Diets That Actually Work Fast

by Dr. Ahmed Zayed
Published on April 10, 2019

Since the 1970s, there has been an increase in the worldwide obesity trend of more than 300% (1). This is alarming, especially since obesity was recently classified not only as a disease on its own, but also a worldwide epidemic. People are at risk of dying too soon when they gain too much excess weight, especially if they reach a BMI of 35 or higher, classifying them as extremely or morbidly obese.

With this in mind, the dieting industry is also thriving, with millions of people actively on a diet, in pursuit of losing the excess pounds that are causing them to suffer from a high risk of developing diabetes and other possibly life-threatening conditions.

This is why fad diets have become so popular, promising to assist in reducing weight quickly, often by requesting a significant reduction in calorie intake. Unfortunately, this predisposes a person to problems like nutritional deficiencies. This does not mean that all of these “fad” diets are bad for you – there are a couple of options that are sustainable and can provide you with both the nutrients your body needs and the ability to reduce your total body weight at the same time.

Today, we are going to look at some of the best diets currently out there that have shown positive results in terms of weight loss, without causing a person to suffer from nutritional deficiencies or dramatically lower their daily caloric intake.

Intermittent Fasting

First up on our list is intermittent fasting. This is a way of eating that demands certain periods of fasting – during these time periods, you would not be allowed to eat any food and your options in terms of drinks would mostly be limited to water, as well as sparkling water if hunger does seem to strike in the middle of the day.

Intermittent fasting has become quite popular, and many studies have proven the effectiveness that this way of eating has for a person. There are different types of intermittent fasting diets that have been developed – in reality, intermittent fasting itself is not a diet, but rather an adjustment to when you would eat. You can really combine this type of program with a large variety of diets and meal plans to maximize its efficiency.

A study (2) that was led by the University of Tasmania in Australia looked at how intermittent fasting affected a weight loss program. There were 51 male participants who became part of the study. The participants were divided into two groups – one of these groups were provided with an intermittent fasting program, while the other group did not follow an intermittent fasting plan.

At the end of the 16-week study period, there was a much more significant reduction in weight among the male participants who followed the intermittent fasting program. The average amount of weight lost by these men was 14.1kg, while the average weight lost by men in the other group was 9.1kg.

More significant benefits were also noted in terms of the reduction in fat mass among the men who participated in the intermittent fasting program.

The most popular intermittent fasting program is the Leangains option, also known as 16:8 intermittent fasting. Many people are also opting for the Fast Diet, or the 5:2 option. The 5:2 intermittent fasting program involves eating normally for five days of the week, followed by two days where caloric intake is significantly reduced – usually to around 500 calories per day.

There are other options as well, such as the Warrior Diet, the Eat, Stop, Eat method, and the Alternate Day Fasting program. It is important to consider the pros and cons of each option in order to select the one that would be best suited for you.

Ketogenic Diet

The Ketogenic diet has also become popular among people who would like to shed some of their excess pounds. This diet was not originally developed to assist with weight loss, but rather as a treatment option for patients who suffered from epilepsy (3). Later studies revealed that the state of ketosis, which a Ketogenic diet places the body under, has many additional benefits – including the ability to help a person lose excess fat faster.

The Ketogenic diet involves a restriction in the intake of carbohydrates – usually to around 20 grams per day, depending on your daily caloric requirements. Your carb intake will make up about 5% of the total calories you are going to be consuming on a day-to-day basis.

Protein intake is usually adjusted between 30% and 35% on the Ketogenic diet. Protein plays an important part in the body and has also been shown to be useful in helping a person shed excess weight. The Ketogenic diet places emphasis on fat intake – which makes up about 55% to 60% of your total daily calories.

There are different variations of this diet. Some of the variations will require a more significant limit on carb intake and perhaps even a higher fat intake. It is, however, important to ensure that however you are implementing the Ketogenic diet, you should assure that you eat balanced meals that can provide your body with all of the important macronutrients, vitamins, minerals, and other substances needed to remain healthy and functioning.

On a Ketogenic diet, you will cut out any foods that are exceptionally high in carbohydrates. This usually includes pasta and rice, bread, and other grains. You will also need to limit or even eliminate the intake of fruits, as most fruits are high in carbohydrates. You can eat certain types of vegetables that are known to be low in carbohydrates, such as spinach and kale, as well as broccoli, cauliflower, and Brussel sprouts. You would also increase your intake of healthy fats, from sources such as wild-caught fatty fish varieties, seafood, coconut oil, and olive oil.

