The Eco-Atkins Diet is a weight loss strategy that was developed to provide vegetarians and vegans with an option that is meant to work as an alternative to the Atkins Diet. Like the meat-focused Atkins Diet, Eco-Atkins is also centered around a low carb, high protein eating strategy.
High Protein, No Meat
This vegetarian version of the Atkins Diet was first developed by researchers in Toronto, Canada, at St. Michael’s Hospital. Their goal had been to see whether or not a high protein vegetarian diet could bring about a reduction of both body weight and bad (LDL) cholesterol.
The research team came up with the Eco-Atkins Diet in order to respect the same protein to carb ratio as the original diet, while replacing the animal protein – which was high in fat – with a vegetable protein that is typically lower in fat. This protein was mainly in the form of gluten and soy.
What the Research Said
The results of the study were published in the Archives of Internal Medicine, when it found that the diet brought about an average of 8.8 pounds in the first four weeks, improved blood pressure, triglyceride and cholesterol levels. Bad cholesterol improved by 0.6 percent, which was significant, particularly for that amount of time.
How to Follow the Eco-Atkins Diet
The Eco-Atkins Diet requires dieters to eat foods that are made up mostly of protein, healthy fats and carbs from high fiber vegetables. Around 30 percent of the daily calorie intake comes from plant proteins, about 45 percent comes from vegetable oils, and another 25 percent from carbohydrates. Foods most commonly consumed on this diet include healthy fats, beans, soy foods, seeds, nuts, fruits, no-starch gluten products, vegetables and fruits.
As meat is excluded from Eco-Atkins, protein sources are typically soy beverages, gluten, soy burgers, tofu, and vegetarian alternative versions such as breakfast links, bacon and deli slices. Other sources include nuts, certain cereals and vegetables. There is an emphasis placed on certain vegetables over others, with a preference for viscous veggies such as eggplant, okra and other low starch options.
Fats Preferred for the Eco-Atkins Diet
The good fats preferred in this diet include olive oil, canola oil, nuts and avocado. Carbs are meant to come exclusively from cereals, vegetables and fruits. A small amount of barley and oats are permitted. However, enriched white flour based foods and sugary foods were banned, such as white rice, white bread, potatoes, and the majority of baked products such as cakes, muffins and cookies.
Despite the fact that following Eco Atkins Diet strategies does help some dieters to improve their overall nutrition, the improvements in this and in weight loss were not all that much better than other nutritionally balanced weight loss diet plans. It is primarily the cholesterol improving benefits of this diet that makes it stand out from other balanced vegan or vegetarian diets.
Which Atkins Version is Better?
A former president of the American Heart Association, University of Denver professor Robert Eckel, MD, calls both the Eco-Atkins Diet and the Atkins Diet too restrictive for the majority of people to continue following over the long term. That said, between the two, it was the vegan and vegetarian version that was labeled as better by Dr. Eckel.
Still, whether or not the Eco-Atkins Diet is for you isn’t just a matter of whether or not it is better than the original eating strategy. There are many factors to consider as you decide if you should give this method a try. It is a very restrictive diet and would be even tougher for someone who is not already used to a vegetarian lifestyle.
For many people, that means that the change will be only temporary as most people find it challenging to keep up a highly restrictive lifestyle change over the long term. This risks not only dropping this healthy lifestyle but also returning to an old one that caused the weight to be gained in the first place. Also, after feeling as though a diet such as this one has failed, it can be more difficult to start a new strategy. The disappointment and feeling of failure can become a barrier instead of a motivation.
Beyond that, the Eco-Atkins Diet can also prove challenging to individuals who don’t have a great deal of experience in nutrition and eating a balanced diet without any meat. This can cause a spectrum of potential nutrition problems and related symptoms.
The Ketogenic Diet, also known as the Keto Diet, is an eating strategy for weight loss that is not dissimilar to the Atkins Diet and other very low carb diets. The goal of this plan is to achieve a state of ketosis in the body, which is a state in which the metabolism functions differently as a result of very low carbohydrate intake. Often, it results in improved fat burning when compared to many other forms of weight loss strategy.
