Weight loss and diet are two inseparable terms. Anybody focusing on weight loss will consider dieting at some point. With so many different types of diets, it can be very confusing to weigh your options. Some focus on increasing the gap between the meals, while others focus on some specific nutrients and keeping the stomach full. When presented with many choices, choosing which diet is a big question. With so many choices around, it really helps to look at the benefits of each type of diet before you commit to one.
Let us dig deeper into some current popular ones to understand better popular types of diets and how they affect our bodies.
Also known as the hunter-gatherer diet proposes the consumption of fruits, vegetables, fish, eggs, lean meat, nuts, and seeds. It excludes all those food items developed after humans began farming, like dairy, legumes, grains, and processed foods. The paleo diet is based on the idea that our bodies were designed to thrive on foods that are unprocessed. Farming made foods more readily available, but the human body did not adapt to this change. This contributed to obesity, heart disease, and diabetes.
Certain flexible versions of this diet allow consuming cheese, butter, potato, and sweet potato. You may want to start a paleo diet to lose weight and reduce heart disease and cardiovascular risk factors.
Many short-term studies with small populations suggest that a paleo diet might benefit weight loss, help with diabetes, blood pressure, cholesterol, and lower heart disease. One bigger study which focused on the benefits of this diet found that these lower risks emerged due to the avoidance of processed foods like chips and consuming lots of fruits and vegetables.
One drawback of this diet is that it avoids whole grains, legumes, and dairy. All these are rich sources of fiber, protein, calcium, and other nutrients. Eliminating these foods from the diet results in less or no intake of these nutrients. For some, this diet might be an unhealthy choice.
For those against animal exploitation but who want to lose weight by dieting, a vegan diet is one to take a closer look at. Animal products of any kind are avoided for ethical, environmental, and health concerns. It is also the strictest form of vegetarianism. The diet focuses only on plant-based foods like fruits, vegetables, whole grains, legumes, soft greens, nuts, and seeds. Dairy, eggs, gelatin, honey, whey, some forms of vitamin D3, and other animal-derived products are also forbidden on a vegan diet.
As strict as it seems, a vegan diet is highly effective in reducing weight and body mass index (BMI) compared to other diets because the low fat and high fiber content make your stomach feel full, and calorie intake is greatly reduced.
Since a vegan diet is only a plant-based diet, it reduces the risk of developing heart disease, type 2 diabetes, Alzheimer's, bad cholesterol, or cancer. It keeps the body rich in fiber and reduces the calorie count. It also helps achieve low blood sugar levels.
A vegan diet increases the chances of certain nutrients deficiency, for example, vitamins B12 and D, a long chain of omega-3s, iodine, calcium, iron, and zinc. It may pose a bigger problem to children and women who are pregnant or nursing.
As the name suggests, this diet limits the intake of carbohydrates. The idea is to consume only 20-150grams carbohydrates in a day. The premise is to use the fats stored in the body to generate the required energy instead of consuming carbs as the main energy source.
A low-carb diet emphasizes an unlimited amount of protein and fat intake. When the carbohydrate intake is low, the fatty acids in the body are forced into action. They mix in the blood, are moved to the liver, broken down, and turned into ketones. These acids and ketones become the primary energy source without carbohydrates.
Many studies suggest that the low-carb diet is effective in weight loss, especially in obese and overweight individuals. It reduces belly fat and the fat around the organs. This diet tends to reduce the appetite by making one feel full and reducing the calorie intake. It also eliminates the risk of developing diabetes (type 2), heart disease, and metabolic syndrome and maintains healthy cholesterol levels, blood sugar levels, and insulin levels.
A sudden carbohydrate drop can result in constipation, headache, and muscle cramps. The body might get dehydrated by producing large amounts of ketones. Another unpleasant side effect of a low-carb diet is bad breath due to ketones.
Intermittent fasting helps with weight loss by limiting the intake of calories but will be effective only if the calorie intake is reduced, even during eating hours.
Intermittent fasting has proved to be more successful in weight loss than other diets. It also increases metabolic rates by 3.6-14% in the short run and has shown improved cellular repair and insulin sensitivity. It may also reduce inflammation, cholesterol levels, and blood sugar levels.
It does not suit everyone. It is less beneficial for women than for men. People with low blood sugar, pregnant women, children, breastfeeding mothers, and those who are malnourished, underweight, or have some nutrient deficiency should avoid this intermittent fasting.
The bottom line is that diets work differently for everyone. What suits one might not suit someone else. Pick a diet that fits your lifestyle, is easy for you to continue for the long term, and does not harm your overall health.
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Akanksha Nigam has been a Health Products For You contributor since 2021. With a Masters Degree in Finance, she began her Marketing career in the banking industry. However, her interest in human ...
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