Atkins Diet

Another popular diet that has been shown to be useful in reducing body weight without causing any significant restrictions in nutritional intake is the Atkins diet. This diet is usually broken down into four phases that you will need to follow – the initial period of the diet focuses on shedding excess weight quickly. As you progress and reach closer to the goal body weight that you are aiming for, you will progress through the phases until you achieve your goal – at this point, you would enter the maintenance phase of the Atkins diet, which you can remain on for as long as you desire.

The Atkins diet is another low-carb diet, such as the Ketogenic diet. In fact, during the initial phase of the Atkins diet, a meal plan you would follow will share many similarities to a Ketogenic diet. The induction phase requires carbohydrate intake to be limited to below 20 grams per day.

During phase two, known as the balancing phase, you would start to add low-carb vegetables to your diet, along with some fruits and nuts.

The third phase, called the fine-tuning phase, is entered once you are very close to your ultimate goal – you will then remain on this phase until you reach your ideal body weight.

On the Atkins diet, you would avoid foods that are high in sugar, along with grains. You will also keep vegetable oils out of your diets, such as corn oil, canola oil, and soybean oil. Trans fats should not be included in an Atkins diet, along with vegetables and fruits that are high in carbohydrates. Another food group to avoid would be starched, primarily through the induction phase. This would include sweet potatoes and potatoes.

Paleo Diet

The Paleo diet has become popular because it really takes you back to how your ancestors used to eat. Often referred to as the “Caveman” diet, this diet allows you to eat foods that your ancestors would have been able to gather and hunt in ancient times. Even though the diet is still considered to lack evidence in the department of weight loss, there are some limited studies that have shown the diet can be effective in producing effective results. Furthermore, this diet has been associated with many additional benefits, including improvements in certain diseases like type 2 diabetes.

One review paper (4) analyzed a total of four different studies that were previously conducted on the Paleo diet, also referred to as the Paleolithic diet. The review paper found that the Paleo diet does have positive effects on metabolic syndrome markers. What this means is that conditions associated with metabolic syndrome may be improved through the Paleo diet. This includes the risk of obesity, cardiovascular disease, and type 2 diabetes.

Foods that will be included in a Paleo diet can include lean cut meats, such as poultry, pork, and beef. It is usually advised to opt for organic, free-range, and grass-fed meat products. Game animals like bison, venison, and quail can also become part of a Paleo diet.

Other foods may include fish, fruits, eggs, and non-starchy vegetables. Most people also enjoy a selection of seeds and nuts on the Paleo diet. When it comes to cooking, olive oil is often the preferred option. Flaxseed oil, walnut oil, and some other types of oils can also be used, but the intake of these oils need to be moderated.

Dukan Diet

The Dukan diet is also divided into multiple phases, similar to the Atkins diet. This diet is mostly considered a “fad” diet because the initial phase, known as the Attack Phase, requires a significant reduction in caloric intake. The diet focuses on increasing protein intake – and protein, turn, has been linked to improvements in weight loss.

The diet was originally developed in the 1970s by a French doctor known as Pierre Dukan. The idea behind the higher protein intake is to boost a person’s metabolism. At the same time, the diet is suggested to help curb a person’s appetite, leading to a reduction in food intake. The combination can, in fact, yield positive results when it comes to reducing excess weight that has accumulated in the body.

After the Attack Phase has passed, the next stages involve slowly adding more food options to the diet. High-protein food options will remain an important part of the Dukan diet throughout the entire time a person is following the diet. Once the final phase is reached, you will go back to the foods you consumed during the Attack phase once every week.

Conclusion

There are hundreds of diets out there that you can choose from if you want to lose weight, but they are not equally effective. Some of the diets can also cause a significant restriction in your caloric intake and even lead to the possibility of nutritional deficiencies. If you are looking to follow a diet for fast and effective weight loss, then consider one of the diets that we shared in this post. These diets have been proven to be effective, and they will not cause significant harm to your body.

References

(1) https://www.who.int/news-room/fact-sheets/detail/obesity-and-overweight
(2) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5803575/
(3) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK499830/
(4) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4588744/

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