About once a year, the world is shocked by another discovery in the field of weight loss diets. The new diet promises an easy weight loss without any worries and restrictions, or, on the contrary, offers to forever forget about a product, which is allegedly the cause of all our misfortunes. The most slimming popular diets of our time have passed the test of time, and now we can calmly consider their advantages and disadvantages.
Very “delicious” weight loss diet. You can, with almost no limits, eat foods that some other slimming diets avoid with “horror I their eyes”:
- meat of all kinds,
It would seem that we found all-time joy, the slogan “Eat and Lose weight!” that is finally embodied in life. The Atkins diet is quite effective, but at what expense? Let us make things as clear as a bell.
To begin with, the Atkins diet is categorically contraindicated in:
- pregnant women and breastfeeding mothers,
- people suffering from kidney diseases,
- those with high levels of creatinine in the blood.
This weight loss diet is divided into four phases that differ from each other by the amount of carbohydrates that you can consume. Atkins justifiably believed that carbohydrates contribute to rapid weight gain, and set out the strictest restriction in their consumption as his diet rules.
For example, during the first phase (the “induction phase”), you can consume no more than 20 grams of carbohydrates per day. This can be achieved by completely eliminating from your menu:
- bread, flour-containing products,
- starchy vegetables,
- nuts, seeds,
- sugar and honey.
At first glance, everything is correct, and all harmful foods are excluded. On the other hand, this weight loss diet does not imply the consumption of as many useful foods, as we would like to consume.
For example, you can eat no more than 2-3 cups of vegetables a day, and not all of them are allowed. You can:
Eat all the time
- alfalfa, celery, chicory, cucumber, watercress, parsley, dill, sorrel, sweet pepper, radish and mushrooms
- artichokes, asparagus, beetroot, bean and legumes, spinach, dandelion, onion, pumpkin, eggplant, broccoli, Brussels sprouts and cauliflower, kohlrabi, carrots, turnips, tomatoes
And still, the total amount should not exceed the notorious 2-3 cups. You will probably agree that it’s quite a meager amount of veggies.
During the second phase, you can already add 5 grams of carbohydrates each week. The quantity of vegetables increases, and their “assortment” is extended through minimal quantities of:
During the third phase, you should add 10 grams of carbohydrates each week. This is when your diet is complemented with
- carrots, potatoes, peas, beets, spinach, parsnips, lentils, beans (depending on the carbohydrate content, the amount of vegetables varies from ¼ to ¾ cup)
- rice, oats, barley (no more than ¼ cups).
The fourth phase of the Atkins diet lasts a lifetime. The main principles of this phase are:
- strict control of the critical level of carbohydrate intake,
- administration of dietary supplements,vitamins and minerals,
- rejection of bad habits.
At first glance, everything looks nice and smooth. And now, let’s take a look at the diet through the doctors’ eyes.
The first thing that any specialist will pay attention to is a bias in the balance of the main nutrients. Atkins diet almost completely excludes carbohydrates, focusing on protein foods. And this is fraught with trouble. For example, a small amount of vegetables and fruits can lead to a lack of vitamins, minerals and plant fibers.
In addition, the restriction of carbohydrate intake leads to a rapid consumption of glycogen stores, as well as water that is retained by this substance. Fast weight loss occurs not at the expense of the “burning” fat, but due to dehydration. Doctors and nutritionists have long used the expression “fat burns in the flame of carbohydrates”.
That is, if the body receives few carbohydrates, the oxidation (“combustion”) of fat is broken, and substances associated with incomplete oxidation of fat – beta-hydroxybutyric acid and acetone – accumulate in the blood. They reduce appetite and negatively affect the psyche.
This process can cause fatigue and headaches, frequent emotional distress and even worsening of your mental performance. Overload of the body with animal fat and cholesterol increases the risk of:
- heart attack,
- coronary heart disease,
- cardiac arrhythmia.
