Updated: Jul 1, 2021
No Cookie-Cutter Solution Can Guarantee Weight Loss for the Masses!
You Can’t Pick a Diet
Every year, Americans spend a whopping $60 billion on following weight loss programs and fad diets. But do these programs and diets really work?
For a regular consumer who is trying to find the most healthy and sustainable way to shed unwanted pounds, the struggle to pick the best diet is real. Since every diet comes with its pros and cons, you should choose a weight loss program only if it fits your lifestyle needs and does not pose any risks to your health. In many of today’s most popular diets, dieters have to eliminate an entire food group, leading to complications.
No cookie-cutter solution can guarantee weight loss for the masses. That’s because we are all unique and what works for your friend may not produce any significant results in your case.
If you want to know some of the best and worst things about today’s most popular diets, here is a brief review of each. One of the best ways to determine the best diet that will deliver long-term results is to partner with a certified Nutrition and Fitness Coach who will help you choose the best weight loss program or diet for you to lose weight in the healthiest way possible.
Let’s find out if you know about the pros and cons of these popular diets so you can be better informed as you pick a diet.
Ketogenic Diet (Keto)
Who doesn’t know about the Keto diet? If you want to pick a diet that revolves around the concept of consuming a high-fat diet with moderate protein and very low in carbs, then the Keto is it. However, most followers fail to differentiate between good and bad fats. In this diet, the body goes into ketosis or fat-burning mode to produce ketones, which are fuel molecules. When we don’t incorporate too many carbs in our diet, our body turns to ketones as an alternative source of fuel.
Pros of the Keto Diet The keto diet helps reduce seizures in pediatric patients with epilepsy. Millions of people have witnessed miraculous results, thanks to the Keto diet. Avoiding sugary treats and cutting calories help you feel less bloated, and you are able to lose weight quickly. You also stay fuller for longer hours, resulting in a caloric deficit.
Cons of the Keto Diet Because of the stringent food restrictions, many find the keto diet hard to stick to. Due to whole food groups being excluded, nutrients typically found in foods like whole grains and fruit that are restricted from the diet can lead to deficiencies, especially if the diet is followed incorrectly or without proper guidance. Many followers complain that the diet leads to frequent constipation as it has low fiber. There is also a possibility that you experience the common symptoms of ‘keto flu.’ Some of these symptoms include a headache, an upset stomach, dizzy spells, and fatigue.
This fasting method is often a crucial part of a weight loss program. However, if you want to pick a diet that you can also adopt it as a lifestyle, then intermittent fasting may be for you. Intermittent fasting involves an eating pattern that shuffles between eating and fasting. While you are free to decide the kinds of food you decide to eat during a certain ‘window,’ you should include whole grains, fruits, nuts, and seeds, as well as vegetables in your diet. There are different types of IF. For example, some people like to fast for 16 hours with an 8-hour eating window.
Pros of Intermittent Fasting Intermittent fasting works on both sides of the calorie equation. It boosts your metabolic rate (increases calories out) and reduces the amount of food you eat (reduces calories in). IF also improves memory and reduces inflammation.
Cons of Intermittent Fasting The diet can cause harm if you don’t make wise food choices. Some followers can binge or overeat during the eating window, while others experience a lack of energy due to poor nutrition. IF is not a good fit for anyone with an unhealthy relationship with food, or a history of eating disorders or disordered eating habits. Also, it is not for anyone with diabetes, or who experiences low blood sugar.
This diet claims that since diseases develop in an acidic environment, we should replace acid-forming foods with alkaline-forming foods. As you pick a diet, know that on the alkaline diet, you are expected to eat more fruits and vegetables, and increase your water intake, all while avoiding highly acidic items such as sugars, alcohol, coffee and processed foods.
Pros of Alkaline Diet The benefits of a plant-based diet are many, from lower cholesterol levels to less risk of obesity and many cancers. More vegetables and fruits in your diet reduce the intake of refined sugar and red meat in your diet, leading to various health benefits such as improved bone health.
