The question that most people ask when they’re looking to lose some weight again is, “Which diet is the best?” While dieters may come from a variety of backgrounds and body types, the goal is the same: a quick fix to erase fat in a flash with no struggle at all. A miracle drug or a one-week eating plan tops the list, preferably with long-lasting results, which brings us to the second most-important question: “How do we know that the weight will stay off for years?”
As we continue to be inundated with diets comparisons published in magazines and online, people develop massive levels of confusion regarding what dieting actually means and the correct way to shape your body. Also, the percentage of overweight people has turned weight loss into a phenomenally productive industry, with a constantly “expanding” market (pardon the pun). It seems that a fashionable diet plan and a flair for marketing qualify someone as a “diet expert,” making the rich and famous despite their lack of any professional knowledge on dieting.
And believe me, there are many diets out there. In this article, we will focus on the most well-known diets, since a review of all the current diets would take a year or two!
The Atkins Diet: One of the latest (and most profitable) fads in our diet comparison is the Atkins diet. If you haven’t heard of the Atkins diet, you probably haven’t dieted in the past 10 years! There is a large fan base for this diet, with a myriad of articles heralding phenomenal results.
Pros: The largest positive for this diet is that it allows high-fat dairy products such as cheese and butter.
Cons: Despite the fabulous results, doctors suspect that the methods it uses actually increase the risk of heart disease (not to mention the number of complaints regarding diarrhea, weakness, muscle cramps, and rashes).
The Bottom Line: The jury’s still out regarding the scientific fundamentals surrounding this diet.
The Zone Diet: Another recognizable diet program, the Zone diet was developed by Barry Sears and focuses on eating the correct “mix” of foods. This perfect mixture helps your body reach utopia in your hormone balance, known as the “Zone.”
Pros: The claim of the “Zone” is that it allows your body to use calories throughout the day without storing up fat as long as you maintain your hormone balance.
Cons: The main pitfall with this diet is that is strongly discourages some food categories without scientific basis. For example, starchy vegetables, whole grains and beans are off limits, although they don’t conflict with the diet’s principles.
The Bottom Line: According to the American Heart Association, the Zone lacks essential nutrients, but does promote protein-rich foods.
Jenny Craig: Arguably the diet with the most longevity, Jenny Craig has been around since the early 1980′s, making it a must for any diet comparison!
Pros: This diet is essentially a trade-off: you eliminate chores like choosing recipes, shopping, and cooking.
Cons: You are required to buy the prepackaged Jenny Craig meals, which can cost as much as $100 a week, not including membership costs. Also, veggies and fruits aare not included in your prepackaged meals! Similar low-calorie foods are available for purchase at any grocery store, and you don’t need a Jenny Craig “expert” to figure out you can buy this food on your own for a fraction of the cost.
The Bottom Line: If you can afford it – and stick to it – the diet itself is effective.
South Beach: The carb-hater’s dream, the South Beach diet hails from sunny Florida, boasting the write idea, but the wrong approach.
Pros: The first phase (which eliminates most foods containing carbs from your daily diet) only lasts two weeks.
Cons: After two weeks, you slowly and minimally reintroduce the foods you’ve been longing for… until you reach your desired weight! The diet calls for you to cut out or minimize the “bad” carbs (including such things as whole grains and fruits) as long as you are still trying to lose weight. Plus, there are no alternatives if you’re sick of eating the same foods over and over again.
The Bottom Line: Many people have had success losing weight on South Beach, but for most dieters, it takes a major overhaul of your eating habits to succeed long-term.
Weight Watchers: Weight Watchers takes a number of steps in the right direction, giving the dieter all of the tools for managing their own weight loss.
Pros: This program provides you with all the necessary information, and if you are committed to losing weight, you can be extremely successful. Plus, there are weight watchers support groups where you can connect with other dieters going through the same struggles as you.
Cons: If the idea of constant pressure and “calorie counting” is daunting to you, Weight Watchers can be a bit overwhelming.
The Bottom Line: If you are goal-oriented and somewhat self-motivated, you can lose weight with this program, but if you are unable to consistently focus on details, this isn’t the diet for you.
As this brief review proves, there are many diets available, bunches more than we have had time to discuss here. If you’re thinking of trying a new diet, listen closely to those people who have tried it; then read up on comments made by doctors and dieticians. Find a balance between those diet-crazed fans and those attempting to prove it’s a sham – the truth is probably somewhere in the middle. However, pay close attention to doctors’ comments, especially any with lists of possible health risks or people with pre-existing conditions who they suggest should not try the diet.