Diet, rich in protein and fat, leads to the release of a large number of acids in the urine, the neutralization of which makes the body spend its own supplies of potassium, calcium and magnesium. Dehydration, which inevitably accompanies such diets, threatens with the formation of stones in the urinary tract and constipation.
It turns out that the Atkins diet brings much more risk than good? In fact, such diets have a right to exist. For a man who literally kills himself with insane portions of fast carbohydrates, the Atkins diet can become a real lifeline. And how, if not through strict prohibitions, can you wean people from sugar and buns?
Still, there is one “but”:
the Atkins diet should be observed under the supervision of a specialist, with constant monitoring of blood and urine tests and… without fanaticism!
The Zone diet was invented by the American biochemist Barry Sears. The basic principle of the Zone diet is accurate calculation. Sears believes that the ratio of essential nutrients should look as follows:
- 40% carbohydrates
- 30% protein
- 30% fat
Having correctly calculated the amount of protein in the diet, taking into account the height, weight, chest, waist and hips circumferences of a particular person, you can determine the amount of fats and carbohydrates. As the calculations show, the caloric content of the diet fluctuates between 1,200 and 1,700 kcal. That is, we have a classic low-calorie diet.
Still, differences do exist. For instance, the “Zone” diet gives great importance to the level of insulin in the blood. Proportions of 40:30:30 should be strictly observed at each meal, so you will need to stock up with tables, scales, a calculator and patience.
The rules of the diet “Zone” are simple:
- breakfast no later than one hour after the awakening,
- three meals a day with 5-hour intervals between them,
- at least 2 liters of water,
- mandatory physical activities (not necessarily high, yet regular).
Just like any other diet, the “Zone” diet has its own “white” and “black” lists of products. The Zone diet forbids us to consume:
- Red meat and by-products, yolks,
- natural coffee, spirits, sodas.
- Fruits and vegetables (!),
- bread and floury products, cereal flakes.
- Almost all fruit juices,
- whole milk products, hard fats.
The undoubted advantage of the “Zone” diet is the gradual weight loss (no more than 500-700 g per week), as well as improved immune response, increased physical and mental activity and prevention of atherosclerosis.
Yet it still does have disadvantages. People with impaired renal function better avoid the “Zone”, since the kidneys are not fans of abusive protein consumption. Almost complete absence of dietary fiber leads to constipation with all the ensuing consequences (accumulation of cholesterol, body filling with toxins, increased acne and other troubles).
High-protein diets, which the “Zone” refers to, are fraught with:
- formation of stones in the kidneys and gall bladder,
- angina pectoris,
*The conclusion suggests itself: the “Zone” diet is only an express aid, and not a lifelong nutrition regimen.
There is no agreement among the followers of this dieting trend. This is due to the fact that they divide into supporters of a wide variety of variations, ranging from lax vegetarianism, which allows almost everything except the meat of warm-blooded animals, and ending with strict veganism (total rejection of animal products) and raw food (food products that are not cooked).
Adherents of different vegetarianism types often argue about certain foods, like:
This is why there are so many varieties of vegetarianism, and each has its pros and cons to a greater or lesser extent. For example, soft forms of vegetarianism are very close to the concept of “healthy nutrition”, and these are:
- dairy products are allowed
- in addition to milk, you also can eat eggs
- fish and seafood are added to all other foods
The undoubted advantages of mild vegetarianism are the low level of consumption of “bad” cholesterol and saturated fats, blood pressure lowering and weight loss. Vegetarians are less likely to get:
- coronary heart disease,
- type 2 diabetes,
A large amount of plant food allows you to cleanse the intestines, and all sorts of phytonutrients and vitamins are of great benefit and heal the body.
Yet, it is not free of disadvantages, as well. They refer to more strict types of vegetarianism, which exclude from the diet all products of animal origin (even honey is on the list of forbidden foods!). Strict vegetarians are at risk because of the lack in their menu of foods that contain those vitamins that are not found in plant foods or are present in it in microscopic doses.
