In an age characterised by technological advancements, which have led to increasingly sedentary lifestyles, escalating obesity levels have become a global concern. On the other hand, media representation and an image-obsessed culture have increased pressure on people to conform to a certain interpretation of the model body image. Against this backdrop, there is little wonder that the appetite for innovations in dieting has been unrelenting. Here we take a look at five of the most popular modern diets.
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Also known as intermittent fasting or the Longevity Diet, this method involves dramatically decreasing your calorie intake every other day to reduce overall calorie intake and activate the body’s ‘skinny’ gene. It is said to provide other benefits such as reduced inflammation, better cellular energy production and improved insulin resistance. The simplicity of the diet makes it popular and easy to follow, and no foods are off limits. However, it may not be suitable for people with any history of disordered eating patterns.
Developed 40 years ago, the Atkins Diet is one of the most popular and enduring dieting techniques. By limiting the consumption of carbohydrates, the diet is designed to encourage the body to metabolise stored body fat for energy rather than glucose. The New Atkins Diet is very similar but there is greater flexibility around alcohol and caffeine intake which will make it easier for dieters to stick to the plan. Like the older version of the diet, it requires close counting of carbohydrates and measuring food intake so requires a great deal of focus, and the reduced intake of carbohydrates can result in fatigue when attempting cardiovascular exercise alongside the diet.
Also referred to as a cleansing diet, detox diets come in many forms but all aim to remove toxins and poisons from the body to promote self-healing, aid digestive health and improve energy levels. Most detox diets will require abstinence from alcohol, tobacco and caffeine; and promote the intake of organic unprocessed foods, a high mixture of vegetables and fruit, plus plenty of water. The reduction of stress is also often a key consideration, as many detox diets form part of a holistic view to lifestyle improvement. While popular, detox diets are also controversial as they are extremely restrictive and not based on any firm medical science.
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Popularised by celebrities and models, the Dukan Diet originated in France and came to international prominence relatively recently, despite being conceived over 30 years ago. Similar to the Atkins Diet, it endorses a protein-rich, low-carbohydrate diet and is heavily prescriptive in terms of the foods which can be consumed. In its first phase, dieters may only consume protein foods which must not be accompanied or seasoned with any fats or carbohydrates. This promotes dramatic early weight loss and the remainder of the plan seeks to consolidate and stabilise the diet by bringing other food groups. While the diet includes ‘celebration meals’ where the dieter can enjoy whatever food they like, the restrictive nature of the plan makes it hard to follow and good results can often be temporary.
A juice diet or juice fast is a form of detox diet in which solid food consumption is replaced by freshly squeezed juice drinks from raw fruit and vegetables. While primarily advocated for detoxification of the body, juice fasting has also been used for weight loss, though decrease in weight from this method is usually down to less fluid retention rather than a reduction in body fat. While tremendously popular, the benefits of juice fasting are unproven and many dieticians have expressed doubts about any long-lasting benefits.
Diet plans exist in numerous forms and guises, and vary in effectiveness from person to person. Whether you are looking to slim down for a wedding or making a lifestyle change to achieve long-lasting weight loss, it is important to fully research the implications of the diet plan you wish to follow and seek the advice of a medical professional. A healthy lifestyle must combine a balanced diet and a regular exercise routine.
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