Diet Methods

From the most famous diets like Atkins and South Beach, to the newer popular entries in the market such as the Paleo Diet, there’s no shortage on specific diet plans for you to choose from. However, before you select a program based on its name, you might want to consider the overall method of the diet plan and what mechanisms it relies on to help you lose weight or gain the health benefits you’re seeking.

Low-Carbohydrate

Carbohydrates are the food calories most abundantly found in plant foods such as grains, fruits and vegetables. Carbs are also found in starchy and sugary foods ranging from the healthier, such as sweet potatoes, to the unhealthy, like candy bars and sugary soft drinks. Low-carb diets limit the amount of carbohydrate grams you are permitted to take in each day. Popular examples of low-carbohydrate diets include the Atkins Diet and the South Beach Diet.

Calorie and Portion-Controlled

To lose weight, you need to burn off more calories than you consume over a period of time. This makes counting calories a tried and true diet method for many. The size of the portions you eat can have a big effect on the calorie count you rack up at the end of each day. Encouraging small- to moderately sized portions and limiting high-calorie, low-nutrient foods are two methods employed by the Weight Watchers system as well as pre-prepared foods diets like Jenny Craig and Seattle Sutton.

Health-Specific Diets

If you are a diabetic, your doctor will likely recommend you change your diet to help control your blood sugar levels. A diabetes diet asks you to exchange many foods which are high in sugar and refined flours with other foods that do not spike your blood sugars levels so drastically. Whole grains, non-starchy vegetables and lean meats are part of a diabetic diet as well as a heart-healthy diet, as recommended by both the American Diabetes Association and the American Heart Association. Attention deficit disorder, autism and eating disorders are all examples of other health conditions which might benefit from a medically prescribed diet.

Food Restrictions

Some diets seek to restrict certain foods or food groups, or even eliminate them altogether. If you follow a vegetarian diet, it means you will avoid all or most animal flesh. If you follow a vegan diet, you will have no animal products at all, including dairy products, eggs and honey. A raw foods diet method is just as it sounds: you will eat your food mostly raw, refraining from cooking or heating your food past degrees. A grain-free, or Paleo, diet focuses on protein and fats from meats and limited carbohydrates coming from vegetables and fruits only, forgoing wheat, legumes, dairy, salt and yeast.

About this Author

Faith Watson owns Exercise In Disguise Alternative Fitness Studio in Gilberts, Ill., is a PMA-certified Pilates teacher, an NSCA-certified personal trainer, and an official Zumba instructor. She also specializes in non-diet weight management and wellness lifestyle coaching. Previously, Watson was a copywriter and brand strategist for large clients in health care and technology.