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Really, it shouldn’t be so difficult to figure out which eating regimen will set fire to fat while maintaining muscle. Fortunately, the International Society of Sports Nutrition just released its position paper, which combs through all existing scientific studies to report how every diet will affect your body composition. Here, we’ve pulled five of the most six-pack-friendly diets and streamlined how they’re great, as well as why they might be right (or wrong) for you—according to the hard science.
Ketogenic diet (“keto” diet for short) is a catch-all term for any diet that pushes your body into the natural metabolic state of ketosis, which means burning fat for fuel instead of carbohydrates. Though there’s no set formula for keto, generally, the diet works by cutting back on carbohydrates, to about 20 g of net carbs to start, and replacing those with mostly fat and a moderate amount of protein, according to the popular website Keto Connect. Net carbs are the total number of carbs minus the fiber and sugar alcohols, according to the Atkins website. (More on this diet later.)
If it all feels a little bit 90s, that’ll be because this was basically the diet that kept Rachel from Friends looking, well, like Rachel from Friends. Think of it as the 20th-century version of no carbs before Marbs. Thankfully though, the old premise of each as much as you want, as long as you don’t go near a carb, has had a makeover. The New Atkins diet reintroduces carbs in phases.
Enter the DASH diet. When individuals followed this eating plan, researchers saw dramatic reductions in blood pressure levels. Today, the eating plan is recommended for preventing and treating hypertension and heart disease—and it has been linked to decreased bone deterioration, improved insulin sensitivity, and possible risk reduction for some cancers.
In her book, Susan highlights one of the major problems with dinner time today: quality time. Does everyone else remember when dinner time was family time? When we would all sit down together, share our day, talk, laugh, and leave when the meal was done? Susan and I shared our childhood dinning experiences when we discussed her call for embracing the the Mediterranean lifestyle — incorporating exercise, relaxation, and family meals back into our daily routines. This book is looking for someone who is looking to make a lifestyle choice. The way that you eat, sitting down with your families at the dinner table. No more meals on the go, no more meals with the TV. I wanted to bring back the importance of food in our households,” noted Susan.
The DASH diet was created when researchers were looking for ways to effectively reduce hypertension, but this was over 20 years ago! Though it’s still often marketed as a treatment for high blood pressure, the DASH eating plan is really an ideal way to eat for overall health, weight maintenance, and chronic disease prevention. In fact, studies suggest that DASH lowers risk for heart disease, type 2 diabetes and metabolic syndrome, and some cancers.
Trim Portions. If you did nothing else but reduce your portions by 10%-20%, you would lose weight. Most of the portions served both in restaurants and at home are bigger than you need. Pull out the measuring cups to get a handle on your usual portion sizes, and work on paring them down. Get instant portion control by using small bowls, plates, and cups, says Brian Wansink, PhD, author of Mindless Eating. You won't feel deprived because the food will look plentiful on dainty dishware.
Cons: That same study on the perks of being a keto athlete also found those same dieters had a lower exercise economy (how efficiently you use oxygen while moving). And whereas pretty much every other diet offers flexibility in the macro range, eating a few too many grams of carbs or protein will knock your body out of ketosis, so you have to be pretty committed to see the perks of this one. Lastly, the low protein count required to stay in ketosis may be holding you back here: A study analysis in Nutrition, Metabolism, and Cardiovascular Diseases found upping protein on a keto diet by just 5% tripled fat loss.
6. Longer life. A recent meta-analysis in the British Medical Journal found the diet significantly improved health and led to a 9 percent reduction in death from heart disease, cancer, Parkinson's, and Alzheimer's. Other studies have found that the diet's healthy fats may lessen the inflammation and pain of rheumatoid arthritis and cut the risk of getting amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (Lou Gehrig's disease) by 60 percent.
– When eating the Mediterranean way, you’ll notice that we don’t eliminate any food groups. But we do rely more on vegetables, fruits, legumes and grains to supply more of what we eat. We also eat mostly lean proteins. So with that, if eating tempeh or other soy-based foods or if drinking green tea is something you enjoy, then that is up to you…and I would again encourage figuring that out with an RD or someone who can better assess your specific needs and advice you accordingly.
I lived the last 10 years with this disease and a mentality of “Well all those other people around me are eating and drinking this stuff, so I want to be normal like them” I’m lucky that mentality didnt kill me. I’ve had A1C of 12, bad cholestoral in the high 600s and triglycerides of almost 2000. And yes, the author is right, our lives are ridiculously built around food. That’s why we have an obesity epidemic in this country. I am the only person I know that eats healthy. Everywhere I went for the last 10 years I was surrounded by food and drink. Oh well. Moderation is only the key for people with good genes. For people like me, sacrifice is the key. I don’t want a normal life anymore. Excuse my vulgarity, but I want energy, six pack abs, and a hard dick again. This disease wrecked my life and I’m never going back there again.
When foods are processed, their potassium levels actually decrease. So, choosing whole or minimally processed foods can improve blood pressure regulation from both a sodium and a potassium perspective. In addition, you’ll usually decrease your intake of saturated fat, added sugars, and overall calories—all of which can help you lose weight, and keep it off for good.
