For weight loss decisions, experts suggest finding a diet method that suits the lifestyle

People who are determined to shed a few pounds in the new year face a confusing array of fashion diets and fast weight loss programs.

Those who weigh eating patterns and diet plans such as periodic fasting, the Keto diet, the Whole 30 program and the Mediterranean diet would do well to keep two primary facts in mind, nutritionists told HealthDay Now.

First, the diet that suits you depends to a large extent on what you like to eat and what fits best into your personal lifestyle.

“What works best for people is what you want to stick to, what’s comfortable for you. So if you’re looking to change your diet, first know yourself and do things you want to stick to, “said Dr. Lawrence Cheskin, Chair of Nutrition and Food Studies at George Mason University in Fairfax, Va.

“It’s useless to do any of these diets if you want to do them for a week and then go back to business as usual,” Cheskin said.

Second, any diet or eating pattern will only help you lose weight if you consume fewer calories than you burn day in and day out.

A good weight loss diet will contain all the nutrients you need to maintain health but limit your calories.

“Every time we reduce calorie intake, we will see weight loss,” said Caroline Susie, a registered Dallas dietitian and a spokeswoman for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.

Two of the eating patterns with the most science behind them – intermittent fasting and the Mediterranean diet – were not originally intended as a means of weight loss, the experts pointed out.

Fasting has ancient origins

Intermittent fasting requires people to eat only at certain hours of the day, or drastically limits their calorie intake on certain days of the week.

“Intermittent fasting is really about having a moment. The funny thing is that this diet has been around forever. In fact, many religions have been practicing intermittent fasting for many years,” Susie said. “As old and as historic value as this diet has, it has really gained its 15 minutes of fame now.”

“What’s nice is that it does not tell you what to eat. It tells you when to eat. If you are someone who is not a big fan of lists or what’s on my plan or not at my level, this may be an option for you, “Susie continued.

Studies have shown that intermittent fasting can help people control their weight about as well as typical diets, Cheskin said. He follows such a dietary pattern and eats only between kl. 7 and 19 every day.

“It probably works because it’s not quite as stressful. If you’ll have to adhere to a very strict diet 100% of the time, we all know that most people will not do it for a long time and they will not enjoy it,” said Cheskin.

But people with eating disorders should avoid fasting as it can trigger their food problems, Susie noted.

A heart-healthy opportunity

The Mediterranean diet has the most science behind it and is touted as a means of maintaining heart health – but again, it is not aimed at weight loss.

The diet is based on the cuisine of countries bordering the Mediterranean and is typically heavy in vegetables, fruits, whole grains, beans, nuts and unsaturated fats such as olive oil, according to the American Heart Association.

You can also eat low to moderate amounts of dairy products, eggs, fish and poultry.

“It’s a healthy diet, but not designed for weight loss,” Cheskin said. “Countries that tend to have a Mediterranean diet are not particularly thinner than any other country.”

“If you have nothing but healthy fats, they have as many calories as the unhealthy fats. It’s a good eating pattern, but if you want to use it to lose weight, then you also need to reduce fats and calories,” Cheskin said. .

The Mediterranean diet has been shown to reduce inflammation, which is associated with many different chronic diseases, Susie noted.

“I think it’s a wonderful way to eat, and it also allows for a glass of wine here and there,” Susie said. “I think it’s my favorite because it’s very spacious.”

Keto is not new

The keto diet is another trendy weight loss plan, though Susie warns that it is not a whole new concept.

“This diet has been around for a while,” Susie said earlier under the names Atkins or South Beach. “I feel like it has a really good marketing manager because this diet gets a new name on a regular basis.”

The keto diet greatly limits your intake of carbohydrates while increasing your intake of fats and proteins.

The goal is to reach a state of ketosis, “a metabolic state in which you burn fat for energy instead of burning carbohydrates for energy,” Susie said.

“Basically, you’re asking your body to work out fat instead of primarily carbohydrates in your diet,” Cheskin said.

However, the keto diet can be tough for a person.

“Getting there can be a bit brutal,” Susie said, noting that people new to the diet often suffer a few days of “Keto flu” where they feel dizzy, lethargic and headaches. Other common side effects are upset and constipation.

“When we remove some of these foods, we remove important nutrients and remove a lot of fiber,” which can lead to constipation, Susie said.

Keto’s weight on fat is also not very good for your heart, Cheskin added.

“In some ways, this is a heart attack diet,” he said. “Eat all the bacon you fancy, just do not have potatoes – yes, you are eating a diet that is the opposite of what preventative cardiology would tell you to do.”

People will lose weight on Keto if they eat less, “but you would probably gain greater health benefits if you lose a similar amount of weight by using a diet that is healthier,” Cheskin said.

Beware of all 30

Cheskin and Susie were the most critical of the Whole 30 program, a diet in which participants cut off added sugar, grains, legumes and dairy products for a solid month.

“What’s a little worrying about the Whole 30 diet is that it was founded by people with limited nutritional education,” said Susie. “It’s extremely restrictive. In 30 days, you’re going to eliminate a lot of different food groups.”

The diet requires you to cut out foods like beans or low-fat dairy products that are generally considered nutritional heavyweights, Susie said.

“I like that this way of eating encourages you to eat more fresh fruits and vegetables. But to demonize an entire category for no clinical reason, this is where some of the red flags go up,” Susie said.

“Unless you have an allergy, there is no clinical reason why you should avoid dairy products, why you should avoid beans, and why you should avoid complex carbohydrates,” Susie said.

The entire 30-day diet “will tend to reduce inflammation and can cause weight loss depending on how many calories you eat,” Cheskin said. “It is not intended to produce weight loss specifically, but can certainly be used for it. It is designed by sports nutritionists.”

After the first 30 days, people can start reintroducing things like beans that they have taken out of their diet, Cheskin said.

The best diet: One you stick to

However, such restrictive diets can be difficult to maintain for most people and people will tend to fall off the wagon over time, experts said.

Susie said her eating pattern is pretty simple:

  • A breakfast with low-sugar yogurt in Greek style with some nuts added.
  • Lunch is a sandwich on wholemeal bread with vegetables next to it, such as a salad, sliced ​​cucumber or cherry tomatoes.
  • An afternoon snack of a piece of fruit and a piece of cheese.
  • A dinner with half a plate of fruits and vegetables, a quarter plate of lean meat and a quarter plate of complex carbohydrates like a potato – “I love potatoes,” said Susie. There is no such thing as a cheat day for her, Susie concluded.

“I have a strong belief that all foods can fit. If I feel like something, I will honor that urge and get a small amount of whatever it is,” Susie said.

“If I’m out to eat and someone wants to share a few bites of dessert, it’s not going to throw me out. I just want to get back to my plan as soon as I’m on my way to the next meal or snack,” Susie said. .

More information

The Academy of Dietetics and Nutrition has more on fashion diets.

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