Pros & Cons of 5 different diets

Dieting is not new, not trendy, and not fun.  It has been around for centuries and there are plenty to choose from. Losing weight over 50 is challenging. Trying to figure out which one to follow is equally challenging.

I boiled the list down to the five most popular. I will point out that any time you want to lose weight, make sure you are in a caloric deficit, meaning you burn more than you eat.

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45 million Americans go on a diet each year. 45 MILLION!  Most diet after binging during the holidays & make that famous New Year’s Resolution. However, statistics show that only 5% of dieters actually reach their weight goal. That’s a scary statistic if you consider that about 70% of Americans are overweight or obese.  Yikes! Again, that is scary considering all the health issues that go along with excess weight.

In this age of diet culture, there are an endless number of ways to lose weight and feel healthier. Searching for the right diet plan that fits both your lifestyle and weight loss goals can be exhausting.  So, I have reviewed the top five diet plans that have worked for my clients.

(1) INTERMITTENT FASTING

You probably have heard of intermittent fasting.  I wouldn’t call it a diet more like a strategy in which you cycle between fasting and non-fasting time. I’m defining fasting as only intaking water for a set amount of time. If you think about it most people “fast” every night while they sleep.

There are three methods of intermittent fasting:

Timed restricted fasting entails eating within a set period.  For example, you can choose to intake your calories 6–10-hour window and fast the rest of the time.Alternate day fasting involves alternating between fast and non-fast days.Periodic fasting involves any period of fasting for more than 24 hours. For example, perhaps you try a two-day fast with five non-fasting days.

PROS

Not only does intermittent fasting allow for weight loss it has also been shown to improve insulin resistance, stabilize blood sugar levels, reduce the risk of strokes and reduce oxidative stress on cells. Oxidative stress can contribute to aging and may play an important role in the development of a range of conditions.

CONS

Fasting can be difficult. Some people experience headaches or body pain. While others will start a process of self-digestion in which cells, especially in the inner lining of your stomach reabsorb into the body. 

(2) KETOGENIC DIET

Keto is a diet that prioritizes fat (75% of daily calories) with moderate consumption of protein (30%) and very few carbs (5% or less). This reduction of carbs puts the body into ketosis, which is when the body breaks down stored fat and uses it for energy.

On this diet, you will be eating plenty of fish, seafood, avocado, eggs, berries, cheese, nuts, seeds, healthy oils, plain Greek yogurt, cottage cheese, dark chocolate, and cocoa powder.

PROS

There is evidence that people can lose weight on a ketogenic diet.  Some people report feeling less hungry on this type of diet. Lastly, being on a weight loss diet while enjoying high-fat foods can be enticing. Interestingly, the keto diet helps reduce seizures in children who suffer from epilepsy.

CONS

This can be a tough diet to stick to because of the food restrictions.  Unfortunately, it often leads to yo-yo dieting which can cause serious health issues.

(3) CLEAN EATING DIET

Clean eating is not just a weight loss diet it is a way of life. The key principles of this diet are to eat real whole foods and avoid processed foods. Foods allowed on a clean eating diet are primarily vegetables like spinach and broccoli, high-fiber, unprocessed carbs like fruits, and whole grains. Protein sources are typically skinless chicken breast and fish. Meanwhile, avoiding fatty meats, and processed sugars like refined sugar and bread are to be avoided.

PROS

This diet promotes weight loss via dietary fiber intake versus calorie-restrictive diets. Largely eating a plant-based helps prevent diseases like high blood pressure, heart disease, and type 2 diabetes. Research also shows that diets with high amounts of fruits and vegetables lead to a healthy weight and glowing skin.

CONS

Eating clean is not always easy or convenient and it can be expensive. Clean eating can become an obsession that can become unhealthy.

(4) PALEO DIET

The paleo diet is based on eating foods that were available during Paleolithic times – hunting and gathering for food. Foods such as lean meats, nuts, vegetables, and seeds are encouraged in this diet while avoiding sugar, processed and dairy products. The reasoning behind the diet is that our bodies are genetically mismatched with today’s farming practices. Farming has changed what people eat now and has added dairy, grains, and legumes as part of our diet. The rapid changes in our diet are outpaced by our body’s ability to adapt. This mismatch is believed to have led to the prevalence of diabetes, obesity, and heart disease.

PROS

Clinical trials indicate that the paleo diet offers benefits in more weight loss, improved glucose levels, blood pressure control, lower triglycerides, and appetite management.

CONS

You can’t grab a quick meal, instead, you have to make time to meal prep. Paleo may have a few side effects. Such as bad breath, changes in bowel habits, initial lack of energy, cravings, and low blood sugar.

(5) MEDITERANEAN DIET

The Mediterranean diet is influenced by areas surrounding the Mediterranean Sea. The diet encourages consuming plant-based foods, while also emphasizing olive oil for fat. It also limits animal products but doesn’t rule them out completely. The key to this diet is small portions!

As a matter of fact, the Mediterranean diet is more of a style of eating that includes simple, whole, minimally processed foods. Further, I wouldn’t say there are not real hard and fast rules; you can choose to step off on special occasions.

PROS

According to the American Heart Association this style of eating plays a role in preventing heart disease and reduces risk factors such as obesity, diabetes, high cholesterol and lowers blood pressure.

CONS

Since this diet emphasizes grains, fruits, and vegetables meals may be high in carbohydrates. People with diabetes need to be consistent and eat a controlled amount of carbs throughout the day to avoid blood sugar spikes or dangerously low levels.

If any of these diets have or have not worked for you, please share. If you are interested in other articles on nutrition, click below.

The post Pros & Cons of 5 different diets first appeared on Over 50 Healthy Living.

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