When it comes to dieting, there are countless options to choose from. Each has its own benefits and drawbacks, so it can be tough to know which is right for you. In this article, we’ll take a closer look at some of the most popular diet types and discuss their pros and cons, so you can make an informed decision about which is best for you if that’s something you might be interested in.
Before you pick the dieting road you will follow, it’s important to be aware of your starting point. Gather basic data on your weight, height, waist circumference, and other areas you want to monitor (bicep and thigh circumference are some examples). Although these measurements are most accurately taken and analyzed by a professional (such as a Registered Dietitian), you can measure them yourself for a rough estimate of your starting point. Additionally, find blood work near you and get your blood analyzed for common diseases like diabetes, high cholesterol, hormonal imbalances, or other health markers you want to improve. Now that you have more information on your starting point, you can set goals and keep track of your progress.
First up, let’s talk about intermittent fasting. This type of diet involves alternating periods of eating and fasting, without restricting any type of food. The most popular form of intermittent fasting is the 16/8 method, where you eat during an 8-hour window and fast for the remaining 16 hours.
The benefit of intermittent fasting is that you can eat larger quantities of food and feel less restrictive than other common diets for some people. However, it can be difficult to stick to depending on the eating habits of its user and can lead to binge eating during the eating window.
Next, we have the ketogenic diet, also known as “keto”. This diet is based on eating food that is high in fat, moderate in protein, and low in carbohydrates. The goal is to put your body into a state of ketosis, which burns fat for fuel instead of carbohydrates. Therefore, keto followers are instructed to reduce carbohydrates to around 20g per day (this usually means eating only vegetables aside from meat and fat sources) and to load up on protein and fats such as butter, oils, nuts, seeds, and avocado.
Keto can benefit those who usually have strong cravings for carbohydrates and find it difficult to stop eating them once they’ve had a taste. Also, there’s growing evidence that this diet might benefit women with hormone imbalances and conditions like PCOS – though this is still under review. The downside of Keto is its low sustainability, difficult adherence and the fact that it can also lead to binging on carbohydrates for many people, thus resulting in failed weight loss.
The paleo diet is another popular option focusing on eating whole, unprocessed foods, just like in the ancient Paleolithic times. This includes meats, fish, fruits, vegetables, nuts, and seeds. The promoters of paleo highlight its many benefits for health and weight loss. However, it is not highly regarded in the scientific field. Additionally, it is usually hard to follow because it is very restrictive and especially hard to stick to in a social environment.
Flexible dieting is a more relaxed approach to weight loss that focuses on hitting your daily calorie and macronutrient goals. This means you can eat whatever foods you want, as long as you stay within your goals for the number of calories and grams of proteins, fats, and carbohydrates.
The main benefit of flexible dieting is enjoying the foods you love while achieving your weight loss goals. It is usually considered the easiest diet to stick to in the long term and, therefore, more successful for weight loss. However, it requires a lot more commitment (you need to log everything you eat every day) and basic nutrition knowledge. It also might not be suitable for people with a history of eating disorders or hormonal imbalances.
How Diets Work
It’s important to note that all these diets work under the same principle: a calorie deficit. To lose weight, you must burn more calories than you eat, forcing your body to burn fat to make up for the lack of energy you’re generating. Without a calorie deficit, there will be no fat loss, no matter how healthy your diet is.
Another important aspect of successful dieting is consistency. Following the perfect diet for 2 weeks will reap fewer benefits than a far less perfect followed for 2 months. To sustain your calorie deficit over an extended period for results to become visible and long-lasting, you must choose the diet that feels the least restrictive and easiest to follow according to your daily activities, budget and social life. And most importantly, don’t give up when something doesn’t work exactly as you expected. Change your strategy and try again!
In conclusion, there are many different diet types to choose from, each with its benefits and drawbacks. Intermittent fasting, Keto, paleo, and flexible dieting are some of the most popular options. It’s important to remember that no one diet is right for everyone, and it’s important to consult a healthcare professional before starting any new diet. By understanding the pros and cons of each diet type, you can make an informed decision about which one is best for you. So, choose the one that aligns with your lifestyle and preferences, keep an open mind and give it a fair chance before you decide whether it works for you.