There are numerous diet plans, and more and more that come to the market all the time. It can be difficult to sort through them to find out what really works and what is hype. Making the process even more of a challenge is that many diets offer contradictory approaches to weight loss. One diet may limit carbohydrates and another might limit fats. Which approach is better? Can they both be right? It begs the question; how can the layperson who is not a certified nutritionist or dietitian possibly discern which diet will be most suitable? Keep in mind that the effectiveness of a diet is not measured by how much you hear about it in the media. There are often major marketing and publicity campaigns surrounding diets especially when the creator is already considered a “diet guru.” This does not tell you if the diet is effective, let alone healthy in the long term. Trendy diets emerge all the time. Some may work and others might be risky or dangerous for your health. It’s the latter you must be concerned about. Yet at the same time there’s nothing that says you have to follow a plan to the letter; you can pick and choose aspects from more than one diet to tailor to your needs. To illustrate; low carb diets work well for some people. Yet others may feel they have less energy or feel cranky or have mood swings from the lower amount of carbohydrates. It’s not surprising as health experts warn against high protein and high fat diets, especially for the long-term.
As for carbohydrates, rather than eliminating them, make wiser choices. The carbs to avoid are the refined carbs such as anything made with white flour and/or white sugar, as well as white rice and other refined grains. Not only do they cause an elevation in insulin levels and blood sugar levels, they are very low in nutrients and dietary fiber. Instead choose the complex carbohydrates including whole grains, yams, potatoes, winter squash as well as vegetables and fruits. These are better for your health and generally can be included in many diet plans. If you want to carve out your own approach, follow the guidelines above. Next add lean proteins such as fish or chicken, and eliminate fatty meats such as luncheon meat, sausage and hamburger. Legumes and tofu are also great sources of protein. Cut down on processed foods of all kinds, including fast foods and fried foods. Eat foods that are in their natural form as much as possible. When making a decision about a diet make sure it includes a variety of foods to maintain your health and to keep you from being hungry or feeling deprived. A highly restrictive diet could ultimately spell failure as it will not help you commit to healthy eating habits for the long term.