How do the diets stack up? |

How do the diets stack up?

Here’s a quick critique of the current “hot” diets.

Dr. Atkins’ Diet claims low-carb levels trigger a state of ketotis, forcing your body to burn energy. Short-term studies show the diet leads to weight loss but long term health effects are unknown.

The Zone claims the correct ratio of carbs (40 percent), protein (30 percent), and fat (30 percent) will keep you trim and control hormones that fend off disease. Cutting carbs usually means cutting calories, so weight loss probably will occur.

The South Beach Diet claims avoiding high-glycemic index foods eliminates insulin resistance and promotes weight loss. The claims haven’t been proved but at least the diet includes whole grains and fruit and cuts back on saturated fats.

Dr. Ornish’s Diet keeps calories from fat to a minimum (4-6 percent) and is mainly a vegetarian diet. Although healthy overall, the diet restricts good fats and is very hard to stick to.

Dr. Phil’s Ultimate Weight Solution claims that if you change your thinking and attitude, you’ll change your weight. The plan is essentially low calorie and high protein and emphasizes coping strategies involving emotional eating.

Weight Watchers developed a points-based eating program that allows for safe and gradual weight loss. If dieters exercise, they can add points. Nutritionists like any plan that promotes portion control and substitutes low-fat, high-fiber foods for fatty ones.

Thin for Life doesn’t give rules, but rather shares the experiences of successful weight loss masters. Low-fat eating, regular mealtimes, food journaling, realistic goals and exercises are the keys. Gimmick free, the authors recommend the old basic – to lose weight, burn more calories than are consumed.

The Step Diet recommends counting steps instead of calories as an effective way to lose weight. Becoming more active is good but changes in eating habits may still be necessary for weight loss.

Source: Special Issue, “Overcoming Obesity,” Time Magazine, June 2004

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