To Diet or Not To Diet: Losing Weight the Healthy Way
Have you tried, struggled, and failed over and over again to be consistent with your Atkins or Paleo diet? Or perhaps you just can’t decide which particular healthy diet you should stick to? Well, surprise, surprise! You are NOT ALONE.
According to statistics, obesity and being overweight has been steadily becoming one of the top health concerns the past few years. And it’s happening not only in the US, but worldwide. So it’s no wonder many people are getting a bit frenzied looking for that miracle diet. Some are looking into these amazing nutrient-dense plant-based foods called superfoods while others are outright starving themselves into having supermodel figures. Yep, so many options, so little time to try them all! If only you find something that would help, right?
Well, what if we tell you that we know what may very well help you find that perfect diet… get you to stick to it… but still maintain a well-balanced healthy lifestyle? But before we tell you all about it, let’s first check the many popular diet regimens around… and see how effective each one really is. Shall we?
Another well-known diet program, this was originally designed for children with epilepsy, especially those who don’t react to anticonvulsive drugs. The one who designed this popular diet was Dr. Russell Wilder at the Mayo Clinic in 1924. Some health professionals also note that it may be effective in reducing the risk of developing Type 2 diabetes.
It is basically a high-fat, adequate-protein, low-carb diet. By cutting your carb intake, your body is unable to find carbohydrates to convert into glucose and it turns its attention to your fat reserves. Basically, because of a lack of carbs, your liver gets to work converting your fat reserves into fatty acids and ketones. The human body uses ketones instead of glucose as fuel. This alternative metabolic state is known as ketosis, and the substance produced through it are called ketones.
It’s important to note that ketosis is different from ketoacidosis. Ketoacidosis is a serious condition that’s most often a complication of diabetes. When you don’t have enough insulin to process glucose, your body burns fats instead. This results in the over-production of ketones in the body, which results in ketoacidosis.
There’s no denying that the ketogenic diet works. After all, it is backed by sound science, several studies, and health professionals. However, cutting off carbs altogether may be quite difficult to maintain long-term. And for the first few days, you may experience what is called the “Keto Flu” which consists of fatigue, headaches, brain fog, nausea, and frequent hunger pangs.
However, if you can get through the first month or so, and perhaps tweak it a bit to suit your personal preference, then you may be able to make it work. Maybe.
Another option would be to simply eat healthy foods, avoid processed ones, and practice self-control when it comes to portion sizes. And to still make sure that you get all micronutrients daily, you should also supplement meals with a glass of daily greens juice.
- Has been studied extensively and is proven to be effective for weight loss
- Helps burn excess fat
- Helps reduce insulin levels
- Prevents liver damage and helps reverse fatty liver disease
- Brings “Keto flu” (fatigue, headaches, brain fog, nausea, hunger pangs) the first 2 weeks
- Ketosis can cause bad breath
- You need to monitor what you eat
- Not advisable for highly active individuals such as athletes
- Can be hard to maintain the diet over time
- Food choices can be quite limited
The Ornish Diet
This diet regimen basically promotes the consumption of plant-based foods and limits the intake of most fatty foods, except for omega-3 fatty acids. For instance, complex carbs, fruits, and green veggies are great while fried chicken is a definite no-no. It was designed by Dr. Dean Ornish in the 1990s as a way to lose weight and help prevent various heart conditions. One of the famous figures that support this diet is former US president Bill Clinton.
The original program essentially promotes meal plans that comprise low-calorie and low-fat diet, and focuses on fresh fruits, vegetables, and whole grains. In short, it promotes a vegan diet that includes avoiding any meat, poultry, or fish. Even egg yolks are off-limits.
And more than just meal plans, it also advocates the inclusion of other healthy habits such as regular exercise, meditation for managing stress, and dropping bad habits such as smoking and drinking alcohol.
Like most plant-based diets, it is effective for losing weight and reducing risk for serious chronic diseases. However, due to the absence of meat on the menu, most people find it difficult to maintain and some may suffer from nutrient deficiency. And the exclusion of salt, sugar, and fats may make most dishes dull and uninteresting.