The History of the Ketogenic Diet
One of the Keto Diet’s founders is Dr. Russell Wilder. His contribution occurred in the 1920s, when he became the first person to test diabetes patients for insulin. He was among the heads of the Mayo Clinic at the time and eventually took the top spot in the department of medicine, metabolism, and nutrition.
The purpose of the Ketogenic Diet strategy is to improve the body’s rate of fat burning by making the right food choices. This can be further enhanced by selecting foods that encourage ketone production in the liver. Ketones are energy molecules the liver produces from fat. They provide the body and the brain with fuel.
There are three main types: acetate (acetone), acetoacetate (AcAc), and beta hydroxybutyrate (BHB). Of the three, BHB isn’t actually a true form of ketone, but it still plays a central role in brain stimulation and the formation of new neural tissue, which is a function at the heart of ketosis. The main ketone is AcAc, which is typically converted into either energy or BHB.
Drawbacks of the Keto Diet
Ketosis can help to boost the rate of fat burning and many people find it to be effective as long as they maintain it efficiently. That said, the process is not without its drawbacks. Among the most noticeably struggles can include a symptom called “keto breath,” where the breath gains a very distinct odor from the way the body is functioning. The urine often changes smell as well.
Advantages of Using the Ketogenic Diet
While on the Ketogenic Diet, the body’s main source of energy is the fat already stored on it. It is for this reason that it can sometimes lead to rapid weight loss, as the body will burn away stored fat in order to function and give you the energy you need to get through your day. That said, while this diet may be marketed mainly as a weight loss strategy, it isn’t necessarily meant exclusively for that. It can also be used by people who have mild to severe health conditions. It is also often opted for by people trying to lower their body mass index and/or achieve a healthier overall body. In fact, it was once used – and is sometimes still used – as a part of the effort to treat children suffering from epilepsy.
This has made the Keto Diet very popular over the last few years. As its effectiveness for fat burning was identified, it took off as a weight loss diet.
Among the main advantages of following this type of diet is that hunger is rarely a problem. Moreover, blood sugar levels drop and stay stead because you are consuming more proteins and fats than carbs. That said, many people struggle with certain challenges when following this diet, such as the fact that it is highly restrictive, difficult to keep up over the long term and can sometimes result in constipation due to the reduced fiber intake from cutting carbs.
Is Keto Dieting For You?
No single type of dieting is right for everyone. There are many things to take into consideration, even when you’re looking at some of the more popular or successful strategies. Your first step, as annoying as it might seem, is to talk to your doctor. Yes, it is a nuisance and is possibly an expense. However, it is one of your top ways to know if you’re choosing a weight management strategy that will be safe for your medical and health needs. It is also the best way for you to know if it will be possible to use this strategy to meet your goal expectations.
While talking to your doctor, discuss the specific version of the ketogenic diet that you intend to follow. Talk about the types of foods you will be eating. This will help you to make sure you’re keeping your nutrition where it should be. Beyond that, be sure to remind your doctor of any medical conditions you have, medications you are taking, and even any supplements you use. Remember that this should include medications and supplements you’re not only taking currently, but also any you already know you will be using throughout your weight management efforts.
The reason is that the way you eat and putting your body into ketosis can alter the way certain drugs are absorbed or the way they function. Moreover, this diet works in direct opposition to certain types of obesity medication, such as fat blockers.
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.
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.
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.
At this point, there are very few people who haven’t heard of the Atkins Diet. It was the first major fad to place low carb dieting into the spotlight. Though it was first created in 1972, it wasn’t until over twenty years later that it truly reached its peak.
Still, even after the Atkins Diet exploded in popularity, what most people learned about it was that it required dieters to consume a low carbohydrate diet. In fact, many people believed that it involved the attempt to eat no carbs at all. Many myths circulated and distorted the main understanding of what this eating strategy involved.
If you’re curious about the truth behind this diet, read on and discover what it’s truly about.
What is the Atkins Diet?
