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Popular Diets

Finding the Right Nutrition Plan for You

Whether you are looking for a liquid diet, a protein diet, or a vegetarian diet, there is a program designed for someone like you. Find out more about the most popular diet plan options.

Popular Diets

Atkins Diet

Who Needs It: This diet is best for people who like the idea that they can eat steak, bacon, and mayonnaise while on a diet.

How It Works: Because you eat basically no carbohydrates, your body is forced to burn fat instead. As you continue on this protein diet, you can eat more carbs, but it mainly consists of meat and seafood, non-starchy, low-carbohydrate vegetables, full-fat dairy products, and fats and oils.

Glycemic Index Diet

Who Needs It: This diet program works for those who cannot give up all carbohydrates but will give up some.

How It Works: The glycemic index (GI) is how fast your blood sugar can go up after you eat food that has carbohydrates. The range is from 0 to 100. A high GI is 70 and up, a medium GI is 55 to 69, and a low GI is 55 or lower. The lower the index, the better. Potatoes and white flour products have a high GI, whereas beans, vegetables, and whole grains have a low one.

Jenny Craig Diet

Who Needs It: This diet is good for people who struggle with portion control and hate to cook.

How It Works: Jenny Craig provides you with branded meals and snacks, personal counseling at a center or by phone, and tons of information.

Liquid Diet

Who Needs It: This is a highly controversial and dangerous diet. Only people under the care of a physician should go for this option.

How It Works: You only are allowed to consume liquid products, such as milk, broth, and water. Most liquid diets do not allow sugary soda or sweet drinks.

Low-Carb Diet

Who Needs It: For those who do not want to go on the controversial Atkins diet, this diet allows you to eat some carbohydrates.

How It Works: Dieters eat low-carbohydrate meals and snacks. Much like other protein diets, you get most of your calories from foods and beverages high in protein.

Medifast Diet

Who Needs It: This diet plan is good for people who want to lose weight fast.

How It Works: Dieters start out eating only around 900 calories per day. This includes five low-fat, low-sodium prepackaged meals and one "lean and green" meal (which gives you around 6 ounces of lean protein and some vegetables). There are also many optional snacks.

Mediterranean Diet

Who Needs It: People who enjoy Mediterranean cuisines do well on this diet program.

How It Works: To get your daily caloric needs, you eat Italian, Greek, or Spanish foods with lots of vegetables, fruits, legumes, nuts, and fish. There is not much fat, other than olive oil and you must avoid dairy products for the most part.

My Fitness Pal Diet

Who Needs It: This diet is good for individuals who do not mind keeping a food diary and counting calories.

How It Works: You keep up with caloric intake and exercise by using a free smartphone app from myfitnesspal.com. You simply key in what you eat and when you exercise. The more you move, the more calories you are allowed to consume.

Nutrisystem Diet

Who Needs It: This diet works for those who do not want to spend a lot of money on packaged foods.

How It Works: With this diet plan, the name of the game is portion control. You eat branded entrees, low-glycemic sides, snacks, and desserts that are on an approved list.

Paleo Diet

Who Needs It: Carnivores who do not require desserts.

How It Works: Developed by Loren Cordain, the idea of this diet is that we are genetically programmed to eat like our hunter-gather ancestors. This means eating meat, seafood, fruits, berries, and low-carb vegetables. Back in those times, there were no cereal grains, dairy, legumes, refined sugars, or processed foods, so these items are off limits.

Slim Fast Diet

Who Needs It: This diet is great for people who have to eat on the go and do not like to cook.

How It Works: This is a meal-replacement plan that includes shakes, snacks, bars, and regular foods. Dieters devise their own diet plan, buying products at drugstores, supermarkets, and online.

South Beach Diet

Who Needs It: Those who enjoy cooking love this diet plan.

How It Works: On this diet program, you eat certain foods in the early phase, such as seafood, eggs, nuts, low-fat dairy, and high-fiber vegetables. Later on, you can add some healthy carbs, such as whole grains, fruit, and even wine.

Spark People Diet

Who Needs It: This diet plan is good for individuals who like to use a mobile app and those who need guidance.

How It Works: To stick to this diet, you track your exercise and eating with the app from sparkpeople.com. If you need suggested menus or recipes, you can call the center for options.

Vegetarian Diet

Who Needs It: People who do not eat meat do well on this diet program.

How It Works: There are three options with this diet: lacto-vegetarian (allows dairy products), lacto-ovo vegetarian (allows dairy and eggs), and vegan (no dairy or eggs). On this diet, you eat a variety of vegetables, fruits, legumes, beans, and whole grains.

Weight Watchers

Who Needs It: For those who need support, this is a great diet plan.

How It Works: You stick to a "PointsPlus" quota on Weight Watchers. This proprietary formula factors for protein, carbs, fiber, and fat in your foods. Vegetables and fresh fruits count as zero points, whereas other foods are assigned a point value.

Sources

Consumer Reports (2013). Diet Plan Buying Guide. Retrieved from:
http://www.consumerreports.org/cro/diet-plans/buying-guide.htm

Mayo Clinic (2013). Vegetarian diet: How to get the best nutrition. Retrieved from:
http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/vegetarian-diet/HQ01596

WebMD (2013). High-Protein Diet for Weight Loss. Retrieved from:
http://www.webmd.com/diet/guide/high-protein-diet-weight-loss

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