Diets Decoded

From the Dukan Diet to the Paleo Solution, one cannot go a few days without learning about a new weight loss solution. The world is awash with books and media that claim to have the solution to all of our weight loss needs. Although I feel that most diets are malarkey, some are worth their weight; or at the very least a discussion.

Here’s how the most recent buzz worthy diets stack up!

The Paleo Diet Solution
This diet is a sweets addict best friend as it promises to eliminate sugar cravings for good. Paleo proponents believe that our early ancestor’s diet of whole foods is far healthier than our modern over processed regime. This diet forbids chips, cookies and even the “healthy” pre packaged alternatives- if your great grandmother doesn’t know what it is, it’s not allowed; opting instead for three to four daily meals consisting of 4-8oz of lean protein like chicken, turkey or seafood, raw or lightly cooked vegetables and healthy fats, nuts and oils. The daily calorie intake on the Paleo plan hovers around 1200-1400 calories.

People who subscribe to the Paleo plan find themselves losing their cravings for chips and processed foods; as well as feeling light after meals, as opposed to heavy and weighed down. The Paleo plan, although a fan favorite, requires a lot of preparation in regards to meals; and although the meals are composed of simple ingredients, these ingredients require a peeling, chopping etc. And the lack of desserts is something that I find hard to maintain- a girl needs a treat every now and again.

The bottom line is that the Paleo Solution is a great one; eating a diet free of processed foods and rich in fruits, vegetables and lean meat will ALWAYS work. However, to make this plan slightly more attainable, for me anyways, I would need a sweet potato here and there.

The Raw Food Cleanse

The raw food trend is so hot these days; as a raw foods cleanse promises to reset our digestive tract and give us boundless energy. This three, seven, fourteen or twenty eight day cleanse is based on the theory that cooking depletes food of nutrients, so we should be eating fruits and vegetables in their raw state. This plan recommends fruit and vegetable juices, soups and salads; with a daily intake of calories of around 1200-1400 calories.

The upside to the raw food cleanse is that it is easy to follow, as this plan requires no cooking prowess whatsoever; however you need a juicer and blender in order to follow along- which can be an expensive mandate. And many people find themselves quitting as this plan isn’t sustainable for long periods of time and many find themselves LACKING energy as opposed to feeling rejuvenated. Personally, I would have a hard time sipping a green juice while my friends sipped on bubbly; but with that being said, a raw food cleanse for three to seven days is a fantastic way to kick start your digestion.

The 17 Day Diet

Most people would jump at the chance to lose weight in 17 days; hell, that would make me very excited, but this book’s title is misleading. According to the doctor who developed the diet, it takes 17 days for the body to recognize a diet as a habit and, therefore, slow our metabolism in response. He claims that the THREE 17 day cycles keep metabolism chugging at an optimal pace. Cycle one allows for 1200 calories daily of unlimited protein, non starchy vegetables and, early in the day, two low sugar fruits. In cycle two 2 healthy carbohydrates are permitted; while alternating between 1200 and 1500 calorie days. The third cycle permits fruits at any time of the day and one alcoholic drink per day. And as for maintenance, it recommends adhering to the diet throughout the week, while breaking on the weekends.

This diet is appealing as there is no calorie counting and it allots for a maintenance phase. However, most people find the first cycle a bit strict; and since there aren’t cheat days until cycle four, this can be tough to sustain. And although the doctor claims that this diet resets metabolism, there is no scientific evidence to support that; the reason people lose weight on this plan is because there is a reduction in calories, plain and simple. Ignoring the rules and simply sticking to 1400-1600 calories per day would suffice in any weight loss endeavor.

The Dukan Diet

This diet has been a media darling as of late, with a recent feature on the Dr.Oz show; but this diet is complicated. There are four phases that must be followed to the letter:

This phase lasts 2-7 days, in which we consume low fat protein, water and 1 tbsp of oat bran to maintain regularity.
Every other day, you add low carbohydrate vegetables until our weight goal is achieved.
The addition of one piece of low sugar fruit, two slices of whole grain bread and one serving of cheese each day; plus one cheat meal a week.
This is the maintenance phase, where we are allowed to eat anything so long as you follow these rules: three tablespoons of oat bran and 20 minutes of walking each day and one pure protein day a week.

This plan works because protein keeps us feeling full longer than carbohydrates do; regardless of that fact, phase one is understandably rough. Eating nothing but protein is hard on a digestive system, no matter how many tablespoons of oat bran we consume. Essentially this is Atkins 2.0, and since carbohydrates give us the energy we need to get through the day, we can have the tendency to feel listless during phase one.

On all these diets people lost weight and people floundered; that’s the nature of diets. And with all the literature out there, it would seem that dieting is rocket science; it isn’t. Incorporating a combination of all the best qualities of these diets would be ideal; but if I had to choose, I would pick the Paleo Diet Solution, if it was good enough for our ancestors, it’s good enough for me!

What diet would you pick?

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