To most Americans, dieting has become the main tool for loosing weight. Everything from counting calories to living on milkshakes has been packaged neatly and sold to those who want a slimmer physique. Weight loss has become big business, with diet books and nutritional programs selling by the millions. But how effective are they? The reality is that diets can only go so far in helping a person get back in shape. Without changing life habits, a person is unlikely to loose weight and keep it off.
The best way to loose weight is to combine healthy eating with an exercise regime that will increase muscle mass. Why? Because muscle mass burns body fat, which is the true enemy when it comes to weight gain. Added to a strong workout regimen and a healthy diet, muscle-building supplements can also have a positive effect on loosing body fat.
Some fad diets may work to loose weight, but because they lower the amount of proteins a person eats, the weight loss may be also due to a loss of muscle mass, which will only insure a larger weight gain once the diet is over. Whether you choose a fad diet or choose to use a supplement to add to a healthy diet with exercise regimen, you should always consult a doctor to make sure that either will be best suited to your health needs.
Below are some of the most popular fad diets that have come about over the years. Some are very good at helping shed a few pounds and building the muscle mass
Body For Life
Bill Phillipsâ€™ Body For Life diet plan takes users on a 12-week course of diet and exercise, which he promises will make anyone look the best theyâ€™ve ever looked in their lives. Body For Life works by eating six small, nutritious meals a day. Also, users are to alternate days with aerobic workouts and weight training. In addition to the nutritional guidelines and workout regimens, Body For life also has nutritional supplements, which aid in burning body fat.
As far as diets go, Body for Life is one of the best suited for people who plan on living active or athletic lifestyles. Its downside is that many people canâ€™t discipline themselves enough to keep up with the prescribed workouts. Also, the nutritional formula may be hard on people with weak kidneys because, under the diets guidelines, the body will be burning body fat during the workouts, which involves heavy use of the kidneys.
If there were a name that most people would associate with dieting that name would be Dr. Robert C. Atkins. Atkins popularized a form of dieting that reduces carbohydrates – mostly from sugar, flour and high-fructose corn syrup. It was Atkins view that by reducing the amount of carbohydrates the body has to make energy from the diet, that the body would then be forced to burn fat for energy.
Despite Atkins popularity through books and a name brand nutritional company that makes food based on his dietary theories, the diet plan has come in and out of popularity throughout the years and the Atkins company has even filed for bankruptcy.
The Atkins approach to weight loss has worked for many people, even though researchers have questioned the science behind it. Many users find it is successful when tweaked a little to fit their specific exercise regimen. This is why the diet remains a popular choice for fad dieters and people looking for a well-structured diet.
As far as diets go, none quite stimulates the imagination of what our bodies should look like the South Beach diet. Just hearing the name brings images of bikinis-clad beauties and tanned muscle men on the beach. Despite its exotic name, the diet itself is quite simple.
The South Beach Diet was developed by cardiologist Dr. Arthur Agatson who wanted to improve the standard low-fat diet of the American Hearth Association. The diet works in three phases. The first phase is designed to get the body loosing weight and train the user to eliminate cravings. The second phase is a long-term weight loss plan designed to get you to an ideal weight. Phase three is a long-term diet plan to maintain weight and eat healthy.
Like many popular diets, the South Beach Diet offers full nutritional plans complete with its own line of pre-packaged foods that follow the diets guidelines.
One of the longest running and successful weight loss programs, Weight Watchers is more a healthy eating plan than it is a fad diet. But because of its expense and its program that calls for weekly meetings with groups of dieters, it is too fanatical a diet plan to leave out of this list.
Weight Watchers began meeting in the 1960s. Its goal was to create a community of dieters that can encourage each other to stick to their diets. The Diet itself is based on the age-old, tried-and-true method of counting calories. Meals are planned to not exceed a certain calorie count for the day and there are resources for the dieters to plan their meals accordingly.
Although, Weight Watchers has consistently been viewed as one of the most effective diets, its high cost and time-consuming meetings make it difficult for many people to use and stay with.
When it comes to regimented diets, none can top the creation of biochemist Barry Sears the Zone Diet. According to Sears, people should make 40 percent of their diet carbohydrates, 30 percent proteins and 30 percent fats. The Zoneâ€™s inclusion of fats as essential to dieting goes against the popular belief that fats must be eliminated from the diet for weight loss, but many studies have shown that the Zone Diet works quite well.
Because the Zone stresses high protein, it is a popular choice for athletes who want to shed fat and build muscle at the same time. It is also the reason that the American heart Association doesnâ€™t recommend the Zone. It also makes it impossible for vegetarians or vegans to follow this diet.
Cabbage Soup Diet
When it comes to recognizing a fad diet, none can be more obvious than one with a certain meal in its name. The Cabbage Soup Diet is a fad diet that is exactly how it sounds – you eat a lot of cabbage soup. Although it is an effective diet for fast weight loss, it is not recommended as a diet to stay on. Cabbage may be a healthy food that supplies the body with anti-oxidants and the like, but many users complain that it is bland to the taste and causes gas to boot.
Apple Cider Vinegar Diet
While this has proven to help fight high cholesterol, there is little evidence that it works for weight loss. The diet also suggests healthy, nutritional foods and a good exercise routine (two proven aspects of weight loss), which is why it is difficult to judge the effectiveness of the vinegar on people.
The good news for those wanting to give this diet a shot is that the active ingredients in apple cider vinegar are now available in a supplemental pill that you can add to any diet you choose.
Beverly Hills Diet
Unlike the South Beach Diet, this diet named for an upscale neighborhood has very little science to back up its claims. The Beverly Hills Diet is based on a questionable theory that the body needs certain enzymes to digest food properly and that when food isnâ€™t digested it turns into body fat. The diet uses a system called conscious combining where fruit is the main food of the diet although there are vegetable-only days as well.
Because of its low calorie, low protein and low carbohydrate meal plan, the Beverly Hills Diet works well to loose weight quickly, but is not a safe, healthy diet for the long-term.
The Slim Fast Diet replaces meals with shakes and bars that provide nutrition stave off hunger and are low in calories. All the studies on the Slim fast Diet show it to be an effective way to loose weight, although people who enjoy a variety of flavors in their meals may find it hard to stick to the same shakes and bar meal plan
Raw Food Diet
The Raw Food Diet is becoming a popular choice for the vegetarian-minded dieter. The raw food movement has spawned restaurants and cookbooks dedicated to preparing meals that require no cooking. The diet consists of vegetables, juices, nuts, grains, and for the non-vegetarians sushi.
Although vegetarian-based diets like the Raw Food Diet can be very healthy and keep the weight off, they are not recommended for people in body building or any other sport that requires a lot of muscle mass.
Possibly the least sustainable diet ever invented, the Hollywood Diet is more crash diet than fad diet. It is basically a 48-hour juice diet that is supposed to detoxify the body and cause weight loss up to 10 pounds. There may be some benefits to this diet for detoxifying the body, but as far as an effective weight loss program goes, the Hollywood Diet lacks the nutrition to maintain good health.
Lunch Box Diet
The idea behind personal trainer Simon Lovellâ€™s new fad diet is that snacking on small portions of healthy food throughout the day will eventually lead to smaller stomachs and smaller meals overall. Lovell recommends dieters to eat 60 percent vegetables, 30 percent proteins and 10 percent salad dressings/condiments.
The Lunch Box Diet is very flexible with no calorie counting or meal planning. It allows users to eat their favorite foods for breakfast and dinner and the lunch foods suggested are good for keeping energy up during the day. Unfortunately, without guidelines, many people will not see the results they want and may not see them at all.