the Food Pyramid, fat was portrayed as the “villain”.
Years later Dr. Atkins proved the culprit was not fat but carbohydrates.
How mind blowing was it to hear bacon and eggs was healthier than fresh fruit and toast?
Taking the common sense approach is always the best path. Common sense meaning only eating foods from nature, and avoid eating foods created in a factory.
Aside from the types of foods, quantity is perhaps the second main issue with today’s obesity problems.
Emotional-eating rather than nutritional-eating is a big problem for many people.
Having a healthy eating plan in place and following it every day is the best way to weight loss and weight management.
Building in little treats like a piece of dark chocolate can help prevent cravings that potentially derail your healthy eating plans as well as your overall health.
If you have the mindset that ‘I love my body’, this simple shift can motivate you to feed your body the food it really wants, foods that nourish and sustain health and happiness.