If you have been researching weight loss, chances are you will have found a number of different diets available. From low calorie to low carbohydrate diets, each seems to offer a quick and easy solution. Traditionally, people would opt for a simple low calorie diet, but today the increasingly scientific approach to nutrition means that you are as likely to be counting the percentage of simple or complex carbs in your diet as you are to be counting calories.
According to the Weight-Control Information Network, the key to weight loss lies in the balance of calories you take in. No matter what kind of diet you take, you will need to stick to the basic rule that you need to consume fewer calories through what you eat and drink than you burn throughout the day.
Several different types of diets are common today. Most fall into one of two main camps, the low-calorie diets and the low-carbohydrate diets. Although they all focus on reducing calorie intake, some low-carbohydrate diets take advantage of a factor, known as ketosis, to help burn fat.
Low-calorie diets obviously focus on keeping your calorie intake as low as possible. One way of doing this is by changing the types of food you eat. The American Dietetic Association recommends a diet of lean protein along with plenty of fruits and vegetables. The type of carbohydrate is also important: Fruits and vegetables are complex carbohydrates that take longer to digest, keeping you full for longer.
Normally, a balanced diet of any kind will have enough protein for your body weight. According to the Harvard School of Public Health, the recommended daily amount of protein for an adult is 0.8g protein per kilogram of body weight per day. It also recommends a diet of around 20 to 25 percent protein in your diet as potentially aiding weight loss while also reducing risk of heart disease. The rest of your diet should be made up of complex carbohydrates. However, nutritionist Ian Marber recommends eating meals made up of 40 percent protein and 60 percent complex carbohydrates. You will need to experiment to get the best ratio for you. The good news is that the exact proportions are not important, so long as you eat less than you burn.
Ketogenic diets are low-carbohydrate diets based on the principle of ketosis. This is a state that occurs in the body when you have no carbohydrates for your body to use as fuel, meaning you will then burn fat for energy instead. While you still need to lower your calorie intake to lose weight, these diets help achieve this because feelings of hunger are blunted during ketosis, while fat and protein are slow to digest and keep you feeling full for longer. During a ketogenic diet, you should eat no more than 30g carbohydrate a day, with the majority of your calorie intake derived from protein and fat.
- Weight Control Information Network: Physical Activity and Weight Control
- American Dietetic Association: Healthy Weight
- "The Food Doctor Diet"; Ian Marber; 2003
- Keto: Diet Summary