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10 Most Popular Diets for Weight Loss

General Motors (GM) Diet:

The General Motors Diet is considered one of the fastest and most preferred diet programs across the globe. Developed by General Motors, Inc. in 1985, it was originally intended for the exclusive use of its employees and dependents. The diet targets a loss of 10 to 17 pounds in a single week, and is often adapted as a body cleansing alternative. Along with 10 glasses of water each day, the prescribed diet is as follows:-

Day One: All fruits except bananas. This helps the system prepare itself for the significant diet change.

Day Two: All vegetables. Carbohydrate consumption is usually served by eating baked potato. The vegetables provide essential nutrients and fiber.

Day Three: A mixture of fruits and vegetables, barring bananas and potatoes.

Day Four: Eight bananas and three glasses of milk.

Day Five: Two 10 oz. portions of lean beef and six whole tomatoes. Eat two 10 oz. portions of lean beef. Water intake must be increased by one quart, to cleanse the system of the uric acid produced.

Day Six: Unlimited amount of beef and vegetables.

Day Seven: Brown rice, fruit juices, and vegetables.

Breatharian Diet:

Also known as inedia (Latin: fasting), breatharianism is a diet, or more specifically a belief, wherein it is possible for a person to live without consuming food or water. Breatharians believe that they can survive on sunlight alone. It is considered as a lethal option to lose weight, most often leading to death by starvation and/or dehydration. Breatharianism is usually adapted by monks practicing Buddhism, Taoism, and Hinduism. However, breatharianism has also become somewhat popular in the United States of America, thanks to Wiley Brooks, the founder of the Breatharian Institute of America. According to an interview with Brooks in 2003, he stated that the fast must be periodically broken with junk food to maintain balance.

Atkins Diet:

Popularized by nutritionist Robert Atkins, the Atkins diet is one of the most popular low – carbohydrate diets in the world. As described, the diet involves limited consumption of carbohydrates to switch the body’s metabolism from metabolizing glucose as energy, over to converting stored body fat to energy. The diet consists of four phases:-

Induction: This is the most restrictive phase of the diet, generally lasting a fortnight. It is intended to cause the body to quickly enter a state of ketosis. No more than 20 net grams of carbohydrate is consumed per day (grams of carbohydrates minus grams of fiber, sugar alcohols, or glycerin). Drinking eight glasses of water per day is a requirement. A daily multivitamin with minerals is also recommended. Many usually see the most significant weight loss during this phase.

Ongoing weight loss: In this phase, small intakes of carbohydrates are allowed, as long as weight loss is maintained. The intake increases by five grams each week. This phase of the Atkins’ diet lasts until weight is within 10 pounds (4.5 kg) of the target weight.

atkins diet

Pre-maintenance: In this phase, daily carbohydrate intake is increased by 10 grams each week.
Dieters are encouraged to continue to drink at least eight glasses of water per day and to increase their daily carbohydrate count by 10 grams each week as long as they continue to lose weight. The diet recommends that once participants reach their target weight and can maintain for more than a month, daily carbohydrate consumption can be increased by another 10 grams.

Lifetime maintenance: This phase is intended to maintain the participant’s habits from the three phases, and tries not to encourage the end of the diet. Consumption of unprocessed whole foods is highly recommended. A participant can move back to a previous phase if weight gain occurs.

Juice Fasting:

Also known as juice cleansing, this is a diet in which only fruit and vegetable juices are consumed. In addition to a desire to lose weight, juice fasting is also taken up to stop addiction to substances like nicotine and caffeine, detoxification, or even spiritual or religious reasons. However, there is a great deal of side effects attached to juice fasting, which include lack of vitamin and nutrient intake, adverse reactions to prescription drugs, and even salt deficiency due to the low sodium content of fruits and vegetables. However, dieticians have also classified the juice fasting diet as a marketing myth rather than a physiological entity. Depending on the type and duration of the diet, they can be potentially dangerous and lead to decreased metabolism and even muscle loss.

Diabetic Diet:

As the name suggests, the diabetic diet is meant for those individuals with diabetes mellitus. In this diet, low fat and high fiber foods are usually recommended for consumption, although there has been substantial debate in this area by medical professionals. Back in 1994, the American Diabetes Association surprisingly recommended that 60 – 70% of caloric intake by diabetes mellitus patients should comprise of carbohydrates. Additionally, despite the popular belief that processed sugar is a strict no – no for people with diabetes, its glycemic index produces lower blood glucose levels than the same number of calories obtained from some other sources of carbohydrates. In this diet, healthy eating is also about when the person eats, apart from what the person eats.

