Which is best for weight loss?
Many of my patients want to know which diet is best. Well, that depends upon which one you can stay on for more than a few weeks, not feel hungry while enjoying the food and not feeling deprived.
Keto diets: The main focus of Keto diets are vegetables, meats, and fat. The fat content is what helps people feel fuller and not hungry. It’s like the Atkins diet, only, this has zero carbohydrates.
What this means:
- Coffee with no sugar
- Bacon and eggs
- Salads with protein, but no croutons, corn or tortilla strips
- No bread, pasta, rice, cereals or other carbs
- Very limited fruits
- No fruit juice, jams, jellies
- No cookies, cakes, sweets or candy
This has real benefits for people who are able to give up bread, beans, pasta, and sweets. It forces the body to burn fat for fuel, which produces ketones, hence the name ketogenic diet.
Giving up sugar
If the thought of giving up sugar is too much to consider, then take a moment and consider this. It only takes most people about 3-5 days to get over the sugar cravings. Really! Once you quit sugar and carbs, you’ll crave them less.
The benefit is that people feel full very fast because of their fat intake and end up eating much fewer calories. Plus, after a few days, the body will deplete the glycogen stores in the liver and will reset to burn fat for fuel. This diet helps get rid of the thick abdominal fat, which I call the Meno-pot belly.
Mediterranean: Inspired by my ancestors from Italy and those people with traditional diets, who lived around Mediterranean sea for centuries, the emphasis is on plant-based foods like fruits and vegetables, whole grains, and legumes, plenty of extra-virgin olive oil, and fresh fish.
Many people from this area didn’t have an abundance of food and had to forage for the plants, fruits, and vegetables, so their portions were also quite small.
This is a healthy food plan for life that’s been recognized as a way to lose weight slowly, but keep it off.
It also allows for wine and recognizes the importance of enjoying meals with friends and family. Think huge salads with a side of veggies, a small appetizer portion of pasta or a very thin crust pizza with a glass of wine.
The trouble with this type of eating is when the food tastes so delicious, that it’s difficult to stop eating after a small portion. Many of us have become accustomed to large portions and then forget to put the fork down and find ourselves going back for 2nds and thirds.
I’m learning to slow down, put my fork down between bites and limit myself to smaller portions, savoring each bite and enjoying the conversation around the table.
The Whole 30 – This diet takes cleanses to a whole different level. The idea is that we and our gut biome react to certain foods by causing inflammation, gas, bloating, foggy thinking and low energy. Most of the foods that are eliminated are considered healthy, but may not be reacting to your unique system in a way that feels good.
By eliminating those foods like sugar, dairy, beans, and grains, many people start to feel better, more energetic and are more clear headed.
You start off by eliminating:
- Legumes and Beans – some are allowed
- Processed foods
What is allowed are these foods that are not overly processed, which means freshly prepared
- Herbs and Vinegar
- Coconut milk
Your lunch or dinner might consist of a lean chicken breast or thigh roasted with a drizzle of olive oil, garlic, and lemon with a large salad and steamed broccoli.
The benefit comes from people eliminating sugar and processed foods, which leaves freshly prepared healthy and nutritious foods instead. You get to taste the sweetness of fruits without added sugars.
The downside is that you must commit to 30 days of eating like this and you’re not allowed to weigh yourself. The Whole 30 also helps reset your system and discover what foods might be causing an inflammatory response.
A similar diet is The Plan, which has you weigh yourself every day to determine if you’re retaining fluid as a sign of inflammation when you introduce foods. I did the plan and lost 20 pounds. I still follow many of the principles by eating more fresh vegetables, having more nuts and seeds, eliminating processed foods and managing portions.
I’d love to know more about the diet plans that work for you and any recipes you’d like to share.