Updated: Jul 2, 2019
Maintaining a healthy weight is the most impactful step to lowering your risk of getting cancer, heart disease, diabetes and many chronic illnesses. Considering the many benefits of maintaining a healthy Body Mass Index (BMI), it's no surprise that most of us have considered following a diet at some point in our life.
Unfortunately, there's no perfect diet for everyone. The truth is that most diets will help you lose weight in the short term. The thing that matters though is keeping it off, and that relies on having a doable plan that you can stick to for longer. So when you decide to pick a plan, be sure to do your research on what it can and can't do for your health.
I spent some time going through the latest research and guidelines from Dieticians, and here's what I have to say about diets, the best and the worst.
The BEST ones
1. Mediterranean Diet
U.S. News & World Report ranked this mostly plant-based eating approach its No. 1 overall diet in 2019. Beyond weight loss, there are the health benefits associated with eating like people who live near the Mediterranean Sea (the diet’s namesake). A review published in the journal Metabolic Syndrome and Related Disorders suggested that a Mediterranean diet, when combined with exercise and followed for longer than six months, was associated with reduced weight gain.
2. Vegetarian Diet
In a meta-analysis published in the journal "Critical Reviews in Food Science and Nutrition", a vegetarian diet was associated with a 25% lower risk of heart disease and 8% reduced odds of Cancer. There are many reasons for going vegetarian, including environmental and ethical considerations. Boosting your health may be another reason to adopt a vegetarian diet, and there’s science behind this choice.
3. Weight Watchers Diet (WW)
This year, U.S. News ranked WW as the best diet for weight loss. The company recently rebranded itself to make the program more about wellness than just losing weight. It is one of the most effective weight loss programs out there, promoting long-lasting, sustainable changes with many studies to prove its effectiveness.
The WORST ones
1. Keto Diet
There is no definitive research proving the safety and effectiveness of Keto. What we do know however, is that this high-fat, moderate-protein, and very-low-carb diet has a reputation for being challenging, especially if you’re doing it without medical supervision. Also, when people go off the plan, they tend to gain back all the weight they lost.
2. Atkins Diet
The Atkins diet was the original low-carb diet, made popular decades ago. Just like the Keto diet, people lose weight quickly on Atkins, but it does not work long term. Atkins and Keto differ in that Atkins allows for more protein, whereas Keto limits protein.
3. Paleo Diet
The Paleo diet is a restrictive diet with many rules. You might lose some weight and potentially boost your health temporarily, but chances are you won’t be able to follow this unbalanced way of eating long-term. However, it could help you reduce your blood sugar and triglycerides.
As always, whenever you consider making major lifestyle decisions, always consult with your doctor. So, before you decide to go on a diet, check with your doctor to make sure it's safe for you.
By the way, remember last week's blog where I mentioned a couple that sought my assistance with fertility treatments? the very same couple discussed bariatric surgery and extreme diets as ways to help lose body weight, as obesity is a known culprit in reducing fertility, sex drive and sexual performance. Now that I've blogged about diets today, I'm thinking maybe I'll blog about bariatric surgery next week? I've got myself some food for thought now....
Healthcare Consultant, in4MED
Atkins diet: https://www.atkins.ca/
Flexitarian diet: https://theflexitarian.co.uk/flexitarian-diet-2/
Mediterranean diet: https://www.mediterraneanbook.com/
Paleo diet: https://thepaleodiet.com/
WeightWatchers diet: https://www.weightwatchers.com/
The author of this blog post is a Physician with over 10 years of experience working in the healthcare system as a clinician, researcher and educator. She is passionate about healthcare for older adults and strives to be a resourceful inspiration to caregivers.
*No content on this site, regardless of date, should ever be used as a substitute for direct medical advice from your doctor or other qualified healthcare professional.