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.
The Fast Diet
Summary: Followers of the Fast Diet eat normally on certain days of the week and then eat virtually nothing on other days (hence fast).
What is included: This is a 5:2 intermittent fast, meaning you eat normally for five days of the week and then cut your calories intake for the remaining two days by three-quarters (so you end up eating one quarter of the calories).
What is excluded: One the two fast days, you will literally not eat meals like breakfast, lunch or dinner.
Works for: Those who need clearly defined rules in order to adhere to a diet. Those looking for a short term diet to drop weight and those who are able to maintain their energy levels on very little calories.
The Macrobiotic Diet
Summary: The Macrobiotic Diet hails from Japan and has made waves in the United States in recent years. It emphasizes a reduction of toxins in the diet and encourages a mostly plant-based diet of whole foods. It includes the concept that food is medicine, which has been used to treat illness and lower the risk of heart disease in patients.
What is included: Vegetables, fruit, whole grains and fish are all included. Organic vegetables and grains only.
What is excluded: Eggs, poultry, red meat, dairy and any processed foods. Any nightshade vegetable such as eggplant and tomatoes.
Works for: Those looking for an organic, whole-food diet free from toxins and processed ingredients.
Summary: Popular with the CrossFit junkies, the Paleo diet is designed to mirror the eating habits of Paleolithic people, and adhering to foods that were available during their time.
What is included: Seasonal vegetables and fruit (Turnip in the winter, strawberries in the summer), and high-quality grass-fed meats.
What is excluded: Potatoes, grains, dairy, legumes, refined sugar and processed foods.
Works for: People who won’t miss sugar (too much) and those who want to eat seasonally and locally.