Tue. Oct 22nd, 2019

The top diets this summer: Here are your options to get lean

With summer around the corner and people jostle to get their summer bodies into gear. We look at some popular diets to get you into shape.

the top diets this summer here are your options to get lean 1024x682 - The top diets this summer: Here are your options to get lean

Which diet is the right diet for you? There are so many options out there to choose from but which one is going to get your results?

We look at the most popular diets, how they work and some of the pros and cons behind them.

Note: The information below does not constitute medical advice. And, should you wish to make a drastic lifestyle change, it is vital to first discuss such decisions with an accredited and trusted medical professional.

The diet basics

Before comparing and contrasting these different diets we need to establish that the common factor amongst them which leads to their success is that they put you in a calorie deficit.

To lose weight, you need to burn more calories than you consume.

The success of a particular diet boils down to your adherance to the plan, constancy and a healthy exercise routine.

Ketogenic diet

The ketogenic diet is a low carb, high-fat diet. This means that five per cent of your diets is carbohydrates, 20% is protein and 75% is fat. 

When putting together a ketogenic meal, you would aim for almost zero carbs with a goal of ten to 15 grams of carbs a day.

That’s about 15 grapes a day. 

The goal of a ketogenic diet is to get your body into ketosis. This is when your body begins burning fat for energy. 

Pros

  • It is an effective way to lose weight and lower risk factors for disease.
  • It lowers blood sugar and insulin levels.
  • Shifts body’s metabolism away from carbs and towards fat and ketones.
  • Superior to the often recommended low-fat diet.
  • May provide many health benefits, especially with metabolic, neurological or insulin-related diseases.

Cons

  • It is very restrictive.
  • There are almost no carbohydrates.
  • There may be some initial side effects while your body adapts.
  • it may be difficult to build muscle.
  • You may develop stinky breathe.

The Paleo Diet

The paleo diet is based on our ancestors’ way of eating.

This would be the diet of our hunter-gather ancestors which consisted of things they found in their immediate environments such as fruit, nuts, meat, seeds and vegetables.

All processed foods are restricted and grains, legumes and dairy are eliminated from your diet as well.

Pros:

  • Very adaptable and can follow any macronutrient breakdown.
  • Does allow indulgences like small amounts of red wine and dark chocolate.

Cons:

  • Restricts dairy 
  • Restricts grains and legumes.

Intermittent Fasting

Intermittent fasting (IF) is the practice of occasionally going for extended periods without eating.

There are various protocols but the most popular is the 16/8 hour window. 

This refers to your eating and fasting window. The time from your last meal at night until your first meal the next day is your “fasting” interval. And the time from your first meal of the day until your last meal is your feeding interval. 

Pros:

  • Studies found it to cause 3–8% more weight loss over 3–24 weeks, when compared to other diets.
  • It can increase fat burning while preserving muscle mass, which can improve metabolism.
  • Linked to anti-ageing effects, increased insulin sensitivity, improved brain health and a reduction in inflammation.

Cons:

  • There is not a lot of human-based research. 
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Photo: Pexels

Low-Fat diets

Low carb diets have been popular for ages, long before the high fat craze hit and rendered them outdated.

On low carb diets, you aim to restrict your fat intake to 30% of your daily calories.

Fat provides about twice the amount of calories that protein and carbs thus cutting down the total number of calories you consume and putting your body in a calorie deficit.

Pros

  • Ultra-low-fat diets have been shown to be successful, especially among people with obesity.
  • They appear to be as effective as low-carb diets for weight loss in controlled situations.
  • They have been linked to a reduced risk of heart disease and stroke.

Cons

  • It can lead to health problems in the long term, as fat plays a key role in hormone production, nutrient absorption, and cell health.
  • Very-low-fat diets have been linked to a higher risk of metabolic syndrome 

The Carnivore Diet 

Like the name suggests this diet requires that you eliminate all plant foods from your meals and exclusively eat meat, fish, eggs, and small amounts of low-lactose dairy products.

There is an emphasis on eating fatty cuts of meat as a means to reach your calorie needs but there are no specific guidelines regarding calorie intake, serving sizes, or how many meals or snacks to eat per day.

Pros:

  • Protein can help you feel more satiated after meals, which may lead to reduced calorie intake.
  • Protein can also increase your metabolic rate, helping you burn more calories.
  •  Increasing protein intake and reducing carb intake may lead to more sustained weight loss than diets that are lower in protein and higher in carbs.

Cons

  • The diet is highly restrictive. 
  • It completely eliminates a majority of food groups
  • There is a chance it can be high in saturated fat and cholesterol.
  • May lack certain micronutrients and beneficial plant compounds.
  • It does does not provide fibre.

Which diet for you?

As with any diet, your success lies in your ability to remain consistant with the plan.

All the diets listed above have been shown to be effective for weight loss but if you cannot make it a part of your lifestyle, it will most likely be ineffective.

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