Some people prefer to lose weight with the support and guidance of a structured weight loss program. However, there are many weight loss programs available today and it helps to know a little about each one in order to decide which weight loss diet program is right for you.
The Atkins diet is perhaps the most famous of all of the low-carbohydrate diets which gained attention in recent years. The main principle behind the Atkins diet is that the reason for weight gain is the consumption of starches – such as rice and potatoes, refined carbohydrates (carbs) – such as breads and pasta, and sugars – such as fruit juices. Another primary principle of the Atkins diet is that fats pose no harm to health and that a diet high in protein and fat, yet low in carbohydrates will force the body to burn fat and give you more energy and minimal hunger while trying to lose weight.
The first 2 weeks of the diet involves eating only pure proteins and fats. The allowed proteins include eggs, poultry, fish and meats. The allowed fats include olive oil and butter. Additionally, only a limited quantity of carbohydrates is allowed in the form of vegetables such as broccoli, salads and asparagus. Foods such as breads, potatoes, grains or other starchy foods are not allowed.
Once your desired weight loss goal has been achieved, you are allowed to increase your carbohydrate intake by 5 grams a day. Because there are no portions of food to measure or weigh – apart from making sure you don’t go over 20 grams of carbohydrates a day, the Atkins diet is a relatively easy diet to follow. However, because so many foods are left out, it is not suggested that the Atkins Diet be a life-long diet program.
After the success of the Atkins Diet, came the Zone diet which was made popular by Barry Sears. The central principle behind the Zone Diet is consuming the perfect balance of foods between fats, proteins and carbohydrates. On the Zone Diet, 40% of the caloric intake comes from carbohydrates, 30% from protein and another 30% from fats. Although many people view the Zone Diet more balanced than the Atkins Diet, it is more complicated to follow because the quantities of food have to be precise. Additionally, the blocks of food which are allowed throughout the day are between 600-800 calories – which is quite small for many people and may leave some feeling hungry throughout the day.
Jenny Craig Diet
The Jenny Craig diet program was started by a woman named Jenny Craig to teach dieters how to change their lifestyles and make sensible choices about their eating habits. Unlike other diet programs, all foods in moderation are allowed. However, the Jenny Craig diet includes an emphasis on whole-grain foods, vegetables, fruits, lean meats and low-fat dairy products.
Additionally one of the main features of the Jenny Craig program is that dieters receive one-on-one consultations from health care consultants who provide them with tips on portion control and other weight loss advice. Dieters also receive a menu and pre-packaged foods from the company. Pre-packaged meals include a variety of breakfast, lunch and dinner foods.
Another important aspect of the Jenny Craig diet program is that it promotes an active lifestyle which encourages participants to slowly increase their activity levels through planned and fun physical activities.
Weight Watchers was founded by Jean Nidetch as a support group for dieters. Today, Weight Watchers has one of the largest followings in the world. On the Weight Watchers diet, foods are given points based on how many grams of fat, calories and fiber they contain. Each person is given approximately 18-22 points per day of food points that they can consume. However, the exact number of food points is dependent on how much weight a person would like to lose.
Like the Jenny Craig program, no food is restricted on Weight Watchers as long as the dieter doesn’t go over the number of food points that are allowed. Another commonality that Weight Watchers shares with Jenny Craig is that there is an optional support system where dieters can meet and get support from each other and group leaders.
South Beach Diet
The South Beach diet is a diet which was developed by Dr. Arthur Agatston for his heart patients. The main principle behind the South Beach Diet is to teach dieters the right balance between nutrition and weight loss. It teaches that there should be a balance between carbohydrates, proteins and fats in the diet. Some of the proteins that the diet emphasizes are fish, poultry, lean meats, legumes and nuts. The kinds of fats that are encouraged on the South Beach diet are Olive Oil and Canola oil.
And while carbohydrates are not seen exactly in the same light as the Atkins diet, a number of carbohydrates are eliminated in the first 2 weeks of the diet. Some of the carbohydrates that are eliminated are pasta, bread, cereals and grains, potatoes, fruits, baked goods and similar foods. In the second stage of the diet, however, these foods are slowly added back into the diet. Moreover, after achieving desired weight loss, the South Beach diet expands to include three servings of whole-grain a day.
All diets revolve around one simple principle: in order to lose weight, you must expend more calories than you consume. If you eat less calories than your body requires, you will lose weight. Whether you do it by choosing one of the diets mentioned here or you design a program of your own, is up to you. However, a sensible weight loss program is one where you will remain committed and can balance healthy eating habits with exercise.
The main proteins allowed on the diet are chicken, fish and turkey breast, while some of the allowed carbohydrates include vegetables such as spinach, kale and beans.
When considering a weight loss program, choose a diet that is not only healthy but features foods that you enjoy. Whichever diet you choose, try to stick with it. Yo-yo dieting should be avoided at all costs as it bad for your health and put you at risk for heart disease.
Patricia has been interested in weight loss since the early 70’s and knows how to seperate weight loss hype from weight loss fact.
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