The Atkins Diet, also known as Atkins 20, is a low carb, high protein, moderate fat intake eating strategy that is meant to help you to quickly lose weight without suffering from hunger or feeling deprived from the foods you love. At the time that it first came out it had a certain amount of popularity, but it went through a significant return around the turn of the millennium.
At that time, millions of people were using the strategy to try to shed the pounds, including many well known celebrities. The diet had a popular website, books and a range of other branded products. In fact, many grocery chains carried special Atkins food items that helped people to enjoy their favorites without overeating carbs.
An Evolving Eating Strategy
The Atkins Diet has shifted and changed over the years in order to keep up with the latest nutrition and health research. The original strategy was revolutionary but was found to be flawed in some of its principles. The most recent form of Atkins now focuses more on lean proteins, healthy fats and veggies that are high in fiber.
Four Phases to the Atkins Diet
This diet is broken down into four phases to be followed by the dieter. That said, no matter the phase, the main proteins and fats to consume are meat, seafood, poultry, eggs, cheese, butter and oils. At the same time, sugary and starchy carbohydrates need to be avoided. They include foods such as potatoes, bread, chips, pasta, candy and cookies.
The Atkins Diet starts off rather restrictive but works its way toward allowing a growing number of foods once the body has adapted and adjusted.
- Phase 1 is meant to cause the body to stop burning carbs and to start burning fats instead, a process called ketosis. During that phases, weight loss typically occurs quite quickly. In this phase, dieters eat proteins, fats, and no more than 20 grams of carbohydrates, all of which must come from vegetables.
- Phase 2 starts to introduce some new foods into the dieter’s allowable options. This is a time of gradual trial and error, allowing the dieter to determine how many carbs they can eat while continuing to lose weight.
- Phase 3 doesn’t begin until the diet has only around 10 pounds left before reaching their weight loss goal. This teaches the dieter how to polish off the rest of the weight loss they still have left.
- Phase 4 is the last one and is meant to be maintained over the long term. This phase is designed to make sure that once the weight has been lost, it will never come back.
A Less Restrictive Form of Atkins
It should be noted that there is a less rigid form of the Atkins Diet, called Atkins 40, which goes by similar strategies as the Atkins 20 version, only it is not as restrictive. For example, during the first phase, dieters can eat 40 grams of carbs instead of just 20 grams. Moreover, there aren’t any food groups that are completely excluded. There are limits to certain fats, but no rigid guidelines regarding the consumption of many proteins such as meats.
Other versions of this strategy have been created to appeal to people who are concerned with the environment or who want an option that is plant-based, such as Eco-Atkins.
No matter which version of the Atkins Diet you’re considering, it’s very important to speak with your doctor first. This eating strategy is not appropriate for everyone and may even be dangerous for people with certain common medical conditions. Talking to a medical professional will help you to know if this is the right option for you or if an alternative may be safer and more effective.
The Engine 2 Diet is a weight loss and cholesterol reducing strategy developed by Rip Esselstyn. Esselstyn is a former firefighter from Texas and published his diet in a book called “The Engine 2 Diet: The Texas Firefighter’s 28-Day Save-Your-Life Plan that Lowers Cholesterol and Burns Away the Pounds.”
What is The Engine 2 Diet?
This is a plant-based diet which, according to its creator, is primarily focused on eliminating junk foods from an everyday diet.
The Engine 2 Diet refers to junk food as processed and refined foods as well as meat and dairy. Instead, the follower will consume only nutritious foods consisting of whole, plant-based options. The book encourages dieters to learn how to live, eat and cook in a way that is healthy overall.
Two 28-Day Plans
There are two 28 day diet plans that comprise the Engine 2 Diet. The first plan is called The Fire Cadet. That option is a more gradual approach to adopting this lifestyle. The second plan is called The Firefighter, which is far more extreme.
Dieters can choose one or the other of those two plans based on what they feel is most appropriate for their needs and expectations. At the same time, both the Fire Cadet and the Firefighter plan have identical goals. Their purpose is to take four weeks in order to eliminate junk, meat and dairy from a person’s diet. Instead, followers eat only vegetables, fruits, whole grains, nuts, seeds and legumes.
