Your no-hype guide to diets
Here are the most popular weight-loss programs, and their pros and cons
Enough with the indulgence now. The extra long Easter holiday is finally over.
If you’re looking for a way to lose all that holiday weight but don’t know which weight-loss program to follow, we have compiled a list of popular diets that might help you make the right decision.
Sources: www.livestrong.com, thedukandiet.info, www.fda.gov, www.mayoclinic.com, www.southbeachdiet.com, atkinsdietplan.net, www.cohens.com.au, www.everydiet.org, www.dailymail.co.uk, www.diet.com, www.webmd.com
SOUTH BEACH DIET
A low-carb, weight-loss diet with three phases designed to make you eliminate cravings (Phase 1), steadily lose weight (Phase 2) and maintain ideal weight for life (Phase 3).
No need to keep tabs on calories or measure your portions—the diet is so simple. Just choose from among the food groups you’re allowed to eat, and you’re good.
Phase 1 is very restrictive, so brace yourself for a possibly bumpy ride at the start. Diet is low in saturated fat so you don’t have to worry about it spiking your LDL. Consumption of unsaturated fat—mono and poly—is also healthy for your heart.
The Mayo Clinic says low-carb diets might cause your body to create an excess of acid and ketones, in a condition called ketoacidosis. Ketoacidosis occurs in people with Type 1 diabetes.
Complex carbs is good for regulating your insulin.
It recommends exercise, but does not include it in their weight-loss plan—so you won’t find any exercise guidelines in the book. If you want to lose weight and improve your health, you need to squeeze in an exercise regimen. Besides, weight-loss programs sans exercise almost always fail in the long run.
Quick weight loss. Phase 1 can make you lose up to 13 pounds. (This can also be a bad thing.)
No starving. There’s a mid-morning and mid-afternoon snack, so there’s always food to fill your belly.
Rapid weight loss. A weight loss of no more than two pounds a week is recommended for good health.
A no-sugar, high-protein, low-carb diet that promises weight loss without feeling hungry, and better heart health and memory function. Comes in four phases: Phase 1 (Induction), the most restrictive and hardest part of the program; Phase 2 (Ongoing Weight Loss), increasing carb intake every week by five grams; Phase 3 (Pre-Maintenance), continue increasing carbs to up to 10 grams per week; and Phase 4 (Maintenance), where you’re allowed a maximum amount of carbs to maintain weight.
Allows you to eat almost everything forbidden in most weight-loss programs, like steak, bacon and other high-fat food like real cheese, real mayo, real butter.
No hunger pangs. There is no portion size limit, so you can eat until full as long as you eat only the permitted foods.
Quick weight loss, especially in Phase 1. While most health practitioners do not recommend this, it does keep you motivated to move forward in your weight-loss journey.
Some studies suggest Atkins Diet lowers a person’s risk for heart disease and lowers the body cholesterol. (Other researchers claim the opposite.)
Expensive. Buying large amounts of meat is much more expensive than filling your belly with rice, pan de sal or pasta.
High in fat. Atkins Diet believes proteins and fat help the body feel full. But high-fat foods can spike your body cholesterol, and are generally not good for you in the long run.
Restrictions on certain fruits and vegetables. This can deprive you of antioxidants necessary to help you fight diseases, including cardiovascular disease and cancer. The fiber restriction can lead to bowel disease.
Cheating. The restrictive diet, while it may curve your hunger pangs, can make you yearn for the forbidden. When you slip, the pounds lost can come back very quickly.
One of the most popular diets in France, the Dukan Diet is a protein-based diet that promises to “redesign your eating habits and help you permanently stabilize your weight.” In other words, no more yo-yo dieting. Comes in four phases: Phase 1 (Attack), kickstarting your diet with 68 high-protein food to immediate weight loss; Phase 2 (Cruise) adds 32 veggies to help take you to your true weight (a realistic number), but still steadily shedding off the excess pounds; Phase 3 (Consolidation), designed to prevent rebound; Phase 4 (Permanent Stabilization), the phase you maintain for life to help you stay at your ideal weight, with a pure-protein Thursday menu similar to the Attack phase.
Dukan Diet has a successful track record. Weight loss is guaranteed. It works.
Forget about counting calories and weighing food. Those are not realistic goals to maintain for a lifetime for most people. This one is simple to follow.
Eat as much as you want, as long as they’re in the permitted-food list. You are even allowed to indulge yourself in Phases 3 and 4. This is especially important so you can still have a normal
social life even while on the program.
Exercise. Makes you choose the stairs instead of using the elevator. A little exercise is always good for your heart.
Low in sodium, and may be helpful to lowering your blood pressure.
Some people experience flu-like symptoms or headaches in Phase 1. As with any diet, consult your doctor before pursuing. Some people do feel some sort of a withdrawal syndrome, especially from sugar, regardless of the weight-loss program.
Phase 1 and Phase 2 are restrictive, so better plan ahead how to manage your social life. This is very important if your job includes entertaining clients and guests or regularly attending conventions with buffet spreads.
Although the diet has been around for 30 years, the book was only published in the UK in 2010 and in the US in 2011.
Poor in dietary fiber that may lead to constipation in Phase 1. Dukan Diet does prescribe oat bran supplementation to help you in this area.
A unique weight-loss program based on your blood profile test results.This is not a high protein, low-carb, low-sugar diet. Your blood profile determines your personal weight-loss plan, supplying your body with food that will help your body rid itself of excess fat.
No pills, no supplements except for the regular multivitamin tablet. Since the diet is an individually determined, balanced eating plan, the body still gets all the essential nutrients it needs to be healthy.