Moreover, eating fruits and vegetables may make you hungry every other hour or so, which means you need to eat more frequently. This may also mean a bigger expense for your groceries. But you can make your meals more satisfying by including tuna or salmon and a delightfully nutritious glass of green juice like Life Essentials. Just try it and you’ll see for yourself.
- Effective for losing weight
- Reduces risk of serious chronic diseases
- Promotes getting rid of bad habits
- Encourages you to be active and exercise
- Excluding meat from entire diet can be a hassle
- Meals can become bland and uninteresting
- Grocery shopping can be a bit expensive
- Eating only plant-based foods can make you hungry every few hours
- Restrictions on meal plans may cause micronutrient deficiencies
A commercial diet regimen, much like Weight Watchers, it promotes a healthy diet plan that consists mainly of food with low-glycemic indices. It was originally drafted to help obese patients with heart diseases. However, since it is effective in maintaining healthy insulin levels, it’s also ideal for people with prediabetes and Type 2 diabetes.
The ones who designed this program were nutritionist Marie Almon and cardiologist Dr. Arthur Agatston.
Mainly focused on a low-GI (glycemic index) diet, it helps control insulin levels by promoting the consumption of unrefined slow carbs. So meal plans consist of certain fruits and vegetables, whole grains, lean protein, and monounsaturated fats. This is so the release of glucose on the blood would be slow and you don’t get hungry quickly and often.
Unlike the Keto diet, the South Beach diet doesn’t ask you to avoid all carbs, only the ones with high GI (glycemic index). Still, cutting off popular carb-based foods from your meal plans can be quite difficult to follow and maintain for most people. Also, since it focuses mainly on some fruits, veggies, and whole grains, you may get some nutrient deficiencies. Lastly, making sure not to eat foods with high-GI implies pretty strict meal plans, which can be quite time-consuming to draft and prepare for.
- Helps control and maintain healthy insulin levels
- There are fewer food restrictions
- Can help people with prediabetes and Type 2 diabetes
- Pre-packaged foods for quick and easy meals
- It’s a commercial diet, so it’s a bit expensive
- Following their meal plans may cause micronutrient deficiencies
- Excluding most carbs can be quite difficult to maintain
- Drafting meal plans can be time-consuming
- Considered a fad diet
- May cause ketoacidosis if carb intake is severely restricted
Another science-based healthy diet, this program is actually an acronym that stands for Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension. As the name implies, this was originally designed to help patients with high blood pressure and hypertension, not specifically for weight loss. Its main dietary aim is to lower sodium levels and encourage the consumption of foods rich in calcium, magnesium, and potassium.
Contrary to its name and seeming popularity among weight loss diet circles, the DASH diet is a medically proven and scientifically backed health program that is advocated by the U.S.-based National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute. Moreover, there were also studies, sponsored by the US NIH (National Institutes of Health) that prove its efficiency in reducing blood pressure.
It has been voted as the #1 healthy diet of 2017, according to US News.
Main focus of meals plans is in the consumption of fruits, vegetables, and low-fat/nonfat dairy products. Diet may also include moderate quantities of fish, poultry, nuts, and whole grains as well as limited amounts of red meat, sweets, and fats. The nutrients it emphasizes are fiber and protein. Essentially, it promotes a well-balanced healthy diet regimen for the general population.
The main aim of the DASH Diet is to promote general healthy eating, not necessarily how to lose weight and keep it off. Also, unlike commercial diet programs, there are no support groups, monitoring tools, or pre-packaged foods. This means you have to come up with your own meal plans and adjust them accordingly if you want to emphasize on losing weight. In short, drafting your own diet and following it can be a bit of a hassle.
Although, if you add a green juice composed of superfoods like Life Essentials to your diet, you may be able to efficiently cut the meal planning efforts in half. Life Essentials is a delicious green juice powder that is jam-packed with heaps of not only micronutrients but also antioxidants that can prevent oxidative stress, boost your immune system, detoxify the body, and give you a remarkably healthy glow.
