Which Diet is Right for You – 10 Diet Programs Explored

 

There are so many different diet programs on the market all claiming better ways to help you shed weight and live more healthy. Many do have true value and can help you on your way to permanent weight loss. We all have different needs, budgets and preferences, so a diet program that would suit me will not necessarily be the one for you.

In this article we look at 10 different diet programs, giving a basic overview of each one. Hopefully if you are looking for a diet plan to follow you will find one here and explore it further.

Atkins Diet

The Atkins diet is one of the most famous diets in the world. Popularized in the 1970s by Dr. Robert Atkins, this became the first widely known “high protein” type diet. Although the actual diet is more complicated than this, the basic premise is that the real secret to good health and weight loss is to consume fewer carbohydrates and more protein and fats.

The Atkins diet has been controversial from the beginning. Some doctors and nutritionists stand behind it, while others argue that it hasn’t proven itself effective. Yet, it’s also been very influential. Many more recent diets are modified versions of the Atkins diet.

Meat lovers and those who enjoy eggs, cheese and other protein rich foods are happy to try the Atkins diet, as it allows them to indulge in all of these foods without guilt. On the other hand, those who are more inclined to overdo it when it comes to bread, pasta or potatoes will find it quite limiting.

The Atkins diet gives you almost unlimited freedom to consume foods that many other diets would have you shun. Butter, mayonnaise, cheese and meat are all considered perfectly healthy. The restriction of carbs, however, prevents this from being a diet that’s easy for most people to follow. You are supposed to avoid white flour and sugar completely.

There are several stages involved in the Atkins diet. The initial stages are more restrictive in the amount of carbs you can eat. Then, as you reach your target weight, you can relax a little. However, you are never allowed the unhealthy type of carbs, such as sugar and white flour.

If you follow the Atkins diet, your craving for carbs is supposed to eventually go away. That’s why it will be harder in the beginning, especially if you are accustomed to eating lots of unhealthy carbs.

Some people do better with the Atkins diet than others. Many health experts believe that different people’s bodies have different needs. That explains why one person might feel better and lose weight following the Atkins diet, while someone else might not get any noticeable benefits.

Although Dr. Atkins died in 2003, his diet remains popular. In 2010 a new book came out, New Atkins For a New You. This book is true to the basic ideas of Dr. Atkins, but makes it simpler for people to understand and follow the diet. There is also a website for the Atkins diet, where you can get advice and interact with others who are following this diet.

There is still no widespread agreement on how good the Atkins diet is. It has clearly helped many people to feel better and lose weight over the last forty years. At the same time, it’s not effective for everyone. It’s a diet you may have to try out for yourself to find out how well you do with it. Even if you don’t follow it to the letter, you may learn a lot of useful information about health and nutrition.


Diet To Go

Diet To Go takes the familiar concept of prepackaged meals and takes it in a new direction. Rather than providing you with instant or freeze dried meals, this company makes healthy, tasty and freshly prepared meals available to its members. Diet To Go prepares fresh meals, flash freezes them and them ships them to you via FedEx, packed in dry ice. This ensures that they will still be fresh when you open them. If you live in the Baltimore, Washington, DC, Philadelphia or San Francisco Bay area, you can even pick up your meals in person.

Although all of Diet To Go’s meals are designed to be healthy and nutritious,
they offer you several alternatives. There are low-fat, low-carb and vegetarian meal plans. Within each of these, you have quite a few great tasting options. You can, for example, customize the diet for any allergies or food sensitivities you might have.

More than any other home delivery weight loss plan, with Diet To Go the focus is on the food. While their website has a blog with weight loss tips, this company is mainly dedicated to creating the actual meals for you. Unlike some programs, they don’t load you down with information and exercise plans. This means, of course, that you have to be self motivated in these areas.

Diet To Go is one of the best rated plans when it comes to meals. They are also one of the costliest. This is hardly surprising, as you can’t expect to get fresh meals for the same price as microwave meal pouches. Still, it’s a factor to consider if you’re on a tight budget. If you’re going to be relying on them for all of your main meals, you should expect to pay around $150 per week. Keep in mind that you will also have to provide your own vegetables, which is a crucial part of any healthy diet.

The meals prepared by Diet To Go are so good that people are inclined to stay with them longer than with other home delivery diets. This is fine as long as you can afford it, but at some point you have to be ready to transition back to making your own meals. You will than have to be careful not to gain back any weight you’ve lost.
This is a challenge with any program where you rely on meal plans, but since Diet To Go provides little besides the meals, you will have to start doing your own research on diets and nutrition if you ever decide to stop ordering from them.