For example, vitamin B12, which is found only in animal products, is found in some marine algae, and even not in the algae itself, but in microorganisms that live in algae.
Most often, malnourished vegetarians end up with:
- B vitamins deficiency,
- copper insufficiency.
*To prevent these problems, you need to be absolutely sure that your diet is balanced and so diverse that it minimizes all risks.
Veganism And Raw Foodism
All of the above directly refers to these very strict vegetarian diets. Veganism and raw food diet are similar, like twin brothers, differing only through the fact that raw foodists do not accept cooking on fire. The maximum processing technique that is allowed in raw foodism is drying at temperatures not exceeding 40°C.
Many nutritionists find such extreme types of vegetarianism very questionable in character. Although, we must admit that effect – both external and internal – that they provide is tremendous. A huge amount of vitamins and phytonutrients literally charges the body, feeding it with energy and health.
The world practice has registered cases of complete recovery from severe diseases with the help of raw foodism, and often people who are desperate to get help from official medicine resort to such diets. If you decide to become a vegan or switch to full raw foodism, remember
sloppiness towards yourself, as well as fanaticism, will never benefit you and can even bring much harm.
When developing your menu, you must be firmly convinced that your body will get all the substances that it needs for its proper functioning. Eating oranges or cabbage salad is not raw foodism, but stupidity and short-sightedness. The list of products of a vegan or a raw foodist is huge. It includes a variety of vegetable products, including:
- exotic fruits
Only the diversity and reasonable combination of products will help you improve your health lose weight and, who knows, maybe even look younger! But, before rushing into a fashionable diet, study the theory, think through all the risks, and get to know better those people, who have long and successfully practiced this or that eating style. Better learn from other people’s mistakes, than to correct your own afterwards.
Perhaps, the mildest and most balanced of all weight loss diets, invented by mankind. Though, in fact, no one came up with it. This nutrition style is peculiar to the inhabitants of the Mediterranean, who are distinct through their excellent health, despite abundant meals.
The main difference between the Mediterranean diet and our usual nutrition is that it implies the consumption of:
- high-quality vegetable oils (mainly olive oil)
- a large number of fish and seafood
- lots of vegetables
- dry red wine
The list of banned products includes starch, fatty dairy products and animal fats. Meat should appear on your table not more often than 1-2 times a week and in very small portions. In short, you will not find disadvantages in this slimming diet, no matter how hard you try.
The main principle of this diet is counting and calculation. The value of each product is set out in points, and the number of points for each person is calculated based on his initial weight. The only limitation is the number of points that you can score during the day, and it does not matter at all how exactly you will do it.
At the same time, you do get some recommendations. For example, you should:
- more low-fat dairy products, vegetables (which have zero “weight”), fruits
- fast food and convenience foods
Actually, all of this is written and said by all adherents of a healthy lifestyle and proper nutrition. However, the developers of this diet serve this old cliché in a beautiful package and as a sort of a game. The “weight watchers” diet has no disadvantages.
South Beach Diet
South Beach diet falls into the category of low-fat diets. It is divided into three phases, each of which has its own characteristics and its own “black lists” of unwanted products.
- In the first phase, you are not allowed to eat fruit and fruit juices, sweet drinks and alcohol, fatty meat, fat cheese, starchy vegetables, bread, pasta and rice.
- In the second phase, you are not allowed to eat polished rice, potatoes, white flour products.
- The third phase, like in the Atkins diet, is designed for the rest of life.
The list of restrictions for the lifelong phase is good to remember and apply in normal life without diets:
- do not overeat,
- do not skip breakfast,
- do not abuse fats and carbohydrates,
- do not eat canned food and convenience foods ,
- do not eat up late in the evening,
- do not drink liquids with food,
- do not snack disorderly.
*The only drawback to this diet is a quick weight loss at the beginning of the diet due to dehydration. Yet if you approach this method wisely, you can avoid such incidents.