- Backed by major health groups and studies sponsored by the US NIH
- Effective in reducing high blood pressure
- Lowers sodium levels, which is good for the kidneys and liver
- Recognized treatment for kidney disease, heart disease, and hypertension
- Not designed specifically for weight loss
- No set guidelines for meal plans, which means you have to draft your own
- No support groups, tools, resources, or pre-packaged foods
- Restrictions on meal plans may cause micronutrient deficiencies
- May be a bit expensive to shop for and stick to
- It’s not a crash diet, so you may have to wait a bit to see noticeable results
One of the most extensively studied health diets today, the Mediterranean diet is based on the typical cooking and eating habits of cultures in Southern Europe. This healthy diet is usually associated with cuisines from Greece and Italy (some also include France and Spain). And it usually refers to eating patterns during the 1960s.
Although a well-known diet, it wasn’t designed by any particular health professional. It has no structured meal plans or strict rules on what you can’t eat. It just encourages the consumption of fresh fruits and vegetables, and working with what’s already on hand or what you can easily buy. In fact, the freshness of ingredients is a very big deal in Italian cuisine. This is why they have seasonal dishes with seasonal ingredients. Due to this, the Mediterranean diet is proven to be effective for losing excess weight and reducing the risk of many serious health problems such as diabetes, hypertension, heart diseases, and obesity.
The diet focuses on the consumption of fresh fruits and vegetables with legumes, nuts, and whole grains. This also includes moderate amounts of poultry, eggs, cheese, and other dairy products. You can also eat red meat, but only rarely. A prominent ingredient (and some say a miracle food in its own right) in many of their dishes is olive oil, which is a great source of monounsaturated fats.
As for beverage, water is the main drink during meals or snacks, with maybe a glass of wine and a cup or two of coffee and tea every day. Most processed foods, refined sugars, and too-sweet beverages are discouraged.
More than just a healthy diet, you are also encouraged to exercise, share meals with family and friends, and to enjoy life in general.
Not originally designed to prevent heart diseases or in losing that extra weight, the Mediterranean diet is nevertheless very effective in resolving both health issues. However, keeping the Mediterranean diet when you actually don’t live anywhere near the region can probably drill a hole in your pocket. After all, local produce is always cheaper than imported ones. Also, this healthy diet usually requires some cooking skills, especially when it comes to meat and pasta dishes. So it may not only be a bit pricey, but also can be a hassle and eat a chunk of your time every day.
This is why finding the right supplement, such as Life Essentials green juice is crucial. With Life Essentials you save some of those precious dollars, you spare yourself from always cooking full meals, and you get to enjoy all the healthy goodness of 14 superfood ingredients.
- Promotes the consumption of fresh fruits and vegetables
- Encourages the use of monounsaturated fats, a.k.a. good fats (olive oil)
- Discourages consumption of most processed foods
- Effective for losing excess weight and reducing risk of many serious health problems
- Been extensively studied by scientists
- Has no specific guidelines, so it may be difficult to draft meal plans
- Not specifically designed for weight loss and no specific calorie count
- Grocery shopping may be a bit expensive, especially if you don’t live in the Mediterranean
- Alcohol intake may be dangerous for people with pancreatitis or elevated triglycerides
- You need adequate cooking skills
- May spur an overconsumption of olive oil, which is not really advisable
The Vegetarian Diet
Another popular healthy diet, this one actually encompasses different kinds of plant-based diets that includes the following:
- Fruitarian – diet focuses entirely on fruits, but may also include seeds and nuts.
- Lacto-ovo vegetarian – only allows fruits and vegetables but can also include eggs and dairy products.
- Ovo-vegetarian – only permits fruit and vegetables, but also allows eggs as the only animal-based food.
- Pesco-vegetarian – may only eat fruits, vegetables, and seafood.
- Semi-vegetarian – also called a “flexitarian”, diet consists mainly of fruits and vegetables, but can also occasionally allow poultry, fish, and red meat.
- Vegan – diet strictly consists of fruits and vegetables only, no fish or any animal-based products such as eggs, milk, or honey. Most people who follow this healthy diet do so not only for health reasons but also for ethical and environmental reasons.
- Living food or Raw food – may only eat fruits and vegetables that are unprocessed and uncooked.
Inarguably one of the healthiest diets around, the vegetarian diet simply calls for having at least 80%-90% of your diet be from plants.