Since Diet To Go is primarily dedicated to delivering your meals, this also means it’s up to you to stay active. No matter how healthy you eat, you still have to burn up calories if you want to lose weight. So if you need extra motivation in this area, you may have to look elsewhere.

Diet To Go is a good choice for busy professionals who don’t have the time or motivation to shop and cook healthy meals that support their diets. It’s not the cheapest way to lose weight, but the freshly prepared meals make it one of the most painless.



eDiets

eDiets is an online program that is designed to make it as simple and painless as possible to lose weight. In fact, they say that the e stands for “easy.” Like some other diet programs, eDiets provides members with meals that are delivered to them. However, eDiets goes out of its way to make these meals not only nutritious but also tasty and appealing.

eDiets starts you off by having you fill out a questionnaire. This helps them customize the right diet for you, based on your goals and preferences. There are also many resources you can access when you join the program, such as phone consultations with trained nutritionists.  There’s an online forum where you can interact with other members.

eDiets provides you with advice on fitness and exercise as well. There are workout videos that give you a variety of options, such as yoga, 20 minute home workouts, tips for flatter abs and much more. No matter what diet you’re on, you still need to exercise, so it’s important to follow this part of the program as well.

What is unique about eDiets is that it’s not simply one diet that everyone has to follow. It gives you many choices, including the Atkins Diet, a wheat free diet, a vegetarian diet, Mediterranean Diet and many others. This makes it a truly customized plan. Of course, you can follow any of these diets on your own. But with eDiets, you get the meals delivered to you, which makes it much easier to stay on track.

Based on reviews from customers, eDiets has succeeded at creating meals that are better tasting than those of their competitors. These meals, called Deliciously Yours, are prepared by gourmet chefs and give you many selections for breakfast, lunch and dinner.

The quality of the meals is an important factor, as it makes it much easier to stick with a diet when you are enjoying your meals rather than feeling deprived. Their meals include favorites such as pasta, pizza and desserts with chocolate. You should be able to stay with their diet and not feel tempted to cheat. You can also choose foods that fit with your preferences, allergies or special needs -if you are lactose intolerant, vegetarian, diabetic, etc. you will still find many suitable choices.

Of course, to get all of this support and great tasting meals, you have to pay. The cost of eDiets is higher than other plans that offer packaged meals, such as NutriSystem. They do, however, offer specials where you can get several weeks of meals for free to save money.

Like any program that provides you with meals, you will only want to do this for a limited amount of time. Even when you stop ordering meals, however, you can still take advantage of the support and resources offered by eDiets.

eDiets is one of the most innovative and customized diet plans on the internet. It allows you to find the perfect diet for you, and then have tasty meals delivered to you regularly. It’s a good option for anyone who has had trouble sticking to traditional diets.

Freshology

Freshology is one of several diet plans that delivers fresh food directly to your door. This program is not available in every state, so if you’re interested you will have to check if you can get it where you live.

Freshology offers several different options. One of them is Jillian Michaels Freshology Gold. Jillian Michaels is a well known fitness expert, and she has partnered with Freshology to create a meal plan that also includes fitness advice.

This sets Freshology apart from many other meal delivery diet programs, that tell you to exercise but don’t provide much specific guidance in this area. Aside from the Freshology meals that are delivered to you, you also get DVDs and books from Jillian Michaels’ fitness program.

Another program offered by Freshology is Getslim With the Stars. The name of this program was inspired by the hit TV series Dancing With the Stars, and the company claims that many celebrities follow this diet. This is a calorie controlled diet that promises to deliver all natural proteins and foods with no preservatives or fillers.

Freshology even has a special program for pregnant women, FreshMommy. This is a diet plan especially designed for women in the later stages of pregnancy, as well as those who are postnatal. The assurance that none of the foods contain any added hormones or antibiotics is given to participants in this program.

Aside from the above programs, which deliver fresh food, there are a couple of alternatives to receive flash frozen foods. GetSlim Silver, for example, delivers all natural foods to you once per week via FedEx.

While the particular meals you get will vary based on your needs and preferences, all of them are designed to be healthy, low calorie and natural. They are also created with the glycemic index in mind. Low GI foods, mostly fruits, vegetables and whole grains, are ones that release glucose more gradually into the bloodstream. This helps maintain healthy blood sugar levels, which is important for everyone, but is critical for diabetics in particular.



Jenny Craig

The Jenny Craig weight loss program has been operating since the 1980s, and is one of the most widely recognized names in this field. Like many established diet plans, Jenny Craig began as physical centers where people would attend meetings. This is still offered, but today there is also the option to do the whole program from home via the internet.

