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Top 10 Most Popular and Common Diets

Diet generally means a special food intake regimen recommended in case of various illnesses, for maintaining good health, or for weight loss. Due to the large number of diets appeared in medical/nutrition literature, choosing one of them becomes a rather difficult task for everyone. We examined all the existing diets to ease this task, ensuring that people will follow a healthy, effective diet. Thus, the most popular diets top was born, having the subsequent selection criteria: number of issues/materials that appeared in the media; how common are people in general; the number of people satisfied with the diet results. The diets order is not necessarily health-oriented, but rather famous-oriented.

Diets may be generally classified in 3 categories: • Absolute diet – this rather drastic and unhealthy category consists of complete lack of food or drinks intake by natural ways. The body’s essential nutrients are provided by intravenous infusion of different substances. • Diet fluid – consists only of fluids (water) absorption, thus no significant calories are ingested. • Protein restricted diet – this type of regimen requires a perfect renal system function, otherwise it proved to be very dangerous.

10. Atkins Diet

Atkins diet involves controlling the level of insulin in the body through diet. When you consume high amounts of refined carbohydrates, insulin levels rise rapidly and then fall just as quickly. Increasing insulin levels causes the body to store a larger amount of energy and thus store fat as energy source. Food recommendation: products with a high protein content. This kind of diet is usually recommended for people with 01 blood group. Also see the diets based on blood groups article.

9. Vegetarianism

Depending on the adopted menu, there are several types of vegetarianism: • Lacto-vegetarian: The menu is based on fruits, vegetables and dairy products; • Lacto-ovo-vegetarian: Allowance for vegetable products, dairy, eggs and honey; • Ovo-vegetarian: The menu is based on fruits, vegetables and eggs; • Pesco-vegetarian: The menu is based on fruits, vegetables and fish; • Semi-vegetarian: Besides vegetable, dairy, eggs, this menu contains small amounts of white meat (chicken and fish). Most vegetarians are lacto-ovo-vegetarians, in other words they are not consuming animal food, except for eggs, milk and honey. According to studies conducted in the last decade, vegetarians show a lower body weight, are not suffering from severe diseases and generally have a higher life expectancy than people who eat a lot of meat.

8. Veganism

Veganism is more a way of life or a drastic health-related philosophy rather than a diet, because the regimen excludes all animal products, including milk, eggs and honey, allowing only vegetable consumption. People on this diet believe that modern methods of raising animals are not healthy for them and for the environment and are not long term sustainable nor ecological. Also, vegans believe that by adopting this lifestyle animals would suffer less, and people would enjoy a better mental and physical health status.

7. Weight Watchers Diet

Losing weight through this diet involves adopting a healthy diet plus exercise programs and psychological support. This diet was born in the ’60s in the U.S., when a housewife who managed to lose considerable weight, feared not gaining weight back. That has created a network of friends, called Weight Watchers, which frequently socialize, offering psychological support to each other. Subsequently, the circle of friends has grown into Weight Watchers International, company offering counseling and assistance for losing and maintaining weight.

6. South Beach Diet

South Beach diet basics were determined by a cardiologist, Dr. Agatston, and dietitian Marie Almon. Dr. Agatston developed this diet in the ’90s because he was disappointed that diets low in fat and high in carbohydrates were supported and even encouraged by the American Heart Association. He discvered that a diet which is very low in fat content is not effective long term. Like the Atkins diet, South Beach diet focuses on controlling insulin levels and benefits of unrefined carbohydrates, in contrast to refined carbohydrates (white bread, pastries etc.).

5. Raw Food Diet

Raw Food diet involves eating unprocessed foods and beverages – herbal and ideally organic. Regulation of this diet requires 3/4 of the daily food intake to be consisted of raw foods. Most people who adopt this diet are also vegetarians. There are 4 sub-types of raw food diets: • Raw vegetarian; • Raw omnivorous; • Raw vegan; • Raw carnivore;

4. Mediterranean Diet

Mediterranean diet originated in southern Europe and is based on the principles of supply of the inhabitants of Crete, Greece, southern Italy, Spain and southern France. The diet includes essential nutrients obtained from: • A variety of fruits and vegetables (beans, nuts, grains, seeds); • Olive oil (the main source of fat); • Cheese, yogurt (main dairy products); • Moderate amounts of fish and poultry; • About 4 eggs per week; • Small amounts of red meat. 20% – 30% of this food program consists of eating fat, where saturated fats do not exceed 8% of caloric intake.

3. Detox Diets

Detox diets are based on the theory that holds that the human body is continuously exposed to the action of toxins – pesticides, food additives, environment, food with high fat content or alcohol. Detoxification involves eliminating these toxins from the body. The duration of this diet varies from individual to individual, but the main recommended food groups remain the same: fruit and vegetables, herbal teas, rice, juices and large quantities of water.

2. Glycemic Index Diet

The glycemic index is a speed measurement with which the carbohydrates increase blood sugar levels. This index can vary on a scale from 0 to 100 depending on the food, thus blood sugar level raise occurs faster or slower. Eating foods with a low glycemic index (GI) helps maintain low body weight. Also, according to scientists, low GI helps maintaining good general health by regulating the amount of fat and insulin in the blood. Foods with a low glycemic index are effective for weight loss as long as a physical exercise program is followed simultaneously. Briefly: Healthy Diet + Exercise Program =  diet based on the Glycemic Index

1. Low Fat Diet

All fats contain a lot of calories period. Because of this, Low Fat diet plan obviously implies a drastic reduction in the consumption of foods high in fat, especially saturated fats and cholesterol, which are thought to lead to increased blood cholesterol levels and heart attack. This is, by far, the most popular, wide spread and commonly followed diet. It’s important to remind that dietary fat is needed for a good health, as fats supply energy and fatty acids, in addition to supplying fat-soluble vitamins like A, D, E, and K. Thus, foods such as oil, margarine, butter, chocolate etc. will be replaced with alternatives that have a lower fat content, or will not be eaten at all. Although it didn’t make the top 10, it’s worth mentioning also the Zone Diet, which is quite popular and especially healthy. Zone Diet aims to establish a balance of nutritional foods, strongly recommending intake of the ratio: 40% carbohydrates, 30% fat and 30% protein at almost every meal. It also aims the control of insulin levels, contributing to weight loss and maintenance of an ideal body mass. Food recommendation of this diet: good quality carbohydrates (refined carbohydrates); good fats – olive oil, avocados, nuts; quality proteins – fish, chicken.

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