No diet is one-size-fits all. What delivers results for one person will likely prove fruitless for the next. Choosing the one that meets your needs is a matter of matching an eating plan to your lifestyle, tastes, and weight loss goals.  

As an award-winning bariatric medicine physician and a leading authority on diet and weight loss, Dr. Jan McBarron understands intimately the intricacies of today’s most popular diets. Recently, she was interviewed by Industry Elite regarding her knowledge on the topic. The following is a brief overview of the 7 most popular weight loss diets. 

Ketogenic Diet

The ketogenic diet became popular decades ago as a proposed treatment for epilepsy. Since then, it has become widely implemented for weight loss. The key principle of ketogenic diets involves reduction of carbohydrate and fat intake. This includes eliminating foods like fruit, grains, root vegetables, legumes, sweeteners, and some oils. It also entails the elimination of all grain products including bread, cereals, and pasta. In the absence of carbohydrates, the body burns fat creating ketones which are excreted in the urine. The thought is that if the body burns fat, weight loss will follow. Dr. Jan McBarron recognizes the popularity of this diet but because it raises Cholesterol, the risk of Cancer, Kidney disease and other medical problems she states it is not medically sound.

Weight Watchers

Weight Watchers (often abbreviated as WW) is a diet plan built on a branded SmartPoints system. By assigning each food and beverage a distinct point value, Weight Watchers aims to increase positive nutrition consumption while also promoting portion control. Using an individualized model which considers age, weight, height and gender, the program aims to help users lose weight at the slow, steady rate of around two pounds per week. For people seeking a slow weight loss, counting points and online group involvement, Dr Mc Barron feels Weight Watchers may be their answer.

Vegan Diet

The central pillar of the vegan diet is the sole consumption of plant-based food rather than any animal products. In short, vegan diets eliminate all forms of meat, fish, and poultry as well as dairy and eggs. In their place, plant-based foods like fruits, vegetables, leafy greens, whole grains, nuts, and seeds are consumed instead. While some do switch to vegan diets for weight loss purposes, Dr. Jan McBarron highlights that is more commonly implemented for philosophical or environmental reasons.  

Flexitarian

The word “flexitarian” is an amalgamation of the words “flexible” and “vegetarian.” According to Dr. Jan McBarron, it is primarily a plant-based diet but modified. Unlike vegetarian or vegan diets, however, the flexitarian diet does allow for the consumption of meat in reduced quantities. It is a common middle ground for those wishing to gain the health benefits of a plant-based diets without giving up meat entirely. 

Ornish Diet

The Ornish diet is a low-fat diet that limits refined carbohydrates and animal protein. Because it limits fat, calories, and cholesterol intake, it relieves pressure on the heart. According to Dr. Jan McBarron, this has made it a particularly popular choice for those with heart disease and diabetes. The Ornish Diet also strongly emphasizes the importance of regular exercise, especially aerobic activities, resistance training, and flexibility.   It was developed in 1977 by one of the University of California’s clinical professors of medicine, Dr. Dean Ornish. These days, it is a popular choice for those seeking to lose weight.

Raw Food Diet

For the most part, raw food diets are exactly what they sound like: diets that consist mostly of food that has not been cooked, processed, or microwaved. It also eliminates foods that have been genetically engineered or grown with the use of pesticides or herbicides. Raw diets include primarily plant-based foods, although some advocates periodically consume raw animal products such as raw fish, raw meat, or unpasteurized milk. The key to raw food diet’s weight loss proponents comes down to calorie reduction; most raw foods have significantly less calories than their cooked or processed alternatives. Dr. Jan McBarron endorses eating more raw fruits and vegetables but maintains an exclusively raw food diet is impractical for most people.

Intermittent Fasting 

In some ways, intermittent fasting is less of a diet and more of a food consumption pattern. It entails cycling between periods of eating and periods of fasting. Most often, intermittent fasting happens in 7-day cycles, where you eat 5 days per week and abstain for 2. During non-fasting days, there is no caloric or food restrictions. Intermittent fasting is often used as a weight loss technique because it aims to reduce the overall weekly intake of calories. Recently intermittent fasting has centered around 16 hours of fasting and 8 hours of eating. As with so many fad diets, Dr. Jan McBarron emphasizes that people who lose will usually regain all their weight plus more once they stop the diet.

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