Archive for diets
Is it possible to actually get a lab test to see what diet may work for you?
Believe it or not, there is a genetic test available to determine how well a low fat vs a low carbohydrate diet will work for you. For those of you who have tried the Adkin’s diet and not lost significant weight, this may be the answer! A small study done many years ago compared women on either the Adkin’s diet, Zone diet, or Ornish diet. The research found that women whose diets matched their genetic predisposition were far more successful at weight loss.
Many people lose weight on a high protein, low carbohydrate diet. Since most westerners consume a diet high in processed carbohydrates. Many of these carbohydrates that are processed are basically broken down quickly to sugar, therefor the weight loss is often related to calorie restriction. Most of these diets severely limit starches, which contain a fair amount of calories. However, another cause may be the lack of inflammatory foods in a high protein, low carb diet.
There is also the theory that inflammatory diets are contributing to weight gain. This is not so much through the actual calories consumed, but more related to inflammation causing a hormone response that triggers fat deposition. When you consume too many processed carbohydrates, the sugar in your blood stream rises. Over time, your body can become resistant to the forces that should be taking care of this rise in blood sugar. With no where to go, the sugar, or glucose, gets converted to fat for storage. Additionally, you body becomes resistant to the signal that you are full.
Having insulin resistance and leptin resistance is not a good situation for weight loss!
Inflammatory foods for you may be dairy, yes that includes cheese/yogurt/milk; sorry. It most certainly contains sugar in all forms, including alcohol (wine,beer, distilled liquor). Wheat can be a big culprit also as gluten sensitive people can tell you.
An anti-inflammatory diet would contain many vegetables, fruits, chicken and maybe beef. Lamb and pork, as well as turkey would need to be tested. Nuts and seeds are usually fine, but they are high in calories so you need t watch quantity. Grains can be tested by adding one at a time, say every few days. If you become bloated, tired, or puffy; this may be a sign that a specific food may be inflammatory for you.
So to fit into your jeans, you don’t need to have your genes tested. Devise a stream lined diet without inflammatory foods, and consume this diet for several days. Then, slowly add in a few of your favorite foods and see how your system deals with it. Trial and error will tell you what foods to consume to lose weight and keep it off.
Doing so will teach you to become more in tuned with your body, as well as allow you to chose how much of a given food you want to make as part of your diet.
Again, it is all about choices. Knowledge gives you the ability to make the choices that are best for you, in order to help you achieve your goals.
The Zone Diet
is a nutritional approach linked to genetics and evolution of man.
The theory is: since grains, potatoes, and breads did not exist 8,000
years ago, humans are not genetically able to efficiently digest and process these
foods. There has not been enough time for adequate genetic mutation to have occurred
for this digestion to exist as it should for these foods to be a proper energy
source for us.
Historically, diets thousands of years ago were high in natural carbohydrates such
as vegetables and fruits, as well as lean protein. Now, our diets tend to be
high in simple carbohydrates. This causes spikes of insulin which causes food
energy to be stored as fat.
Insulin production can be controlled if the diet consists of complex carbohydrates,
protein and fat. Both protein and fat do not cause the spikes of insulin that refined
carbohydrates can. This control of insulin production is the cornerstone of
The Zone Diet.
The Zone Diet claims that keeping insulin within a therapeutic “Zone” causes a improved
burn off of excess fat, improved mental focus, improved energy and vitality. Every
meal is designed to consist of 40% carbohydrate, 30% fat and 30% protein.
The rules of The Zone Diet are as follows:
1. Interval between meals is 4-6 hours
2. Have a meal or snack within 1 hour of awakening
3. Have a meal 2-2.5 hours after a snack
4. Before each meal or snack, assess hunger level. If you are not hungry and your mind
is clear, you are in “The Zone”
5. Drink #8, 8 oz glasses of water daily
6. Start your meal/snack with a low fat protein and add healthy carbohydrate with low
glycemic index and healthy fat such as olive oil, raw nuts
7. Meal protein amounts should be 3 oz for women and 4 oz for men
This diet is effective and like other successful diets, causes weight loss mainly
because of calorie restriction due to low intake of starchy carbohydrates and
sugars. It is meant to be combined with an exercise program in order to help
with weight loss. It allows grains, and the website can give you a specific meal
plan day by day for people who like this sort of specific help. It also has numerous
recipes for people who want to devise their own meal plan.
There is a list of foods that are allowed as well as foods that are to be restricted,
giving more guidance on what The Zone Diet considers a low density carbohydrate or
healthy fats. There is separate plans for men and women, as well as vegetarian.
