Diet Plans & Programs: The "Skinny" on Popular Diet Plans

Weight Watchers Review

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Aim for at least 30 grams a day and you'll be on the right track. The Atkins diet web site states the current plan "is about eating delicious and healthy foods, which makes it so much better than any of those fad diets out there. The other negative aspect of this diet is that the prepackaged foods contain the artificial sweeteners Sucaralose and Acesulfame K. Our fat intake remains above the recommendations, but the percent of our total calories from fat has come down because we are now consuming more calories. Okay, this one's not for weight loss per se, but if you've got high cholesterol or are at risk for heart disease, your doc might suggest switching up your diet to get your numbers in check.

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30 Top Diet Plans That Are Actually Worth Trying

These foods will provide a high volume without a lot of calories. By replacing foods that are considered high-calorie dense, you save additional calories.

Some find it more satisfying to focus on consuming low-calorie dense foods in large quantities versus counting calories. The Pritikin diet also encourages daily exercise and stress -reduction techniques.

The most controversial part of this diet is the severe fat restriction. There has been a considerable amount of research showing the health benefits of omega-3 fats, including protecting your heart. The American Heart Association now recommends that people without coronary heart disease eat a variety of omega-3 fat-containing fish at least twice a week and that those with coronary heart disease consume one gram of omega-3 fats per day. Dietary fat is also needed to transport the fat-soluble vitamins A, D, E, and K.

Without fat to transport them, they will not be able to serve their functions in your body. Our diets are meant to have a balance of protein, carbohydrates, and fat. When you consume too little of one of these nutrients it means you are consuming too much of another nutrient.

Most people who follow a very low-fat diet end up consuming an excess amount of carbohydrates. Too much of any nutrient can cause health problems. The Dietary Reference Intake DRI established the need for each one of these nutrients based on research for optimal health and weight.

If you follow the Pritikin Principle it would be best to adjust your intake to meet the DRI guidelines. The Zone diet is a high-protein, low-carbohydrate, fat-controlled eating plan. It is not as restrictive as other high-protein diets and it allows for a broad range of foods to be consumed. A small amount of protein is combined with twice the amount of "favorable" carbohydrates, including fruits and vegetables.

If choosing "less desirable" carbohydrates, the portion size is smaller. Sears' Zone diet is based on the theory that the human body is genetically programmed to reach peak efficiency when all meals, including snacks, consist of a set caloric ratio of carbohydrates, proteins, and fats.

When this ratio is achieved, the body is working within the "zone. The Zone diet promotes eating a balance of each nutrient, without severely restricting calories. Protein increases your feeling of fullness, helping you to avoid eating between meals, and there is a guide to what kind of fat you can consume. Healthy fats are encouraged in place of the saturated and trans fats.

The calorie restriction will help you lose weight. The claims made about the health implications of carbohydrates and protein are controversial. As with other fad diets, one nutrient is being made to look like the enemy carbohydrates , while protein is made to look like the key to weight loss and health.

Most diets that are against carbohydrates use the arguments that we consume less fat and more carbohydrates than we did 10 years ago, and obesity is on the rise. This is half true. We consume more carbohydrates, which means we consume more calories. Our fat intake remains above the recommendations, but the percent of our total calories from fat has come down because we are now consuming more calories. Again, research clearly shows that a balance of each of these nutrients is needed and that an excess or deficiency in any of them will cause problems.

This diet can be difficult to stick with long-term, so weight regain can be an issue. The South Beach Diet. The South Beach diet is the newest high-protein, low carbohydrate, and fat-controlled diet. This diet claims that the cause for obesity "is simple: The faster the sugars and the starches you eat are processed and absorbed into your bloodstream, the fatter you get.

The first phase claims to eliminate cravings and kick-start weight loss; the second phase is for long-term, steady weight loss; and the third phase is to be followed for days a year once you have achieved your weight loss goal. The second and third phases of this diet promote a balanced diet that can be beneficial to your health and weight. These phases promote consistent meal times, healthy snacks and desserts, and water. The meal plans and recipes can be useful for those who need some guidance on what to eat.

There are now six other books and an interactive web site supporting this plan. The theory behind the diet is not the reason you will lose weight if you follow this plan. Weight loss can only occur when you consume fewer calories than your body needs. In the introduction chapter the author makes numerous claims that you do not need to limit the quantity of food that you consume and then provides portion restrictions on many high calorie foods, such as nuts.