Cons of Alkaline Diet There is no scientific evidence to support the claims of this diet. The diet also claims that it protects us from various types of cancers. However, cancer cells also grow in alkaline environments, and there is no data to suggest that there is a link between cancer and an acid-forming diet.
Baby Food Diet
The baby food diet encourages the consumption of baby food to lose weight. Dieters are recommended to eat a combination of pureed vegetables, meat and fruit for breakfast and lunch, and one well-rounded adult meal for dinner.
Pros of Baby Food Diet Since baby foods are often advertised as being organic, additive-free and full of vitamins, this makes them seem like an easy, convenient way to eat healthily with limited calories (jars consist of 15 to 100 calories each) and control portion size.
Cons of Baby Food Diet Baby food is made specifically for babies and does not meet the nutrition needs of adults. Plus, if a dieter eats 14 jars of baby food per day, that person could consume up to 1400 calories and still be hungry. This may happen because part of what lets our brains know we are feeling full is the act of chewing, which baby food does not require.
Gluten is a protein that is found in barley, rye, and wheat. You may pick a diet that is gluten-free because advocates of this diet suggest that since gluten is inflammatory, consuming a gluten-free diet speeds up weight loss efforts, prevents bloating, and boosts health.
Pros of Gluten-Free Diet If you suffer from celiac disease, the diet offers the best way to prevent any further damage to your intestinal lining. This diet also improves cholesterol levels and gives more energy.
Cons of Gluten Free Diet Some followers find the gluten-free diet too restrictive as it leads to insufficient intake of dietary fiber and B vitamins. Moreover, some gluten-free versions of foods are higher in saturated fat, sugar, and calories.
This diet is based on the claim that grapefruit has properties that increase fat-burning. When you pick a diet, know the grapefruit diet calls for the consumption of half a grapefruit at every meal.
Pros of Grapefruit Diet The grapefruit diet restricts high-carb and starchy foods like beans, corn and potatoes. Since these foods contribute to water gain, dieters may notice some weight loss due to retaining less water. Plus, grapefruit is a great source of fiber, so it may help fill you up prior to eating a meal.
Cons of Grapefruit Diet This diet is very restrictive. While it promotes eating meat and other high-protein foods, the only carbs allowed—besides grapefruit—are greens and milk. A few versions of this diet also eliminate snacking between meals. Anytime you start a diet that restricts carbs, you’ll see a lot of water weight loss, but once you reintroduce carbs, the weight comes right back.
The Flexitarian Diet
A Flexitarian Diet can be generally defined as a semi-vegetarian diet with moderate consumption of animal products. When you pick a diet that is Flexitarian, understand this diet is a play on two words: flexible and vegetarian. The flexitarian diet is based on the idea that we can receive the health benefits of a vegetarian diet without being 100 percent vegetarian. It focuses more on what plants we can add to our diets rather than on what animal sources to take away.
Pros of Flexitarian Diet The Flexitarian Diet emphasizes nutritious foods and it is easy to accommodate personal preferences. It is also budget-friendly and sustainable for the right individual.
Cons of Flexitarian Diet This diet may be difficult for daily meat-eaters to follow. If you have diabetes and want to follow a Flexitarian Diet, it would be best to consult with a dietitian who can help you plan meals that fit the correct carb counts for your body.
The DASH diet, which stands for “Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension”, is an eating plan that is recommended for the prevention and treatment of hypertension (or high blood pressure). If you have to pick a diet that considers hypertension, your health care provider may advise you to use the DASH diet alone or combined with medication in order to decrease your blood pressure to a healthy level. However, even if you don’t have hypertension, the DASH eating plan is also ideal for shedding unwanted pounds as well as lowering cholesterol and blood sugar levels. It is a flexible plan that does not require any special foods and offers a variety of choices to fit individual tastes.
Pros of DASH Diet The DASH diet could lower blood pressure and decrease LDL (bad) cholesterol and triglycerides. The DASH diet has the approval of many medical institutions and has been ranked as a top diet plan.
