Choosing The Right Diet
With the flood of diet books and weight-loss information, it can be hard to decide which eating plan is right for you. In addition to settling on an eating plan that’s healthy, you also have to find one that suits your appetite and lifestyle and that doesn’t impose too many restrictions. The experts at Harvard Medical School have written a special report, Healthy Solutions To Lose Weight And Keep It Off, to help you do just that Here, they look at three popular kinds of diets – low-fat, low-carb, and Mediterranean – and give some tips on deciding which might be right for you.
According to the Harvard experts, most people used to resort to low-fat diets to lose weight. That changed, though, with the rising popularity of the low-carb diet. In low-fat diets, it’s wise to keep some fats – i.e. the good ones such as monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats. These healthy fats can help you drop pounds and get heart-healthier. Getting rid of all fats, the Harvard experts say, isn’t good for you.
Why? If you don’t want to feel deprived, you may try to eat more high-carb foods such as fruits and vegetables while keeping your fat consumption too low. But as a result you won’t feel full, the Harvard experts say, and feeling deprived likely means you’ll find it hard to stay on the diet in the long run.
This kind of diet favors fat and protein rather than carbohydrates. According to the Harvard experts, advocates of this diet say that eating carbs causes a boost and then drop in blood sugar. In turn, that creates a feeling of hunger. Protein and fat, the advocates say, will prevent that spike and dip and will make you feel full longer. The advocates also claim that the body “mobilizes” its own carbohydrates from liver and muscle tissue.
According to the Harvard experts, though,the American Heart Association has cautioned people against following stringent low-carb diets like the Atkins plan, because it is too high in saturated fat and protein. That can damage the heart and kidneys. Detractors also say that the Atkins plan is deficient in fruits and vegetables, which have many proven health benefits. The Harvard experts say that the South Beach and other, less restrictive low-carb diets, provide a better alternative.
“Good” fats- monounsaturated ones, found in olive oil, and polyunsaturated ones, found in fish, canola oil and walnuts – will help you in your quest for good health and weight loss. Although Mediterranean-style diets tend to have a moderate amount of fat, the Harvard experts say most of it comes from these healthy oils. The carbs in this kind of eating plan usually come from unrefined sources such as beans and grains, as opposed to processed foods such as white bread. The amount of meat and cheese, the Harvard experts say, is moderate, while fruit, vegetables, seeds and fish play a bigger part.