Studies have shown that people who follow any vegetarian diet are generally healthier than those who regularly eat meat. It is even endorsed by the American Diabetes Association. Not only do they have lower body weights, but they also have fewer illnesses and have longer lifespans. In one study, it is even implied that reducing consumption of animal-based products may not only prevent millions of death but likewise help the environment.
It focuses on the consumption of mainly plant-based foods, which may or may not occasionally include some meat, poultry, fish, and other animal-based foods. This means you generally get most of the micronutrients you need, even protein, from plants. The diet also has low calorie and sugar intake since fruits and vegetables contain fewer calories and sugar. However, you do get more than sufficient fiber since most plant-based foods, especially whole grains and green veggies, are rich in dietary fiber.
Basically, you get all the health benefits straight from nature, with little to no adverse effects.
This is perhaps one of the most effective diets for weight loss and overall good health. No wonder it’s one of the most popular diets in the world today. But no matter how wonderful it may sound, much like other diets, it also has its drawbacks.
For one, you may experience nutrient deficiencies, particularly calcium, vitamin B complex, Omega-3 fatty acids, and folate. This is especially true for fruitarians and vegans since the mentioned micronutrients are usually found in meat, poultry, seafood, and eggs.
Most fruits and vegetables have low energy density and don’t have a lot of calories in them. This means that you may not feel the same satiety eating from then than you would from meat. On top of that, fruits may be full of dietary fiber but they are also full of fructose, which, according to a study, can stimulate your brain to make you crave more food. This means you may very well end up feeling hungry every couple of hours or so. And may even end up randomly binge-eating, which won’t be good for your health at all.
- One of the healthiest diet regimens today
- Very effective for weight loss
- It’s good for the environment
- Very good for maintaining a healthy weight
- Followers of the diet generally have longer life spans
- Meal plans have lower satiety levels
- Avoiding meat altogether can be difficult to maintain
- May cause several micronutrient deficiencies
- Fructose in fruits can make you crave more food
- Frequent hunger pangs may cause binge-eating
- Food choices are limited, especially for vegans
One of the oldest and most popular diet programs around, this was developed by New York homemaker Jean Nidetch in 1963. It’s a diet regimen that encourages not only healthy eating habits, but also exercise. On top of that, participants have a consistent support system that serve as reinforcements to the healthy habits. These support systems are often via meetings that can either be in-person or online. And participants continue with the program until they achieve their ideal goal weight. After that, they begin a “maintenance period.”
Weight Watchers is now a billion dollar company with famous celebrity endorsers that include Jessica Simpson, Jennifer Hudson, and Oprah Winfrey.
The ideal meal plans consist of fruits, vegetables, and lean meats but there are no set restrictions on any food group. The main idea is to limit calorie intake, which means setting limits to meal portions. Members know the right size portions by calculating nutritional points using a science-driven approach, in which each food has a corresponding value. The value system is commonly known as Smart Points, which used to be called PointsPlus.
To date, it is still one of the most efficient and widely used diet regimens in the world.
It’s a proven weight loss service that goes beyond being a diet program. It’s essentially a lifestyle change. You’re not just watching what you eat but also developing other healthy habits and actively reinforcing these using tools and group support meetings.
However, it’s a commercial service, which means you have to pay for it. And it could be quite costly, too. Not only that, but you also have to dedicate a regular amount of your time to attend the support group meetings.
But you’re in luck because there’s something that can help you lose weight and stay healthy at the same time. Also, it doesn’t cost much and it will only take you seconds to prepare. Curious? Read up to the end to find out.
- Backed by several scientific studies
- Has support groups, tools, and pre-packaged meals
- Meals are essentially nutritionally balanced
- Really easy for vegetarians to follow
- Not so restrictive as other diets
- It’s a commercial diet, so it’s a bit expensive
- Weekly support groups and weigh-ins are time-consuming and a hassle
- Weight loss may be slower than other diets since no foods are strictly fobidden
- The SmartPoints system can be complicated and also time-consuming
- Fewer restrictions may tempt some people to eat less nutritious food
- The slow progress may discourage people from continuing with the program
Some Honorable Mentions:
Aside from healthy diets backed by science and numerous studies, there are also those that have gained popularity because of its quick-scheme anecdotal successes or its celebrity endorsers. Here are a few of them:
It’s a low-carb 4-phase diet program. It focuses on lean proteins, healthy or monounsaturated fats, and high-fiber foods while minimizing the intake of carbs. The one who devised this diet was cardiologist and physician Robert Atkins in the 1990s.