Cons of DASH Diet The DASH diet doesn’t have many cons unless you are looking for immediate weight-loss results. Unlike many diets that come with extensive information in the form of recipes and premade foods the DASH diet differs in that you are more or less on your own. Once you have figured out your calorie count for the day and the number of servings of each food group you need each day, it is up to you to plan, buy, and prepare your meals.
The Carnivore Diet is a restrictive diet that only includes meat, fish, and other animal foods like eggs and certain dairy products. When you pick a diet that is carnivore, you’ll have to exclude all other foods, including fruits, vegetables, legumes, grains, nuts, and seeds.
Pros of Carnivore Diet Since the Carnivore Diet excludes carbs, it eliminates cookies, cakes, candy, sodas, pastries, and similar high-carb foods.
Cons of Carnivore Diet The Carnivore Diet eliminates highly nutritious foods like fruits, vegetables, legumes, and whole grains, all of which contain beneficial vitamins and minerals. Additionally, the Carnivore Diet contains no fiber, which may cause constipation in some people.
The Paleo Diet
Also known as the caveman diet, the Paleo Diet encourages eating foods that were available during the Paleolithic era, which ended thousands of years ago. Today, that diet would include lean, grass-fed meats, wild-caught seafood, organic fruits and vegetables, eggs, roots and nuts. Paleo dieters drink water, coconut water or green tea.
Pros of Paleo Diet This diet promotes eating organic, wholesome, homemade and even raw foods that are protein-rich and filled with fiber, which could lead to weight loss.
Cons of Paleo Diet Due to the lack of dairy products, calcium and vitamin D intake can be particularly low on this eating plan, which can be harmful to bone health.
This diet revolves around foods that people living around the Mediterranean Sea consume on a regular basis. Following this diet means that you must consume plenty of beans, whole grains, fruits, vegetables, nuts, and seeds. The diet emphasizes consuming seafood, fish, poultry, cheese, yogurt, and eggs. This diet also allows you to enjoy a small glass of red wine with dinner.
Pros of Mediterranean Diet The Mediterranean diet covers all major food groups and has diverse flavors and variety. Inexpensive vegetables, such as onions, carrots, tomatoes and cucumbers, are used widely in Mediterranean cuisine. Beans, legumes, pasta and cheese are also relatively inexpensive. This even may be easier to adhere to than more limiting diets. Many studies highlight the benefits of consuming this diet for reversing cognitive decline and improving cardiovascular health.
Cons of Mediterranean Diet Food intake may end up being low in protein, particularly if not enough seeds, nuts, dairy, and fish are consumed on a regular basis. Craving for red meat can render it difficult to stick with this diet in the long run. Blood sugar levels can fluctuate if the wrong types of carbohydrates are chosen. Since you have to prepare your meals every day, following this diet can be a challenge for busy individuals.
How to Choose the Best Diet
When it comes to picking the best diet, there is no shortage of advice. Websites, magazines, social media, the news and books seem to offer convincing advice for which method will be the best for you to lose weight. However, you don’t know where to even start or who to believe when choosing the right diet, with so many conflicting options.
At the end of the day, cutting calories is a sure-fire way to help you quickly lose weight if your goal is to fit into a particular outfit for an important upcoming event. But that weight loss primarily comes from water and muscle, with very little coming from actual body fat. Such diets are not sustainable and are potentially dangerous.
Ultimately, choosing a diet that is balanced in macronutrients and built around real, whole, clean food, and that does not have you counting calories for the rest of your life, is a more realistic way to eat for a lifestyle. But diet is not the only player when it comes to weight loss—exercise, sleep, stress reduction, socializing and mindful eating are equally important parts to long-term success.
Choosing to work with a certified Nutrition Coach can be highly beneficial in guiding you through the teach you credible nutrition education and answer any of your specific questions.
Losing weight can be possible when you select the right diet and the right Nutrition Coach. If you are hesitant to pick a diet and don’t want to be a yo-yo dieter, partnering with a professional Nutrition Coach can help you create an individualized plan to achieve sustainable results.