The problems with this diet is that the food groups are divided into segments. When
you plug in your information, you are told you can eat X amount of segments from each
food group. You then go to the food list page to choose your foods. This utilizes the
idea of exchanges which is effective but can seem confusing. It can also take more
time and energy to figure out what you may want to eat for a given day.
Additionally, if you want a bread or a pasta you are encouraged to buy it from them
via the Internet store. This does not teach you healthy choices in the real world.
This is otherwise a fairly good diet with a wide arrange of choices and recipes
that seem simple to cook and prepare. Most of the program on the website is free, books
are also available as recipe guides. Additionally, the diet does encourage continuation
as a maintenance diet.
The Dean Ornish Diet was developed in the 1970′s by a physician and cardiologist,
Dr. Dean Ornish. He developed this diet to help patients with high cholesterol
and cardiovascular disease. This diet has been well studied in its’ day and felt
to be effective and revolutionary in its claim to reverse cardiovascular disease.
This diet consists of eating a plant based diet that is extremely low in
fat and absent of all animal protein and most dairy. Dr Ornish claims this will
drastically improve your health and help you to loose weight. The diet plan also
advocates exercise as part of its success, aiming for 30 minutes a day of
mixed exercise. This diet was initially developed to reverse heart blockages, so
was not necessarily marketed for everyone.
The diet consists of limiting your fat calories to 10% of total calories consumed.
You can have unlimited amounts of most vegetables, grains, and legumes. You are
encouraged to avoid the following:
- all meats, fish and fowl
- nuts and seeds
- oils, bottled salad dressings, butter and margarine
- sugar and sugar containing drinks including alcohol
- any commercially prepared item containing more than 2 gms of fat
Foods that are allowed are as follows:
- Beans and legumes
- all vegetables except those mentioned above
- all fruits
- non-fat dairy is allowed in moderation
You are not required to count calories as this diet ends up eliminating
most high calorie items. This is a high carbohydrate, low fat and low
This diet could work because:
- It is low calorie and low fat
- Encourages exercise
- Foods are healthy, recipes are tasty
- A great diet for vegetarians
This diet would most likely not work for most people because:
- It is too restrictive
- Fat allowance is too low and as a result you could be hungry
- Hard to maintain a restrictive and low fat diet
- You may not like vegetables this much
- More recent research has shown the benefits of healthy fats
While I agree that a plant based diet is probably the healthiest, I do not
feel this is an appropriate diet for most people. I think it may be a good
diet for vegetarians although I would advocate for a higher content of
The Atkins Diet was devised in 1972 by Dr Robert Atkins, a cardiologist, to aid in weight loss.
It focuses on controlling levels of insulin by limiting intake of large amounts of carbohydrate.
Carbohydrates in the form of starches such as pasta, rice, breads, and potatoes, are generally
quickly digested resulting in a quick rise in blood glucose. The body then releases a load of insulin
to handle this quick rise of glucose. Because this quick release of glucose is usually not needed for
immediate use, the insulin causes this glucose to be converted to fat (triglycerides). This quick rise and fall of
blood glucose can cause food cravings and excessive hunger. Complex carbohydrates in the form of
vegetables and whole grains that have not been processed, or stripped of their outer shells, are
more slowly digested. Protein is not digested quickly and does not cause this rapid rise and fall of
glucose and insulin. Fat, additionally, slows digestion and helps with feeling full and satisfied.
The Atkins Diet is a 4 phase eating program combined with use of vitamin and mineral supplements, as well as
regular exercise. It involves eating a very low carbohydrate diet as well as higher levels of protein
than most people are accustomed to. This causes the body to switch from glucose burning for energy,
to fat burning for energy. This is called ketosis. When glucose is low, insulin is low and the body
turns to stored fat for energy.
Phase 1 is called Induction. The calorie consumption from carbohydrates is limited to 20 gms a day.
This would include salads, and low starch vegetables. Fruits are limited as the increased sugar
content of fruit increases its grams of carbohydrates.
Phase 2 is called OWL for ongoing weight loss. Nutrient density and fiber rich carbohydrates are
added. The allowed grams of carbohydrate allowed becomes 25 gms week 1, then 30 gms weekly until
weight loss slows or stops. Then the person is to reduce carbohydrates by 5 gms if additional weight
loss is desired.
Phase 3 is the maintenance phase. Carbohydrates are increased by 10 gms daily each week until weight
is stable or weight loss is very gradual.
Phase 4 is last phase where additional carbohydrates are added and weight is carefully monitored so
as not to cause weight gain.
This diet is effective for weight loss and it helps you loose your cravings for sugar in the form of
sweets and desserts, as well as the starches mentioned above (white rice, bread, pastas and potatoes).
