Types of diet


1. The Mediterranean

The Mediterranean diet emphasizes eating plenty of fruits, vegetables, fish, and healthy oils while restricting refined and highly processed foods. While it’s not a weight loss diet, studies show that it can promote weight loss and overall health.

The  Mediterranean diet  is based on foods that people in countries like Italy and Greece used to eat.

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Though it was designed to lower heart disease risk, numerous studies indicate that it can also aid weight loss (53Trusted Source).

How it works:  The Mediterranean diet advocates eating plenty of fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, legumes, tubers, whole grains, fish, seafood, and  extra virgin olive oil.

Foods such as poultry, eggs, and dairy products are to be eaten in moderation. Meanwhile, red meats are limited.

Additionally, the Mediterranean diet restricts refined grains, trans fats, refined oils, processed meats, added sugar, and other highly processed foods.

Other benefits:  The Mediterranean diet encourages eating plenty of antioxidant-rich foods, which may help  combat inflammation  and oxidative stress by neutralizing free radicals. It has been linked to reduced risks of heart disease and premature death (55Trusted Source56Trusted Source).

Downsides:  As the Mediterranean diet is not strictly a weight loss diet, people may not lose weight following it unless they also consume fewer calories.

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2. The DASH Diet

DASH stands for dietary approaches to stop hypertension, It emphasizes the foods you’ve always been told to eat (fruits, veggies, whole grains, lean protein and low-fat dairy), which are high in blood pressure-deflating nutrients like potassium, calcium, protein and fiber. DASH also discourages foods that are high in saturated fat, such as fatty meats, full-fat dairy foods and tropical oils, as well as sugar-sweetened beverages and sweets. Following DASH also means capping sodium at 2,300 milligrams a day, which followers will eventually lower to about 1,500 milligrams. DASH Diet is balanced and can be followed long term, which is a key reason nutrition experts rank it as U.S. News’ Best Overall Diet, tied with the Mediterranean Diet. These diets fall within accepted ranges for the amount of protein, carbs, fat and other nutrients they provide. How it works:Starting DASH doesn’t mean making drastic changes overnight. Instead, begin by making whatever small changes seem most manageable to you. For example:

  • Add one vegetable or fruit serving to every meal.
  • Introduce two or more meat-free meals each week.
  • Use herbs and spices to make food tastier without the salt.
  • Snack on almonds or pecans instead of a bag of chips.
  • Switch white flour to whole-wheat flour when possible.
  • Take a 15-minute walk after lunch or dinner (or both).

Other benefits: You’ll likely lose weight on the DASH Diet, provided you follow the rules, and especially if you design your plan with a calorie deficit.

3. The Flexitarian Diet

How it works: Becoming a flexitarian is about adding five food groups to your diet – not taking any away. These are: the “new meat” (non-meat proteins like beans, peas or eggs); fruits and veggies; whole grains; dairy; and sugar and spiceA five-week meal plan provides breakfast, lunch, dinner and snack recipes. You can follow the plan as it’s outlined, or swap recipes from different weeks to meet your preferences.

It’s a three-four-five regimen: Breakfast choices are around 300 calories, lunches 400 and dinners 500. Snacks are about 150 calories each; add two, and your daily total clocks in at 1,500 calories.

Depending on your activity level, gender, height and weight, you can tweak the plan to allow for slightly greater or fewer calories.

And follow the Flexitarian Diet at your own pace: Jump in and try most of the recipes, sticking to the meal plan verbatim for five weeks. Or take it slowly, and test one of the recipes every once in a while.

Benefits: It’s likely you’ll shed pounds on the Flexitarian Diet. Research shows vegetarians tend to eat fewer calories, weigh less and have a lower body mass index (a measure of body fat) than their meat-eating peers. If you emphasize the plant-based component of this diet – eating lots of fruits, veggies and whole grains – you’ll likely feel full on fewer calories than you’re accustomed to. With that calorie deficit and a little physical activity, you’re bound to shed pounds. How quickly and whether you keep them off is up to you.

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4. Weight Watchers

Weight Watchers, is one of the most popular weight loss programs worldwide.

While it doesn’t restrict any food groups, people on a WW plan must eat within their set daily points to reach their ideal weight (57Trusted Source).

How it works: WW is a points-based system that assigns different foods and beverages a value, depending on their calorie, fat, and fiber contents.

To reach your desired weight, you must stay within your daily point allowance.

Weight loss: Many studies show that the WW program can help you lose weight (58Trusted Source59Trusted Source60Trusted Source61Trusted Source).

Other benefits: WW allows flexibility, making it easy to follow. This enables people with dietary restrictions, such as those with food allergies, to adhere to the plan.

Downsides: While it allows for flexibility, WW can be costly depending on the subscription plan. Also, it’s flexibility can be a downfall if dieters choose unhealthy foods.

5. Intermittent fasting

Intermittent fasting cycles between periods of fasting and eating. It has been shown to aid weight loss and is linked to many other health benefits.

Various forms exist, including the 16/8 method, which involves limiting your calorie intake to 8 hours per day, and the 5:2 method, which restricts your daily calorie intake to 500–600 calories twice per week.

