A diet is best described as a fixed plan of eating and drinking where the type and amount of food are planned out in order to achieve weight loss or follow a particular lifestyle.
‘People diet for all types of reasons as there are no shortage of reasons for wanting to live a healthier life,” says clinical nutritionist, wellness specialist and speaker, Desi Horsman.
“There are also a wide variety of options when it comes to selecting a diet that might work for you,” she adds.
Here is a closer look at some of the different types of diets that people are using all around the world.
1. The Atkins Diet
The Atkins diet, or Atkins nutritional approach, focuses on controlling the levels of insulin in the body through a low-carbohydrate diet.
According to Horsman, “If people consume large amounts of refined carbohydrates, their insulin levels rise and fall rapidly. Rising insulin levels trigger the body to store energy from the food that is consumed, making it less likely that the body will use stored fat as a source of energy.”
Therefore, people on the Atkins diet avoid carbohydrates but can eat as much protein and fat as they like.
2. The Zone Diet
This diet encourages the consumption of high-quality carbohydrates - unrefined carbohydrates, and fats, such as olive oil, avocado, and nuts.
“The Zone diet aims for a nutritional balance of 40% carbohydrates, 30% fats, and 30% protein in each meal,'' says Horsman. “The focus is also on controlling insulin levels, which may result in more successful weight loss and body weight control than other approaches.”
3. The Ketogenic Diet
The ketogenic diet has been used for decades as a treatment for epilepsy and is also being explored for other uses. “It involves reducing carbohydrate intake and upping fat intake. It sounds contrary to common sense, but it allows the body to burn fat as a fuel, rather than carbohydrates,” says Horsman.
Healthy fats, such as those in avocados, coconuts, Brazil nuts, seeds, oily fish, and olive oil are liberally added to the diet to maintain an overall emphasis on fat.
Horsman asserts that “The diet causes the breakdown of fat deposits for fuel and creates substances called ketones through a process called ketosis. Risks include ketoacidosis for people with type 1 diabetes, and may result in diabetic coma and death, so consult your doctor. Although most studies are 2 years or less, there is some promising research in relation to diabetes management, metabolic health, weight loss, and body composition change."
4. The Raw Food Diet
“The raw food diet, or raw foodism, involves consuming foods and drinks that are not processed, are completely plant-based, and ideally organic,” says Horsman.
There are four main types of raw foodists: raw vegetarians, raw vegans, raw omnivores, and raw carnivores. Raw foodists believe that at least three-quarters of a person's food intake should consist of uncooked food. A significant number of raw foodists are also vegans and do not eat or drink anything that is animal based.