Wednesday, March 30, 2016

The Instinct Diet

The Instinct Diet

The Promise
Your brain already holds the tools you need to lose weight and keep it off. At least, that's the theory behind the Instinct Diet. You learn how your brain responds to eating and how various foods affect the brain. Then you use the information to shed pounds.

The Instinct Diet comes from creator Susan Roberts, PhD, a nutrition professor at Tufts University. She says you don't have to count calories, but you do have to base your eating around protein, certain carbohydrates, and fiber.

On average, people will lose an average of 30 pounds over about 6 months on the Instinct Diet, Roberts says.

What You Can Eat and What You Can't
The diet is divided into stages.
In the first stage, which lasts 2 weeks, you won't be able to eat refined carbohydrates like white bread or drink alcohol.
In the later stages, you can add "free choices" like steak fries (only six at a time) or one glass of alcohol.
The diet is flexible and gives you lots of food choices.

Limitations: Once you finish the first stage, you'll be able to choose from a wide variety of foods, including treats such as chocolate.

Cooking and shopping: You can use the diet's shopping list at any grocery store. The book includes recipes and ideas for meals you can serve up from prepared food from the supermarket.
It can help you lose weight. That's because the diet is based on eating mostly healthy, whole foods that fill you up on fewer calories. The foods also are low on the glycemic index, meaning they won’t raise your blood sugar too much.

The Final Word
The Instinct Diet provides healthy eating advice and helps you understand why eating certain foods can control your appetite.
The downside is that it doesn't give specifics on exercise, and you might feel like you're eating the same foods over and over.
If you’re starting your first diet or don’t like to cook, then the requirements of this plan might be a challenge for you.

Thursday, March 24, 2016

Dr. Weil's Anti-Inflammatory Diet

Dr. Weil's Anti-Inflammatory Diet

The aim:

Optimum mental and physical health, along with disease prevention.
The claim:

Chronic inflammation causes chronic disease. Reducing inflammation prevents age-related disease and promotes overall wellness.

The theory:

Developed by Andrew Weil, the Harvard-educated doctor and pioneer in the field of integrative medicine, this diet reflects Weil’s belief that certain foods cause or combat systemic inflammation. Unlike the redness or swelling that occurs when your body fights a chronic or low-grade infection, inflammation can lead to serious conditions such as heart disease, cancer and Alzheimer’s. Stress, environmental toxins, physical activity and diet all play a role in one’s inflammatory state, Weil says. His diet aims to boost physical and mental health, provide a steady supply of energy and reduce the risk of age-related diseases by serving up healthy fats, fiber-rich fruits and veggies, lots of water and limited amounts of animal protein – except when it comes to oily fish.

The Anti-Inflammatory Diet is based on a daily intake of 2,000 to 3,000 calories, depending on your gender, size, and activity level. About 40 to 50 percent of your calories will come from carbs, 30 percent from fat and 20 to 30 percent from protein. Weil suggests striving for a mix of all three nutrients at each meal.

It’s based on the Mediterranean diet, Weil says, with a few extras such as green tea and dark chocolate. The program calls for a variety of fresh foods, with a heavy emphasis on fruits and vegetables, which Weil says provide phytonutrients that fight cancer and other degenerative diseases. In addition, he recommends routine consumption of omega-3 fatty acids and avoiding fast and fried foods at all costs.

The guidelines get more specific by dietary component. For example, when it comes to carbs, you want the kind that will keep your blood sugar low and stable. Toward that end, opt for less processed foods, filling up on healthy carbs such as whole grains, beans, squashes and berries.
You’ll cut down on saturated fat, which is found in butter, cream and fatty meats, and steer clear of margarine, vegetable shortening and partially hydrogenated oils. Instead, your dietary fat will come from extra virgin olive oil, avocados, nuts and omega-3 fatty acids, which have been shown to reduce inflammation. The plan stresses substantial intake of omega-3s from cold-water fish such as wild salmon, sardines and herring. If you’re not eating oily fish twice a week, Weil recommends a daily fish oil supplement that includes EPA and DHA. Protein sources include fish, yogurt, cheese and beans, especially soybeans.

You’ll aim for a variety of colorful produce, especially berries, tomatoes, orange and yellow fruits, cruciferous veggies and dark leafy greens. Whenever possible, choose organic to avoid pesticides. Weil suggests drinking only purified water to avoid toxins such as chlorine and chloramine. Opt for tea over coffee, particularly the white, green and oolong varieties. He also permits plain dark chocolate (with a minimum cocoa content of 70 percent), which contains antioxidants, and red wine, in moderation, which has been linked to cardiovascular health.

Weil takes a holistic approach to wellness, and exercise is part of his overall regimen. Although it’s not explicitly outlined in this diet, Weil encourages it for physical and mental health. Walking is one of the best exercises, because it boosts bone, organ and immune health, he says, but he also plugs the benefits of yoga, belly dancing and tai chi

Sunday, March 13, 2016

Skinny Bitch Vegan Diet

Skinny Bitch Vegan Diet
The Promise

Drop all animal products, plus a few other things from your diet, and get a great-looking bod and better health. That’s the plan laid out in the best-selling book Skinny Bitch.
Co-authors/modeling industry vets Rory Freedman and Kim Barnouin don't offer specifics about how many pounds you'll lose or how long it will take. They simply note that you'll get slim if you adopt their "way of life."