How it works:  Intermittent fasting restricts the time you’re allowed to eat, which is a simple way to reduce your calorie intake. This can lead to weight loss — unless you compensate by eating too much food during allowed eating periods.

Other benefits:  Intermittent fasting has been linked to anti-aging effects, increased insulin sensitivity, improved brain health, reduced inflammation, and many other benefits (5Trusted Source6Trusted Source)

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6. Plant-based diets

Plant-based diets restrict meat and animal products for various reasons. Studies show that they aid weight loss by reducing your calorie intake and offer many other benefits.

How it works:  There are many types of vegetarianism, but most involve eliminating all meat, poultry, and fish. Some vegetarians may likewise avoid eggs and dairy.

The vegan diet takes it a step further by restricting all animal products, as well as animal-derived products like dairy, gelatin, honey, whey, casein, and albumin.

Other benefits:  Plant-based diets have been linked to many other benefits, such as a reduced risk of chronic conditions like heart disease, certain cancers, and diabetes. They can also be more environmentally sustainable than meat-based diets (14Trusted Source15Trusted Source16Trusted Source17Trusted Source).

Downsides:  Though plant-based diets are healthy, they can restrict important nutrients that are typically found in animal products, such as iron, vitamin B12, vitamin D, calcium, zinc, and omega-3 fatty acids.

Low-carb diets restrict your carb intake, which encourages your body to use more fat as fuel. They can help you lose weight and offer many other benefits.

Low-carb diets are among the most popular diets for weight loss. Examples include the Atkins diet, ketogenic (keto) diet, and low-carb, high-fat (LCHF) diet.

Some varieties  reduce carbs more drastically than others. For instance, very-low-carb diets like the keto diet restrict this macronutrient to under 10% of total calories, compared with 30% or less for other types (18Trusted Source).

How it works:  Low-carb diets restrict your carb intake in favor of protein and fat.

They’re typically higher in protein than low-fat diets, which is important, as protein can help curb your appetite, raise your metabolism, and conserve muscle mass (19Trusted Source20Trusted Source).

In very-low-carb diets like keto, your body begins using fatty acids rather than carbs for energy by converting them into ketones. This process is called  ketosis  (21Trusted Source).

Other benefits:  Research suggests that low-carb diets may reduce risk factors for heart disease, including high cholesterol and blood pressure levels. They may also improve blood sugar and insulin levels in people with type 2 diabetes (29Trusted Source30Trusted Source).

Downsides:  In some cases, a low-carb diet may raise LDL (bad) cholesterol levels. Very-low-carb diets can also be difficult to follow and cause digestive upset in some people (31Trusted Source).

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8. The Paleo Diet

The paleo diet advocates eating whole foods, similarly to how your ancestors ate. Studies show that it may aid weight loss and reduce heart disease risk factors.

The  paleo diet  advocates eating the same foods that your hunter-gatherer ancestors allegedly ate.

It’s based on the theory that modern diseases are linked to the Western diet, as proponents believe that the human body hasn’t evolved to process legumes, grains, and dairy.

How it works:  The paleo diet advocates eating whole foods, fruits, vegetables, lean meats, nuts, and seeds. It restricts the consumption of processed foods, grains,  sugar, and dairy, though some less restrictive versions allow for some dairy products like cheese.

Other benefits:  Following the paleo diet may reduce several heart disease risk factors, such as high blood pressure,  cholesterol, and triglyceride levels (40Trusted Source41Trusted Source).

Downsides:  Though the paleo diet is healthy, it restricts several nutritious food groups, including legumes, whole grains, and dairy.

9. Low-fat diets

Low-fat diets restrict your intake of fat, as this macronutrient is higher in calories than protein and carbs. Studies have linked low-fat diets to weight loss and lower risks of heart disease and diabetes.

Like low-carb diets, low-fat diets have been popular for decades.

In general, a low-fat diet involves restricting your fat intake to 30% of your daily calories.

Some very- and ultra-low-fat diets aim to limit fat consumption to under 10% of calories (24Trusted Source).

How it works:  Low-fat diets restrict fat intake because fat provides about twice the number of calories per gram, compared with the other two macronutrients — protein and carbs.

Ultra-low-fat diets  contain fewer than 10% of calories from fat, with approximately 80% of calories coming from carbs and 10% from protein.

Ultra-low-fat diets are mainly plant-based and limit meat and animal products.

Other benefits:  Low-fat diets have been linked to a reduced risk of heart disease and stroke. They may also reduce inflammation and improve markers of diabetes (49Trusted Source50Trusted Source51Trusted Source).

Downsides:  Restricting fat too much can lead to health problems in the long term, as fat plays a key role in hormone production, nutrient absorption, and cell health. Moreover, very-low-fat diets have been linked to a higher risk of metabolic syndrome (52Trusted Source).

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Related topics:

My Weigh Loss Transformation

Keto diet basics

References:

http://www.virtahealth.com

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov

en.wikipedia.org

http://www.healthline.com

mport.com

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