Most Popular Diets for 2019 | The Good, the Fad, and the Ugly

Government findings reveal that close to half of all American adults are “trying to lose weight” and spending approximately $50 billion a year on weight loss products (Marketdata) to accomplish their goals. I think it’s safe to say that it’s not working. The fact of the matter is that nutrition related health problems are simply getting out of hand.

Today’s world is becoming increasingly unhealthy and the results are disastrous. In addition to record obesity levels (close to 100 million Americans), reports show that Americans are less physically active than ever before. Likewise, the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services stated that the average American currently exceeds the recommended intake in saturated fats, calories from solid fats and added sugars, sodium, and refined grains.

Diet Statistics

While some may argue that their lifestyle and choices are theirs to make, the facts tell a different story. In fact, current estimates suggest that obesity accounts for over 20% of our national healthcare costs (approximately $350 billion). Additionally, over 25% of American young adults are too overweight to serve in the military, with over 15,000 potential recruits failing their physicals every year.

What are the types of diet?

What is the best diet plan for me?

What is the best diet for healthy living?

What should I eat if I have high blood pressure?

What common diseases can be cured by diet and exercise?

If you find yourself asking any of these questions, then you’ve come to the right place. There are a lot of diets that you will hear about, but not all diets work for everyone. That’s why we’re going to discuss free diet plans, types of diets that work fast, what is a healthy diet menu, nutrition related health problems, and the best diets to lose weight. Let’s take a look at what options you have to look and feel good without the fear of guesswork and unnecessary suffering.  

How to Stick to a Diet

There's no reason to suffer just because you want to eat healthier.

The best way to stick to a diet is to simply find a diet plan that won't leave you hungry or craving more. Many people are convinced that dieting means sacrificing, but that doesn't have to be the case. It's incredibly important to find a diet plan which allows you to supplement unhealthy foods with healthier alternatives. That way, you are more likely to succeed and not hate every minute of it. 

For instance, one of the easiest things to do is substitute frying with baking. Instead of frying French fries, throw them in the oven. Likewise, there are plenty of alternatives to sugar that can easily quench that pesky sweet tooth. Instead of using processed white sugar, try and opt for more natural sweeteners such as agave nectar, honey, maple syrup, and coconut sugar.

How to lose weight

Low Carb Diet

Although the Keto Diet is the Low Carb Diet taking the world by storm, you can’t ignore the popularity and effectiveness of the Glycemic-Index program and Atkins Diet. These low-carb diets focus on “good” carbs to promote metabolism and have proven to be effective for short-term weight loss. However, these programs are notorious for being difficult to follow, especially since you have to operate in large gray area.

Atkins Diet

The Atkins Diet has been around for quite some time and is probably one of the most well-known out there. Dr. Robert Atkins founded his flagship meal plan on the theory that replacing the body’s natural fuel source will lead to higher energy levels and noticeable weight loss.

A 2006 study published in the British Medical Journal noted that Atkins Dieters lost 10 lbs. on average in the first month of their trial. While Atkins isn’t known to be particularly easy, it’s relatively affordable, offers legitimate results, and still allows you to eat plentifully.

Keto Diet

The Ketogenic diet may seem complicated, but it's simpler than you think. The Keto diet essentially replaces carbs with fats, drastically altering the brain's energy levels and blood sugar content.

The keto diet is intended to increase your energy levels, but it can take a few weeks for your body to get used to ketosis. This readjustment phase can often be brutal and lead to what many people call the “keto flu”. This withdrawal-like reaction can trigger brain fog, extreme exhaustion, diarrhea, cramping, and even bad breath.

Although this may sound severe, it’s your body’s natural reaction to switching from glucose to fat as the primary source of energy. This response is actually a minor form of shock that occurs once carbs have been practically eliminated and protein levels soar.

Keto breath often stems from an excess of ammonia due to increased protein digestion. Ammonia is known for having a pungent stench that resembles cat urine and household cleaning products.  

Bad Breath

One of the toughest symptoms to deal with is the tremendous fatigue, which happens as a result of the significantly decreased blood sugar levels. The best way to cope with keto fatigue while staying true to the diet’s strict regimen is to find vitamin B–rich foods, such as avocados, which are proven energy-boosters.

