Some research has found that high-fat, high-protein, low-carb diets help people burn more calories than low-fat variants. However, a large study found that such diets increased women’s risk of heart disease. The evidence for low-carb is decidedly mixed.
This old standby is not looking that awesome these days. The same study that praised the low-glycemic-index diet found that people on low-fat diets burned the fewest calories of any sampled dieters, and also experienced an increase in potentially unhealthy insulin resistance. Even Dean Ornish, a low-fat pioneer, is now advocating a more mixed approach that’s low in processed foods and refined carbs as well as fat.
3. Low Glycemic Index
This diet revolves around minimally-processed foods whose carbohydrates digest slowly (like whole barley or bulgur, as opposed to white bread). A 2012 study found that it might have more beneficial effects on metabolism than a low-fat diet, without some of the risks of low-carb. According to the study author, it also might be easier to stick to, because “unlike low-fat and very-low carbohydrate diets, a low-glycemic-index diet doesn’t eliminate entire classes of food.”
4. Dessert With Breakfast
In one study, people who ate a big breakfast with a “dessert,” like a doughnut or piece of cake, lost weight and kept it off better than those who ate a more conventional low-carb diet. The researchers think the dessert reduced cravings for sweets later in the day. A caveat: the dessert-with-breakfast diet was still very low-calorie, at just 1,400 a day for women.
Cutting out sugar is trendy right now — Tom Hanks and Alec Baldwin are supposedly doing it, and at least one crusading doctor is touting a reduction in sugar as a cure for obesity and diabetes. One 2012 study found that drinking sugary drinks might strengthen people’s genetic risk of obesity. However, other experts have been skeptical that cutting out sugary drinks will really make that much difference, and research on sugar-free or low-sugar diets isn’t yet as advanced as research into other approaches.
The Mediterranean diet, high in fish and veggies and low in meat, has been getting good press for years. A 2011 Swedish study found that people who followed it lived longer than more carnivorous types. A form of the diet high in olives and olive oil also appears to be good for bone health. One caveat: this diet may be harder for low-income people to follow, since foods like fish can be expensive.
This diet is great for people with celiac disease, who have a variety of bad reactions to gluten. For others, there may not be any benefit. Several experts caution that going gluten-free doesn’t necessarily lead to weight loss.
An effort to approximate what humans ate in paleolithic times, this diet centers on meat and vegetables and bans most grains and sweets. Most experts say there’s not yet enough data to determine whether it affects weight or health. One biologist “>points out that human bodies are actually capable of adapting to their circumstances, so that eating the way we did thousands of years ago may not make any sense.
9. No Diet
Lots of research (and anecdotal evidence) has shown that it’s hard to keep weight off — according to one study, just one in six Americans who have ever been overweight is able to maintain significant weight loss. And Dean Ornish is now advocating that everyone eat with an eye to health — not necessarily weight loss.
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- MorgaineDeMerrow The Science Behind 9 Big Diets
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Human bodies are all different, need different things. You just have to find what works for you. The best way (health and weightloss) is to start talking to your doctor and maybe a nutritionist. Random people don’t know your body like you and your doctor do. Do what’s right for you
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Low-carb and low-glycemic can actually be pretty similar (my husband’s a type I diabetic who eats low-glycemic, and when I did low-carb I basically ate the same as him). I did a little over a month of 20-40 carbs a day and lost around 14 pounds without adding any exercise. It definitely worked for me. My problem was staying ON the diet; once I had to go back to school I ended up getting stressed and eating comfort foods. But if you can stick with it they are great, and there is no need to eat high-fat when you do low-carb.
- SedatedWhispers thinks The Science Behind 9 Big Diets is Win & cool story bra
#9 is the one to follow. Weight loss is simple math - calories in vs calories out. In sticking to a low-calorie diet you’ll find that you’ll naturally cut out most junk foods because they’re a waste of calories anyway, replacing them with decent-calorie foods with higher nutritional content. Of course I realize this is all way easier said than done… Hard to do, but not impossible. - 70 lbs weight loss, maintained for 4 years and counting.
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- kristena6 The Science Behind 9 Big Diets
I’ve never really been crazy about diet and exercise because I’ve never had to worry about my weight, but as I’m getting older I’m trying to eat better because my fast metabolism is probably going to taper off eventually. I’m a single person with a relatively low income, so it’s difficult to shop super healthy - I’d rather not eat overly processed/refined foods but I end up throwing so much fresh food out because I can’t get through it fast enough. These days I buy my dinners from a local deli - cheaper than eating out all the time, but probably more expensive than going to the grocery store…
- Alex Ullman The Science Behind 9 Big Diets
Re. #1: no big surprise that a HIGH fat (animal fat that is…) diet would cause an increased risk for heart disease. However a low carb diet can be implemented WITHOUT having to eat food high in fat…
Re. #3: on paper Low Glycemic is great. However the problem with this is that each person is different and what is low glycemic for someone, might not be for someone else.
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#3 has changed my life. My whole family has always been large despite the fact we don’t eat junk food, dessert, etc. I was a vegetarian for many years and my weight kept creeping up despite my vigorous workout regimen and my low-fat, low-calorie diet. (I even went vegan for about a year…no weight loss.) Since my dad has started to take medicine for Diabetes, I started researching diets to prevent Diabetes. I switched to Low-Glycemic-Index and I’ve lost so much weight effortlessly! Now all my exercising actually WORKS! I found that having too much insulin in your body (which happens if your blood sugar spikes) can make you store and keep fat on your body; exercising has far less effect when you’re in this cycle. I was eating a lot of brown rice with stir-fry (I cook everything I eat) and when I switched to barley, I lost 10 pounds in the first month. I would recommend Low-Glycemic-Index to anyone who has “tried everything” with no results. I replace at least 1 meal per day with a really disgusting kale smoothie with flax, chia, lemon, and some other vegetables (whatever’s decent/on sale).