Fad diets are very popular for losing weight.
Although they are often advertised as having rapid weight loss or other health benefits, there is little scientific support for their use. They are also often not balanced in nutrition and ineffective long-term.
There are a few “fad” diets, however, that have been shown to result in weight loss in controlled, high-quality studies.
These diets can also be healthy, balanced, and sustainable.
These are the “fad diets” that actually work.
1. Atkins Diet
The Atkins diet is one of the most well-known low-carb weight loss programs in the world.
Robert Atkins, a cardiologist, created the Atkins diet in the 1970s. It claims to help you lose weight quickly and without hunger.
It has four stages. The first is the Induction Phase, which lasts for two weeks. This restricts carbs to just 20 grams per day and allows unlimited amounts of fat and protein.
This phase is when your body converts fat into ketones and then switches to using them as its primary source of energy.
The Atkins diet then asks followers to slowly increase their carbohydrate intake in 5-gram increments to reach their “critical carbohydrate level” to lose weight and maintain it.
Research that has compared Atkins to other diets has shown it to be just as effective, and often more effective in weight loss.
The famous A TO Z study showed that 311 overweight women used the Atkins diet, low-fat Ornish diets, the LEARN diet, and the Zone diet for a year. Atkins lost more weight than any other diet group.
Similar results have been shown in other controlled studies using low-carb diets that follow the Atkins principles.
Atkins is a high-protein and high-fat diet. It restricts carbs but gradually increases them, depending on individual tolerance. It is proven to be one of the best ways to lose weight.
2. South Beach Diet
Dr. Arthur Agatston, like Dr. Atkins, was a cardiologist who wanted to help his patients lose weight without feeling hungry.
Although he liked some aspects of Atkins, he was concerned about excessive saturated fat.
In the middle of the 1990s, he devised a low-carb, high-fat, and protein diet known as the South Beach Diet. It was named after the South Florida area where he practiced medicine.
The diet’s first stage is very restrictive. It allows for limited amounts of carbs and low fat. Phases 2/3 allow for more variety of unprocessed foods, while still allowing for high protein intake.
Because protein is more efficient than fat and carbs indigestion, the diet encourages high intakes of protein.
Protein stimulates hormones to suppress hunger, which can make you feel fuller for longer periods of time.
An extensive review of 24 studies revealed that low-fat, high-protein diets resulted in greater weight loss, fat, and triglycerides reductions, and better muscle retention than low-fat, standard protein diets.
Many anecdotal stories of weight loss using the South Beach Diet are available, as is a 12-week published study that examined its effects.
Pre-diabetic adult pre-diabetic subjects lost an average of 11 pounds (5.2kg) and 2 inches (5.1cm) from their waists in this study.
They also experienced a decrease in fasting insulin and an increase in cholecystokinin, a hormone that promotes fullness.
The diet is healthy overall but it encourages the consumption of processed vegetable oils and saturated fats, which can lead to all sorts of health problems.
The South Beach Diet, which is high in protein, low-carb and lower-fat, has been proven to reduce weight and heart disease risk.
3. Vegan Diet
People who are looking to lose weight have been embracing vegan diets.
They are unbalanced and extreme, as they do not contain any animal products. They have been praised as a healthy and ethical way to eat.
Vegan diets can be either healthy or unhealthy depending on what they include. You won’t lose weight if you consume a lot of processed foods and drinks.
Studies have shown that vegan diets that are based on whole food can help to lose weight and reduce the risk of developing heart disease.
A six-month controlled study of 63 overweight people compared five diets. The vegans lost more weight than those in any other group.
Studies that have been conducted over a longer period of time have also shown impressive results for vegan diets.
A controlled study of 64 older women who were overweight found that vegans lost almost four times more weight than those who followed a low-fat diet.
Studies have shown that vegan diets are effective in weight loss, both in the short-term as well as long-term. They may also help to protect your heart health.
The bottom line
Fad diets will remain popular and new plans will be developed to help people lose weight fast.
Many fad diets don’t work and are often unbalanced. However, many do.
But, just because a diet works for weight loss does not mean that it will last long-term.
It is important to find healthy eating habits that you love and can stick with for the rest of your life to reach and keep your weight loss goals.