It's appealing to hear you can eat unlimited quantities, but weight loss will not be achieved without limitations. The initial phase of this diet should be avoided. This two-week phase claims to produce a weight loss of eight to 13 pounds with severe dietary restrictions; including fruit, dairy, and starches. Phases like this are usually included so people see quick results, but are limited in time because they are not nutritionally balanced and can't be followed for a long period.

It tends to be more discouraging than motivating to lose quickly and to feel like you are "on a diet. It's best to begin slowly and to always consume a nutritionally balanced diet. Eat more, weigh less: Eat More, Weigh Less is one of the few diets developed as a result of research.

The primary goal of this diet was to reverse heart disease. The basis for this diet is to consume a high-fiber, low-fat, vegetarian diet with limited amounts of dairy foods.

The goal is to consume primarily complex carbohydrates vegetables, fruit, and whole grains , low total fat primarily from omega-3 fatty acids and limited in saturated fat, and low sugar. Physical activity and stress management are also emphasized. The research does support the health benefits of this diet, and you will lose weight if you stick with the plan. The web site provides recipes and detailed information on nutrition , exercise, and stress management.

The primary con to this diet is that it can be extremely limited and difficult for some people to follow. This limitation is because meat is omitted from the plan. Cutting out an entire food group may be too much of a restriction to maintain over the long-term, so some people do best by modifying this diet to allow for a moderate amount of meat. The high fiber intake may also pose a problem initially. It's best to slowly increase the amount of fiber you consume so your body can get used to it.

The goal is always long-term weight loss and maintenance. This diet does have the research to support it, but it may need modifications to make it work for you. Jenny Craig has become best-known for the celebrities who are followed while losing weight on this diet.

They explain how easy it is and how delicious the food is, and you see the results as they are happening. This diet provides you with your foods and snacks to ensure you consume the exact amount of calories your body needs to lose weight. You add fresh produce and dairy. You meet with a consultant on a weekly basis to discuss your progress, and who will assist you with transitioning to your own food when you are ready to do so. Physical activity is emphasized throughout the diet.

The primary advantage to this diet is that you will lose weight if you eat what you are given. Portion-and-calorie-controlled meals are great tools for long-term weight loss and maintenance.

They take away the guesswork of how many calories you consume, they can be nutritionally balanced, they are quick and easy to prepare, and they teach you about healthy portion sizes. As with all diets, nothing works for everyone, and nothing works forever. The celebrity endorsements are great when they work, but the celebrities who regain their weight once they discontinue this plan are proving that this is not the answer for everyone.

Many people prefer to be able to eat food they prepare and do not like the idea of prepackaged foods. The consultants are not professionals in this field. They undergo a training course but are not trained therapists, registered dietitians, or exercise physiologists, so the advice and support that you receive will be limited to what they have been taught to say. If you are taking any medications or have any health conditions, it is best to work with trained professionals. The NutriSystem Advanced diet is a low glycemic index , high-fiber, and high-protein diet.

The prepackaged food is provided for you by ordering online or by calling the toll free number. This diet does address the three necessary components for successful weight loss and maintenance; diet, physical activity, and behavior. Prepackaged foods can be an effective tool for weight loss. You will be provided with the appropriate number of calories for weight loss without having to worry about counting anything. This will give you the opportunity to learn what appropriate portion sizes are and which foods are necessary for a well-balanced diet based on your specific needs.

The variety of programs based on gender, age, health, and dietary preference is another positive component of this diet. The Mindset Makeover was developed by one of the leading psychologists in the weight loss field, Gary Foster, Ph. It is designed to "help people learn new behaviors when it comes to weight loss and related lifestyle issues. You are given access to this and an online account with community support as part of each of the programs.

Prepackaged foods are not for everyone and typically not something to use forever. They can be very limiting and create the sense of being "on a diet. Most people find that they only want to use this type of a diet for the short-term or for one or two meals per day. The other negative aspect of this diet is that the prepackaged foods contain the artificial sweeteners Sucaralose and Acesulfame K. Our proven program is not a diet.

Yes, you will lose weight. The current program is pretty simple, in that every food has a value. SmartPoints are calculated based on calories, saturated fat, sugar, and protein.

You simply adhere to your allotted points. There are no forbidden foods. And that phrase alone is for some the ah-ha! Weight Watchers explains that it takes the complex nutritional information of a food and gives it a single number—the SmartPoints value—so people can make smarter food choices while eating the stuff they like to eat. Well, some of it anyway. And, each week you get bonus points—which, when I did Weight Watchers in my last go-round, I banked and then pigged out on Friday nights.

