As the new year approaches, many of us begin to think more closely about our nutrition. In fact, an estimated 45 million Americans will go on a diet in 2019. From raw to Atkins and intermittent fasting to one meal a day, it can be hard to know which diets really work.
The key with any diet is to make it a lifestyle choice, not simply a short-term diet. It’s crucial to pick something that’s sustainable for your needs, and you may want to try several different options for a few weeks to see which choices might be best for you.
To help guide you on your journey to better health, we’ve analyzed five of the most effective diets and created a cheat sheet for you below. Whether you’ve tried loads of diets or are a first-timer, any of these programs would make a great starting point for the new year.
Related reading: Best January Weight Loss Detox
1. The Ketogenic Diet
Sometimes used as a treatment for childhood epilepsy, the ketogenic (“keto”) diet is very low in carbohydrates and high in fat intake. The diet causes the body to produce ketones and enter a process known as ketosis. During ketosis, the body burns fat for its energy instead of using carbohydrates, and this makes it one of the most effective diets for rapid weight loss. Followers of the ketogenic diet are encouraged to eat no more than 20 to 50 grams of carbohydrates per day in order to maintain a constant state of ketosis. While the bulk of the diet uses meat, eggs, fish, butter, and oils, it is still possible to consume vegetables and fruit on keto as long as dieters keep track of their carbohydrate intake.
2. The Mediterranean Diet
Doctors often recommend this particular diet plan to anyone who struggles with a cardiovascular condition. Rich in healthy fats like olive oil, the Mediterranean diet has been associated with lower cholesterol levels and lower risks of heart disease, cancer, and Alzheimer’s. The majority of the diet is comprised of fruits, vegetables, legumes, whole grains, and nuts. The use of olive oil and other healthy fats is encouraged, and followers are similarly encouraged to eat fish at least twice per week.
Related reading: How A High Fruit & Vegetable Diet Can Detox Your Body
3. The 5:2 Diet
Unlike other diets, the 5:2 diet doesn’t include a regimen of required foods. Instead, the program allows followers to eat whatever they like for five days a week, no calorie counting required. For the other two days of the week, participants adhere to a strict limit of no more than 500 calories for women and 600 for men. This practice reduces the weekly caloric intake enough to promote significant weight loss. Followers can choose the two fasting days that work best for them, and these can be different days each week. Since it is less restrictive than other diets, it can be ideal for those who are embarking on a healthy eating journey for the first time.
4. The Vegan Diet
The vegan diet is entirely plant-based, and followers eat no meat, poultry, fish, eggs, dairy, or honey. Along with the Mediterranean diet, vegan diets are associated with reduced risks of cancer and heart disease. Vegan diets are often higher in fiber than other diets since meals are frequently based around beans, rice, oats, and whole grains. For some people, a vegan diet could help with digestive issues such as irritable bowel syndrome or Crohn’s. To obtain adequate intake of vitamin B12, vegans often use nutritional yeast or other fortified foods.
5. The Raw Diet
Followers of the raw diet use an eating program that incorporates at least 70 percent raw, unheated foods. The diet is centered on raw fruits, vegetables, seeds, and nuts. Both sprouted grains and sprouted beans are also included. Due to its focus on vegetables and fruits, the raw food diet is often much higher in potassium, magnesium, and fiber than other eating plans. Participants generally lose weight very successfully and often report experiencing reduced inflammation, increased energy, clearer skin, and resolution of existing digestive issues.
Related reading: How To Get Started On A Raw Food Detox Diet
We wish you success in your journey to healthy eating!