BY now most of us would have realised that to create balance in our fitness regimen, committing to time in the gym without incorporating proper meal planning just won’t cut it. But much like the process of finding the right gym instructor and a regimen for your body goals, choosing the right diet requires a careful evaluation of elements such as your personality, lifestyle and food preferences.
Confused by all the diets that are touted for their weight loss benefits? Below two nutritionists have shared five diets that celebrities, fitness fanatics and even novices swear by and are backed by science
“Intermittent fasting or dieting is an eating pattern which entails 16 or 24 hour periods of fasting twice per week. There are no restrictions on the types of food eaten, just the timed periods of eating,” Nutritionist Janique Watts explained.
She said with this particular diet, which many preliminary studies suggest might significantly improve or reduce the risk of diabetes as well as heart disease and cancer, stored fat is used as the alternative energy source during fasting and as such weight loss is achieved.
“The Dukan diet was devised by Pierre Dukan. It is a commercial fad diet which is mainly protein-based. Since this diet limits carbohydrates, it allows the body to use up fat and therefore leads to weight loss,” Nutritionist Donovan Grant explained.
He pointed out that the reason why the diet aims to increase proteins and limit other sources of energy such as carbohydrates and fats is based on the theory that it is naturally filling, requires a lengthier period for digestion, and has very few calories for each gram of food compared to carb-heavy foods.
“The Mediterranean diet, based on research, is being touted as the diet of choice. It is rich in most of the foods that we generally recommend that people eat because of the varying benefits — including that it has predominantly plant-based foods such as fruits and vegetables, whole grains, legumes and nuts as well as fish and poultry, and very little red meat, salts and butter, which are replaced by herbs and healthy fats such as olive oil,” Grant explained.
He said that while this diet does not have many restrictions, research has shown that it is linked to increased weight loss, decreased inflammation, and a lower risk of chronic disease. Grant says one of the main reasons for this is because it limits processed foods and added sugars, which are often high in calories.
“The zone diet is designed in a way which balances meal proportions, specifically along with the ratio of 30-30-40 — proteins, fats and carbohydrates respectively. The diet is not that restrictive in terms of what foods you must eat; however, dieters must match the recommended components,” Grant said.
He reasoned that the foods that are chosen daily as part of the diet will have some restrictions. The carbohydrates should have a low glycaemic index, which means they provide a slow release of sugar into the blood to keep you fuller for longer; the protein should be lean and preferably a mix of meat and poultry at every meal, plus whole grains, fruits and vegetables; and the fat should be mostly monounsaturated, for example, avocados, nuts and coconut oil. Some foods such as dairy products, Grant said, should also be limited.
“When you are in the zone you should eat at least one hour after waking and you shouldn’t go beyond five hours without eating. Also, your meal plan for the day should include five meals and should be broken down as follows — three main meals, similar to other diets with breakfast, lunch and dinner, along with two snacks,” Grant advised.
He warned that this diet would not be best for people who are looking to shed weight quickly. However, he said that this diet promises a consistent loss of fat over time, and not muscle or water.
The Ketogenic diet, more popularly called the keto diet, is a very low-carb diet that is high in fat.
“What happens is that this combination puts the body into ketosis — a process where fat is burned instead of glucose for fuel. Essentially, what happens is that you are pushing carbs low enough that your body has no choice but to burn fat for fuel,” Grant explained.