Losing weight sometimes takes experimentation. If you give a diet your best shot and it doesn’t work long term, maybe it wasn’t the right one for you, your metabolism, or your situation. Genes, family, your environment — even your friends — influence how, why, what, and how much you eat, so don’t get too discouraged or beat yourself up because a diet that “worked for everybody” didn’t pay off for you. Try another, keeping in mind that almost any diet will help you shed pounds — at least for a short time.
Here’s a look at three common diet approaches.
1. Low fat: Doesn’t taste great … and is less filling
Once the main strategy for losing weight, low-fat diets were shoved aside by the low-carb frenzy. But healthy fats can actually promote weight loss, and some fats are good for the heart; eliminating them from the diet can cause problems.
Since fat contains nine calories per gram while carbohydrates contain four, you could theoretically eat more without taking in more calories by cutting back on fatty foods and eating more that are full of carbohydrates, especially water-rich fruits and vegetables. Still, such a diet tends to be less filling and flavorful than other diets, which lessens its long-term appeal. And if the carbs you eat in place of fat are highly processed and rapidly digested, you may be sabotaging your weight-loss plan.
2. Low carbohydrate: Quick weight loss but long-term safety questions
Eating carbohydrates — especially highly processed ones like white bread and white rice — quickly boosts blood sugar, which triggers an outpouring of insulin from the pancreas. The surge of insulin can rapidly drop blood sugar, causing hunger. Low-carb proponents claim that people who eat a lot of carbohydrates take in extra calories and gain weight. Limiting carbs in favor of protein and fat is supposed to prevent the insulin surge and make you feel full longer.
To make up for the lack of carbohydrates in the diet, the body mobilizes its own carbohydrate stores from liver and muscle tissue. In the process, the body also mobilizes water, meaning that the pounds shed are water weight. The result is rapid weight loss, but after a few months, weight loss tends to slow and reverse, just as happens with other diets.
The American Heart Association cautions people against following the Atkins diet because it is too high in saturated fat and protein, which can be hard on the heart, kidneys, and bones. The lack of carb-rich fruits and vegetables is also worrisome, because eating these foods tends to lower the risk of stroke, dementia, and certain cancers. Most experts believe that the South Beach and other less restrictive low-carbohydrate diets offer a more reasonable approach.
3. Mediterranean style: Healthy fats and carbs with a big side of fruits and vegetables
Good fats are the monounsaturated fats found in olive oil and other oils, and the polyunsaturated fats found in fish, canola oil, walnuts, and other foods. (Saturated fat and trans fat are the bad guys.) Mediterranean diets tend to have a moderate amount of fat, but most of it comes from healthy fats. The carbohydrates in Mediterranean-style diets tend to come from unrefined, fiber-rich sources like whole wheat and beans. These diets are also rich in fruits and vegetables, nuts, seeds, and fish, with only modest amounts of meat and cheese.
People living in Mediterranean countries have a lower-than-expected rate of heart disease. But the traditional lifestyle in the region also includes lots of physical activity, regular meal patterns, wine, and good social support. It’s hard to know what relative role these different factors play — but there is growing evidence that, in and of itself, the diet can reduce cardiovascular risk and the development of diabetes.
Make your own
A good diet should provide plenty of choices, relatively few restrictions, and no long grocery lists of sometimes expensive special foods. It should be as good for your heart, bones, brain, and colon as it is for your waistline. And it should be something you can sustain for years. Such a diet won’t give you a quick fix. But they can offer you something better — a lifetime of savory, healthy choices that will be good for all of you, not just parts of you.
For more practical tips to help you lose or maintain weight, buy Healthy Solutions to Lose Weight and Keep it Off, a Special Health Report from Harvard Medical School.
Below are spiritual recipe for health and wellness: Matthew E. McLaren
Ephesians 4:16 from whom the whole body, being fitted and held together by what every joint supplies, according to the proper working of each individual part, causes the growth of the body for the building up of itself in love.
2 Chronicles 7:16 “For now I have chosen and consecrated this house that My name may be there forever, and My eyes and My heart will be there perpetually.
2 Corinthians 9:10 Now He who supplies seed to the sower and bread for food will supply and multiply your seed for sowing and increase the harvest of your righteousness;
Hebrews 5:12-14 For though by this time you ought to be teachers, you have need again for someone to teach you the elementary principles of the oracles of God, and you have come to need milk and not solid food. For everyone who partakes only of milk is not accustomed to the word of righteousness, for he is an infant. But solid food is for the mature, who because of practice have their senses trained to discern good and evil.
1 Peter 2:2 like newborn babies, long for the pure milk of the word, so that by it you may grow in respect to salvation,
Luke 8:14-15 “The seed which fell among the thorns, these are the ones who have heard, and as they go on their way they are choked with worries and riches and pleasures of this life, and bring no fruit to maturity. “But the seed in the good soil, these are the ones who have heard the word in an honest and good heart, and hold it fast, and bear fruit with perseverance.
Matthew 13:22-23 “And the one on whom seed was sown among the thorns, this is the man who hears the word, and the worry of the world and the deceitfulness of wealth choke the word, and it becomes unfruitful. “And the one on whom seed was sown on the good soil, this is the man who hears the word and understands it; who indeed bears fruit and brings forth, some a hundredfold, some sixty, and some thirty.”
Mark 4:19-20 but the worries of the world, and the deceitfulness of riches, and the desires for other things enter in and choke the word, and it becomes unfruitful. “And those are the ones on whom seed was sown on the good soil; and they hear the word and accept it and bear fruit, thirty, sixty, and a hundredfold
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