Weight loss diets are supposed to be nutritionally balanced to help you lose weight healthily, naturally and easily together with an exercise routine to burn fat. However research has shown that weight loss diets have been stressful and that 80% of such programs have failed.
Wing and Phelan’s research in 2005 has shown that 80% of purely dieting programs have little long term success. Pankevitch’s research on mice in 2010 shows how purely dieting programs interferes with the body’s responses and a rebound can occur under stressful conditions. This maybe the reason why many purely diet programs have failed, and people go back to their normal ‘bad’ eating habits.
Bearing this in mind, let us have a look at some of the diet programs. One of the more well known weight loss diets is the Atkins or High protein diet where dieters eliminate sugars from their meals, especially in the first two weeks. The theory behind this is to put the body in ketosis, where the body has no sugar intake, thus the body has to burn its fat stores. While people do lose weight rapidly, most doctors find it to be unhealthy as you do not take in nutritionally important food such as fruits and vegetables. The risk of heart and kidney disease is high as a result of stressing the body in a starvation mode. It should be noted that muscle protein will be burned in preference over fat in this mode. And sugar craving will peak, leading to possible dieting breaks.
The Zone diet emphasises an approach that controls insulin response by eating foods in a certain ratio. Carbohydrates (sugars) 40%; fat 30% and protein 30%. While this approach works well together with exercise, there are critics on the amount of meat consumed.
Then we have the low glycemic approach to eating where people start avoiding or minimizing ‘white poison’. This is food from flour, sugar and rice to control insulin response. This is by having a slow and steady breakdown of complex sugars from fruits and salads. This approach works well, but needs to taken in the context of meal spacing and controlling sugar craving. Smoothies are used to get a nutritionally complete meal
Celebrity diets such as Oprah’s and Kim Kardashian do include a mix and match of some elements of the above three main diets. They do take supplements with these diets to burn fat and control sugar cravings and stress.
It should be borne in mind that all these diet typically rest on calorie counting and restricting the intake of fats and sugars. Such efforts only minimize fat storage in the body, but increased physical activity needs to occur to ensure weight loss from fat storage happens.