Jenny Craig can be helpful for dieters who want plenty of support, whenever they need it. In fact, this is one of the few programs that gives you around the clock phone support. If you have a question, or are feeling the need to talk to someone in the middle of the night, you can always call.

Jenny Craig provides you with your own personal consultant, who helps you stay on track with your diet and exercise program. This is a very useful feature, and helps you feel connected to the program. You get to know an actual person rather than just interacting with anonymous phone or internet operators.

When you join Jenny Craig, you begin with prepackaged meals, like several other well known weight loss programs. These are only meant to help you develop healthier eating habits, though, and members are encouraged to learn how to prepare their own meals as soon as they can.

One advantage of the Jenny Craig diet is that no foods are prohibited. This can be a difficult issue with some diets, as when you are told you can never eat one of your favorite foods (no matter how unhealthy or fattening it may be), this can create a great deal of stress. It’s a major reason why people often end up abandoning diets. With Jenny Craig, however, you are encouraged to modify your diet in a healthy way without having to completely avoid any particular items.

The advice on fitness and exercise is also quite helpful, especially as it encourages you to engage in activities that you enjoy. They don’t try to force any particular type of exercise on you, but do emphasize that you need a certain amount of physical activity if you want to lose weight.

Jenny Craig offers members three separate programs to choose from. Jenny-Set-Go is for people who only need to lose a few pounds or who want to try out the program. Premium Success is for those who have a moderate or quite a bit of weight to lose. Metabolic Max gives you the most tools and resources, such as ways to track calories and the amount of physical activity you get each day.

Anyone who has an interest in Jenny Craig can sample many of their tools online for free. You can use their menu planner, activity planner and online journal without any commitment. Of course, they will try to encourage you to sign up as a paying member, but it’s your choice.

Jenny Craig is a weight loss program that has a solid reputation, and is well worth considering if you want a great deal of flexibility as well as support in your efforts.

NutriSystem Diet

The NutriSystem Diet has now been around for forty years, so it’s one of the more established diets. Of course, it’s not the same diet that it was in 1972, and it’s kept up with the latest research on health and nutrition. For example, in 2008 it launched the NutriSystem Advanced Plan, which is based on choosing foods based on their glycemic index rating.

NutriSystem is one of the simplest diets in the world to follow. That’s because it does all of the work for you. You don’t have to worry about counting calories, calculating portion sizes or choosing your meals. You simply choose among some of their offerings, and receive your meals for a whole month. These meals are delivered in pouches that you heat up in your microwave.

Aside from the prepared meals. NutriSystem gives you advice on exercise and has online fitness plans you can follow. You also have access to online and telephone support when you join the program. This is all very helpful, as it means you are part of a weight loss community and can get advice or emotional support whenever you need it.

The NutriSystem Diet is more of a commitment than many other diets. The highly structured nature of the program can be seen as a positive or a negative, depending on how you look at it. On the plus side, everything is all set up for you, so there’s little room for confusion. It can accommodate even the busiest (or laziest) among us, so there’s never an excuse that we didn’t have time to prepare a healthy meal.

The potential downside is that you might get tired of eating nothing but meals that are delivered to you in microwave pouches. Of course, you are both allowed and encouraged to eat more than just these prepared meals. However, you are supposed to mainly eat fresh fruits and vegetables on your own. So you will still need to have some will power, and not cheat by grabbing fattening snacks on the side.

The NutriSystem Diet is actually quite strict. Many of the most tempting foods and snacks, such as sugar, white flour and alcohol are forbidden. So if you are going to sign up for this diet, you have to be ready to make some radical changes to your eating habits (unless you already eat a very healthy diet).

There is also the cost to consider. The meals cost around $300 per month. Of course, since this will be replacing your normal meals, you aren’t really spending extra money for food -unless you are extremely budget conscious when you shop.

You aren’t expected to stick to the NutriSystem Diet forever. In fact, most dieters stay on it for a few months and then rely on the website for guidance. This means that once you are finished with the program, you have to be careful not to binge and start eating all of the unhealthy foods that you might have been craving.

The NutriSystem Diet has helped many people lose weight over the last four decades. If you can stick with it for a couple of months, it can enable you to change your eating and lifestyle habits in a very positive way. It’s then up to you to maintain these new habits on your own.

South Beach Diet

The South Beach Diet is a popular diet created by Dr. Arthur Agatston. The long title of his book tells you a lot about the diet – The South Beach Diet: The Delicious, Doctor-Designed, Foolproof Plan for Fast and Healthy Weight Loss.

