Now that the Festive Season is finally over and we are all back at work and getting our lives back in order (hopefully), there’s the shocking realisation that once again, we have overdone it. While we at BeautySouthAfrica.com advocate the easiest, most sensible diet in the world (eat more healthily and in smaller portions), the experts rage and debate about which diet is best – or worst. We’ve rounded up four of the most newsworthy diets of 2012:
What is it? The Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension (DASH) diet was voted the best diet of 2012 (for the second year in a row) by 22 experts at the U.S. News and World Report. Not primarily a weight-loss diet, it was actually designed to lower blood pressure.
How does it work? There is no twist or trick to the DASH diet – just an emphasis on a low-salt and high-fibre intake, with a limit on high-kilojoule sweets and high-saturated fats such as those found in meat.
What you’ll eat: Eight to 10 servings of fruit and veg a day, low-fat dairy, whole grains, fish, poultry, beans, seeds and nuts.
Pros: It is safe, nutritious and will lower hypertension and cholesterol and reduce your risk of developing diabetes and even certain cancers.
Cons: None, according to the nutrition experts, although it can get a little pricey, some say.
Tim Noakes’ diet
What is it? Professor Tim Noakes, of the Sports Science Institute, caused a right ruckus when he announced that everything we thought we knew about nutrition was wrong. Fat and meat are in, carbs are totally out. In fact, carbohydrates, claims Noakes, are the reason for the world’s obesity epidemic.
How does it work? Many people have a genetic predisposition to develop adult-onset diabetes and are actually “carbohydrate resistant”, says Noakes. Their bodies are unable to deal with glucose effectively and so it ends up in the fat cells. By sticking to a high-fat, moderate-protein, low-carbohydrate diet you will (if you are pre-diabetic) lose weight without feeling hungry. There are, says Noakes, no meal times, no portion sizes, no kilojoule restriction – you simply let your body tell you how much to eat.
What you’ll eat: Meat and fish, eggs, dairy (all full fat), leafy veg and nuts. You certainly won’t be eating carbs or sugar – so very little fruit.
Pros: According to Noakes, and other fans of this diet, you will lose weight, feel better, have masses of energy and you won’t die of diabetes!
Cons: Plenty, say the experts. The Health Professions Council of SA has even issued a warning against following Tim Noakes’ advice.
The Paleo diet
What is it? The Paleolithic diet (Paleo for short) is based on the ancient diet that cavemen and the like presumably ate during the Paleolithic era (which lasted about 2.5 million years and ended about 10 000 years ago with the development of agriculture).
How does it work? The theory is that our bodies have not evolved to deal with a grain-based diet and that by eating the way people did way back when, our bodies, which are designed to digest meat, fruit and veg, and so on, will be much happier – and much leaner.
What you’ll eat: Fish, meat (from grass-fed animals), veggies, fruit, roots and nuts. No to grains, legumes, dairy products, potatoes, refined salt and sugar.
Pros: According to it’s fans, you will lose weight and feel so much better – and be less likely to suffer from cardiovascular disease, diabetes and cancer.
Cons: The Paleo diet was ranked lowest of all the diets by the US News and World Report for two years running. Their experts “took issue with the diet on every measure” according to the report.
The Dukan diet
What is it? A diet created by French physician Dr Pierre Dukan to treat obese people.
How does it work? The diet is divided into four stages. In the attack phase you can eat as much as you want of 72 protein-rich foods. Next is the cruise phase, where 28 non-starchy vegetables are added to the protein-rich foods every other day. This is followed by the consolidation stage where a small amount of fruit and whole-grain bread is added. In the final stage, stabilisation, you follow the all-protein diet as in the attack stage, but only one day a week.
What you’ll eat: anything on the allowed list, mostly protein-rich foods, such as meat, fish, low-fat dairy and soy foods. Small amounts of fruit and bread are introduced later on, and get used to several tablespoons of oat bran every day.
Pros: According to the author, if you follow his diet plan, you will never be over-weight – or hungry – again. And with Jennifer Lopez and Giselle Bunchen reportedly losing their baby weight on the Dukan, this diet has its fans.
Cons: The Dukan diet tied last with the Paleo diet in the US News and World Report for two years running.
Read about the Worst Celeb Diets here.
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