In summary, our body breaks down fats into usable energy while in a state of ketosis. Ketones stand in for glucose as the primary fuel for the body. By avoiding carbohydrates like grains, sugar, bread, and even most fruit and focusing on eating meats, eggs, cheese, fish, butter and oils, the body begins to burn fat to create energy. These keto diet foods not only aid weight-loss but also stabilize insulin production which may be beneficial for diabetics and epileptics.

Carnivore vs Keto

While the keto and carnivore diets both effectively decrease blood sugar levels by virtually eliminating carbs, the carnivore diet is significantly less draining, physically and psychologically. Simply put, whereas ketosis requires healthy fats to be the focus of your diet, the carnivore program relies almost exclusively on protein.

Nevertheless, because going keto offers more of a variety of foods, it leaves the door open to receive the necessary nutrients and minerals. On the other hand, the carnivore diet requires more vigilance in order to steer clear of nutritional deficiencies.

With that being said, it’s essential that you make an effort to eat animal products that you typically may have ignored, such as organ meats, bone marrow, and even a variety of wild game.

Although both the keto and carnivore diets are proven to be effective weight loss methods, they take different roads to arrive at the same destination. In addition to keeping you fuller for longer, the carnivore high protein diet promotes healthy weight loss by minimizing your caloric intake and how much food you need to eat to achieve satiety.

Conversely, the keto plan causes your body to go into a minor form of shock as a result of switching from glucose to fat is the primary source of energy. While this shift ultimately boosts your metabolism and energy levels, there is often a brutal readjustment phase before your body is accustomed to ketosis. In contrast, it’s considerably easier to stick to the carnivore diet since it doesn’t disturb your body’s natural digestive and metabolic processes.

Weight Loss

Dukan Diet

The Dukan Diet is one of those fad diets that just seem too good to be true. The French meal plan is formulated like a quasi-keto system, limiting carb intake to burn fat and ultimately lose weight. The four-stage program puts calories on the backburner and utilizes smart protein consumption to provide users with quick weight loss. So while it’s one of those types of diets that work fast it really isn’t the best diet to lose weight.

The high protein diet is certainly not known for its ease or convenience, though there are plenty of recipes and resources readily available. As an added bonus, eating out is doable and you won’t ever go hungry.

What are the negative health effects of a high-protein diet?

So many fitness blogs and experts talk about how to get more protein while many of us are totally unaware of how much protein is too much or not enough. It’s completely irresponsible how much focus is put on all those protein bars, shakes, and powders without warning about excessive intake. For instance, chronic high protein consumption can result in serious medical issues involving the stomach, kidneys, and blood vessels.

To find a healthy balance of daily protein intake, simply calculate 0.8 grams of protein per kilogram of your ideal body weight. This means that an adult weighing 165 lbs. should be eating approximately 60 grams of protein a day ([165 lbs./2.2 pounds per kg] × 0.8 g protein per kg).

Paleo Diet

Paleo is a no-nonsense, high protein diet geared to replicate the nutrition of our primitive ancestors. As such, the Paleo Diet has users cut out highly-processed carbohydrates and dairy, while focusing on meat, fish, fruit, and vegetables.

The Paleo system is not particularly useful for losing a lot of weight, but you will notice a major shift in how you feel. There are plenty of resources available to help dieters along the Paleo path, which makes it one of the easier plans to adhere to. I’m a big believer of the Paleo Diet because it is one of the most natural diets out there.    

Military Diet

The Military Diet is a misnomer, as it has no actual connection to any of the armed forces. Although it has been around for quite some time, the restrictive program is experiencing a resurgence in popularity.  

How difficult is the 3 day military diet?

The Military Diet is known as one of the most difficult and restrictive diets to adhere to. It requires tremendous discipline and structure, maybe hinting to why it was given the military moniker. In short, the Military Diet has users eat a restricted diet for three days, then eat a different limited plan for four days, and the cycle continues until you reach your target weight.

The Military regimen is the epitome of a crash diet, as it promises maximum short-term weight loss based on a starvation-platform. The Military Diet menu can be too tough to handle, though many dieters get sucked into the appealing idea of having four days a week off. Besides for insufficient evidence to suggest any legitimate benefits of the crash program, some studies even indicate it could cause deterioration in heart function.