The Fire Cadet Plan
The Fire Cadet Plan is broken down into four weeks.
- During the first week, the dieter must eliminate all refined foods, processed foods and dairy from their diets (keeping in mind that this is the more gradual and moderate plan).
- In week two, all meat, poultry, fish and eggs are eliminated. During week three, any extracted oils (such as conola, olive and coconut) are eliminated.
- During week four, additional vegetables, fruits, whole grains, nuts, seeds and legumes are added to the diet.
This is clearly a restrictive diet, particularly at the beginning. Though it does progressively allow for additional food types to be consumed over time as the dieter moves through the four weeks, it certainly doesn’t mean that the dieter will be returning to a more traditional way of eating by the last week.
On the other hand, the more intense Firefighter plan (that’s right, the Fire Cadet was the gentler of the two) dives right in at week four and continues that lifestyle for four weeks.
Therefore, right from the start, dieters will need to eliminate all animal based products as well as refined and processed foods and extracted oils. These are replaced with the fruits and veggies, legumes, whole grains, seeds and nuts.
The main difference between this plan and the Fire Cadet Plan is that there is a gradual progression in the first plan. This one plunges head-first into the restrictions that will be maintained over the complete 28 days.
Moreover, the author also recommends that anyone following the diet should stop drinking any alcohol for at least the four weeks during which they are introducing themselves to the diet. This is true regardless of which plan you start with.
Engine 2 Diet Resources
To make things easier to understand, the Engine 2 Diet book provides a full list of what can and cannot be consumed at any given time throughout the 28 days. Many people who have followed this diet have found that this additional resource is an important investment into the diet.
The reason is that it can be difficult to know what is and is not allowed when it comes to the specifics. Even if full categories of the rules are understood, there are certain foods that can seem to be in a gray area and the dieter may need clarification.
Beyond the eating strategy, the Engine 2 Diet also offers dieters an exercise plan. The plan is broken down into the four weeks so that the dieter can know what he or she should be doing as a workout at any given point throughout the 28 days.
Overall, this is considered to be a vegetarian or vegan diet, but only over the short-term, making it somewhat of a fad diet as opposed to one that is necessarily geared toward the longer-term.
The SlimFast Diet is a plan that has withstood the test of time. It has been around for decades. That said, it should be noted that while the diet does still exist, it has evolved over time so that it doesn’t necessarily look the same as it did when it was first launched in 1977. The SlimFast Diet was originally created by the Thompson Medical Company, which was founded in the 1940s. In 2000, it was purchased by Unilever which sold it to Kainos Capital in 2014.
What is the SlimFast Diet?
This diet is based on the use of meal replacement products including shakes, smoothies, and bars, among other branded items such as 100-calorie snacks. The premise is that it allows the dieter to replace his or her usual meals and snacks with pre-packaged foods that will automatically control caloric intake.
This diet is sometimes known as the 3-2-1 Plan, as the dieters who follow it are permitted 3 snacks, 2 meal replacements and one low calorie meal per day. Of all those snacks and meals, only the “1” is made of actual whole foods. The rest are required to be SlimFast products.
How to Supply Yourself to Follow this Diet
The official SlimFast website lists meal replacements in the form of four different shake flavors (creamy milk chocolate, strawberries and cream, rich chocolate royale, cappuccino delight, and French vanilla), three smoothies (creamy chocolate, vanilla cream, and mixed berry yogurt), two bars (chocolaty crispy cookie dough and chocolaty peanut butter pie), and two cookies (peanut butter chocolate chip and double chocolate chip).
On the other hand, there are also SlimFast brand snacks from which to choose. There are two of them listed on the official website. They include mesquite BBQ baked chips, sour cream and onion baked chips.
These products are all that can be consumed for the three snacks and two meal replacements that must be eaten per day. For the remaining meal, the SlimFast website offers a number of different recipes that can be followed in order to stay within the small calorie limit. On the whole , the recommendation is to make sure half the plate is filled with veggies, one quarter contains a lean protein and the remaining should consist of a whole grain.