Basically, you avoid foods high in carbohydrates and sugar. You have to avoid even legumes, starchy foods, and high-carb fruits and veggies. Instead, focus meal plans on high-protein and high-fat foods, including bacon, butter, cream, and steaks.
According to health professionals, this fad diet can pose various health risks. High-protein and high-fat diets can cause a spike in bad cholesterol. Also, limited fruits and vegetables mean you barely get fiber and antioxidants, which can cause digestion and bowel problems as well as increase the risk of cancer and heart diseases.
Another popular diet today, it focuses on meat and raw unprocessed foods. It’s because followers assume this was the main diet of humans during the Paleolithic era (hence the name), ten thousand years ago. It focuses on meat and fish with some fruits, vegetables, and nuts…basically whatever food are presumed to be consumed by our hunter-gatherer ancestors. Foods that you should avoid are refined grains, legumes, salt, sugar, processed oils, and dairy products.
However, many scientists argue that following this diet may be inaccurate since the eating habits of humans in the Paleolithic era was heavily dependent on location, seasons, and opportunity. This means there was no one hunter-gatherer diet back then. Some tribes ate more meat than vegetables, and no seeds, nuts, or roots. Others ate more seeds, nuts, fruits, and vegetables than meat and fish. While there are also tribes that ate plant-based foods, even grains and legumes, as much as meat and fish.
Furthermore, humans have evolved since then and have become flexible eaters, basically adapting to the modern era. So not only is the premise behind the diet inaccurate but it may also be detrimental to the modern man’s physiology.
A calorie-restricted low-carb diet that consists of 3 meals and 2 snacks every day. The one who devised it was biochemist Dr. Barry Sears. Promoted as a lifestyle and not just a diet, its main focus is supposedly balancing hormones to prevent excess cellular inflammation. It claims that weight loss will simply follow after.
Main meals are strictly made up of 30% protein, 30% fat, and only 40% carbohydrates. You can eat breads and pastas but carbs should only be extras and not main parts of meals. And fats should be monounsaturated fats from avocados, almonds, or olive oil. Lastly, one should eat every five hours. This is to discourage binges due to hunger as well as maintain a feeling of satiety throughout the day.
Much like other low-carb diets, this one only has anecdotal successes. Moreover, meals are quite complicated and require a lot of preparation time, since each meal has to follow the specific ratio of 30:30:40 for proteins:fats:carbs. Food ingredients may also be expensive since you’d have to buy fresh fruits and vegetables daily. All in all, the Zone diet may be quite difficult to maintain. So it may not be as effective as other diets.
Other fad diets worth some mention are:
- The Mayo Clinic Diet – follows strict meal plans with specific foods for breakfast, lunch, dinner, and snacks. It even has an app in iTunes and it promises that you’ll lose 6 to 10 lbs in 2 weeks.
- The 5:2 Diet – a program in which you eat normally for 5 days and fast for 2 every week. Medical professionals discourage this diet because it can cause binge eating after the days of fasting.
- The Alkaline Diet – focuses on trying to maintain the acidity or pH balance of the human body. It’s basically a vegetarian diet in which you don’t eat any acid-producing foods. e.g. meat, refined sugar, dairy, caffeine, alcohol, wheat, and some grains
- The Cambridge Diet – -calorie diet with meal plans mainly consisting of soups, shakes, porridges, and snack bar foods. The one who devised this diet was Dr. Alan Howard at the Cambridge University in England.
- May produce visible results in just a short time
- Several anecdotal accounts can encourage you to start noticing what you eat
- Weight lost is usually just “water weight,” not really body fat
- Usually only have anecdotal results, no scientific studies to back claims up
- May cause several micronutrient deficiencies
- Can be too restrictive to maintain in the long run
- May end up causing binge-eating
- May cause some serious health problems
The True Blue Healthy Diet
So which one is the real healthy diet? Well, if you ask any physician or nutritionist about what it really means, they’d most likely tell you to just eat healthy foods. It’s as simple as that.
Now, what does that mean exactly?
