Sticking to a diet is tough. But choosing a diet plan is tougher. With the ever-increasing rate of lifestyle-based diseases, the health concern among people is amplifying.
Because of this, various diets, which have been recommended by doctors and health enthusiasts, are proliferating. Like the dots on a static screen, the number of diet plans that are available today is virtually uncountable.
However, not all diet plans are viable for everybody. Also, like the saying, “One man’s meat is another man’s poison”, no single diet is good for all.
With a plethora of diets available, it is crucial to pick one that you can adhere to. Following is the list of some of the proven diets recommended by health experts:
1. Mediterranean diet
The Mediterranean diet comprises food items, most of which are the staple to the people of the Mediterranean region of Southern Italy and Greece.
Due to its richness in anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties, this diet is celebrated as a preventive medicinal diet.
It is rich in fresh foods instead of flavoured sweets; seafood instead of red or processed meat; natural fat extracts instead of trans fats. It is widely accepted as a cardio-friendly diet as it reduces the risk of chronic heart illness and improves life expectancy.
This diet prescribes eating fresh fruits, vegetables, seeds, nuts, legumes, tubers, whole grains, and seafood. An addition of virgin olive oil is preferable.
It restricts red meat, processed meat, poultry products, refined grains, sweets and trans fats.
This diet contains plenty of sources of antioxidants that will reduce the risk of heart diseases. It also prevents and combats inflammation. Although some say that it helps in weight loss, this diet is not specialised as a weight loss diet.
2. The Paleo diet
The term “paleo” means ancient. This diet recommends you to eat foods that our ancestors in the ancient period used to eat.
The idea behind this is that many modern and lifestyle-based diseases arise due to the consumption pattern of the western world and its influence all over the world.
Hence this diet seeks to cut off the sources of modern and processed foods and bring back the old ways of eating.
However, it is contentious whether the same food sources, which were available to our ancestors, are available to us.
It prescribes protein-rich food, vegetables, fruits, nuts, meat including red meat, seafood, unprocessed meat, natural fat extracts, tubers, etc. Some flexible paleo diet plans also include cheese and butter.
This diet discourages transfats, processed meat, whole grains, legumes and some dairy products.
It helps in preventing and combating heart diseases, maintaining cholesterol levels, controlling blood sugar and blood pressure, etc. This is one of the perfect types of diet for weight loss, as it concentrates on protein intake instead of fats.
However, it cuts off some of the nutrient sources such as dairy products and whole grains among others.
3. Atkins diet
If you’re wondering about choosing a perfect day diet plan for weight loss, your natural choice can be the Atkins diet. This is one of the types of special diets that are designed for weight loss.
It is a low-carb diet that insists on consuming protein and fat while reducing the level of carbohydrates intake. When you consume sufficient amounts of protein, it controls your appetite, thus restricting your calorie intake.
It leans heavily on protein-rich food including meat and eggs. It prescribes a gradual reduction in the intake of carbs in a phased manner.
Some common food varieties include meat, fatty dairy substances, fish, eggs, low-carb vegetables, etc.
Unlike other low-fat diets, this diet leads to faster weight loss. It also helps reduce belly fat. Other benefits include controlling of blood pressure and sugar levels, adding “good” cholesterol, etc.
4. Low-fat diets
Adding calories via fat is twice that of other nutrients such as protein and carbohydrates. Hence, this diet seeks a reduction in the intake of protein.
In this popular diet, generally, the intake of fat is restricted to 30% of your daily calories. In some ultra-low-fat diets, the restriction is up to 10% of your daily calorie intake.
This diet prescribes plant-based food and controls animal-based food items. It also avoids transfats and most dairy products.
Foods such as green leafy vegetables, protein-rich vegetables, sweet potatoes, mushrooms, garlic, fish, etc. are preferred.
Low-fat diets help in the considerable reduction of weight and bodily fats. However, unlike the Atkins diet, the weight-loss results in this diet are not exorbitant.
The other benefits are that it reduces inflammation and minimise the risk of diabetes.
5. Dash diet
It stands for “Dietary approaches to stop hypertension”. It is one of the special diet for controlling high blood pressure, also known as hypertension.
This diet emphasizes foods that are less in sodium (in other words, less in sodium chloride, i.e., Salt).
In this diet, normally, you follow a chart to estimate your daily calorie intake, and accordingly, you calculate the number of servings of each food that you need to have.
Like the Mediterranean diet, this diet also recommends fresh fruits instead of sweets and avoids trans fats. It also prescribes vegetables, seafood, low-fat dairy products.
However, it neglects salt, fatty substances, red meat, etc.
It helps in the reduction of blood pressure levels and heart risks. It also reduces the risks of Colorectal and Breast cancer.
Though this diet is not specifically designed for weight loss, some experience a slight reduction in body weight due to the controlled intake of fat.
6. Weight watchers diet
Shortly called WW, the Weight watchers diet is one of the best night and day diet plans for weight loss. It became widely popular because of its flexibility upon following.
It works by assigning particular number values to foods and beverages based on their nutrient contents, for example, high-fat foods may have a high value. If you follow this diet, you will have a daily count on how much value of food that you can consume, based on which you gain points.
To control your weight, it is essential to stay within the stipulated value and choose your foods accordingly.
As there are no particular food items that you need to stick to, this diet gives flexibility to you to choose your food while maintaining your calorie intake.
7. Flexitarian diet
A Flexitarian diet, otherwise called a semi-vegetarian diet. It recommends a large plate of vegetarian items along with occasional non-vegetarian foods. It suits best for those who want to follow a plant-based diet plan without giving up their favourite non-veg items.
As the name suggests, this is a flexible diet with partial inclusions of non-vegetarian food. However, red meat and poultry products are not so encouraged.
This diet benefits one with regulated metabolic health and the reduction of the risk of diabetes. Some results show that it also helps in weight loss reduction.
8. Intermittent fasting
This is a diet strategy that switches between eating and fasting. The strategy involves methods such as the 5:2 method, in which you are allowed to consume only around 500 calories twice per week.
In another method, called the 16/8 method, you can intake calories only within an 8-hour period of 24 hours a day. The rest of the 16 hours will be left uneaten.
In this diet, your intake of daily calories is highly restricted. This leads to weight loss if you follow this properly for a considerable amount of time.
Intermittent fasting also amplifies the fat burning process thus again helping reduce your body weight. Some other benefits include anti-ageing, high insulin sensitivity, a healthy brain, etc.
However, those who are pregnant, have diabetes and have low blood sugar levels may need to consult their respective doctors before signing up for this diet plan.
9. The Dukan diet
Like the Atkins diet, the Dunkan diet is also a low-carb diet, but at the same time, it’s a high-protein diet as well. Usually, it comprises 4 phases with two weight loss and two maintenance phases.
In the weight loss phase, you will intake protein-rich foods and restrict your carb contents. However, in the other two phases, you will include some non-starchy vegetables along with carbohydrates and little fat to sustain your weight.
This diet helps in increased metabolic rate and the reduction in hunger hormone ghrelin. This helps in controlling your calorie intake. This is said to be effective for weight loss.
However, there is no solid scientific backing that can validate this diet strategy. Some say that it also reduces muscle mass. Hence, it is advisable to consult a doctor before taking up this plan.
To sum up
Contrary to the common misconception, that diet is mainly for weight loss, its applications are countable far more than mere weight loss. Apart from the above diets, there are also specialized diets for athletes, sportspersons, pregnant women, etc.
The same diet works differently for different people. Hence you need to choose one that best fits your goal.