They say that the massive changes you’ll likely need to make with this diet are worth it -- for the sake of your health and waistline, and the well-being of animals.

What You Can Eat and What You Can't
You need to cut all meat, dairy, eggs, and fish. You'll also need to shun sugar, artificial sweeteners, and refined carbs.
Caffeine and alcohol are strongly discouraged. But an occasional cup of coffee or glass of organic sulfite-free red wine is allowed. They also ask you to eat only organic.
Mostly you'll be eating fruits and vegetables, legumes, nuts, seeds, and whole grains. You can eat as much of these as you like. There’s no calorie counting.
The ideal Skinny Bitch breakfast is fruit. Lunch is a salad and/or vegetables. Dinner is something "heavier," such as a fake chicken patty or tofu stir-fry.
Unless you're already a vegetarian, be prepared for a major lifestyle overhaul. Even the authors acknowledge that adapting to their regimen may leave you feeling "deprived, angry, overwhelmed, and frustrated," especially for the first few months.
Exercise: Skinny Bitch recommends carving out about 20 minutes, 5 days a week, for any exercise of your choosing.
There's some wiggle room. For example, while Skinny Bitch recommends a fruit-only breakfast, it also includes a list of acceptable packaged breakfast items.

If you follow the Skinny Bitch plan, you’ll probably lose weight because it’s very low in calories, which may also make it hard to follow long term. You may also fall short in some areas of nutrition.
While most people would benefit from eating a more plant-based diet, cutting out all animal products isn’t necessary.

A vegan diet can be healthy, but some of the suggestions in this book, like waiting until you’re ravenous before eating or fasting to jump-start your weight loss, are not safe and have no evidence to back up their claims.

A well-balanced, calorie-controlled, plant-based diet can be good for heart health, diabetes, high blood pressure, and high cholesterol. But this plan lacks the necessary guidance and includes too much questionable advice to be recommended for any health conditions.
If you're interested in trying a vegan diet, talk to your doctor or dietitian to be sure you're meeting your nutritional and health needs.

The Final Word
If you're looking to clean up your diet with a strict, low-calorie, vegan lifestyle, this book offers a first step, but it also comes with some problematic recommendations.
If you like to eat out, enjoy convenience foods, or eat on a schedule, this diet is not for you.
The straightforward, in-your-face tone of the book is not for the meek or faint of heart.

Thursday, March 10, 2016

The Fresh Diet
The Promise
Designed by a Le Cordon Bleu-trained chef, The Fresh Diet serves up fine dining with calories in check. You get every meal delivered directly to your door.

Each day, you get three portion-controlled meals, plus side dishes and two snacks. The meals fall within a set calorie range based on your gender and diet goals.

Most women get 1,200 to 1,400 calories a day, while men follow a 1,600- to-1,800-calorie plan. How you adjust your calories will depend on how much weight you want to lose.

What You Can Eat
You get fruits, vegetables, lean protein, and whole grains served up in mouth-watering combinations, like persimmon and fig marmalade-stuffed French toast with turkey bacon, or miso halibut with wild rice and cabbage. You can even eat desserts like caramel panna cotta or cappuccino cheesecake.

You have two plan options. If you choose the Premium Plan, you design your own menu. On the less expensive Chef's Plan, your meals are chosen for you.
Drinks aren't part of the program. You can drink as much water and calorie-free drinks as you'd like, but adding sugar-sweetened or alcoholic beverages will raise your daily calorie count.

The Fresh Diet is simple. You order the food online, and it arrives in prepackaged containers ready to heat up in the microwave or oven.

Limitations: Though you have some flexibility in choosing your own meals, options are limited. There's no room for adding foods from your fridge or pantry. The delivery options depend on where you live. In some areas it's daily delivery, but in most it's twice a week. You can enter your ZIP code on the web site to find out.

Cooking and shopping: You won't have to do any, since all of the food you need each day will be delivered right to your door.

Exercise: Recommended.
Cost ranges from $35 to $60 a day. There are 7-, 14-, 21-, and 28-day plans. The longer you stay on the diet, the less you'll pay per day.

Support: An online meal planner will help you choose nutritionally balanced foods that you'll like. The plan also gives you access to a certified dietitian to help you make smarter food choices.The Fresh Diet is based on portion control and low calories, while focusing on healthy, whole foods. Although there is no research on whether this specific plan works, it is likely to help people lose weight.

It's not clear whether a dietitian is calculating the nutrition content of their food. So, if you have a health condition -- like diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease, or high cholesterol -- you would need to ask about the saturated fat, carb counts, and sodium in their meals. Check with your doctor about whether this diet is OK for you.

The Final Word
The benefits of this diet are that it’s tasty, convenient, and takes the guesswork out of meal planning. Plus, the focus on fresh foods, like fruits and vegetables, is good.
The downside is its cost, especially over the long-term.
The diet may work for people who are very busy, can't cook, and can afford the meal service. It's not for you if you love to be in the kitchen and would rather save money by shopping and cooking for yourself.