Healthy eating should be a well-balanced diet composed of all the food groups in The Food Pyramid, which basically consists of go, grow, and glow foods. Better yet, you can follow the latest MyPlate scheme from the USDA. It indicates that fresh fruits and vegetables should fill about half of your plate each meal. This means they should be the biggest chunk in your diet. And the more nutrient-dense they are, the better.
Whole meals, grains, dairy products, and meat are also part of that pyramid/plate scheme. This means they are equally important and should not be avoided. After all, following a well-balanced diet ensures that you don’t experience any nutrient deficiency, and that is when you can actually say you ARE eating healthy.
As for foods to avoid, simply limit your intake of any processed foods. It’s because they most likely have too much salt, sugar, additives, preservatives, and other chemicals not really suitable for human consumption.
But how can you make sure to get all the food groups every day? With meat and grains, you will probably feel full already. Right? How will you find the time and the “tummy space” for all the greens you also need daily?Well, you’re in luck because there are also eatables called superfoods, which are nutrient-dense plant-based foods. Eating superfoods every day could bring you a ton of health benefits. Now imagine if you could consume 14 of these superfoods in one go? Yep, its name is Life Essentials.
What exactly is this concoction we’re talking about? Read on to find out more!
The Superpower of Superfoods
An amazingly brand-new superfood blend that has 14 of the most nutrient-dense foods in the world, this delightful daily greens powder is called Life Essentials.
It can bring you all the micronutrients you could ever possibly need from fruits and vegetables. And it can be perfect pair for any dish, may it be for breakfast, lunch, or dinner.
What’s more? It’s super easy to prepare! You only need 10 seconds tops to make it. And you’ll have your yummy (and super healthy) glass of 14 wonderful superfoods.
On top of that, Life Essentials is also:
- 100% USDA-certified Organic
- ORAC value equal to 2 servings of fruits and veggies
- Jam-packed with enzymes, fibers, prebiotics, probiotics, and phytonutrients
It’s a perfect complement to any meal. Simply add 1 scoop of Life Essentials powder into a tall glass of water and stir well. Or mix it with your favorite juices or smoothies. And then put it in your water bottle, and chug it any time of day! It’s that simple.
Hear it from Our Satisfied Superfoodies
Doubtful about drinking your Daily Greens? Well, you can read from our satisfied Superfoodies yourself!
I’ll admit, vegetables and I don’t mix. So when my friend had me try this juice, I was very skeptical. Its nasty green color made it even less appealing! But when I took a first sip, it actually wasn’t all that bad (and this is saying a lot from someone who absolutely hates veggies!). I wouldn’t mind drinking this every day if it means getting my vegetables without actually eating the vegetables.
Bloggers do know their stuff, a friend of mine sent me this way and when I saw the price, I didn't hesitate. It's more practical than anything else I've seen online. Life Essentials tastes great! I drink this as a juice with very cold water, which I find more satisfying. It does exactly what it's supposed to and so far, temptations are not as tempting, I never feel bloated, I'm alert and energetic. That sluggish feeling I feel sometimes in the middle of the day? Gone. I'd rate this a 5 out of 5.
Highly recommended for those who work at night. I feel less drowsy and more alert!
Now you’re asking…
Which health benefits can you exactly gain from drinking Life Essentials? Well, brace yourself for a deluge of healthy goodness, because…
The B vitamins from barley and spinach can help boost your energy. So you’re sure to be active and alert the entire day. It can also boost brain function, so you’re sure to have focus and mental clarity always.
The heaps of antioxidants from blueberries, acerola cherry, acai berry, apples, and green tea can detoxify your body of toxinsand neutralize free radicals. And it can also boost your immune system so you’re safe from environmental toxins and microbes.
The delightful array of vitamins and antioxidants from the vibrant green ingredients can help fight premature aging, strengthen your hair and nails, and enhance overall complexion.
The amazing prebiotics and probiotics can help you maintain a healthy gut as well as balance your hormone levels naturally. This means it can help you have a healthy digestive system and reduce your stress levels.
So it doesn’t matter which diet you choose to follow, just start eating healthy. And to make it easier for you to get all the nutrients you need, do it with a glass Life Essentials every day.