In The Atkins Diet Revolution, the claim is made that the body burns more calories on this diet than
other diets. Studies have been done to evaluate this claim. In general, it is felt that this is not
accurate but that weight loss occurs because this diet is low in calories due to lack of carbohydrates.
The problems with this diet are numerous.
It will not work if you are vegetarian.
It is hard to stay with over time because of the highly restrictive nature.
It tends to be much higher in fat and can cause a rise in cholesterol and triglycerides if care to
choose healthy low fat meats is not taken.
Your brain and muscles need glucose for metabolism and cramps, fatigue, weakness, diarrhea and rashes
tend to occur
Some studies suggest dietary fat from vegetables are associated with 30% lower risk of heart disease
as compared to diets containing fat from animals.
The increased protein consumption can cause problems for the kidneys. This diet is NOT recommended for
people with any degree of kidney impairment.
The restriction of carbohydrates can cause vitamin deficiencies if supplements are not added.
Remember to evaluate any diet you choose for whether it feels right for you. Talk with your provider
before starting any diet that seems to restrict large groups of foods to ensure it is safe for you.
Choose a diet you believe you can stick with and that works with your lifestyle.
How to lose weight
When deciding to lose weight, diet is the most important change
you can make. What you eat directly relates to your weight. It
is important to change your diet in a way that enables you to make
this change a permanent part of your daily routine. The best diets
contain the types of foods you eat regularly with the exception of
most high fat and high calorie foods. The right diet for you should
be relatively easy to fit into your lifestyle and contain tasty,
easy recipes made with foods readily available and affordable to
I have reviewed The Atkins Diet Revolution,
The South Beach Diet, The Zone Diet, Weight Watchers and The Dean
There are numerous, what I call quirky diets, that I have not
specifically reviewed. The most popular ones are the Master Cleanse
Diet (otherwise known as the Lemonade Diet) and The Cabbage Soup
Diet. These diets are effective for immediate short term weight loss
but it is primarily water weight that is lost. Any weight lost is
usually gained back immediately upon stopping the diet. These
diets are so restrictive, they can only be done for one week and
in some cases can be dangerous.
There are also many diets that are administered by a company, and
food is purchased or provided at a cost. Examples of this would
be The Jenny Craig Diet, and Physicians Weight Loss. These diets are
also effective in producing weight loss, however they take the
thinking out of your plan. This may help at first but for any diet
to be effective, you have to learn on your own how to choose and
prepare food. These plans are also very costly and may not be
sustainable for very long, certainly not a lifetime.
Any plan to loose weight must include a commitment to continue
with healthy eating measures that were adopted during the diet.
Most people gain excess weight because of unhealthy eating, and
you will gain lost weight back by going back to these habits.
Read the following diet summaries and see if one of them may be
for you. Have some fun with your diet and choose one that does not
make you feel restricted.
Congratulations on your decision to improve your health!
There are many diets available for people to utilize during attempts at weight loss and control of disease risk factors. It can be confusing when analyzing all the different aspects of diets as you are trying to choose a diet you can follow. The most popular diets work on the premise of reducing insulin levels which enables the body to utilize energy from digested food instead of storing energy as fat. Most of the long term diets that are effective in achieving weight loss work on establishing a healthy diet over many weeks. They may start as restricting carbohydrates with exception of vegetables, however as you get closer to your weight goal, you can start adding in whole grains and complex carbohydrates.
Other popular diets are very restrictive and meant to be adhered to for 1-2 weeks, no more. The weight loss achieved is often due to severe calorie restriction and loss of water weight. These diets are often devoid of essential vitamins and nutrients and require taking supplements daily. They are effective in causing weight loss, however they do not teach or instill healthy eating habits. Because of this, most of the weight lost is quickly regained.
Examples of healthier diets would be the South Beach Diet, Weight Watchers Diet, The Zone Diet, The Mediterranean Diet, and to some extent the Atkins Diet. These diets all limit sugars, refined carbohydrates, alcohol, and to some degree fruit. They work by calorie limitations and insulin control, which in turn, limits fat deposition and encourages fat metabolism.
In the case of Weight Watchers, the creator also felt that the group support helped to reduce the stress of dieting
without help and therefor limits rise in cortisol. Cortisol rising is felt to contribute to fat deposition, especially
in the abdominal area.
The Mediterranean Diet does allow small amount of wine, emphasizes a wide array of fruits and vegetables as well as healthy oils. It does not necessarily cause weight loss as it is not always calorie restrictive, but it is considered a very healthy diet.