Why Do Some Dieters Choose the SlimFast Diet?
Dieters who are looking for a quick and easy way to control calories without much counting or food prep might find SlimFast convenient as everything is already prepared aside from one meal per day. This type of structure is quite straightforward and doesn’t leave much room for confusion. When followed as directed, many people are more than likely to lose weight by using this strategy. Overall, the reviews regarding the taste of the SlimFast products have been quite positive and the products are sold both online as well as at several large retail chains.
Drawbacks of This Type of Dieting
On the other hand, as convenient as this type of dieting may be, following this type of strategy doesn’t teach the dieter how to build the right habits for keeping the weight off over time. After all, if eating is at the core of why a dieter has gained the weight in the first place, then replacing his or her meals with bars and shakes will only help over the short term.
Once the weight is lost, it is unlikely that the dieter will want to keep eating shakes and bars instead of meals. Unfortunately, as the diet does not teach the individual how to eat in a way that supports weight control, the result can be that he or she regains the pounds in a relatively short period of time.
Another drawback to the SlimFast Diet is that the products aren’t cheap. Therefore, following this diet for any length of time can become quite costly when compared to a standard grocery bill. This is another reason that this is often considered a short-term or fad diet instead of something dieters can keep up over the long term.
It’s very important to speak with your doctor before starting a meal replacement eating strategy such as the SlimFast Diet. This can help you to make sure you won’t be harming your nutrition or bringing on unwanted side effects that could risk your results or even your health.
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.
The TLC diet stands for Therapeutic Lifestyle Changes. It is a type of eating strategy created to help people to be able to effectively reduce their cholesterol levels. The claim is that by keeping up this diet over the long term, you will be able to lower your bad cholesterol (LDL) in a meaningful way. In fact, it states that if you follow it to the letter for six weeks, you are likely to reduce your LDL cholesterol by between 8 and 10 percent.
Who Created the TLC Diet?
The TLC diet was first created by the National Institutes of Health (NIH)’s National Cholesterol Education Program. It is also endorsed by the American Heart Association as being a heart-healthy way to eat in order to reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease.
The main component of this diet is to significantly reduce fat intake, particularly in the case of saturated fat. Saturated fats are the type of dietary fat found in heavy meats, fried foods and full-fat dairy products such as whole milk. Eating more than just a tiny amount of saturated fat has been associated with elevated cholesterol levels. When LDL cholesterol levels are too high, it increases the risk of heart disease, heart attack and stroke.
What Do You Do on This Diet?
The TLC diet typically requires a follower to have to greatly reduce their saturated fat intake while boosting their fiber intake and limiting the amount of dietary cholesterol they consume. According to top medical organizations (mentioned earlier), this can make a considerable difference in reducing high cholesterol levels, even without having to resort to the use of prescription medications in some cases.
In order to follow the TLC diet properly, the first thing you will need to do is find out how many calories you should be eating every day. A doctor or dietician can often provide that advice. From there, it’s important to learn about the types of foods you should be eating and how you should be preparing them in order to enjoy your meals and still stay within your daily calorie range.
How Many Calories Will You Eat?
Most women will need around 1,800 calories depending on age, activity level, weight, height and other factors. Women trying to lose weight may need as few as 1,200 calories. On the other hand, men will need around 2,500 calories based on the same factors, but will need only 1,600 when weight loss is the goal.
The types of foods you will typically eat on the TLC diet include skinless poultry, very small amounts of reduced fat cheese and dairy, very little to no processed or cured meats, lots of veggies, lots of fruits, whole grains and very little – if any – processed foods.
Two Key Guidelines
As the main focus of the TLC diet is to be healthy and keep cholesterol levels where they should be, the foods you eat are low in both saturated fat and natural cholesterol. That said, this is not a low-fat diet. Instead, it also requires dieters to eat an appropriate amount of good fats. These good fats include monounsaturated fats.
Also included among the types of foods you’ll focus on eating with this diet include those high in fiber. Research has shown that diets high in fiber help to promote better heart health and support healthy cholesterol levels.
