Review: The MIND Diet

Review: The MIND Diet

The MIND Diet is a combination of two proven and popular diets: Mediterranean Diet and DASH.  It was designed to focus specifically on the foods from those eating strategies that are known to support brain health. Initial research into this form of dieting suggests that it could have the potential to support brain wellness and reduce the risk of mental decline.

As there have yet to be any methods of fully preventing or reversing dementia or Alzheimer’s, the hope is to be able to use MIND Diet strategies to make as big of a difference based on lifestyle as possible.

Does the MIND Diet Work?

The idea behind the MIND Diet is to eat foods such as nuts, berries, and leafy greens to reduce a person’s risk of developing a progressive brain disorder. The letters in the name of this eating strategy stand for Mediterranean-DASH Intervention for Neurodegenerative Delay.  It was first developed by Rush University Medical Center nutritional epidemiologist Martha Clare Morris.

The development of the MIND Diet was funded by the National Institute on Aging.  The first published version of this eating strategy was in February 2015. The research determined that eating in this way decreased the risk of Alzheimer’s development by about 35 percent among people who followed it moderately well.  That said, among those who followed it quite rigorously, there as a 53 percent drop in Alzheimer’s risk.

More research is needed to know precisely what long-term impact following the MIND Diet can have.  Still, the same research team has done more study into this eating plan and has found that its impact on preventing cognitive decline is better than both the DASH and Mediterranean Diets on their own.

Not a Dieting Plan Specifically for Weight Loss

Though the MIND Diet is considered to be very healthy, it is not necessarily a plan for weight reduction.  That said, many people who have followed this eating program have found that their weight has been easier to manage. Its focus on whole grains, vegetables – particularly dark green ones – nuts, beans, lean proteins, healthy fats such as olive oil, and other nutrient dense foods helps to avoid empty calories and foods that are less satisfying. In fact, it recommends avoiding highly sugary and processed fatty foods.

Before switching to the MIND Diet, it’s a good idea to speak with your doctor. This can help you to know that it will be appropriate for you and will assist you in finding the right guidance to follow to do it properly, particularly at the start as you familiarize yourself with it.

Review: Mediterranean Diet

Review: Mediterranean Diet

The Mediterranean Diet is an eating strategy that has received a considerable amount of attention from the scientific community and the media.  It is praised as a heart healthy eating plan that also comes with a range of additional potential advantages such as the potential for weight loss.

This eating plan has undergone a number of different studies of different natures, sizes and purposes and many have brought about positive results.

What is the Mediterranean Diet?

The Mediterranean Diet combines well balanced nutrition with the traditional food preparation methods used in the Mediterranean region.  These flavors have been used as a part of that culture for a long time, but interest in it as a healthy lifestyle started in the 1960s.

At that time, researchers observed that people living in the Mediterranean regions of Italy and Greece had a lower prevalence of coronary heart disease and that it caused fewer deaths than was the case in northern Europe and the United States. Studies into the regions have shown that the traditional way of eating is indeed linked with a reduced risk of factors associated with cardiovascular disease.

Eating Healthy

As a result of the research into the Mediterranean Diet, it has become one of the healthy eating plans the Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommends for the prevention of chronic illness and the promotion of overall health.

The World Health Organization (W.H.O.) also recognizes this eating style as a sustainable healthy dietary pattern.  The United National Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization recognizes it as an intangible cultural asset.

What’s Involved in the Mediterranean Diet?

To follow the Mediterranean Diet, you will need to eat in a way similar to the traditional cuisines of peoples traditionally living along the Mediterranean Sea.  This means that there isn’t a specific strict way of eating.  After all, this diet is made up of meals eaten by people from multiple countries over time.  People don’t naturally choose only a small number of very specific dishes.

Instead, it is more of a style of eating.  The traditional Mediterranean Diet is typically high in fruits and vegetables, nuts and seeds, whole grains, beans, and olive oil.

The primary parts of this type of eating strategy include:

  • Eating fruits, vegetables, whole grains and healthy fats each day
  • Eating poultry, fish, eggs and beans each week
  • Eating a moderate amount of dairy products
  • Eating a limited amount of red meat

Other additional factors often valued as a part of the Mediterranean Diet are enjoying one glass of red wine on occasion, remaining physically active, and eating meals with friends and family.

Review: The Nordic Diet

Review: The Nordic Diet

The Nordic Diet is an eating strategy based on the traditional way of eating from Iceland, Finland, Norway, Denmark, Sweden and Greenland. Just like the Mediterranean Diet, which is also based on the traditional foods in a specific part of the world, it was not developed with weight loss in mind.  Instead, it is meant to be healthy, balanced and delicious and can result in weight loss by correcting certain nutritional issues such as overeating or consuming too many processed foods.

What Do You Eat on the Nordic Diet?

