Updated: Dec 6, 2021
There’s very little that differentiates most popular nutrition approaches and diet fads. If you take the time to list and compare the “rules” & “principles” of most popular approaches you’ll see they have more in common than we think.
Focuses on higher protein and veggies, while lowering calories, saturated fat, added and concentrated sugar.
How it works: Based on their Smart Points system. Weight Watcher Members use the Smart Points System as a guide toward a more balanced eating pattern.
Weight loss: Considered a balanced nutrition approach, many people have success losing fat with Weight Watcher by applying the lessons learned to make sustainable lifestyle changes.
The Vegetarian Diet:
Typically, they do not eat meat, poultry, or fish.
How it works: There are many types of Vegetarian. Most are Lacto-Ovo meaning they don’t eat any animal-based foods.
Weight loss: A vegetarian diet seems to be very effective at helping people lose weight — often without counting calories because it restricts your “approved” foods and you consume foods that are higher in fiber. BUT Some vegetarians rely too heavily on processed foods, which can be high in calories, sugar, fat and sodium causing them to gain weight.
The Vegan Diet:
Restricts all animal products for ethical, environmental, or health reasons.
How it works: Veganism is the strictest form of vegetarianism. Eliminating meats. dairy, eggs, and animal-derived products, such as gelatin, honey, albumin, whey, casein, and some forms of vitamin D3.
Weight loss: Like a vegetarian diet, a vegan can be effective at helping people lose weight because it’s very low fat and high fiber content may make you feel fuller for longer. But also, like Vegetarians, Vegans may rely too heavily on processed foods.
The Jenny Craig Diet:
Combines nutritional counseling and support with pre-packaged portion-controlled frozen foods, fresh fruits and vegetables, and low-fat dairy. Clients enrolled in the plan are provided pre-packaged foods, snacks and supplement meals with fresh food from the grocery store.
How it works: A weight-loss program that attributes its effectiveness to the simple restriction of calories, fat, and portion size.
Weight loss: Like Weight Watchers, Jenny Craig is a plan with a successful track record, because it’s easy, convenient & offers variety! However, it’s price point makes it challenging to commit to long term.
The Keto Diet:
Based on a very low carb, high fat diet that shares many similarities with the Atkins and low carb diets.
How it works: Reduces carbohydrate intake and replaces it with fat. This reduction in carbs puts your body into a metabolic state called ketosis.
Weight loss: Going Keto can help you lose weight and fat. Ketogenic diet may be as effective for weight loss as a low-fat diet approaches since it restricts your carbs.
The South Beach Diet:
Created in the mid’ 90s, The South Beach Diet is a lower-carb diet that has been credited with producing rapid weight loss without hunger, all while promoting heart health.
How it works: A low-carb diet that emphasizes lean meats, unsaturated fats and low-glycemic-index carbs. The South Beach Diet has three different phases: two for weight loss and a third for weight maintenance.
Weight loss: Many participants have early success with this approach because of its ability to produce weight loss without hunger. Unfortunately, some struggle with maintaining progress when they move through the phases.
The Atkins Diet:
One of the most well-known low-carb weight loss diet. Atkin’s Diet is focused on eating as much protein and fat as you like if you avoid carbs.
How it works: The Atkins diet is split into four phases. It starts with an induction phase, during which you eat under 20 grams of carbs per day for two weeks.
Weight loss: The Atkins diet has been studied extensively and found to lead to faster weight loss than low-fat diets.
The Zone Diet:
A low-glycemic load diet that has you limit carbs to 35–45% of daily calories and protein and fat to 30% each.
How it works: The Zone Diet recommends balancing each meal with 1/3 protein, 2/3 colorful fruits and veggies, and a dash of fat — namely monounsaturated oil, such as olive oil, avocado, or almonds. TZD also suggest only consuming carbs that are a low on the glycemic index (GI). The GI of a food is an estimate of how much it raises your blood glucose levels after consumption.
Weight loss: Studies on low-GI diets are rather inconsistent. While some say that the diet promotes weight loss and reduces appetite, others show little weight loss compared to other diets.
The Mediterranean Diet:
The Mediterranean diet is based on the traditional foods that people use to eat in countries like Italy and Greece back in 1960.
How it works: The diet examined by most studies is high in healthy plant foods and relatively low in animal foods. However, eating fish and seafood is recommended at least twice a week.
Weight loss: Although successful at decreasing fat loss, The Mediterranean diet is not primarily a weight loss diet, but it is a healthy diet that can help prevent heart disease and early death.
I wrote this article to not only defunct diet culture but to educate you on the differences or lack thereof between diets. But I also wanted to enlighten you on how YOUR EFFORTS are the only thing that really matters. It does not matter which approach you try, if you’re unwilling to change, commit or focus, you’ll never see the results you want! Dig deep with me and purchase my eBook, Food for Fat Loss for sustainable nutrition approaches!