Losing weight is a common goal at the beginning of each year.
Every month, scientists publish new information on super health foods, foods everyone should avoid, sodium, sugar, alcohol and the effects of popular diets among other health fads.
Those looking to lose weight have multiple diets to choose from, if they want. Atkins. Paleo. Keto. South Beach. Weight Watchers. All of these weight loss plans have their different methods.
However, Connor Everhart, a 2010 Linden High School graduate who works as a fitness instructor personal trainer and fitness specialist at Genesys Athletic Club, said diets aren’t the healthiest way to lose weight.
“A lot of these diets are not something you can sustain for a lifetime. Yes, there are some individuals who find a diet that works well for them and they can do it forever. But eight times out of 10, once the 30 days are up, the person goes back to what they were doing before and gains all their weight back,” he said.
On the Paleo diet, people only eat foods that people would eat in the Paleolithic era, also called the Stone Age which began about 40,000 years ago. These foods include meat, fruits, vegetables, and anything else grown naturally.
On the Atkins Diet, people do a two-week induction phase that restricts carbohydrates (carbs) to 20 grams per day and allows unlimited amounts of protein and fat. Your body then uses fat as its main energy source. After the two weeks, people doing the Atkins diet add carbs back to their schedule in small increments. Studies in the United Kingdom and the United States have proven the effectiveness of Atkins, according to the National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI).
The Ketogenic (keto) diet is similar. Its focus is very low carb and high protein so your body uses its fat stores as an energy source instead of sugar. This diet does not gradually increase carb intake, but keeps it low, usually less than 30 grams of carbs a day. After analyzing 13 studies, the NCBI found that the ketogenic diet boosts weight loss and body fat, and also reduces inflammatory markers and disease risk in obese test subjects.
Celebrity trainer and fitness guru Jillian Michaels slammed the keto diet in a blog post in April 2018, calling the diet “downright dangerous.” She wrote that the keto diet can be damaging because it completely cuts out certain food groups, does not promote caloric restriction, nor does it address what types of proteins and fats are ideal.
“When we aren’t eating all the macronutrients in a balanced way, we are literally starving our cells,” she wrote.
On the South Beach diet, people eat few carbs and fats, but high protein levels. Phase one is low in carbs, but becomes less restrictive in phase two and three, and allows for unprocessed foods with high protein intake. The hormones released from proteins can suppress hunger longer than other foods.
“Something I really focus on, and a lot of trainers at Genesys, is changing people’s perspectives on health, diet, and working out. Health is a lifestyle, not a quick fix routine,” Everhart said. “People need to understand that fad diets are temporary and they need to learn how to manage their relationship with food. Everything is all about balance and moderation.”
One program that focuses on moderation is Weight Watchers. Weight Watchers helps people lose weight by promoting self-discipline. Every food you eat has a certain amount of points, and you have an allotted amount of points each day. The company recently rolled out a new program called Freestyle. It keeps the SmartPoints system, but certain foods, like chicken, fish, eggs, corn and beans, have a value of zero.