Diets by their very nature tend to be temporary. So how can we find one that we can live with day after day? Before we try to answer this question, lets take a look at some popular diets out there today.
The South Beach diet was developed by Florida based cardiologist Arthur Agatston, who prescribed this diet to his cardiac patients. The key points of the South beach diet are:
- Avoid consuming bad (i.e. simple) carbohydrates like sugar, sweets, white bread etc.
- Avoid fats that are bad for you (saturated fats, trans fats)
- Use a three-phased approach that aims at losing weight in the first phase and gradually introducing more variety as you move into phase three.
This diet is a fairly good one, although it may not be the most effective for weight loss. It also allows us to eat consume some foods that could be bad for us in the long run.
Here is another very popular diet. This diet follows a low carbohydrate -high protein based regime. The diet uses the concept of ketosis; in which the body burns excess fat is burned as fuel, resulting in a loss in weight. Although this is an effective diet for weight reduction, it cannot be recommended as the 'best diet for life'. A lot of people following the diet consume too much protein and excess fat, The diet does not emphasize the importance of fresh fruit and vegetables to our overall well-being. It should not be adopted as the best diet for life.
This is another diet that uses a three phased approach to losing weight. Unlike the South Beach diet, it does allow the consumption of (whole grain) cereals and bread during the first phase. This is a very balanced diet. It is not as restrictive as many others and allows the individual more choice. Overall it is quite a good diet to follow in the long term.
The Zone Diet was developed by biochemist Dr Barry Sears. He recommends that we get 40% of our calories from carbohydrates, 30% from protein and 30% from fat - unsaturated where possible. This is a fairly balanced diet, and can be adopted on a daily basis. The drawback is the need to be conscious of the quantities we consume of each of the food groups. As an athlete I have followed this diet (approximately, without counting calories!) with good results.
The Best Diet For Life
The above are just a few of the many dieting programs available today. Which one will work best for you really depends on your needs today. Are you looking for a way to lose weight now, or just to maintain your current weight? The best diet is one that:
- meets your current weight loss needs
- you can live with on a daily basis
- is healthy and provides your body with the nutrients needed
- allows you to cheat occasionally
- includes an exercise program
Importance of Exercise
Many diet programs (especially those using weight loss pills) don't stress the need to exercise regularly. If you don't burn the same, or more, calories than you consume, then you'll never maintain your ideal weight. Walking, jogging, cycling and aerobics are all pleasurable exercises that will burn calories and contribute to your overall feeling of well-being.
The fact is, no one diet will probably do everything you need and you should review them all. If you want to lose weight then the Atkins diet is probably the most effective. Once you have lost the weight however, you need to select a regime that meets all the other criteria above. The Sonoma diet is good, and so is the Zone. As long as you follow the basic guidelines, avoid junk food as much as possible and make sure you are getting a good intake of natural organic foods then you have probably found the best diet for your life.
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