Mediterranean Diet

The Mediterranean Diet was recently voted by experts as the #1 diet (tied with DASH) by U.S. News & World Report. The premise of the popular regimen is that minimizing saturated fats, sugars, and red meat while adding nuts, fruits, and vegetables will lead to a longer, healthier life. Besides for promoting weight loss, the Mediterranean meal plan has been found to boost brain and heart health and help prevent chronic diseases.

Likewise, the Mediterranean Diet is consistently considered one of the easiest diets to follow since it’s more of an eating guide and not a structured diet. This plan is especially easy for people who already enjoy plant-based foods, healthy oils, seafood, tons of herbs and spices, and wine. I’m happy to recommend the Mediterranean diet for the simple reason that there is undeniable sociological evidence to back it up.   

Mediterranean Diet

Mayo Clinic Diet

The Mayo Clinic revolutionary food pyramid and eating plan is centered around the idea that less can be more. In practice, the Mayo Clinic Diet recommends maximizing your intake by choosing low-energy-dense foods over those filled with “empty” carbs and calories. For instance, the healthy diet menu may have you munch on hummus on a slice of whole grain toast instead of Nutella on white bread.

In essence, the Mayo Clinic Diet is all about making smarter choices, including adding physical activity and switching to healthier alternatives to your favorite foods. Research from the Mayo Clinic has shown that their premier diet plan delivers both short-term and long-term weight loss. Overall, the Mayo Clinic has become one of the most trusted-names in public health, which gives significant credence to their nutritional advice.

South Beach Diet

The South Beach Diet is one of the most classic weight loss programs from the 21st century that is categorically average. The popular plan isn’t particularly effective or easy-to-follow, though many users love the home-delivery system. Although the South Beach Diet doesn’t completely cut out all carbs, your intake will be limited in number to carbs low on the glycemic index.

Like the Mayo Clinic Diet, the South Beach plan focuses more on healthy alternatives than outright restrictions. For instance, you can still eat carbs, calories, and fats, but you will be cutting out unhealthy forms such as saturated and trans fats.

While reports show that the South Beach Diet can provide decent short-term weight loss, the program is still too limiting and expensive for some people. The monthly delivery plan can cost over $400, and will still leave you with a noteworthy shopping list.

Alkaline Diet

The Alkaline Diet is one of those fad diets with little scientific backing or positive research and feedback. It’s based on the principle that acid-forming foods can tip your natural pH levels out of whack and lead to a variety of health conditions.

The human body is a complex interconnected network of cells which can accomplish miraculous things. This unfathomable cohesive system is responsible for keeping us alive thanks to its self-regulating capabilities.

pH Scale

One of the most extraordinary and precarious responsibilities is acid-base management. Your body’s pH level is somewhere between 7.35 and 7.45, any deviation outside of this range can mean instant death. As a result, your kidneys and lungs work together to ensure that your blood maintains a healthy balance between alkalinity and acidity.

In situations where your pH level is too high, the lungs slow down your breathing rate to increase CO2 production, thereby increasing the blood’s acidity. Conversely, your kidneys are responsible for regulating acidosis by retaining bicarbonate (HCO3-) and excreting hydron (H+) through sweat and urine.

The fact that the body is so adept at regulating your internal pH levels makes me skeptical about the Alkaline Diet. The fad plan recommends a plant-based food regimen, eliminating alcohol and cigarettes, cutting out coffee, emphasizing whole grains, and then maybe, just maybe, you’ll lose a few pounds.  

Whole 30 Diet

The Whole30 program boasts itself as a month-long plan to change the rest of your life. In fact, the founders are quick to dismiss the diet title. Instead, they believe Whole30 has the power to rewire your body, effectively rebalancing hormones, eradicating cravings, improving immunity, and preventing chronic health conditions.

The idea behind Whole30 is relatively simple: cut out everything but whole and unprocessed foods. While it may sound extreme, surveys indicate that adherents like having an attainable short-term goal. It may not be the easiest diet out there, but at least it’s only 30 days. Although there is still minimal clinical research, some studies have found Whole30 to be a legitimate weight loss and health plan.

Apple Cider Vinegar Diet

What is the Apple Cider Vinegar Diet?

