7 Different Types of Diets for the New Year

7 Different Types of Diets

If you are looking to lose weight after overindulging during the holidays, you are not alone. A new year means a new start, and there are many types of diets that can lead to a healthier you. Here are seven different types of diets featured on the U.S. News 2014 Best Diet Lists and could help you reach your weight loss goals this year.

1. Weight Watchers

How It Works:

In the Weight Watchers system, a point value is assigned to every food based on the amount of calories, protein, carbohydrate, fat, and fiber it contains. The point value is also based on how much you have to exercise in order to burn the calories off. You are free to eat as you please as long as you stick to your daily PointsPlus target.

Health Factors:

Nutritionally dense foods and foods that fill you up the longest have the lowest point values. Fresh fruits and vegetables have zero points, so you can eat as many of them as you like.

Pros:

Most studies have shown that Weight Watchers is effective in helping people lose weight, and in fact, it was rated as the #1 best weight-loss diet, as well as the #1 easiest diet to follow, by U.S News.

Cons:

Since Weight Watchers has a ton of flexibility, if you are looking for a structured diet that tells you what to eat, how much to eat, and when to eat it, Weight Watchers might be overwhelming.

2. Nutrisystem Diet

How It Works:

The Nutrisystem Diet makes it easier for you to lose weight by telling you what to eat and when. Nutrisystem determines portions for you, prepares your meals, and delivers them to your doorstep.

Health Factors:

Nutrisystem meals take into account the glycemic index, and you are required to supplement the meals with fruits, vegetables, protein, and dairy products in order to have a well-balanced diet.

Pros:

The Nutrisystem Diet is ranked #7 in easiest-to-follow diets. Meals are prepared for you beforehand, eliminating the need for meal planning and shopping. On Nutriststem, you can shed at least a pound or two a week.

Cons:

The biggest downside of the Nutrisystem Diet is the high monthly cost, which can be prohibitive to those who cannot fit the diet into their monthly budget.

3. Paleo Diet

How It Works:

The Paleo Diet, which is short for Paleolithic diet, is a nutritional diet based on the diet of Paleolithic hunter-gatherers. The Paleo Diet consists mainly of fish, grass-fed pasture raised meat, eggs, vegetables, fruits, and nuts. The diet excludes dairy, legumes, grains, potatoes, refined sugar, refined salt, and processed oils.

Health Factors:

Proponents of Paleo argue that eating like your prehistoric ancestors will help you lose weight and prevent health problems like heart disease, diabetes, and cancer.

Pros:

Although ranked poorly by US News, Paleo has been hugely popular among the cross-fit, celiac, and healthy blogger communities. The proponents of Paleo claim that by bringing food back to the basics, their digestive track and overall health has never been better.

Cons:

Opponents of the Paleo Diet claim that eliminating entire food groups is a mistake, because many of the prohibited foods contain nutrients that are essential to good health, and also, because limiting certain types of foods can be difficult to sustain over the long-term. Furthermore, it is a demanding diet to follow, as most meals must be planned and cooked at home.

4. Biggest Loser Diet

How It Works:

The Biggest Loser Diet is a six-week program designed to get you off the sofa and on the path to weight loss. Diet participants are taught to practice portion control, and exercise is integral to the program.

Health Factors:

The program emphasizes eating regular meals with many fruits, vegetables, lean protein sources, and whole grains, and unlike many diets, exercise is introduced right in the beginning and is a core component.

Pros:

On the Biggest Loser Diet, weight loss is likely. It is ranked as the #2 best weight-loss diets and the #1 best diet for diabetes.

Cons:

The problem with the Biggest Loser Diet is that it’s an intense commitment. Although you are able to eat out and consume processed foods, you still have to keep track of what you are eating and plan meals ahead. Since exercise is vital to the plan, it must also be incorporated into your daily schedule.

5. The Mayo Clinic Diet

How It Works:

The Mayo Clinic Diet is more than a weight loss approach – it’s a lifestyle. The Mayo Clinic Diet consists of two main phases. The first is the “Lose It!” phase, a two-week phase that teaches you to add five healthy habits and break five unhealthy habits. In the “Live It!” phase that follows, you learn about portion sizes, menu planning, and maintaining healthy habits.

Health Factors:

The diet is based on the Mayo Clinic Healthy Weight Pyramid, which illustrates the importance of balancing exercise with eating healthy foods. The goal of the Mayo Clinic Diet is to help you develop healthy lifestyle habits, so you can maintain a healthy weight for life.

Pros:

Like Weight Watchers, the Mayo Clinic Diet is a #3 overall best diet. During phase one, participants lose up to six to ten pounds in a healthy way in order to jumpstart their weight loss. During phase two, you steadily lose one to two pounds per week until you reach your ideal weight.

Cons:

The only downside of the Mayo Clinic Diet is its lack of structure. Without the support given by program-based diets, it is up to you to hold yourself accountable.

6. Mediterranean Diet

How It Works:

The Mediterranean Diet is not a formal diet plan. It is a way of eating that emphasizes the foods eaten in Spain, Greece, France, Southern Italy, and other countries that border the Mediterranean Sea.

Health Factors:

The diet emphasizes fish, fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and olive oil. Sweets, dairy products, and meat are eaten in limited quantities.

Pros:

Like Weight Watchers and the Mayo Clinic Diet, the Mediterranean Diet is #3 in best overall diets, as well as #3 in easiest diets to follow. Weight loss is possible as long as a calorie deficit is built into each day.

Cons:

Disadvantages of the Mediterranean Diet include its lack of structure and the fact that many of the foods are moderately pricey.

7. Raw Food Diet

How It Works:

The idea behind the Raw Food Diet is that heating food destroys its natural enzymes and nutrients, and so all food is served raw. A raw food diet consists mostly of uncooked fruits, vegetables, and grains and excludes animal products.

Health Factors:

The Raw Food Diet emphasizes healthy fruits and vegetables, which are packed with nutrients. Animal products are excluded, which are traditionally higher in fats.

Pros:

Many raw foods are low in calories, so people who follow the raw food diet typically lose weight, and the Raw Food Diet is ranked #2 in best weight-loss diets.

Cons:

A Raw Food Diet can be dangerously low in essential vitamins and minerals, so you have to make sure that you get enough protein, calcium, iron, vitamin b12, vitamin D, and omega-3 fatty acids. Additionally, it can be difficult to sustain over the long-term, as many types of foods are prohibited.

The key to losing weight is simple: take in fewer calories and burn more calories. However, it’s easier said than done. Many of us have an easier time losing weight when we have a specific diet to follow. Try one of these seven types of diets this year to finally shed those extra pounds and keep them off!