Coffee jumpstarts your metabolism, making the non-decaf stuff a worthy weight loss ally. According to a study published in the journal Physiology & Behavior, the average metabolic rate of people who drank caffeinated coffee was 16 percent higher than that of those who drank decaf. In addition to caffeinating your coffee, it’s also crucial to keep it black and avoid adding any unhealthy creamers and artificial sweeteners, both of which are enemies of weight loss.
The best diet for losing weight is Weight Watchers, according to the experts who rated the diets below for U.S. News. Volumetrics came in second, and the Flexitarian Diet, Jenny Craig and the vegan diet were third on this overall weight loss ranking list, which takes into account short-term and long-term weight loss scores. Some other diets performed as well or better in our rankings for enabling fast weight loss, but long-term weight loss is more important for your health.
She recommends eating outdoors, using our lunch hour to incorporate a half-hour walk with a friend, turning off electronics at meals, and stepping outside for walk after meals. I have to tell you, I felt like I was 12 when we put the “no electronics” rule back into play at my home. Dessert used to be my thing after dinner, now it’s taking a walk around the neighborhood with my son or girlfriend.
The crazy thing is it is not hard, if it matters. Sure I can see it being hard for someone who does it to lose weight, then when they get closer to their ideal, they want to have treats, etc. Well, for a type one diabetic there’s no end in sight, this is it, and it’s a relatively complication free life (many people reverse their complications when they bring their A1C down to normal) vs. one with inevitable complications. So, perhaps it was too hard for you after a year (you didn’t say, but I assume you are not a type one diabetic), but that is a choice you can make. Not I.
I am a big fan of the ketogenic diet and many of my patients have had huge success on it. Having said that, it’s not necessarily for everyone. This should be looked at as a long-term strategy, not a short one. Some people simply find the dietary restrictions too difficult to commit to. Since yo-yo dieting is bad for everyone, and can be downright dangerous for diabetics, you should only begin the ketogenic diet if you feel you can stick to it.
I’m sorry…no we don’t. Sure, more studies will happen, and more information is always good. But, we KNOW that keto works. You can argue that all you want…but in truth, facts don’t care about your feelings. There are plenty of studies, both in groups and in individuals, that prove beyond any reasonable doubt that going on a proper keto diet WILL improve your life as a diabetic, and will often allow the person to reverse diabetes completely (type 2, obviously). Not to mention the weight loss and the myriad of other health benefits it provides.
Wilder's colleague, paediatrician Mynie Gustav Peterman, later formulated the classic diet, with a ratio of one gram of protein per kilogram of body weight in children, 10–15 g of carbohydrate per day, and the remainder of calories from fat. Peterman's work in the 1920s established the techniques for induction and maintenance of the diet. Peterman documented positive effects (improved alertness, behaviour and sleep) and adverse effects (nausea and vomiting due to excess ketosis). The diet proved to be very successful in children: Peterman reported in 1925 that 95% of 37 young patients had improved seizure control on the diet and 60% became seizure-free. By 1930, the diet had also been studied in 100 teenagers and adults. Clifford Joseph Barborka, Sr., also from the Mayo Clinic, reported that 56% of those older patients improved on the diet and 12% became seizure-free. Although the adult results are similar to modern studies of children, they did not compare as well to contemporary studies. Barborka concluded that adults were least likely to benefit from the diet, and the use of the ketogenic diet in adults was not studied again until 1999.
You start each day with a heart healthy breakfast. Your vegetable intake is increased. You find yourself making trips to the farmers market to get a better variety of fresh fruits and veggies. You stop eating processed food. And that’s a big one. Let’s talk about bread for example. Besides price and taste, what is the difference between white and whole grain bread?
Milk is limited. There are no long-term risks to eating Mediterranean, says Cohen. But you may be put off if you’re big on eating a lot of milk and rely on it to get all the calcium you need. You’ll get to eat cheese and yogurt, but in smaller amounts. "To get enough calcium in the diet without milk, one would need to eat enough yogurt and cheese, or seek nondairy calcium sources," says Cohen. If needed, drink skim milk. Otherwise, nondairy calcium sources include fortified almond milk, sardines, kale, and tofu made with calcium sulfate. (30)
If you need to eat more or fewer calories per day, you can adjust accordingly by simply taking out or adding a bit more of the ingredients already included in a recipe. For example, adding/removing a tablespoon of olive oil or butter will add/remove about 100 calories. If you like or dislike certain recipes, feel free to shift things around. Make sure to keep an eye on the calories so you’re still falling within an acceptable range of your daily goal.
Remember that on some days, you may eat a few more or a few less servings than recommended for a particular food group. That's generally OK, as long as the average of several days or a week is close to the recommendations. The exception is sodium. Try to stay within the daily limit for sodium as much as possible. Also note that the values for nutritional information may vary according to specific brands of ingredients you use or changes you make in meal preparation.
Reduced hunger. Many people experience a marked reduction in hunger on a keto diet. This may be caused by an increased ability of the body to be fueled by its fat stores. Many people feel great when they eat just once or twice a day, and may automatically end up doing a form of intermittent fasting. This saves time and money, while also speeding up weight loss.