Not all diets are created equal. In fact, some are downright dangerous. “Crash” or “fad” diets that promise short term weight loss involving dramatic changes to a person’s eating habits are tempting for some. But they are unsustainable, and the long term effects can be harmful.
It’s important to do you research before you jump in. Whether your motivation is to lose weight, or simply to eat better, there are several diets that offer long term benefits the healthy way.
Summary: People claim that the 80/20 isn’t a diet, but a lifestyle change that can lead to sustainable weight loss. The concept is eating whole, nutrient-rich foods 80 percent of the time, and splurge on ‘treats’, or less healthy food 20 percent of the time. The “diet” attempts to teach people about moderation and control.
What is included: Healthy, nutrient-rich foods such as lean protein, fresh vegetables and fruit, nuts, whole dairy, legumes and healthy fats such as olive oil, avocado and butter.
What is excluded: Technically, nothing is excluded, but you can only eat foods that are not considered “healthy” like cookies and French fries 20 percent of the time.
Works for: People looking for a sustainable lifestyle change that doesn’t involve deprivation or dramatic changes.
Summary: Introduced to the world in a sensational trend in the early 2000s, Atkins cut carbohydrates completely, claiming that the body could burn fat faster without them.
What is included: The foods that are allowed change as the weeks progress, but fish, unprocessed meat, eggs, cheese and specific vegetables are always included.
What is excluded: At the beginning of the diet, participants are only allowed 20 grams of carbs, but by the end after a slow reintroduction, participants can indulge in up to 100 grams per day.
Works for: People looking to drop weight quickly, but who don’t want to lose energy or risk hunger pains.
Summary: DASH is about helping people who are trying to be more mindful of their eating habits when it comes to lowering their blood sugar.
What is included: The majority of your plate should consist of legumes, lean protein, vegetables and fruit.
What is excluded: Foods that are high in sugar or processed.
Works for: People will high blood pressure who need to make a lifestyle change and those who want to be more mindful of their eating habits.