A Look at the Different Types of Diets
There are so many types of diets one can choose from, that even the thought of choosing a diet plan can seem like an overwhelming idea. I think it’s safe to say that all of us dieters are terrified of putting in a great deal of time and effort towards maintaining a diet plan only to find that the diet simply didn’t work for us. It’s true that we all have different body types, therefore it is fairly reasonable to assume that not all diets will work for everyone. In order to help dieters gain a better chance at success, we are going to talk about some of the most successful types of diets in the weight loss world.
Low-calorie diets have been around for ages. Calories, for the body, are the equivalent of fuel in a car. The idea of a low-cal diet is to limit one’s daily intake of calories, forcing the body to convert bits from fat stores into useable energy. See, the body naturally stores excess fat from food as a means to prepare for a potential “rainy day” in regards to nutrition. Unless the body becomes active enough to consume all of the calories it consumes each day, it will gain weight. To counter this, one can cut down on the amount of calories they consume to better match their lifestyle. For instance, an inactive woman should only consume between 1500 – 1800 calories, and an inactive man should consume between 2000 – 2200 calories each day. If an inactive woman reduces her calorie intake to 1300 or less, she should see a bit of weight loss simply because her body isn’t taking in as many calories as it needs, forcing it to pull energy from fat stores within the body.
A slight reduction in caloric intake coupled with an increase in daily activity is the best way to start off with a low-calorie diet. One must be careful to make sure that they are not starving their body of the important vitamins and minerals that it needs, and to do this one must pay careful attention to the types of food they choose throughout the day. Sure, someone could live off of a combination of low-calorie water-based foods, such as lettuce and cucumber, and stick within the confines of the low-calorie diet, however there is very little nutritional value in these foods.
There are several popular diets based on the low-carb system, such as Atkins, Zone, and the Hollywood diet. Carbohydrates are essentially sugars and starches that the body processes and turns into energy. When more carbs are consumed than the body needs, they are converted to fat and stored for later usage. This diet plan is based on the idea that a decreased intake of carbs will deprive the body of “fresh” or on-hand energy to use. In turn, the body is forced to use fat and muscle stores as a source of energy.
It isn’t difficult to see the logic in this diet—low-carb diets do work… Unfortunately, they can also result in a great deal of muscle loss that can be unsafe. Plus, not all parts of the body, like blood cells and the brain, can function off of the energy produced by fat and muscle stores. Lack of proper energy can have adverse effects due to this. In fact, long-term use of the low-carb diet can lead to severe muscle loss, nausea, fatigue, and bad breath (smelling similar to nail polish remover). Low-carb diets are often chosen by people who need to lose weight fast, and for this purpose, decreasing one’s intake of carbs is definitely effective. As long as the diet is maintained on a temporary basis to achieve short-term results, it may be worth considering. Someone looking for long-term or drastic results may want to consider another diet.
Fruit and Vegetable Diets
Fruit and vegetable diets can be highly effective in promoting good health as long as one’s daily intake is well balanced. This type of diet does not necessarily cut out meat entirely, but it increases the amount of fruits and vegetables in one’s diet while cutting out high-fat meats such as pork and beef. Chicken, turkey, tofu, and soy are acceptable forms of protein for this diet, provided they are consumed in moderation. The main focus of this diet is on healthful vegetables and fruit as a means to jump start the body’s metabolism and digestion. One can expect quick weight loss in the beginning, as the fiber in the fruits and veggies help flush out excess waste and retained water.
This diet does work, and here’s how: raw fruits and vegetables are chock full of complex carbohydrates. Complex carbs use a lot of energy to break down. In the case of fruits and veggies, the body usually uses more energy to digest the food than it actually receives from the food itself. This means that it must pull energy from fat stores in the body, and in time this results in weight loss. The real benefit of this diet, however, is that while the body has to use more energy to convert these foods, it still receives a wealth of fiber, vitamins, and minerals that prevent the body from experiencing malnutrition, which often accompanies many other diet plans.
There are many other types of diets that have not been covered in this article. If one of the diets mentioned here doesn’t seem right for you, consider speaking to a nutritionist or dietician to determine an appropriate diet plan for your lifestyle.