(RxWiki News) Written By Anyssa Garza, PharmD, BCMAS
With summer approaching, a crash diet doesn't have to be your only option to lose those extra pounds. You've got healthier options.
Some diets can leave you nutrient-deprived. Others just leave you hungry. But starting a healthy diet plan early can help you keep the weight off and minimize the stress associated with dieting. Read on for details about five common diet plans.
1) TLC Diet
The Therapeutic Lifestyle Changes (TLC) diet is good for you in more ways than one. This particular diet focuses less on weight loss and more on lowering cholesterol. The program has three parts, which include diet, exercise and weight management.
The TLC diet aims to help users make healthy choices that lead to lower cholesterol while also helping them slim down. The key to this plan is cutting back on saturated fat, trans fat and cholesterol. That means eating a lot of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, fish and skinless poultry.
There are no extra costs tied to this diet plan. However, users have to decode labels and make healthy decisions on their own. If heart health is important to you, ask your doctor about the TLC diet.
2) Weight Watchers
The Weight Watchers diet has been around for years, but does it work? This particular diet plan doesn’t focus on counting calories or cutting out your favorite foods. Instead, it creates healthy habits through an emphasis on “good for you” foods.
In this diet, all foods have points attached to them. These points are based on calories, saturated fat, sugar and protein. Think high numbers for chocolate cake and low numbers for grilled chicken. As long as you stay within your point target for the day, you get to choose what to fuel your body with. Most fruits and vegetables carry zero points, so filling up on them is encouraged.
This system develops a diet composed primarily of healthy foods — with the occasional treat. Weight Watchers even has an activity program where you can earn FitPoints. You can earn points toward your weekly goal with every activity. While Weight Watchers can be effective, the program can be pricey.
3) Jenny Craig
Jenny Craig has been a recognized diet for years. This diet plan is less about making healthy choices and more about sticking to a set meal plan. This plan consists of five delivered, pre-packaged meals per day — breakfast, lunch and dinner, as well as two snacks. You can also have access to a personal consultant to advise you on meals, recipes and workouts.
If you choose to have all of your meals delivered, there’s no guesswork in the diet plan — but costs can quickly add up. The combined cost of meals, shipping and enrollment fees means this may be one of the more expensive diet plans. Although this diet is thought of as one of the easiest plans to follow, you are restricted to the pre-set meal plan.
4) Volumetrics Diet
The Volumetrics diet was developed by a Penn State professor, Dr. Barbara Rolls, as an approach to eating differently. You feel full because of the types and amounts of foods you eat — not because of the number of calories or the grams of fat, protein and carbs.
The goal of this diet plan is to fill up on the right foods that make you feel full with fewer calories. You can accomplish this is by selecting foods with low energy density, which have fewer calories but more volume. Low energy density foods include fruits, non-starchy vegetables, lean meats, broth-based soups and whole grains. These foods make up the bulk of this diet.
These kinds of foods are preferred over foods with high energy density, meaning they have lots of calories for not much food. Bottom line: Lose weight by feeling full on fewer calories. To follow this plan, you will need to keep an eye on the energy density of the foods you choose. Other than grocery costs, the only cost tied to this diet is the recommended book.
5) Mediterranean Diet
This heart-healthy diet gets its name because it incorporates the basics of healthy eating with some olive oil and maybe a glass of red wine — characteristics of the traditional cooking style of countries that border the Mediterranean Sea. The secret to this diet plan is not much of a secret at all: low intake of red meat and saturated fat, along with an active lifestyle.
This diet emphasizes plant-based foods, such as fruits and vegetables, whole grains and legumes, as well as limiting red meat to no more than a few times a month. Instead of red meat, this diet recommends eating fish and poultry. Replacing certain ingredients with healthier alternatives is also key, such as swapping butter for olive oil and herbs and spices for salt.
A surprising component of the Mediterranean diet is not a food at all, but a beverage: red wine, in moderation. Although the health effects of moderate alcohol consumption are debated, some studies have found that red wine, in moderation, may be tied to several heart health benefits. If you are unable to consume alcohol or have a history of alcohol abuse, refrain from this part of the diet.
This is less of a diet and more of a lifestyle, as the Mediterranean diet focuses on healthy choices, physical activity and enjoying meals. Aside from grocery expenses, this diet has little to no added cost.
Before starting any new diet, be sure to talk with your health care provider. If you are not sure what healthy eating plan is best for you, speak with your health care provider. In addition, speak with your pharmacist about any supplements you may need.