One of the things that makes the human race so amazing is that we are all different. Each of us comes in varying colors, shapes, and sizes. With that said, this observation poses the question, “If we are all so different, why do we treat diets like they will impact us in the same way?” The answer is quite complicated. To simplify this task, I pulled together a list of the top five types of diets for weight loss.
Choosing the Right Diet Can Be Confusing
Often, the media portrays a myriad of diets and makes it seem like each of them will impact our bodies in the same way. For example, if you’ve ever scrolled through social media or turned on your TV, you might’ve seen an ad promoting a no bread diet. Following that, you probably took it upon yourself to cut out bread. After abiding by the diet for a few weeks, you discover that while you see no results, your friend has lost thirty pounds.
This frustrating feeling of dramatically changing your eating habits but seeing no results is an emotion that has plagued most of us at one point or another. It comes from lacking a baseline understanding of how different foods affect our specific bodies. When it comes to losing weight, understanding that varying food combinations lead to various physical alterations helps you find the lifestyle change that works best for you. But even after discovering your body’s relationship with food, you might still find selecting the right diet difficult. Here’s a list to get you started. Keep in mind, some of these ideas may work for you, while others are diet fads to avoid.
Relatively new, the “bro diet” is centered around lean protein sources (i.e., fish, chicken, lean ground turkey, eggs, and steak) and healthy carbs (i.e., brown rice, sweet potato, whole-wheat pasta, and oats). This diet is gaining popularity due to its loose correlation with individuals reaching their lifting and weight loss goals. If you are trying to conjure up a physical representation of the type of person who would follow this diet, think about bodybuilders. The bro diet’s strict lifestyle change requires that they adhere to strict macronutrients and thus is an ideal diet for those trying to follow a strict regimen. Want to know if this diet is for you? Check out the pros and cons below:
- Improves your disciplinary relationship with food.
- Due to its detailed requirements, you will begin to develop a new perspective on what you put into your body.
- Guarantees quick results.
- Known as a “fad” diet.
- Although the results are quick, if the diet is not continuously followed you lose your results as quickly as you got them.
- Due to its restrictive nature, you might be prone to binge eating.
By now, everyone has heard about the keto diet. The underlying premise of this diet focuses on shifting your body to a state of ketosis. What does this mean? Ketosis is a metabolic process that focuses on the build-up of acids known as ketones. You see, when the body does not use glucose for energy, it begins to burn fat instead. If you love high carb products such as sweets or potatoes, this diet is not for you. This is a low-carb diet for weight loss. To succeed you will need to consume products high in fat. Items include, but are not limited to, seafood, low carb vegetables, cheese, meat, eggs, and coconut oil. While each of these items can become full-fledged meals, you must note that while on the keto diet, you will have to find creative substitutes for some of your baseline side foods. Some of the benefits and disadvantages of keto are listed below:
- Promotes quick weight loss.
- Reduces acne.
- Improves heart health.
- Initial weight loss is almost always just water weight.
- Leads to an increase in sodium intake.
- Reaching an effective state of ketosis might be more difficult than expected.
Prolon fasting is a type of fasting that was developed by Dr. Valter Longo, a biologist known for his research on fasting and diets. Essentially, his goal was to mimic the results of fasting while simultaneously reducing its effects. So, how does it work? Individuals following this lifestyle change follow a set boundary on how many carbohydrates, proteins, and fats they can intake. This nutrient breakdown is actually what helps you trick your body into thinking it’s undergoing a long term fast. You may be asking yourself, “What’s the problem with fasting?” Well, research has shown that fasting has led to physiological effects such as dizziness, muscle breakdown, and anemia. Subsequently, by following the prolon diet, you are, in essence, receiving all the benefits of fasting without the consequences. Interested in trying it for yourself? Here are some things you should keep in mind:
- Reduction in bloating.
- Weight loss.
- Helps you develop a healthier relationship with food.
- Food cannot be customized.
- Requires an intense level of discipline.
The gut is not typically associated with increasing levels of health. But it should be. When it comes to our health, the gut plays an important part. Not only does it contribute to a robust immune system, but it also improves the health of our brain, heart, and overall digestive system. On a microscopic level, our gut includes something called microbiomes. These molecular organisms play an essential role in helping us combat a mass array of diseases. Diets focused on improving gut health typically focus on incorporating more vegetables (i.e., broccoli and arugula) and healthy fats (i.e., avocado, coconut oil, fish, and more) into our diets. If you are considering diving into this diet for weight loss, here are some things you should consider:
- Helps your body absorb nutrients.
- Assists with post-workout recovery.
- Encourages you to eat more natural products.
- Grocery shopping might become more expensive.
- Requires you to have a more diverse palette.
- Restricts your ability to buy fast, overprocessed food.
The 16:8 diet is a type of intermittent fasting that has become a new trend amongst those trying to lose weight. As the name implies, intermittent fasting is a type of fasting that encourages you to eat certain foods during narrow time periods. In the case of the 16:8 diet, followers only consume food during an eight hour period. Depending on when you decide to eat, this can be a good or bad thing. For instance, if you choose to eat at 8:00 am, then by 4:00 pm you are done for the day. So, with this diet, timing is everything. To provide more insight, here are some of the pros and cons associated with this diet:
- Reduces blood pressure.
- Lowers cholesterol.
- Promotes weight loss.
- This diet may be hard to follow if you have an active social life.
- Can increase stress levels, thus disrupting sleep.
- Dehydration or hunger while fasting may lead to intense headaches.
Healthy vs. Unhealthy
All diets for weight loss are not equal. Factors such as your lifestyle, body type, and eating time preferences play a significant role in selecting the right type of diet for you. You want a diet that helps you feel your best and perform better. Besides the complexity of selection, you must realize that each diet varies on the spectrum of healthy to unhealthy depending on your body’s underlying needs. Whether you decide to embark on keto, 16:8, or the “bro diet,” keep in mind that the best indicator to see if it’s working for you is how your body responds. And for more data points beyond a simple weight, try using a body fat scale to monitor your progress. Do your research and choose a diet carefully!