Admit it, everyone’s looking for a quick and easy way to lose weight. Some diets seduce us with fast, “drastic” results, but they’re rarely reasonable or even healthy.
With so many programs out there, how do you know which one is right for you? The following article ranks seven popular diets based on their difficulty level.
1.MIND DIET– easy
The MIND diet may reduce the incidence of brain disease that increases a person’s risk in developing Alzheimer’s disease. The MIND diet is a hybrid of the Mediterranean and DASH (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension) diets. Both diets have been found to reduce the risk of cardiovascular conditions, like hypertension, heart attack and stroke. Some researchers have found that the two older diets provide protection against dementia as well. The MIND diet is also easier to follow than, say, the Mediterranean diet.
The MIND diet has 15 dietary components, including 10 “brain-healthy food groups:” green leafy vegetables, other vegetables, nuts, berries, beans, whole grains, fish, poultry, olive oil, wine. The five unhealthy groups are: red meats, butter and stick margarine, cheese, pastries and sweets, fried or fast food
2. MEDITERRANEAN DIET – moderate
The heart-healthy Mediterranean diet is a healthy eating plan based on typical foods and recipes of Mediterranean-style cooking. Here’s how to adopt the Mediterranean diet.
Key components of the Mediterranean diet: -Eating primarily plant-based foods, such as fruits and vegetables, whole grains, legumes and nuts
-Replacing butter with healthy fats such as olive oil and canola oil
-Using herbs and spices instead of salt to flavor foods
-Limiting red meat to no more than a few times a month
-Eating fish and poultry at least twice a week
-Drinking red wine in moderation (optional)
-Getting plenty of exercise
3.DASH DIET – moderate
The DASH diet emphasizes portion size, eating a variety of foods and getting the right amount of nutrients. Discover how DASH can improve your health and lower your blood pressure. DASH stands for Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension. The DASH diet is a lifelong approach to healthy eating that’s designed to help treat or prevent high blood pressure (hypertension). The DASH diet encourages you to reduce the sodium in your diet and eat a variety of foods rich in nutrients that help lower blood pressure, such as potassium, calcium and magnesium.
4. SOUTH BEACH DIET – extreme
The South Beach Diet is sometimes called a modified low-carbohydrate diet. The South Beach Diet is lower in carbs (carbohydrates) and higher in protein and healthy fats than is a typical eating plan. The purpose of the South Beach Diet is to change the overall balance of the foods you eat to encourage weight loss and a healthy lifestyle.
The South Beach Diet has three phases: Phase 1. This two-week phase is designed to eliminate cravings for foods high in sugar and refined starches to jump-start weight loss. You cut out almost all carbohydrates from your diet, including pasta, rice, bread and fruit. You can’t drink fruit juice or any alcohol. You focus on eating lean protein, such as seafood, skinless poultry, lean beef and soy products. You also can eat high-fiber vegetables, low-fat dairy, and foods with healthy, unsaturated fats, including avocados, nuts and seeds.
Phase 2. This is a long-term weight-loss phase. You begin adding back some of the foods that were prohibited in phase 1, such as whole-grain breads, whole-wheat pasta, brown rice, fruits and more vegetables. You stay in this phase until you reach your goal weight.
Phase 3. This is a maintenance phase meant to be a healthy way to eat for life. You continue to follow the lifestyle principles you learned in the two previous phases. You can eat all types of foods in moderation.
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5.ATKINS DIET- extreme
This diet, developed by Dr. Robert Atkins, limited carb and sugar intake in order to compel the body to burn fat and protein to lose weight. By discouraging grains and some legumes, the diet encouraged eating more meats, eggs, shellfish and cheeses. Experts worry about the increased consumption of saturated fats and cholesterol, as well as deficiencies in important nutrients or fiber.
The paleo diet (also nicknamed the caveman diet, primal diet, Stone Age diet, and hunter-gatherer diet) is hugely popular. The paleo diet runs on the same foods our hunter-gather ancestors supposedly ate: fruits, vegetables, meats, seafood, and nuts.
Specifically, the Paleo dietary model encourages us to base our diets on the following foods: animals (especially a “whole animal” approach, including organs, bone marrow, cartilage, and organs), animal products (such as eggs or honey), vegetables and fruits, raw nuts and seeds and added fats (like coconut oil, avocado, butter, ghee).
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7.DUKAN DIET- extreme
Drop 10 pounds in one week and never gain it back. You can do it if you follow the Dukan Diet’s rules, claims French general practitioner and nutritionist Pierre Dukan, who created the diet in 2000. Lean protein, oat bran, water, and a daily 20-minute walk are at the heart of the plan. The theory is that limiting carbohydrates forces your body to burn fat. Basically, you can eat unlimited quantities of food, as long as they’re on the approved foods list, which includes very few carbs, if any.
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The diet has four phases. During the “Attack” phase (1-10 days), you eat all the lean protein you can handle, plus 1.5 tablespoons of oat bran and at least 6 cups of water daily.
In the “Cruise” phase (which can last several months), you add unlimited amounts of non-starchy veggies every other day, plus an extra half-tablespoon of oat bran.
When you get to the third stage, “Consolidation” (5 days for every pound you’ve lost), you can have veggies every day, plus one piece of fruit, 2 slices of whole-grain bread, and 1 serving of hard cheese. During this phase, you can also have 1 or 2 servings of starchy foods and 1 or 2 “celebration” meals where you can eat whatever you want.
The final phase, “Stabilization” (ongoing), is all about maintenance. You can eat whatever you like, except for one day a week when you follow the all-protein rules from the diet’s “Attack” phase. In this phase, you also eat 3 tablespoons of oat bran a day and walk 20 minutes every day.
Remember: If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is, and it could even be harmful.