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Diet Programs - The Basics

Aug 17, 2007
Which diet program is best for you ? Please read the diet program reviews below to help you decide.

Atkins Diet Program
The Atkins diet program is based on the principle of switching your body to burn fat instead of

carbohydrates to obtain energy. It is a life change rather than a diet program, as in order to keep the pounds off you need to stick to the recommended way of eating.

The main difference to other diet programs is in what you are allowed to eat ie eggs, meat including beef, pork, turkey, chicken, duck, wild game, veal & lamb also fish such as shellfish. Fats are also permitted ie butter, olive

oil & mayonnaise, certain cheeses are also permitted.

You must drink lots of water, only de-caffinated coffee & will need to take vitamin supplements including minerals.

You must also exercise every day, no need to do a marathon however, a brisk walk will suffice. You are encouraged to eat enough to satisfy your appetite but you must not overeat.

You must not drink alcohol. You must not cheat; it takes 2-3 days for the body to switch from burning carbohydrates (in the form of glucose) to burning fat, so if you cheat you are back to day 1.

You cannot eat the following:

Sugar in any form, corn syrup, honey or maple syrup.
Milk or Yogurt - a limited amount of cream is allowed.
Fruit & fruit juice.
Flour products (bread, pasta, crackers etc)
Grains or cereals.
Beans and legumes.
Starchy or high sugar vegetables such as potatoes, yams, corn, peas, parsnips, beets & carrots.
Sweet condiments such as most ketchups, bbq sauce & balsamic vinegar.
French dressing & thousand island dressing.
Cottage cheese, farmers cheese & other fresh cheeses.
Nuts & seeds.

Diet Program Pro's
Lots of popular foods are permitted & you can have snacks between meals. No need to starve and are
encouraged to eat when hungry.

Diet Program Con's
Must stick to diet for good to keep off unwanted pounds. No breaks or cheat days allowed. May not be suitable if you can't go without coffee or alcohol.

South Beach Diet Program
Similar to the Atkins diet prgram in that it changes the way you eat whilst still allowing plenty of popular foods such as meat, fish & eggs but you can also eat cheese & vegetables.

You can have 3 meals a day & even 2 snacks a day. You can also have dessert & diet soda. You are not allowed any alcohol for an initial 2 week period but after that you are allowed to drink wine. After an initial 2 week start

where what you can eat is limited you can start to phase some of your favourite foods back into your diet. Its all about eating "good carbs" instead of "bad carbs".

Diet Program Pro's

Based on a healthy way of eating rather than a diet. Many of your favourite foods are probably still
allowed. Some alcohol ie wine is allowed.

Diet Program Con's
You may find the first couple of weeks particularly hard due to what you can eat being limited.

Zone Diet Program
Developed by Barry Sears a biochemist, the Zone Diet is about controlling your insulin level through a balanced diet of carbohydrates, proteins & fat, also known as the 40-30-30 diet (40% carbohydrates,

30% Proteins 30% fat). Once again it is a way of living rather than just a diet with 3 stages geared to make you lose weight, control hunger & have more energy. It is based on consistent insulin levels with the supplementation of high dose fish oil.

The Zone diet encourages eating regularly throughout the day & eliminates many jink foods such as sweets & chips.

The "Zone" refers to being in a physiological state in which hormones, governed by the food you eat, are in a zone which is neither too high nor too low.

Diet Program Pro's
Balanced diet rather than cutting out foods you may enjoy.

Diet Program Con's
The reasoning behind the diet can be quite technical & therefore many people may disagree about its merits.

Mediterranean Diet Program
Not a diet as such but simply a way of eating for hundreds if not thousands of years followed by people of countries bordering the Mediterranean such as Greece, Southern Italy, parts of North Africa & the Middle East.

It is well known that people from these areas have a lower incidence of heart disease; this is believed to be due to over half of their fat intake being from monounsaturated fat (mainly from olive oil) as opposed to saturated fat, prominent elsewhere. Saturated fat is known to raise cholesterol levels.

The basic diet followed is one that has a low consumption of red meat, low to moderate consumption of sweets, fish, eggs & dairy products except cheese & natural yogurt, a high consumption of fresh fruits & vegetables & a higher consumption of breads, pasta, rice, potatoes & couscous. Water & red wine (in moderation) are taken with meals.

Diet Program Pro's
Not a "fad diet" but a traditional way of eating with known health benefits.

Diet Program Con's
None as such apart from if you are unable to obtain fresh fruit & veg.

Weight Watchers Diet Program
There are 2 main diet programs for you to follow; one a points system where all foods are allocated points according to their calorie, fat & fibre content. You are allowed to use up (or consume) a set number of points per day. The other diet program is a no points system which allows you to eat from a range of wholesome foods without having to count the calories.

The weight watchers diet program can be followed online as well as offline through regular local meetings where you will get not just tips & guidance but the support & encouragement of fellow weight watchers.

Diet Program Pro's
On the points system you can eat what you like as long as you stick to the number of points.

The meetings can help to keep you motivated.

Diet Program Con's
Offline meetings may not be practical for you. The points system may leave you feeling hungry.
About the Author
John Mac is the owner of fitnessdiethealth.com a website aimed at people looking to improve their fitness diet & health
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