The South Beach Diet is often compared to another, even more famous diet -the Atkins diet. That’s because both emphasize restricting carbohydrates. There are, however, important differences between these two approaches. Agatston denies that his diet is a low carb or low fat diet. That’s because you are permitted to consume both carbs and fats -only they should be healthy ones.

The South Beach diet was one of the first diets to draw a distinction between healthy and unhealthy fats. This is something that is now widely discussed in many books on nutrition, in addition to magazine articles, websites and other media. On the South Beach diet, you are encouraged to reduce or avoid saturated fats and trans fats while eating more mono saturated fats.

When it comes to carbohydrates, you also have to learn which ones are good for you and which aren’t. The glycemic index can be used to differentiate between these. Carbs that are low on the GI are considered good, because they don’t cause your blood sugar levels to spike quickly.

The catch here is that most of the foods people usually think of when we think of carbs -such as pasta, bread and potatoes- are high on the GI. These are restricted on the South Beach diet, which is similar to the Atkins diet in this regard.

The South Beach diet is more flexible than some diets in that you don’t have to count calories or severely restrict portion sizes. It’s more a matter of educating yourself on what foods are good for you and help you to lose weight.

When the South Beach diet first came out, it was completely about food and didn’t mention exercise. More recently, however, it has incorporated exercise into the formula. This is probably due to recent research that indicates that people who exercise have much better results no matter what diet they are following.

Like the Atkins diet, the South Beach diet is broken into phases. The first phase, which lasts 14 days, is the strictest. You have to completely eliminate foods such as  starches, sugars and alcohol. The second phase is the one you remain in until you reach your goal. During this time you can add some carbs that were banned in Phase 1, but only healthy ones. The final phase is for maintenance, to make sure you don’t backslide and gain back the weight you lost.


The South Beach diet has proven itself effective for many people. If you follow it closely, you will probably end up eating in a healthier way than you did before -especially if you currently eat a typical modern diet. It takes many of the best points of the Atkins diet and modifies them, such as by restricting unhealthy fats.

The Fresh Diet

The Fresh Diet is part of a growing trend in home delivery diet plans. This company prepares fresh gourmet meals that it delivers to members, either daily or twice per week. These meals are not only tasty and nutritious, they are designed to help you lose weight, and are customized to your needs. This type of diet plan allows you to avoid the stress of planning your meals or worrying about how many calories everything contains.

You start off by filling in your goal weight, and based on this you get a diet that allots you a certain number of calories per day. You are also expected to exercise, so don’t expect to lose weight simply by eating the meals. The amount of exercise you have to do depends on how much weight you need to lose. The Fresh Diet originally based all of its meals on the popular Zone Diet. Now, however, it offers a variety of alternative diets you can choose from.

Many of the dishes served by the Fresh Diet sound more like items on a menu at a trendy restaurant rather than meals delivered as part of a diet plan. Dishes include filet mignon with roasted sweet potatoes, jumbo lump crab meat omelet, grilled chicken pumpkin salad and home baked oatmeal chocolate chip cookies for dessert. The Fresh Diet focuses on providing great tasting meals, though you shouldn’t expect huge portions of such scrumptious offerings. Yet you won’t have to worry about feeling deprived with a menu like this.

Depending on your tastes and dietary needs, your meals can be dairy free, gluten free, vegetarian, and other choices. There are also choices to accommodate diabetics, or people with high cholesterol or hypertension. This ensures that you get meals that are designed with your specific needs in mind.

The Fresh Diet is a much more appealing alternative to diets that send you meal packets. Although these gourmet meals are much fresher and more delicious than more traditional meal delivery plans, it’s also quite a bit more expensive. There are two plans, the Chef’s Choice Plan, which presently costs $35 per day, and the Premium Choice Plan, which is $45 per day. The difference is that with the latter you have a wider selection of dishes to choose from.

Because of the cost, the Fresh Diet is mainly geared to professional singles who are looking for a convenient way to get nutritious diet-friendly meals delivered to them. It’s not very economical for families. However, it does give those who can afford it a simple way to lose weight without having to count calories or shop for the right foods.

As with any diet plan, however, the Fresh Diet will only be effective if you follow the rules. This means you should stick to the meals that are sent to you and avoid supplementing them with fattening or unhealthy snacks. You also have to exercise while you’re following the diet. If you can manage to do this, however, you should be able to reach your target weight while still enjoying many of your favorite foods.

Weight Watchers

Weight Watchers is one of the oldest and most popular diet programs in the world. It began in 1963, but has been consistently reinventing itself to keep up with the changing times. Weight watchers is a good system. for people who want to be part of a very structured program to keep them on track with their diets.