Examples of popular short term diets which I feel are unhealthy include the cabbage soup diet and The Lemonade diet, as well as any other diet which only allows a very limited and select group of foods.
The most popular diets and their characteristics include:
The South Beach Diet: This diet was developed by a cardiologist in response to poor control of cholesterol and blood glucose in his patients with heart disease and diabetes.
- It is a 3 phase program in which the initial phase involves absence of starches and carbohydrates other than vegetables.
- Phase 2 and 3 are designed to slowly introduce fruits and complex carbohydrates such as whole grains, while continuing to limit sugars.
- It is very effective in causing weight loss and it is meant to change eating patterns to a healthier lifelong approach of avoiding glucose and refined carbohydrates.
- It is a difficult diet in that it involves a lot of time to purchase and cook meals.
- It is not as friendly of a diet for working people because of this.
- It would also be difficult for a vegetarian in that it relies heavily on meats and chicken for protein.
The Atkins Diet: This diet was also created by a physician, Dr Robert Atkins, who was also disturbed by lack of efficacy of low fat diets.
- This diet also limits starches and simple carbohydrates as well as sugars.
- It allows eating of almost any protein source and for this reason, ends up being a much higher fat diet than you might otherwise consume.
- It is also very effective but has some risk associated with it.
- The drastic increase in protein consumption can create problems for the kidneys.
- The higher fat content can raise cholesterol and triglycerides if care is not taken with protein choices.
- This is also not a diet easily done by vegetarians.
Weight Watchers Diet: Created by a housewife who recognized the need for support to maintain healthy eating habits and to maintain weight loss.
- This diet divides all foods into points and you are allowed a certain amount of points daily.
- It is effective in that it teaches you about food choices and quantity amount.
- It also provides the support that many people require in order to stay focused on their goals of weight loss and healthy eating.
- It does require money in that you pay to join, you can then go to meetings and most all other services at these meetings are free.
- One of the main drawbacks is the cost,
- it does not always focus on eating healthy carbohydrates.
- In the end, it works by giving support, and limiting calories.
The Zone Diet: This diet was created by a physician and like the South Beach and Atkins diet, works on premise of limiting sugars and refined carbohydrates in order to keep insulin levels normal or in “the zone”.
- It works on the principle that our genetic code is not set up to adequately deal with ingestion of breads, pastas, grains.
- It consists of several rules regarding meal choice and emphasizes a balance between lean protein, complex carbohydrate, and healthy fat.
- This diet claims to help with focus, mental clarity and improved energy.
- It is effective if adhered to , and does teach healthy eating.
- It can be sustained for years due to allowance of many foods.
- It does require food preparation but the recipes are not as ingredient heavy as the south Beach Diet.
- There are also vegetarian recipes and plans.
The Mediterranean Diet: This diet is fashioned after the eating habits of countries bordering the mediterranean sea, and also includes some aspects of the Portuguese diet.
- It relies heavily on fruits and vegetables, as well as healthy fats and seafood.
- It does not always end up being a low calorie diet, therefor may not cause weight loss unless you are careful to count calories.
- It is also meant to be part of a broader lifestyle to include relaxation, and some exercise sprinkled through out the day.
- This diet is also easily adopted to a vegetarian diet.
The Cabbage Soup Diet: this diet is exactly what the name implies.
- You make a huge pot of this cabbage soup and eat if for every meal for 1 week.
- You are allowed to add different forms of protein to it
- It is hugely restrictive and lacks many vitamins and minerals.
- Any weight that is lost is likely to be regained immediately upon resumption of a normal diet.
The Lemonade Diet: this diet is also called the Master Cleanse diet. It is meant to be consumed for no more than 10 days because of the restrictive nature.
- You are to drink a water contained lemons, cayenne pepper, natural maple syrup.
- This drink supposedly increases your metabolism.
- Your meals consist of mainly salads with limited vegetables and a broiled chicken breast.
- This is not meant to be a sustaining diet and reintroduction of carbohydrates after the diet is finished usually causes weight gain.
The diets reviewed above all have one thing in common- they restrict sugars and simple carbohydrates. In so doing, they tend to limit calories. The initiation phase causes water weight loss which generally equalizes after several days to a week. Slowly adding carbohydrates while evaluating rate of weight loss teaches you about food choices and quantity choices. The important thing to consider when choosing a diet, is how palatable the food in the diet will be for you. You also want to evaluate how much work is involved, as this will also determine how easily you stay with the diet.
For more information on these diets, look for an upcoming e-book where I review in detail these diets as well as a few others. Write in and tell us any of your successes or failures with these diets or any others you have tried. Share with our readers anything that has worked for you!
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