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Thursday, August 9, 2012

Why Diets Fail

I've been on almost every diet out there.  Atkins, South Beach, Weight Watchers, the cabbage soup diet......the list goes on.  The truth is, the failure of diets is high.  Sugar and carbohydrates are addictive and our bodies crave them.  Cravings are hard to kick (ask any smoker) and it takes will power.

So, what does work?  Lifestyle changes.  You have to commit to being healthy to make it work long term.  Yes, it's that easy.  But, it's so complicated to figure out what healthy is.  Vegan?  Paleo? Sonoma? Low GI? Gluten-Free? With so much information and misinformation out there, I thought I'd ask the question, what works and what doesn't?  Here's what I found:

Well, here's the top 10 diets that work from Forbes.com

  1. Low GI
  2. Macrobiotic
  3. Organic
  4. Raw Food
  5. Sonoma
  6. Jenny Craig
  7. Nutri System
  8. South Beach Diet
  9. The Zone
  10. Weight Watchers

I'd like to take a quick look at each of these for you and they're linked to where I found information on these for your convenience to read more.

Low GI:  GI stands for glycemic index.  This is one I've been reading about lately.  Understanding the glycemic index can get complicated, but it's what Nutri System raves about.  A vegetable has a lower glycemic number than say a Snickers.  You try and stick to foods with a lower GI number and eat alternatives to higher number foods.  Love the concept, and there are many health benefits to eating low GI, including weight loss.

Macrobiotic: This one I had to read up on a little.  I've heard of it, but just didn't know many of the details.  It came about in trying to find a diet to combat cancer.  The diet involves grains and organic veggies mostly and seaweed, soy and fruits and eliminating processed foods.  And, you can eat fish, but no meat or poultry.  It's similar to a vegetarian diet, but you can have some things vegetarians can't on occasion.

Organic: Mostly, this focuses on food quality.

Raw Food: Mainly, you eat raw, unprocessed foods.  Some people believe that foods heated above 104 degrees loose nutritional value.  In some cases, this is true.  But, in some cases, like tomatoes, heating them releases good properties too.  Health and nutrition studies are limited on the diet.  It can lower cancer risks, but the health risks of eating raw food can be great too.  Staples in the diet include; seaweed, sprouts, grains, beans, fruits and nuts.

Sonoma: This diet is based on the Mediterranean Food Pyramid and singles out "power foods"; bell peppers, blueberries, almonds, broccoli, grapes, olive oil, spinach, strawberries, tomatoes and whole grains.  It's a healthy, balanced diet that focuses on portion control.

Jenny Craig: Food designed by dietitians, a consultant to help you, food shipped to your door to eat.

Nutri System: A personalized diet plan with low GI foods, hand-picked food and snacks delivered to your door, combined with your grocery items, incorporates daily fitness plan with online tools.

South Beach Diet: Meal Plans, coaching, online tools, mobile apps, and recipes make the South Beach Diet easy in a 3 phase plan devised to reduce cravings, reach your goal weight and retain that weight for life.  No points or calories to count.  Encourages low GI eating.

The Zone: Combines supplements with portion control and a balanced diet to reduce cellular inflammation and increase fat loss and reduce hunger.

Weight Watchers: A structured program of eating right, moving more, developing healthy habits and giving you the support you need to accomplish fitness and nutrition goals.  Through meetings or online tools, you can track your weight with weekly measurements and weigh ins to keep you accountable each week.  With etools and apps available, it helps you maintain a low GI diet and still have the things you love.

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