Popular diets: pros and cons

For many of us, the key to making our diet plan a success is to find out a way to incorporate it into our busy lifestyle. We have to learn how to make diet plans work for us instead of against us. Healthy eating is not about strict nutrition philosophies, staying unrealistically thin, or depriving yourself of the foods you love. Rather, it's about feeling great, having more energy, and keeping yourself healthy as possible. There is no doubt that healthy eating is an important part of your weight loss plan. Healthy eating begins with learning how to eat smart. It's not just what you eat, but how you eat. 

Each year, new approaches to weight loss find their way to the consumer through the popular press and media. Some of the programs are sensible and appropriate, whereas others emphasize fast results with minimum effort. Some of the proposed diets would lead to nutritional deficiencies over an extended period. Diets that emphasize fast results with minimum effort encourage unrealistic expectations, setting the dieter up for failure, subsequent guilt, and feelings of helplessness at ever managing the weight problem.

Dr. Atkins, New diet revolution, The carbohydrate Addict’s diet. The low-carbohydrate, high-fat diet restricts carbohydrates to less than 20% of calories, and fat constitutes 55% to 65% of calories, with protein making up the balance. Protein obtained from animal sources means that fat, saturated fat, and cholesterol intakes are high. Although these diets feature high ketone production, they suppress appetite to only a minor degree. The initial rapid weight loss from diuresis is secondary to the carbohydrate restriction. In the short term, high fat, low-carbohydrate ketogenic diets cause a greater loss of body water than body fat. These diets are low in vitamins A and E, thiamin, Vitamin B6, and folate; minerals – calcium, magnesium, iron and potassium. They are also low in dietary fiber.

The Zone, South beach diet. These diets restrict carbohydrates to no more that 40% of total calories, with fat and protein providing 30% of calories each. This particular diet composition is claimed to keep insulin in check, which is blamed for fat storage. The diet includes generous amounts of fiber and fresh fruits and vegetables. There is attention to the kind of fat, with emphasis on monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fat and limitation of saturated fat. Weight loss ensues not because insulin is kept in a narrow range, but because calories are restricted.

Volumetrics. Moderate fat, balanced-nutrient reduction diets contain 20% to 30% of calories from fat, 15% to 20% of calories from protein and 55% to 60% of calories from carbohydrate. This diet focuses on the energy density of foods. Foods high in water content have a low energy density. These include fruits, vegetables, low-fat milk, cooked grains, lean meats, poultry, fish and beans. Low water containing foods that are energy dense such as potato chips, crackers, and fat free cookies are restricted. With proper food choices, a moderate fat, balanced nutrient reduction diet is nutritionally adequate.

Dr. Dean Ornish’s program. Very low fat diet contains less than 10% of calories from fat, and low fat diets contain 10% to 20% of calories from fat. This diet produce rapid weight loss and is very restrictive. Because fat provides more than two times the energy per gram as protein and carbohydrate, an effective diet can be one that includes extensive controls on this nutrient. This diet is low in vitamins E and B12 and mineral zinc

Controlled clinical trials of all these diets are lacking. Therefore no data are available on weight maintenance after weight loss or long-term health benefits or risk. Diets, that drastically restrict food selection may not supply minimum daily requirements of vitamins and minerals

When it comes to a healthy diet, balance is the key to getting it right. This means eating a wide variety of foods in the right proportions, and consuming the right amount of food and drink to achieve and maintain a healthy body weight.

Most adults are either overweight or obese. That means many of us are eating more than we need, and should eat less. And it's not just food: some drinks can also be high in calories. Most adults need to eat and drink fewer calories in order to lose weight, even if they already eat a balanced diet.

With other diet systems, the focus is on keeping thin or depriving you of the foods you love. But the focus of our affordable and convenient menu plans is on keeping you fit, feeling great and living a healthy lifestyle – all with ingredients and dishes you already know and love.


  1. Anonymous5/23/2013

    Thanks for the review. Could you please describe cons and pros of veggie diet in comparision with other ones? I feel like atkinson ofter, but keeping low on folates just disturbs me...

    1. It is more important for vegetarians to get enough copper in their diet, because a strict vegetarian diet may benefit patients with Wilson’s disease because of the low copper content of fruits and vegetables.