Zone Diet:

Popularized by biochemist Barry Sears, the diet has been called ‘The Zone’ to signify proper hormone balance. The diet advocates a balanced consumption ratio (4:3:3) of carbohydrates, proteins, and fat. A unique feature of the Zone diet is its specific focus on the consumption of Omega-3 to Omega-6 fatty acids. In Sears’s opinion, a Zone meal could be described like so, “Eat as much protein as the palm of your hand, as much non-starchy raw vegetables as you can stand for the vitamins, enough carbohydrates to maintain mental clarity because the brain runs on glucose, and enough monounsaturated oils to keep feelings of hunger away”. Despite its seemingly balanced approach to consumption of food, the Zone diet is considered to be a fad diet, whose merit lies in promotion, rather than effectiveness.

Cookie Diet:

This was a calorie restriction diet, which replaces whole meals with a specially formulated cookie. This proprietary cookie was developed by weight loss physician and author Sanford Siegel in 1975, and is composed of amino acids. Six cookies, summing up to 500 calories, must be consumed during the day to control hunger, and 300 calories must be consumed during dinner. Hugely popular between the mid – 1980s and 2000s, the diet has now been discontinued due to Siegel’s filing for bankruptcy in 2008.

Feeding Tube Diet:

Also known as the KE diet (called so because the body goes into a state of ketosis while burning body fat, due to low carbohydrate consumption), this is a proprietary diet found currently only in the United States. It was introduced by Dr. Oliver Di Pietro in 2011, and involves an individual consuming a low-calorie, protein and fat-rich solution through a tube for a certain number of days. The mixture suppresses the appetite of the consumer. It claims to provide your body only with proteins and fats, and not with carbohydrates or sugars, thus forcing your body into a state of ketosis, in which the body burns its own fat. Reported side effects of the diet include bad breath, constipation, dizziness, and lack of energy. The diet could also potentially harm those with heart and kidney problems.

GM diet chart 2015

Dukan Diet:

Designed by French doctor Pierre Dukan, this diet is very similar to the Atkins diet, in the sense that it is conducted in phases. The protein – rich diet is extremely popular, having been published into a book in 2000, translated into 14 languages, and published in 32 countries. Apart from a prescribed list of over 100 foods, the diet has four ground pillars:-

Attack: This phase is to help dieters quickly lose 2 – 3 kilograms (4.4 to 6.6 lb.) in two days to a week by kick-starting their metabolism. Dieters can eat an unlimited supply of 68 protein-rich foods.

Cruise: This phase allows dieters to achieve the weight they aim for in a more gradual manner. Along with 28 specific vegetables, the unlimited consumption of protein-rich foods continues. According to conditions specific to the dieter, one kilogram can be lost per week.

Consolidation: In this phase, any future massive weight gain is prevented. During this phase, fruit, bread, cheese and starchy foods are reintroduced into a normal diet, leaving two celebratory meals a week as directed by the plan.

Stabilization: In this phase, the diet gets stabilized. The dieter can essentially eat whatever they want without gaining weight by following a few rules: protein day once a week, eating oat bran every day, and climbing stairs. According to Dukan, dieters shall follow this last phase for the rest of their life to avoid regaining weight.

However, the Dukan diet has come under some controversy, when Pierre Dukan was banned from being a doctor, for promoting his diet for commercial purposes.

Weight Watchers Diet:

Weight Watchers International has been formulating diet plans for more than 50 years now. Their most recent plan, and current one, is called PointsPlus. According to Weight Watchers, the focus remains on assisting members in creating a calorie deficit to lose weight using a reformulated calculation approach for computing target daily points (e.g., approximately how many calories per day should be eaten) and the “costs” (PointsPlus values) of food. The calculation of the daily points targets is based on creating approximately a 1,000 calorie/day deficit. This means that members are assigned a daily point target in the range of 26-71 PointsPlus to consume each day. Additionally, members are allowed 49 PointsPlus each week, or weekly points, that they can spend how they wish throughout the week. Physical activity earns activity points that, like weekly points, can be used to supplement the daily points allowance.

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