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By Adam Waxler
Is a low carb diet the best way to lose weight? Well that's what you'll hear from one diet guru, and he has the testimonials to back it up.
How about low fat, lots of carbs, and fresh fruits and veggies? Of course, another weight loss expert will say so - and he's got the back up from satisfied users, too.
A third weight loss expert will swear that you need to count the amount of sugar; another weight loss expert will tell you that the enemy is white flour. The question then becomes, "if you want to lose weight and keep it off, who do you listen to?".
Below are a few summaries to give you a quick overview of the pros and cons of some of the most popular types of weight loss plans.
Low Carb-Hi Protein Diets
Diets like the Atkins diet, the South Beach diet and the Zone Diet all recommend restricting carbohydrates and allowing liberal amounts of protein, including protein derived from animal sources. Generally, they limit the overall amount of carbohydrates, or teach you to differentiate between "good" and "bad" carbohydrates. Bad carbohydrates, which are forbidden, include white flour, white bread, and white sugar.
Pros: The low carb diets all encourage learning healthy eating as part of the overall weight loss plan. Deriving most of your daily calories from high fiber sources of carbs like leafy green vegetables and grains is generally considered the best diet for nutrition by the established medical community. The popularity of these weight loss diets makes it easy to find low-carb foods.
Cons: The allowance of eating all the protein and fats you like flies in the face of conventional medical wisdom. A diet high in saturated fats could lead to heart disease, diabetes, gout and other chronic health conditions. Most of these low carb diet plans caution and advice to keep portions reasonable. Following the guidelines of these low carb diets should mitigate that concern.
Weight Loss Programs
Jenny Craig, NutriSystem, Weight Watchers, SlimFast and a number of other weight loss programs rely heavily on pre-packaged 'diet' foods. They incorporate professional coaching, social structure and reinforcement.
Pros: The professional coaching and nutritional benefits are a big plus, as are the reinforcement and support aspect of the diets. Meals and supplements are prepackaged in the right proportions, and if you stick to the diets and exercise as directed you will lose weight.
Cons: The weekly fees and cost of meals can be expensive. In addition, if you rely completely on the packaged foods, you miss out on the re-education of your eating habits, which is important to maintaining any weight loss.
The Real Mayo Clinic Diet
The true Mayo Clinic diet recommends a healthy eating weight loss plan based on limiting fats, proteins and carbohydrates, counting calories and deriving most of the daily nutrition from vegetables, grains and fruit.
Pros: There's no 'diet'. Instead, you're encouraged to take control of your eating. Portion control and sensible balance of nutrients are the cornerstones of a weight loss plan that takes weight off gradually, and helps you keep it off permanently.
Cons: It may be difficult to stay on this diet. Counting calories and portions can be difficult if you're eating out or on the run.
While there are many weight loss plans that promise to help you lose weight fast, unfortunately, many of these weight loss plans are either not healthy diets, or don't have long-lasting results. However, the three major weight loss diets above all result in 1-2 pounds of weight loss per week, which most doctors believe is the optimum way to lose weight and keep it off.
Copyright 2006 Adam Waxler
About The Author
Adam Waxler publishes a series of weight loss information products.