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Weight loss Popular but unhealthy diets explained

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Popular diets (sometimes pejoratively called “fad diets”) usually derive their popularity from the personalities of their proponents. These proponents include “diet gurus” and celebrity converts. “Dietbooks” are the primary means of communicating the specifics of popular diets.

Diets are used to lose weight. A diet isn’t necessary to lose weight, there are other methods to lose weight. Most popular diets experience short-lived popularity,
partly because new diet books are continuously being published. Before reading on, learn how the body works in the article how the body gets rid of fat.

Judging the effectiveness (and nutritional merit) of
popular diets can be especially difficult. Diet proponents often locate medical
professionals to back up their work. And some diets are so controversial that
they divide the medical community.

Many popular diets advocate the combination a specific
technique (such as eliminating a certain food, or eating only certain
combinations of foods) with reduced caloric intake, with the goal being to
accelerate weight loss. Others ignore traditional science altogether.

Low-fat diets

Low-fat diets were popular during the 1980s and 1990s,
encouraging people to eat foods low in fat (or without fat altogether) and
instead eat foods high in carbohydrates. For instance, people should eat less
fat junk food or sweet snacks, instead, you can choose low-calorie, and
high-fiber foods like fruits and vegetables. These will help people feel full
longer, and make any diet plan more effective. Also, plan your meals and buy the
food you need so that you will not be tempted to turn to fast food when you are

The general public came to believe, partly due to
information from low-fat diet proponents, that carbohydrates were “energy
food” and that only fat made people fat. This led to high consumption of
low-fat foods rich in refined carbohydrates (notably corn syrup), which led some
people to gain more weight. This is because the lipolysis rarely became active
(since the energy derived from carbohydrates was used first) and thus not a lot
of a fat was burnt.

Some low-fat diets were healthier, focusing on consumption
of whole grains, vegetables and lean meats, like the Pritikin diet. But even
these diets did not recognize the importance of essential fatty acids.

For example, the uncooked diet tends to improve a
participant’s health. People’s weight tends to normalise due to the lack of fat
in the diet. It also gives people a high amount of energy as uncooked food is
easily metabolised. The diet makes you hungry because the food is easily
digested, which constantly makes room for more.

However, most people never put on weight while on this
diet due to the low fat content. Besides, people should not mix cooked food with
uncooked food while on this diet. The cooked food causes the stomach to produce
acid, which does not mix well with the uncooked food and can create indigestion.

Atkins (low-carbohydrate diet)

The Atkins diet is a very popular diet. Dr. Robert Atkins’
concept, somewhat exaggerated by the media, that a person can lose weight whilst
gorging on meat, has captured the public’s imagination. The success of those who
tried the diet varied depending on the degree they adhered to the long term
stages of the diet structure. The Atkins diet was originally designed for
diabetes patients who wanted to manage their insulin levels more effectively.
The diet was also embraced by those seeking a diet that allows eating to

Atkins DIScourages refined carbohydrate intake and
ENcourages protein intake, especially in the form of meat. The diet encourages
the consumption of fruits and non-starchy vegetables for the provision of fiber
and nutrients; it takes a somewhat neutral stand on fat intake.

1. Short term

Many people experience rapid initial weight loss on
Atkins, some of which is due to depletion of glycogen stores in the liver. Loss
of glycogen is associated with loss of water weight, since the body stores up to
four pounds of water for each pound of glycogen.

Low carbohydrate diets have been shown to reduce the
fasting levels of triglycerides. Elevated triglycerides are a demonstrated risk
factor for heart disease. (Low-fat diets also reduce fasting levels of

This “trick” is also used by bodybuilders who compete
in contests. A week before the contest, a bodybuilder will stop consuming
carbohydrates, making him look thinner after a few days because of all the lost
water and lost glycogen reserves. Since there are no glycogen reserves left,
lipolysis will start, and the bodybuilder will thus make energy from the
catabolism of these fats.

Why don’t they use this trick sooner? While there is
more energy to be made from the catabolism of fats than from carbohydrates, it
is more a constant flow of energy. This means that it is hard to sport while
using energy from these fats, since it can not produce energy that fast. Thus
you cannot work out properly at this time.

2. Long term

A low-carbohydrate diet may not be suitable as a
weight-maintenance diet (long-term). The products of fat metabolism (via
lipolysis) and protein metabolism (via gluconeogenesis) include ketones which
can be harmful.

Note: Any successful weight-loss diet will cause some
acidosis; Acidosis is an increased acidity of blood plasma. symptoms range from
mild fatigue to severe joint pain. Acidosis can be controlled by drinking water
(in large amounts) and taking antacid supplements (or eating vegetables grown in
alkaline soil). An antacid is any substance, generally a base,
which counteracts stomach acidity. In other words, antacids are stomach acid

Note: Human metabolism is enormously complicated. Diets
whose effectiveness is not based on the simple balance of energy must be
evaluated experimentally. The premise that protein is less fattening than
carbohydrates is unproven, although the caloric burn rate of protein is 30%,
while the corresponding figures for carbohydrate and fat are 6% and 4%
respectively. “”One hundred kilocalories of protein produces an
extra 30 kcal of heat, while similar amounts of carbohydrate and fat raise the
metabolic rate by 6 and 4 kcal, respectively”
“Essential Human
Anatomoy and Physiology” Barbara R. Landau, 1976

Natural Diets

Since the advent of controversial diets such as Atkins,
various diets that stress the eating habits of “natural humans” have
been developed. The evolution diet explains “what and how we were
designed to eat”; the Paleolithic diet imitates the way people ate
during the Stone Ages. These eating plans include basically natural foods (those
not processed by humans). Whereas the Paleolithic Diet exludes milk and
grain-foods, The Evolution Diet excludes human-made ingredients such as partiall
hydrogenated oils, but allows some processed foods such as whole-grain crackers
and dairy products. Anthropologists who focus their research on human evolution,
however, are quick to point out that the diet of Paleolithic peoples was most
likely opportunistic. That is, these early humans would most likely eat whatever
edible foods were available at any given moment (e.g. vegetables, termites,
meat) and not restrict their intake of any food. Until recent human history,
starvation has been a far greater threat than over-consumption.

Vegetarian diet

There is a growing body of evidence that vegetarian diets
can prevent obesity (the condition of being extremely overweight.) and
lower disease risks.

According to the American Dietic Association,
“Vegetarians have been reported to have lower body mass indices than
nonvegetarians, as well as lower rates of death from ischemic heart disease;
vegetarians also show lower blood cholesterol levels; lower blood pressure; and
lower rates of hypertension, type 2 diabetes, and prostate and colon

Vegetarians on average weigh 10 percent less than
non-vegetarians. And in a year-long study comparing Dean Ornish’s vegetarian
diet to Weight Watchers, The Zone Diet, and The Atkins Diet, subjects on Dean
Ornish’s diet achieved the most weight loss (on average).

Very Low Calorie Diet

The Very Low Calorie Diet (VLCD) is a prescribed diet for
obese patients. Daily intake consists of three milkshake-like formula drinks
(made with powder concentrate and water), which supply about 2000 kilojoules
(500 Calories) and all necessary vitamins and minerals.

There are risks to this diet. A patient who drinks more
formula than allowed can get too much iron and selenium. Constipation is a
problem: extra water and (fiber) laxatives may be required. Immune system may be

VLCD should only be used for dieting when a patient’s body
mass index exceeds 30. The diet requires regular consultation between patient
and doctor.

As with all starvation diets, metabolism will fall. A
sensible diet-and-exercise plan must follow cessation of VLCD, or weight will be
gained back.

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