Just Ben, Jerry, and me. Anyway, the idea of points is smart, easy, and doable. And I mean not just parking further away from the store entrance. Get your heart rate up and keep it up with fat-burning, good-for-your-heart exercise.

I swim albeit not enough. You can walk, run, jog, row, climb, spin, bike, step, jump, skip, kick—you get the idea. And do it at least 30 minutes every day—or at least most days of the week—as best as you can fit in your already ridiculously hectic life. Actually, make it your time; take 30 minutes, put headphones on, and do it. And, it turns out, even during the most seemingly mundane of tasks, you earn FitPoints which you add to your total points for the day.

FitPoints is also a smart idea. Weight Watchers explains it this way:. FIT is about getting back in touch with your body. Weight Watchers has several dozen videos, workouts, demos, fitness plans, and challenges. And all of this can be managed on a handy, popular app. The Weight Watchers mobile app for smartphones and devices helps dieters to track weight loss progress, manage SmartPoints and FitPoints, shop for and plan meals, and offers social networking with other members.

Every step you take, every bite you eat, kept track of. The mobile app for Android has almost , reviews on Google Play with an overall rating of 4. Reviewers find it easy to use, convenient, and it helps dieters stay on track.

Similarly, on iTunes, more than 2, real people reviewed the current iteration of the app and gave it a close to 5 stars. Even the previous versions of the app—with 12, reviews—agreed it was effective, easy to use, and helped Weight Watchers dieters keep track. On the Weight Watchers app you can live chat with a coach and—for a lot of people who are focused on the fitness in the program and want a fuller health-tech experience—toggle to the Activity tab to your track activeness.

And if you have an Apple Watch, wireless scales, and an activity tracker—like Up by Jawbone or Apple Health, for example—you can connect them to your Weight Watchers account. Along with Weight Watchers online, a virtual and brick-and-mortar support network yes, there are still meetings, absolutely!

W hat does Weight Watchers cost? A little secret from me: Once you have done Weight Watchers, you know how to do Weight Watchers—so as some say, you can do it without paying. Remember I said that accountability, motivation, community, and support are the secrets to Weight Watchers? In fact, Weight Watchers itself—even in this day and age where everything is online—recommends the plan you go with is the one with meetings: But, as of fall of , there are three plans:.

Just read the fine print. If you follow it. If you fall off the tracks, you just get back on. When I did my first round with Weight Watchers, I lost 4 pounds the first week and I have to tell you, I remember that day like it was yesterday. I stuck with it for 11 more weeks and ended up dropping 23 pounds. But it can work for you. We chubbies will do anything, try anything , to lose weight! I can say that: Just the facts, and the facts are that Weight Watchers ticks most of the good boxes— most being the operative word there.

The study found that. Further, high usage of 3 access modes was associated with greater weight loss results. In other words, the meetings, the online support, the App, all make a big difference. British journal The Lancet published a study which followed several hundred people for a year; half on a diet recommended by their doctor and the other half on Weight Watchers. The majority of the participants on Weight Watchers stuck to the diet and lost twice as much weight as the doctor-diet group.

Finally, the American Diabetes Association has studied Weight Watchers and found that meeting attendance combined with an emphasis on healthy eating—including veggies, fruit and high-fiber, low trans-fat foods—makes it a good commercial diet choice with better, and healthier, results.

How about Weight Watchers reviews? A picture is worth a thousand words, and for me the before-and-after of performer Jennifer Hudson is all you need to see to know Weight Watchers works. She lost 80 pounds. Medifast and Nutrisystem offer diet programs for weight loss that use a combination of packaged products and fresh foods in their meal plans. Ask your doctor for advice if you are considering a weight loss diet.

You get about calories per day, and Medifast claims you can lose 2 to 5 pounds per week on the program. Once a week, Nutrisystem delivers your meals and snacks to your home, and you supplement them with your own fresh food purchases. The diet can help you lose about 1 to 2 pounds per week. You can choose five Medifast meals every day, and possibilities include pretzels, scrambled eggs, oatmeal, brownies and soups. If you prefer, you can accept the default menu that Nutrisystem suggests when you sign up for the program.

Medifast and Nutrisystem require you to purchase other foods in addition to the diet products.

What Is Weight Watchers?