There are so many diet trends out there right now which causes lots of confusion so I wanted to give you quick summaries to provide you with some basic information. Remember, everyone is unique. The diet that works for the lady down the street may not work for you. Keep this in mind when you're deciding how to approach weight loss.
1. Calorie counting/points counting: This is based on the simple equation that calories in must be less than calories out to create a caloric deficit and lose weight. No specific foods you can or can't eat. Just counting calories. If it fits in your calorie budget, it's all yours. Long term calorie restriction can harm your metabolism and returning to higher calories without weight gain is very difficult.
2. Ketogenic Diet- This diet restricts carbohydrates to the point that your body switches over to use stored fat as its' energy source. The big issue with this diet is that many don't find this diet sustainable in real life. It works well for weight loss but maintaining the loss can be tricky.
3. Whole 30 Diet- The focus is on eating whole foods and cutting out all processed foods as well as legumes, dairy, soy, alcohol and sugar. This is an elimination diet that works well to heal the body that's undergoing any inflammatory process and usually does result in weight loss simply because you can't eat what you normally do. Whole 30 is good for your body, no doubt. But again, can be challenging to maintain depending on lifestyle you desire.
4. Paleo Diet- This is a plant based diet that focuses on eating what humans are thought to have eaten in the Paleolithic era. Dairy, legumes and grains are limited. You can eat meat, nuts, seeds and fish. Again, the issue with this diet isn't that it's not healthy but most people find that eating Paleo isn't something they want to do long-term.
5. Raw Food Diet- This is a type of vegan diet that aims to make >75% of your food raw. You'll be eating nuts, seeds, fruits, vegetables but nothing can be cooked. Some will add raw fish and eggs. Not sure what the major benefit of this diet is for people to stick with it but there are raw vegans out there. I can assume most of their life is spent chewing. ha!
6. Ayuverdic Diet- This is a Hindu based nutrition method to prevent and cure illness. You work with someone trained in Ayuverda called a dosha who will work with you to decide what foods and spices are best for you. Not a very popular diet but can be an alternative approach to healing your body.
7. Intermittent Fasting- A recently popular diet that uses different periods of fasting to promote weight loss without harming your metabolism. This diet is based in the theory that our ancestors once fasted regularly, many cultures fast after religious feasts and fasts have had many health benefits. This is for you if you want a no fuss approach to fasting. Nothing tricky about it- just don't eat food for a set amount of time. This approach isn't for everyone though so make sure you discuss this with your doctor before initiating.
8. Vegan Diet- Diet that eliminates all meat and meat products including dairy and eggs. Not necessarily for weight loss but can help some heal inflammatory or autoimmune disease. Many do this diet for ethical reasons.
9. Vegetarian Diet- This diet also eliminates all meat but allows eggs and dairy, some people eat fish too. Both the vegan and vegetarian diet are generally a good short term solution for your body however long-term some may have several vitamin deficiencies and note that they don't feel as good as they did several years ago when they first started the vegetarian or vegan diet.
10. Macronutrient Diet- This diet focuses on counting carbohydrates, proteins and fats instead of just counting calories. The idea is that if you set your ratios just right and eat those prescribed macronutrients that you'll find food flexibility and weight loss with the ability to maintain. The idea is great. Serious athletes like body builders commonly use this method to get ready for competitions. In real life though, keeping track of everything you put in your mouth every single day can be laborious. You can use the macronutrient diet method to learn to eat a certain way and then stop counting, see if you maintain your weight loss because you've learned how to eat a certain macronutrient ratio without having to keep track. Some call this "intuitive eating."
Hope these short summaries lay out most of the basics what you should consider while deciding how to approach your weight loss journey. Need help deciding which one is for you? Let me know at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Remember the diet you choose should be sustainable and promote not just weight loss but also health!