With all the diet plans out there, it can be confusing to know which is the best for you. Before you go further remember that this list is meant to inform you on sustainable weight loss diets and is in no way a recommendation in place of a doctor or specialist. If you have questions about your personal circumstances and what is best for you, you should consult your doctor. Otherwise, here are the types of diets for weight loss.
The low carb diet focuses on cutting out carbs that you’d typically find in breads, pastas, and other sugary foods, while focusing on consuming proteins, fats, and yummy veggies. This diet can also be called the keto diet. It may sound weird to say that we should be eating more fats because for years we’ve been told that fats are bad. Foods can be really tricky sometimes. Because fats were believed to be so bad, a lot of companies removed them from their products but in turn added more sugar to compensate for the taste. Which has become misleading and detrimental to a lot of people who think they’re eating healthy.
When you eat carbs your body converts it into glucose, which is a type of sugar used for energy. Insulin is a hormone that allows your body to use glucose for energy. However, sometimes we eat too much and the excess glucose we’ve consumed can get stored for later use (stored as fat). So, when you decrease your carb intake, your body enters ketosis. Ketosis occurs when there is limited access to glucose so your body uses its fat stores and the healthy fat intake for energy. This is why a low carb diet works.
What’s also great about a low carb diet is that you don’t have to count calories or break out the scale to measure your food. That all can get really tiresome, I know. The main thing is that you want to avoid sugar and starch foods (pasta, bread, rice, potatoes). Focus on healthy proteins and healthy fats. Here’s a List of Healthy Fats that you can incorporate into your diet. Studies have even shown that for some a low carb diet was more successful in weight loss than a low fat, or calorie restrictive diet.
A low fat diet is a restrictive diet. Fat is in a lot of foods and can account for twice as many calories when compared to carbs and proteins. Because of all this, a low fat diet is primarily plant based. Regardless, here is a List of Healthy Carbs that you may be able to incorporate into your diet.
Fat is a necessity in the diet however. Restricting it too much can lead to some serious health conditions. I wouldn’t recommend this diet for the long term. With this plan you are going to want to eat lots of plant based foods (vegetables, whole grains, and fruits) with a moderate amount of lean, low fat meats (fish and poultry).
Intermittent fasting has a different approach than other diets. Instead of restricting the types of foods you can eat it restricts when you can eat them. Please consult a doctor before attempting a restrictive diet. There are a few different methods to intermittent fasting:
- 16/8 Method- For women it is recommended to only fast for 14-15 hours. This means that you will have an 8-hour window to eat your meals for the day. Which also means you will probably be skipping breakfast. If you typically eat dinner at 8 then you can’t eat anything when you wake up until noon. 16 hours of fasting/8 hours to eat. You can drink while you’re outside that window as long as the beverages are zero calorie.
- 5:2 Method: This method requires that for five days out of the week you eat normally and the other two you must restrict your calorie intake. For the restricted days, women should eat no more than 500 calories for the whole day. The best way would be to eat two small meals.
- Eat-stop-eat- For this method you eat normally throughout the week but for one or two days you can’t eat anything for 24 hours. This one can be really hard to not eat anything, but even more so to still eat normally on your regular days. Because that is the key to this diet is that after you’ve fasted for 24 hours you have to still eat normally the next day as if you never fasted at all.
- Alternate Day Fasting- Here you will eat normally one day and then the next you will either fast and eat nothing or only consume a few hundred calories. You will be hungry a lot of the time so I don’t recommend this if you’re a beginner.
- Warrior’s Diet- Basically you don’t eat all day, with maybe the exception of a small portion of fruits and vegetables and then in the evening you have a 4-hour gap to eat a huge meal.
- Spontaneous Fasting- This last one doesn’t have any plan or structure to it. Simply, if you’re not hungry, can’t find something you want to eat, or don’t have time, then don’t eat. Your body will be okay skipping a meal every now and then. You won’t go into starvation mode because your body is equipped to handle long periods without food. You may feel super hungry, but really you should be okay.
These diets, however will not work if you aren’t eating healthy or if you’re eating an excess amount of calories. This diet is considered healthy for most adults but please check with your doctor first.
You may have heard of the hunter-gather diet before, well this is it. The idea is to only eat foods that our ancestors would have access too. So no processed foods, sugar, grains or dairy. However, some less restrictive versions allow for some dairy products. Basically you can eat foods like fruits, vegetables, lean meats, seeds, and nuts. All the foods that nature has to offer.
While the Paleo diet is definitely a healthy one it does restrict some nutritious food groups. Please consult your doctor before attempting.
Vegetarianism and veganism are the two most popular forms of this diet. Vegetarianism doesn’t allow for any meat products to be consumed but allows for animal by products like milk, eggs, and cheese. Veganism goes a step further and doesn’t allow for any animal products to be consumed at all.
These diets can be very successful because the foods are rich in fiber (make you feel fuller longer) and they’re low in high calorie fat. You do want to be careful with this diet and have a plan for what you want to consume because it can be lacking in important nutrients that are majorly found in animal products. These nutrients include: omega-3 fatty acids, iron, zinc, calcium, vitamin B12, and vitamin D.
Diets That Will Work For You
From my personal experience I believe that the best diet (given you don’t have any medical conditions, religious circumstances, or food preferences) is one that is simply nutritious and balanced. Staying away from processed foods and sugar mainly will really take you places. I like to focus on whole foods. Lots of veggies and lean meats. I also don’t really believe in calorie restrictive diets (unless a professional told you otherwise). I believe that you should be giving your body all the fuel it needs to operate and recuperate from the daily stresses it gets put through.
Which diet will work for you will depend completely on your body and personal preferences. If you have any health conditions then your doctor should have a detailed meal plan for you. Otherwise, try out some of these diets and see which ones you like and can stick too. There’s no point in having a diet if you can’t follow through with it. Even if you have to do some kind of variation of the diet until you can get yourself to where you want to be then that is perfectly fine. Do what’s best for you, your body, and your lifestyle.