The Keto diet
Keto is a very-low-carb diet, where your net carb intake is limited to just 20-50g per day. You will look to replace carbohydrates with fats, which your body will use for energy, by converting them using a process called ketosis.
A ketogenic diet can induce rapid weight loss as it drastically reduces the calorie intake from carbohydrates. As with other low carb diets, you should avoid sugary foods, bread, pasta, grains and starchy vegetables and up your intake of meat, poultry, fatty fish, eggs, full-fat dairy and cheese, nuts, seeds and healthy fats such as coconut oil.
More accurately described as an eating pattern rather than a diet plan, intermittent fasting involves splitting your day or week into periods of eating and fasting. By restricting the time that you can eat, rather than what you eat, you will automatically reduce your calorie intake and therefore lose weight – so long as you don’t over-eat during your allowed hours. Intermittent fasting is also believed to improve your metabolism by increasing fat burn while preserving muscle mass.
There are two key types of intermittent fasting: the 16/8 method, which involves limiting your calorie intake to 8 hours per day, and the 5:2 method, outlined in more detail, below.
The 5:2 diet
Otherwise known as The Fast Diet, this is currently the most popular form of intermittent fasting – and it’s not hard to see why. There are no restrictions on the types of food you can eat for five days a week. Then, for the other two non-consecutive days, you drastically cut your calories to just 25% of your recommended intake –500 calories for women and 600 for men.
While being safe for most healthy adults, if you’re sensitive to a drop in blood sugar levels, you should talk to a health professional before starting intermittent fasting.
The Mediterranean diet
With plenty of fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, whole grains, fish and seafood, this diet is based on the types of foods traditionally eaten in places like Greece in Italy. The diet restricts refined grains, trans fats, refined oils, processed meats, added sugar, and other highly processed foods. Poultry, eggs, and dairy products are to be eaten in moderation while red meats are limited. Although not strictly a weight loss diet, it can result in reduced calorie intake and can aid weight loss if adopted as part of a healthier more active lifestyle.
Known as the ‘caveman’ diet, Palaeolithic diets are all about eating as our ancestors did, with a hunter-gatherer mentality. The aim is to eat as naturally as possible, opting for grass-fed meats, lots of fruit and vegetables and other wholefoods such as nuts and seeds. Many Paleo followers believe our digestive systems have not adapted to suit ‘modern’ foods such as processed meats, grains, sugar, and dairy. The high protein content means you may feel fuller for longer, which can aid weight loss. It can also reduce heart disease risk factors, such as high blood pressure and cholesterol.
Vegetarians restrict animal products such as meat, poultry, and fish, with some also choosing to cut out eggs and dairy. Plant-based diets likely aid weight loss because they tend to be low in high-calorie fat and rich in fibre, which can help you stay fuller for longer. Plant-based diets can also lead to a reduced risk of heart disease, certain cancers and diabetes.
A vegan diet restricts all animal products, including animal-derived products such as dairy, gelatine, honey and whey. Without a properly planned diet, vegans are at risk of missing out on the essential nutrients typically found in animal products, such as iron, vitamin B12, vitamin D, calcium, zinc, and omega-3 fatty acids. A supplement is often recommended to help avoid deficiency.
The Flexitarian diet is a plant-based diet which allows animal products to be eaten in moderation. Flexitarians eat mostly fruits, vegetables, legumes, and whole grains, however there are no clear-cut rules, which makes it a popular alternative to vegetarian and vegan diets.