Almost all kinds of food are allowed, but in small volume. This will somehow curb your cravings.
Substitutions are allowed. For instance, when the need to socialize is important, you can opt to have a glass of wine instead of fruit.
Meals must be prepared to exact measure. If lunch requires 170 g of turkey cutlets, then you must measure your turkey cutlets precisely. This is tedious and time-consuming.
Programs can go as low as 600 calories per day. As anyone who has ever dieted will tell you, consuming only 600 calories a day can make you want to butcher and cook the first live cow you see for dinner. (Weight-loss programs range from 600 to 1,600 calories per day.)
If you don’t like to cook, have someone cook for you. The meals require time to prepare.
Expensive. Blood tests will need to be sent abroad. Be ready to shell out around P50,000.
BLOOD TYPE DIET
Eat the right foods for your blood type (A, B, AB or O) and be on your way to a healthier and slimmer you. Following the Blood Type Diet promises you’ll have less inflammation and bloating, and helps boost your metabolism. It even determines how you exercise.
Includes a form of exercise—whether gentle, moderate or vigorous —for all blood types.
Claims to assist your body with allergy and infection resistance.
The program may sound ridiculous and bogus, but many have actually reported benefiting from the Blood Type Diet.
Organic food is encouraged. The less toxins your body has to take, the better it is for you.
Supplements for different blood types—loads of them—created by no less than the author of the diet, Dr. Peter J. D’Adamo.
The author has years of experience as a naturopathic doctor, but is not a medical doctor. This can be off-putting for people who want to know the hard scientific facts behind his claims.
People who are not fond of eating meat will suddenly be asked to eat road kill.
Long list of banned foods for your blood type is not realistic to keep in the long haul.
HCG (human chorionic gonadotropin) Diet is an extremely restrictive 500-calorie diet that can make you lose up to 30 pounds a month. It either prescribes HCG drops or injections.
Rapid weight loss. This is a highly controversial diet that’s been called a scam and dangerous, and may possibly carry many health risks. The FDA has recently banned the homeopathic HCG concoctions as weight-loss supplements. HCG is a fertility aid used by men and women. It is a hormone produced by women during pregnancy to help sustain the growing fetus. Weight loss from the HCG Diet is believed to be caused by the patient barely eating anything, and not the HCG supplementation itself. FDA only approves HCG injectable prescription drug for some cases of female infertility treatment and other medical conditions.
LEMON JUICE DIET (MASTER CLEANSE)
Master Cleanse is an all-natural liquid fast that promises extreme weight loss of between 10 and 40 pounds in two weeks. The program only allows the consumption of lemon juice, cayenne pepper, and maple syrup mixed in water for 10-40 days.
Gives your gastrointestinal system a break, and can help restore your body’s natural pH balance.
Rapid weight loss.
The Mayo Clinic said detox diets can lead to dehydration, dizziness, fatigue and stomach problems. Do not go for more than 10 days without solid food, as this can be stressful to your GI tract.
The program has very low nutrient value that can sap your energy and slow down your metabolism.
If using the diet as a means to lose weight permanently, be prepared for failure. The low calories can cause your body to go into starvation mode, when your body holds on instead to every gram of fat it can because it thinks you might need it to survive.
Lost weight is most likely fluid loss. They will come back when you start eating solid food again.
FIT FOR LIFE
Developed in the 1980s, Fit for Life makes you eat foods in the correct combination, avoid the wrong combinations, and be on your way to losing the excess poundage.
No specific claims on how many pounds you’ll lose in a certain time period, but weight loss is guaranteed.
General health improvement.
Encourages you to consume more fruits and veggies. Decreases the risk of cardiovascular disease
No need to purchase special food except enzyme supplements from Fit for Life Industries.
Fruits and veggies may not provide your body with sufficient nutrients.
Food combinations can sometimes be complicated to follow. This can discourage dieters from finishing the program.
Banning dairy products might make it difficult for some people to meet the daily allowance recommended for calcium consumption.
Although this is not a weight-loss diet, it can still make you lose weight. The Anti-Inflammation Diet is based on the premise that by carefully selecting and preparing your meals based on scientific studies of how food can help your body, you can maintain optimum health. It is an eating plan for life.
Consumption of saturated and transfats is at a minimum.
If you love spices, you’ll love this diet as it encourages curry, ginger and other spices that all have anti-inflammatory effects.
Eating plenty of fruits and veggies.
Consuming Omega-3 fatty acids from fish or fish oil supplements, and walnuts. This is especially good for those with rheumatoid arthritis.
Critics say there aren’t sufficient studies to claim food affects inflammation.
Like all natural medicine such as herbs, the Anti-Inflammation Diet works longer than anti-inflammation drugs. The drugs take effect in an hour or two, while the diet might take weeks.
Get Inquirer updates while on the go, add us on these apps:
Disclaimer: The comments uploaded on this site do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of management and owner of INQUIRER.net. We reserve the right to exclude comments that we deem to be inconsistent with our editorial standards.
To subscribe to the Philippine Daily Inquirer newspaper in the Philippines, call +63 2 896-6000 for Metro Manila and Metro Cebu or email your subscription request here.
Factual errors? Contact the Philippine Daily Inquirer's day desk. Believe this article violates journalistic ethics? Contact the Inquirer's Reader's Advocate. Or write The Readers' Advocate:
c/o Philippine Daily Inquirer Chino Roces Avenue corner Yague and Mascardo Streets, Makati City,Metro Manila, Philippines Or fax nos. +63 2 8974793 to 94