If you’ve been dieting for years, chances are you’ve tried at least one of the current fad diets. While these diets may help you lose weight in the beginning, most fail to achieve long-term results. When it comes to weight loss, everyone has unique health needs that make following one-size-fits-all diets unsuccessful. We always recommend consulting a doctor before making any major changes to your diet. Here are three popular fad diets and the factors that make them hard to maintain.
The Atkins Diet
This diet is an extremely popular low-carb diet. The Atkins diet has been so influential that cutting out carbs is the first thing many people do when they’re trying to lose weight. The goal of the diet is to switch your body from burning carbohydrates as your main source of energy to burning fats.
On the Atkins diet, you go through four different phases in order to reach your weight loss goal. In phase one, you consume only 20g of net carbs. All your carbs come from nuts, seeds, protein, cheese and healthy fats. Throughout each phase, you’ll slowly add more foods like legumes, fruit and starchy vegetables until you’re allowed to consume about 100g of net carbs a day.
While this diet may work for some people, it may not be the best choice for long term weight loss. This diet doesn’t require calorie counting or any portion control other than carbohydrate goals. For most bariatric patients, the problem is not that the foods they eat are high in carbohydrates or any other nutrient, but that they are in a calorie surplus (where they consume more calories than they burn).
The Paleo Diet
Similar to the Atkins diet, the Paleo diet focuses on lowering your carbohydrate intake and replacing it with protein and fat. The Paleo diet is based on the idea of going “back to our roots” and eating what early humans would have eaten before farming was invented. This means excluding most grain staples like wheat, rice and potatoes.
The Paleo diet usually works for most people at the beginning, just like the Atkins diet. On average, the majority of America’s calories come from carbohydrates. When you significantly reduce your carbohydrate intake, you usually reduce your calorie intake by association.
However, in the long-run most people experience a plateau or even gain weight after they have been on the diet for a few months. As they become more accustomed to their options within the diet, people tend to consume the same amount of calories that they used to before their diet began, and protein and fat are usually more calorically dense than carbohydrates.
The Ketogenic Diet
The Ketogenic diet is probably the most extreme version of the low-carb diets, with participants eating less than four slices of bread worth of carbs a day. The Ketogenic diet, like the other diets, suggests that a low-carb high-fat diet will help you lose weight.
Many studies have shown that this diet is beneficial for those who suffer from epilepsy. Others have shown that it may help diabetics control their glucose levels. However, there is very little information about how safe this diet is long-term.
All low-carb diets tend to have higher rates of side effects like fatigue, headaches and constipation. While these diets may initially help you lose weight, they are ill-suited for long-term weight loss. Many of these diets push products like protein shakes, weight-loss bars and recipe books for an additional cost. Many people do not see long term results.The best way to lose weight is to consult a doctor and develop a plan that will work best for you and your unique health needs. If you suffer from obesity and have been dieting for years without seeing lasting results, you may want to consider bariatric surgery. If you want to learn more about how bariatric surgery could help you, schedule a consultation with our doctors today!