What makes Weight Watchers different from most other diets is that it not only gives you advice on diet and nutrition but it encourages you to attend meetings and actively participate. Originally, most members would attend live meetings in their area. Today, more and more people are accessing the program online.

In 2010, Weight Watchers introduced a new system called the PointsPlus program. This was designed to be a more efficient way to help people eat healthier, less fattening foods and still not feel deprived. The way this works is that you can eat some of your favorite foods, as long as you balance this out with vegetables, fruits, whole grains and lean proteins.

PointsPlus looks at the big picture, so you don’t have to worry about completely avoiding any particular foods. It also recommends certain Power Foods that are especially satisfying and nutritious. If you are familiar with Weight Watchers at all, you may have heard of their Filling Foods -Power Foods is an updated version of this.

There are Power Foods in many different categories, but some examples are fat free Greek yogurt, quinoa, blueberries, cauliflower and bulgur. You aren’t expected to live entirely on Power Foods, but they are good go keep in mind when you go shopping and seek out new recipes that will help you stick to your diet.

What is good about Weight Watchers is that it provides members with a comprehensive set of tools and resources to help them lose weight. At the same time, it allows you to customize these tools for your own personal needs and goals. For example, it gives you thousands of recipes and food options. So it’s not like some diets that tell you that you must eat only X, Y and Z. You can follow the guidelines that Weight Watchers provides and still have many choices.

Weight Watchers also is very versatile when it comes to the ways you can participate. You can attend local meetings or do everything online. Either way, of course, it’s up to you to actually follow their advice. But the many resources they provide makes it easier.

One possible drawback of Weight Watchers is the cost. Unlike a diet book, where you just buy it and follow it, Weight Watchers has monthly dues. These come to about $50 per month, depending on the plan you choose and what specials they may be offering at any given time. This isn’t cheap. So, while they do have a lot to offer, there also is a certain financial investment required. On the other hand, paying a membership fee might make you feel more committed to your diet, which can be helpful.

Anyone who is serious about losing weight should at least consider Weight Watchers. It’s not for everyone, but it can provide you with a reliable support system to help you reach your weight loss goals.

 

The Zone Diet

The Zone diet was created by Dr. Barry Sears, who wrote a popular book called Enter The Zone.  His most recent book is The Anti-Inflammation Zone. The diet he came up with promises to do more than help you to lose weight. It’s also meant to make you healthier and allow you to avoid common health problems such as heart disease, high blood pressure and diabetes.

The basic premise of this diet is that by staying in what Sears called “the zone,” your body performs at a much higher level and is protected from many threats. The most fundamental principle of The Zone diet is that you should try to make your diet 40 carbs, 30% fat and 30% protein. Of course, it’s quite a bit more complicated than that. After all, not all carbs, fats and proteins are equal. Some are healthy and others aren’t.

One feature of the The Zone diet that many people find appealing is that it does away with the whole concept of counting calories. Sears doesn’t believe that the number of calories you consume is very important. He focuses instead on the quality of the foods you eat, and maintaining the right balance between the types of food.

The goal with this diet is to achieve peak efficiency. This is what everyone, from elite athletes to out of shape, overweight dieters are actually trying to achieve. For it’s really the same principle in both cases. When your metabolism is working at its most efficient, you will be burning calories and fat. You will also have more energy and feel better. So you’ll be performing better, whether you’re at work or at the gym.

One of the first things you have to realize about The Zone diet is that when you are told to eat 40% carbohydrates, this doesn’t mean bread and pasta. You are supposed to focus mainly on healthy carbs, which means vegetables, fruits and whole grains. You are allowed a small amount of unhealthy carbs, but these must be severely limited if you want to stay in The Zone.

Similarly, the fats you eat should be mainly healthy ones. This means foods like olive oil, avocados and various types of nuts. When it comes to protein, you are given a fairly simple way to determine how much is the right amount. With each meal, you should aim to consume a portion of protein about the size of your palm.

The Zone diet is fairly simple to follow. You can find out a lot more about it by reading one of Dr. Sears’ books or by exploring their website. Experts don’t agree about the science behind the diet (though it would be hard to find any diet that everyone agrees about!). Many people, however, have gotten good results by following its recommendations.

Although The Zone diet has very specific requirements, it’s also quite flexible. Within the structure of the 40-30-30 rule, you have quite a bit of leeway to enjoy many foods that you enjoy.

Conclusion

While there are many other diet programs available these are some of the most popular and they all get results if stuck with. Good luck with your journey and we hope you find the diet program that will work for you.

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