Get Smart on These 5 Popular Diet Plans
Aug. 18, 2015
Ask your mother or grandmother to name the most popular diets of their day and youâre likely to hear, âUmmmmâ¦Dr. Stillmanâs, the grapefruit diet and Weight Watchers?â Perhaps they even participated in the heated Atkins vs. South Beach debate period that left battle scars on many perpetual dieters in the U.S. Todayâs dieters have an even more confusing and broad range of widely diverse eating plans from which to choose. Sorting through them can be overwhelming because:
- They all make (some) sense
- They all work (for some people)
- Dieters who find success in any one method are typically passionate proponents and dedicated recruiters
PALEOPaleo proponents believe that the only way to achieve optimum health and weight loss while minimizing chronic disease is by eating foods similar to those enjoyed by our hunter-gatherer ancestors in the days before agriculture. Animal products are the back -- and rib -- bone of the Paleo diet. The caveat here is that the meat must come from grass fed or wild meat, fish and fowl. Adherents believe that wild meats contain less saturated fat and supply the heavily coveted omega-3 fats. In addition to animal proteins, Paleo-ites eat cage-free eggs, fresh fruit and veggies, nuts, seeds, and liberal, healthy oils that include avocado, coconut, olive and flaxseed. Forbidden no noâs are cereal grains, dairy, beans and legumes, potatoes, refined sugars and oils, salt and processed foods. While itâs hard to fault the healthy emphasis Paleo brings to the dietary table, some researchers feel that excluding grains, beans and legumes makes the diet nutritionally incomplete, hard to sustain over the long-term and too high in fat.
ANTI-INFLAMMATORYThis eating plan is based on the premise that chronic inflammation is the root cause of many serious illnesses, including cancer, heart disease, diabetes and Alzheimerâs disease. A close cousin of the Mediterranean diet, this plan shares Paleoâs emphasis on (limited) lean proteins, healthy fats, and fruits and veggies. But unlike Paleo, the anti-inflammatory menu includes whole grains, pasta, beans, legumes, and high-quality cheese and yogurt. In fact, carbohydrates make up 50 percent of the daily calories on this plan. This diet offers flexibility and variety, and with reputable organizations and institutions recommending it to help control chronic pain and disease, the anti-inflammatory diet is enjoying a good helping of modern-day popularity.
MEDITERRANEANFor those whoâd rather romanticize their eating plans a little bit, the Mediterranean diet purports to serve up heart-healthy fare with the occasional indulgence of red wine. This plan will have you noshing on nuts, hummus, fish and olive oil as you mimic the cooking style of countries bordering the Mediterranean Sea. With its de-emphasis on red-meat, it is a favorite of those looking to reduce their chances for heart disease, wanting to reduce their blood pressure or improve their LDL cholesterol readings. Going Mediterranean will have you:
- Eating mostly plant-based foods, such as fruits and vegetables, whole grains, legumes and nuts
- Choosing heart-healthy fish and poultry over red meat
- Eating healthy fats, such as olive oil
- Replacing salt with herbs and spices
- Optionally drinking red wine in moderation (optional)