When you’re following the Nordic Diet, you’ll be using the following guidelines to help you make the right choices:

  • Whenever possible, choose more vegetables, fruits, seasonal and organic foods.
  • Eat more whole grains.
  • Choose foods from the wild, lakes and seas.
  • Eat less meat but choose high quality meat when you do have it.
  • Choose less sugary and less processed foods.
  • Waste less food.
  • Prepare more foods at home.

Losing Weight with the Nordic Diet

As people start using this eating strategy, they will often lose weight.  This is particularly true when it comes to the fat they carry around their middle.  This is good news not only because many people want to lose the weight around their waists the most. That said, it is also a great place to lose weight when it comes to your health.  The middle is one of the most dangerous places to carry extra fat stores, and one of the most beneficial places to lose it.

Reducing Heart Disease Risk with This Eating Strategy

Risk factors for heart disease include high blood pressure, glucose, unhealthy cholesterol levels, and insulin levels that aren’t ideal.  These are all areas improved by the Nordic Diet among many people. Scientists believe that both weight loss and eating these types of food will help to support heart health and improve heart disease risk factors.

An Environmentally Friendly Eating Strategy

Among the Nordic Diet’s primary goals is eco-friendliness. Therefore, though it’s healthful to eat more plant-based foods than animal-based ones, it’s also great for the planet.  Moreover, since this diet encourages us to eat more local and in-season foods, it reduces the distance ingredients need to travel and, therefore, the carbon footprint your diet leaves behind. Equally, foods picked when they’re ripe and consumed close to the time they were picked, they provide higher nutrient levels.

Review: 5:2 Fasting Plan

Review: 5:2 Fasting Plan

The 5:2 Fasting Plan is a type of very low calorie weight loss strategy typically considered to be a fad diet. That said, despite the fact that this strategy has been around for a while, the recent popularity of IF has spiked the number of people following it.  There are many people who use this technique and swear by its effectiveness.

At the same time, many dietitians caution that the majority of people who try to use diets like the 5:2 Fasting Plan will not be able to keep it up over time. Indeed, there will be some success stories.  However, most people cannot adhere to this type of diet long-term.

What is the 5:2 Fasting Plan?

It is based on an intermittent fasting (IF) strategy. The basis of the way this plan works is for a dieter to eat normally for five days out of the week. That said, the remaining two days of the week are considered to be “fasting” days, in which the caloric intake is significantly slashed. Therefore, the 5:2 ratio stands for 5 days of normal eating and 2 days of fasting.

What is Fasting?

The fasting days typically require you to eat only about a quarter of the number of calories you would usually eat in a day. For example, if your typical daily calorie intake is around 2,000, then your fasting days would require you to eat no more than 500 calories, an extremely low caloric consumption.

Does Fasting Work?

Medical studies have been increasingly supporting the use of fasting to help to achieve effective weight loss. This includes strategies similar to the 5:2 Fasting Plan. When compared to many forms of calorie controlled diets, this style can help to keep up a continual rate of weight reduction.

At the same time, those research studies have also found that people following diets involving intermittent fasting are less likely to develop certain medical conditions such as type 2 diabetes and certain forms of obesity related cancers.

Beyond weight loss, those who believe in this type of dieting also say that it helps to boost longevity, heightens brain function, provides Alzheimer’s disease protection and guards against other types of dementia. However, it should be pointed out that as much as supporters of the 5:2 Fasting Plan may believe in these benefits, there is little to no research to support those claims.

How is the 5:2 Fasting Plan Different?

To be fair to the 5:2 Fasting Plan, the research conducted on fasting have not involved this specific strategy.  Indeed, it was conducted on similar fasting efforts.  That said, they have not been this precise plan, so its unique properties could conceivably make a difference.

Among the known advantages of the 5:2 Fasting Plan is that it will indeed lead to fat loss when followed properly. It offers a certain amount of flexibility as the dieter can choose whichever two non-consecutive fasting days, they would like to observe each week.

This means that dieters can shift fasting days around certain occasions such as social engagements so that they don’t have to bow out of eating a meal when they’ve been invited to dinner just because it happened to fall on a fasting day. Moreover, because only 2 days per week are for fasting and the rest remain normal, many people find it’s easier to stick to this diet than to ones that require daily calorie control.

This is important, as most fasting plans are rigid.  This is among their top problems.  It isn’t that intermittent fasting doesn’t work if followed precisely. It is that many people misinterpret it or find that they cannot realistically fit it into their lives.  Practice is much different than the way it works on paper.  The 5:2 Fasting Plan was created to try to work around that challenge.

The Long-Term Problem

Unfortunately, the number of people who are likely to stick to this diet until they reach their goal, and then keep the weight off once it’s gone is not terribly high. It requires a great deal of self-control and self-discipline. While non-fasting days do allow for normal eating, it is still important not to overeat as this will only negate all the benefits accumulated during the days when calorie intake is severely restricted.