Unlike many traditional weight loss programs, the apple cider vinegar diet requires practically no effort, which is why it’s garnering such a loyal following. Most of these plans prescribe drinking 1-2 tablespoons of the tart liquid per day and don’t require its adherents to modify their eating habits. Although the popular diet won’t deliver any astonishing results, it is an easy and effective way to shed a few pounds, regulate cholesterol, and promote overall well-being.

How does it work?

Apple cider vinegar (ACV) promotes weight loss thanks to the detoxing effects of acetic acid, the main chemical component in vinegar. Similarly, ACV effectively reduces bloating by curbing excess water retention, which is one of the primary causes of obesity. However, ACV’s ability to aid in weight loss goes even further. In fact, apple cider vinegar is a proven anti-inflammatory and metabolism booster which has also illustrated a remarkable ability to regulate digestion. In addition to fighting harmful toxins and bacteria, ACV eases digestion by extending the digestive process, ultimately leaving you satiated for longer and reducing your caloric intake.

 

Dash Diet 

The new and improved DASH Diet (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension) is regularly regarded as one of the all-around best diets out there. In fact, it’s an understatement to say that the DASH Diet is good for your heart. The DASH Diet is, by all means, the ideal program for regulating heart health, including blood pressure, cholesterol, stroke, heart failure, and even diabetes.

The high blood pressure diet menu consists of foods rich in calcium, protein, low-fat dairy, whole grains, fruits, and vegetables to push your body to peak efficiency. Similarly, the DASH program discourages saturated fats, sweets, and added salt. Nevertheless, it is still widely considered one of the easiest diets to maintain.

In addition to a wide range of available resources, the DASH Diet is popular due to its ability to keep you full, feeling well, and losing weight.  

Heart Disease

Liquid Diet

Although there is still much debate regarding liquid calories and feeling full, it’s clear that people who drink their calories do not tend to consume any fewer calories later. In other words, even those who feel full after drinking juice, milk, or other high-calorie drinks are still likely to eat a normal amount at their next meal. As a result, these people can be potentially doubling their intended calorie intake and ultimately ruin their diet plans.

The problem with juicing is that it may not be as good for you as you might think. In fact, besides for being ineffective at causing weight loss, juicing fruits and vegetables actually removes a lot of their healthy fibers, vitamins, and nutrients. Instead, consider switching from juices to smoothies. Smoothies, although blended, still contains most of the healthy components from your ingredients.

If you have the choice to get your calories from solid food or juices, you definitely ought to pick food. Because juices do not leave you feeling full for long, you are likely to consume more calories later. Additionally, keep in mind that fructose, the natural sugar found in fruits, gets processed by the liver. If you are juicing and overwhelming your liver, you may be damaging the organ in addition to potentially gaining weight.

Overall, juicing may seem like a good idea, but the risks far outweigh the benefits. Yes, juicing is a great way to get your daily intake of fruits and vegetables, but there’s a lot more to take into account. For instance, people who juice end up ingesting more calories more often than not.

Takeaways

Don’t fall for fad diets – An unhealthy diet can lead to obesity and other health risks. By maintaining a balanced diet you’re not only nourishing yourself but there are other benefits too. What you eat impacts your brain function so eating a stable diet can enhance your mood and reduce stress. As if that wasn’t enough, it can also increase productivity. Your brain needs fuel to work efficiently so a healthy diet means your brain is working to its maximum ability.

Understand Fats – While fats are one of the first nutritional facts people worry about, it’s crucial to not cut them out completely. First, it’s essential to understand the difference between healthy and unhealthy fats, and where to find them. Besides for providing necessary energy, healthy fats are also key players for a healthy brain and heart. For starters, try to avoid saturated and trans fats and instead opt for the healthier, unsaturated fats that can be found in fish, walnuts, and avocados for example.  

Embrace moderation – The best thing you can do to lose weight is learning to embrace moderation. Instead of cutting out your favorite foods, I recommend both finding healthier alternatives and cutting down on portion sizes.

Calorie counting – While it’s true that reducing the number of calories you eat will aid in weight-loss be careful on how many you cut. Eating as few calories as possible sends your body into starvation mode. This means that not only is your metabolism slowed down but the next time you eat your body stores this food as fats. It thinks it needs to bulk up, as who knows when the next meal will be?

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