It would not be surprising to hear your answer is “yes, I’m confused by all these so called diets.” You may read from one expert that low carbohydrate (low carb) and high protein is the way to lose weight. Another will try to convince you that low fat, lots of carbs, fresh fruits and vegetables, is the right way to go. Yet another will try to convince you that you need to count the amount of sugar; or another that main culprit for your being overweight is white flour. So, if you are serious about losing weight, who should you listen to?
The brief summaries below give a quick overview of the pros and cons of each of the popular types of diet plans.
1. Weight Loss Programmes
There are quite a few well known weight loss programmes, for example SlimFast, Jenny Craig, and NutriSystem. These and a number of other weight loss programmes rely heavily on pre-packaged ‘diet’ foods. However, they incorporate professional coaching into the programme; plus, they also offer some sort of social structure and support to reinforce the diet programme.
Advantages of Weight Loss Programmes
The professional coaching and nutritional benefits of such diet programmes are a big positive factor, as are the reinforcement and support aspect of the diets. Meals and supplements are prepackaged in the right proportions, and if you stick to the diets and exercise as directed you should lose weight.
Disadvantages of Weight Loss Programmes
You will normally have to pay weekly charges for this type of programme, plus the cost of the meals can be expensive. Furthermore, if you rely totally on the packaged foods, you will miss out on your re-education as far as your eating habits go. That could be important to maintaining any weight loss in the long term.
2. Low Carbohydrate & Hi Protein Diets
Diets like the Atkins diet, the South Beach diet, and the Zone Diet all recommend restricted intake of carbohydrates, but allow liberal amounts of protein, including protein derived from animal sources. Generally, these diets limit the overall amount of carbohydrates, and/or teach you to tell the difference between “good” and “bad” carbohydrates. Bad carbohydrates, which are forbidden, include white flour, white bread, and white sugar. The diets all encourage learning healthy eating as part of losing weight. Deriving most of your daily calories from high fiber sources of carbs like leafy green vegetables and grains is generally considered the best diet for nutrition by the established medical community. The popularity of the diets makes it easy to find low-carb foods.
Advantages Of Low Carbohydrate Diets
These low carbohydrate diets do encourage you to learn healthy eating as part of losing weight. That will have long term benefits for you. A diet in which you derive most of your daily calories from high fibre sources of carbohydrates, such as leafy green vegetables and grains, is often recommended by the established medical community for good nutrition. Because these diets are popular, it is easy to find low-carb foods.
Disadvantages Of Low Carbohydrate Diets
The allowance for eating all the protein and fats you like does go against conventional medical wisdom. it is thought that a diet high in saturated fats could lead to heart disease, diabetes, gout and other chronic health conditions. These diets are accompanied by cautions and advice, which suggest you keep portions reasonable. Follow that advice and that concern may be allayed somewhat; but if in doubt, consult your doctor.
3. The Real Mayo Clinic Diet
This diet is not the one which has circulated for the past thirty or more years and purported to have originated at the Mayo Clinic! The true Mayo Clinic’s nutrition and diet centre recommends a healthy eating weight loss plan that is based on limiting fats, proteins and carbohydrates, counting calories and deriving most of the daily nutrition from vegetables, grains and fruit.
Advantages Of The Real Mayo Clinic Diet
Really, there is no ‘diet’ as such, in the sense we often use the word when we are talking about losing weight. Instead, you are encouraged to take control of your own eating. By doing so, you aim to achieve portion control, and a sensible balance of nutrients. These are the pillars of a weight loss plan that takes weight off gradually, but then helps you keep your weight down permanently.
Disadvantages Of The Real Mayo Clinic Diet
This may be a difficult diet to maintain. Counting calories and portions can be difficult if you are eating out or on the run living an active and busy life, and often away from home.
There are many diets claiming to take weight off quickly and painlessly, without exercise or changing your eating habits. Most doctors believe the optimum way to lose weight, for long lasting results, is to lose 1-2 pounds per week. The variations of the three major diets above are all capable of helping you do just that.