Many people find that as long as things are going well and they feel motivated, it’s simple to stick to the 5:2 Fasting Plan.  However, as soon as anything becomes complicated in life – stressful events, illness, travel, special occasions and others – it becomes impossible to keep up with the IF. An effective long-term diet requires you to be able to keep it up the majority of days regardless of what’s going on in your life. This is why most doctors recommend a healthy lifestyle as opposed to a strict, regimented program.

Furthermore, many people who fast suffer unpleasant side effects from their low calorie intake. This can include lightheadedness, weakness, dizziness and fainting, among others. Irritability, anxiety and poor concentration are also common side effects of this type of dieting.

This diet isn’t necessarily safe or appropriate for all dieters. Be sure to check with your doctor before trying this or any other diet that involves fasting.

Review: The 4X4 Diet

Review: The 4X4 Diet

The 4X4 Diet is an eating strategy based on a book by the same name. The concept is relatively straightforward, with a focus on clean eating incorporated into a healthy lifestyle. This book is written with people of all experience levels in mind, regardless of whether you’ve never been on a diet before or are an experienced athlete.

What is included in The 4X4 Diet?

The 4X4 Diet book includes many different features. These include the following:

  • A straightforward and simple to follow program for clean eating
  • Routines in Tabata style that suit everyone from beginner to advanced
  • A meal plan
  • An exercise schedule
  • A number of recipes that are relatively simple to make, healthy and tasty, too.

Who Should Use The 4X4 Diet

The 4X4 Diet was designed to be used by virtually any healthy adult or child who wants to improve their nutrition and fitness. This diet is not made specifically to be a weight loss diet, but by eating and exercising properly, weight management can be the result.

Author of The 4X4 Diet, Erin Oprea, uses the book to discuss the complete philosophy, breaking it down into four sections. It is for this reason that the strategy has its name. There are four basic rules and the tabatas are each 4 minutes long. Though this may sound exceptionally simple, it is for precisely this reason that many people love it.

The Simplicity of The 4X4 Diet

Eating clean is the core of this diet. According to Oprea, there are four essential guidelines to clean eating. These include: reducing sugar intake, eliminating the consumption of starches at night, decreasing sodium intake and lowering alcohol consumption.

The book provides extensive information regarding how to observe these guidelines. Furthermore, it offers additional advice regarding what to stock in the fridge and pantry. These ingredients all suit the recipes the book provides for all three meals as well as for snacks and even occasional desserts.

The tabata workouts are some of the most popular parts of this diet. It’s easy to underestimate them. Many people try the next experience level too early and are surprised at how something so basic can also be very challenging. That said, the challenge is what makes them great and what keeps them interesting. The goal is to do between 4 and 5 of them each day, in addition to a warm up and cool down.

Review: Nutrisystem Diet

Review: Nutrisystem Diet

The Nutrisystem Diet has been around for many years. It is designed to simplify weight loss as a whole. The concept is that it eliminates the requirement to choose and prepare your meals. You don’t need to count any calories or macronutrients. Moreover, as long as you stay within the allowed food portions, you don’t need to watch those, either. The main restriction is that you must eat only what you are told.

The reason is that the vast majority of what someone on the Nutrisystem Diet eats is from the company itself. It is shipped directly to the user’s door. Every day, the dieter eats Nutrisystem breakfasts, lunches, dinners and desserts. The only grocery shopping a dieter does is for snacks in the form of fruits, veggies and a few other allowable items. Dieters are instructed to avoid alcohol and are discouraged from eating anywhere that they can’t have their Nutrisystem meals.

It is important to speak to a doctor before starting the Nutrisystem Diet as it is not appropriate for everyone. It is not designed for anyone under the age of 14 years. People from 14 to 17 years old have their own special teen program they can follow. The standard diet is meant for healthy adults aged 18 years old or older. It is not designed for people with chronic kidney disease, who have certain allergies, who have certain specific dietary needs, or for pregnant women.

Foods You Can and Cannot Have on the Nutrisystem Diet

The main Nutrisystem Diet program is 28 days long. It involves pre-packaged foods. Breakfasts are usually pancakes, granola, muffins or oatmeal. Lunches and dinners are options such as soup, chili, stew, pasta, chicken, tacos, and pizza. Snacks and desserts are cookies, brownies or cake.

There are additional foods including fruits, vegetables, dairy, fresh meat, nuts, and other foods are listed for the dieter to purchase at the grocery store. They are to be consumed along with the Nutrisystem Diet foods.

Does the Nutrisystem Diet Work?

The Nutrisystem Diet isn’t necessarily as easy as it claims to be. While all the main food items are pre-prepared, there isn’t as much control as many dieters would like. Moreover, the calorie intake is typically quite low, far lower than most dieters are used to. It also doesn’t use the time to establish any long term healthy eating habits because all the foods are pre-made. The dieter doesn’t learn to prepare his or her own meals. That said, if you stick to the meals and rules of this diet for the 28 diets, it could help to promote weight loss.