Overall, there are two key guidelines that TLC diet followers will need to stick to each day. This includes:
- Eating less than 7 percent of your total daily calories in the form of saturated fat.
- Eating less than 200 milligrams of dietary cholesterol.
It’s a good idea to speak with a doctor before starting the TLC diet, particularly if the goal is cholesterol control. If you are taking medication to lower your cholesterol levels, don’t stop taking it just because you are following this diet, unless you have been directed to do so by your doctor.
Are There Banned Foods?
There are no specific foods that must be consumed in order to follow the TLC diet, but many people find that they need to change what they purchase at the grocery store. Depending on the choices that are made, this could mean that you pay more or less once you get to the checkout counter.
While this diet was designed for cholesterol reduction and heart health, some people do lose weight by following it due to the improvements to their overall nutrition.
The Paleo Diet – also known as the Paleolithic Diet, the Stone Age Diet, the Caveman Diet or the Hunter-Gatherer Diet – was created to provide a lifestyle strategy to overcome illness associated with the way we live our modern lives.
Who Created the Paleo Diet?
That said, since it was first created, it has become better known as a highly popular weight loss plan. It is based on a method that restricts or even eliminates certain food types and individual foods. It has been followed by certain top celebrities from Matthew McConaughey to Megan Fox and Ray Mears.
Still, just because a diet is popular, it doesn’t mean that it is necessarily effective or that it is appropriate for everyone even if it can be effective.
Therefore, it’s always a good idea to take a closer look at any diet, including this one, and to speak with your doctor before making any major changes to what you eat or how you prepare it.
What is the Paleolithic Diet?
To follow the Paleo Diet, you will need to start focusing on foods that may have been the top choices of our Paleolithic ancestors around a thousand years ago. According to the creators of this diet, this was a time before agriculture. Therefore, our ancestors from that time ate essentially anything they could hunt or gather.
Some of the foods they ate included:
- Nuts, and
On the other hand, the foods you will not be consuming on the Paleo Diet include:
- Processed oils,
- Refined sugar, and
The reason those foods aren’t permitted on the Paleo Diet is because the creators of the diet believed that those became available only after agriculture became a part of the average human life.
Watching Your Macros
In terms of macronutrient balance, Paleo encourages a low carbohydrate and high protein eating strategy. It does not have any specific recommendation for calorie counting and makes no mention regarding the type of exercise that should be followed.
In terms of its macronutrient balance, Paleolithic dieting can reflect many other lower carb and high protein diets. What makes it unique is the justification for balancing the macros this way. The claim is that the foods are selected because they are what the body evolved to process first. It’s what the body naturally digests the best as opposed to being forced to cope with it.
As popular as this diet may be, it is also quite controversial. The idea behind it is that by choosing the options our ancestors ate, we are more likely to opt for foods that the body is actually prepared to properly digest and use. The hunter-gatherer body could digest precisely what Paleolithic people could find on the land around them. That didn’t include chips, fries or cakes.
The claim is that by living this way, we can become more fit and healthy and can reduce the risk of degenerative disease, certain cancers, arthritis and heart disease. The belief is that many of those conditions came about as a result of more modern lifestyles following the development of agriculture. Moreover, the idea is that if a Paleolithic person died young, it wasn’t because of disease – particularly chronic illness – but was rather because of having to live in a harsh environment where accidents were commonplace.
Furthermore, in recent years, a large and growing body of evidence has shown that the Palaeolithic people did not eat in the way the creators of this diet claimed. Instead, they did eat grains. Substantial evidence revealed that oats and many more grains were a regular part of our ancestors’ diets.
Caveman Diet Drawbacks
That said, this more “natural” way of living does have certain drawbacks, such as being low on soluble fiber consumption and can risk an inadequate intake of antioxidant vitamins (such as A, E and C), phytochemicals, monosaturated fats and omega-3 fatty acids, and many other low-glycemic index carbohydrates. Weight can indeed be lost on this diet, but it remains rare for a dieter to keep it up over the very long term, leading to potential nutrition, metabolism and weight issues.