There are many factors that influence an individual person’s diet, including everything from cultural and religious influences to lifestyle and medical influences.
The food you eat will influence how your body processes that food, and is the primary factor that determines whether you lose weight, stay at the same current weight or gain weight. And there are many different diets, eating plans and recommended products to eat and drink on the market that can impact a person’s weight, health and wellbeing.
With so many diets and programs to choose from, we have compiled a guide on the most popular diets available, and some of the not-so-common ones as well.
Disclaimer: All information about diets and eating plans provided are for general purposes only. It is advised that before you adopt any eating plan or diet you seek medical/professional advice.
The most common type of diet that people refer to when stating they are “on a diet” are weight control diets. These diets are aimed at reducing a person’s body weight over time.
The 5:2 diet is sometimes referred to as a “2 day diet”. This diet promotes that it’s easier for participants to stick to the 5:2 diet as it works on the principle of intermittent fasting. For 5 days of the week you eat “normally”, and for 2 days you only eat approximately 25% of your normal calorie intake. For women this amounts to around 500 calories, and around 600 calories for men.1
Although it may seem like you spend five days of the week feasting and eating what you want, this isn’t the case. You still need to watch your food choices and exercise, but the restricted two days makes it easier for people to stick to something “controlled” for a short period of time, rather than every single day.
Some popular faces that have been known to be on the 5:2 diet include Miranda Kerr, Jennifer Lopez and Benedict Cumberbatch.2
The Alkaline diet works on the principle that modern diets may cause the build-up and increase of acidity in the system. This can then lead to extra fat forming and depositing on the body. With the Alkaline diet, you eat “alkaline” rich foods such as fruit and vegetables, nuts, legumes and seeds. You then avoid or cut out “acidic” foods such as meat, wheat, refined sugars, dairy, caffeine and alcohol.
Originally created to help those with kidney stones and urine infections, it has been a diet picked up by more and more people over the years, claiming added health benefits.3
Although there is little evidence to suggest acidity in the body causes extra fat storage (as the body regulates its pH levels automatically, regardless of diet), it has been a diet that some celebrities swear by, such as Gwyneth Paltrow, Jennifer Aniston and Victoria Beckham.4
Although similar to the old Atkins diet, the new version seems to be a bit easier to follow, and is considered better for your overall health. Although it is still carbohydrate restrictive, there are now four phases to the plan: Induction, Ongoing Weight Loss, Pre-Maintenance, and Maintenance. Each phase can be followed for various times depending on your needs and how much weight you want to lose.5
For example, if you have more than 9kgs to lose, you can stay on Phase 1: Induction until you have lost over this amount, and continue on this phase if you are happy to continue and aren’t feeling restricted in your diet. Although intended to be a 2-week phase, it can be stayed on for longer depending on your needs. This initial phase only allows 20g of carbohydrates per day, so may be hard for some people to adhere to.5
Some celebrities known to be on the new Atkins diet include Fifi Box, Sharon Osbourne and Kim Kardashian6.
The Body for Life diet has been designed by former competitive bodybuilder Bill Phillips. The program promises participants who are overweight that they will not only lose weight on the 12 week program, but they can also gain muscle mass and not feel tired or fatigued. The diet combines four main factors: The right foods, right amounts and right combinations at the right times.7
With 5–6 meals per day to consume and one day a week including an allowed cheat meal, the plan needs some consistent planning in order to follow the diet properly. An exercise regime is also advised with this plan, making it a suitable plan for those looking for a new healthy lifestyle, rather than a fad diet.8
Originally developed by Dr Alan Howard of Cambridge University, The Cambridge Diet consists of diet shakes, bars, soups and porridge. The diet and associated products cannot be purchased online or in a store, instead a specialist Cambridge Weight Plan consultant must visit you, analyse your needs and provide you with the plan.
The programmes are all low in calorie and, depending on your needs, will vary between 415 calories a day through to 1500 calories. Depending on what your consultant suggests you should try on the diet, the intake may consist of only Cambridge Diet products, or a combination of their products and healthy meals.
Just as the name suggests, the Cookie Diet means you’ll be feasting on cookies. Special biscuits are consumed instead of meals and you are given 6 biscuits a day. Founded by Dr Sanford Siegal in 1975, the Cookie Diet has been around for quite some time. The biscuits are 90 calories each and you are able to eat a healthy dinner, as long as your daily intake doesn’t go over your allowance of 1,200 calories.9 Although this can be a convenient diet to follow (as your cookies are rather easy to carry around with you), it lacks variety and “real food” which many people can often lose motivation with.
Stars such as Denise Richards, Jennifer Hudson and Guy Ritchie have all been active on the Cookie Diet.9
Just like other carbohydrate restricted diets, the Dukan diet is a high-protein diet that promises users that they can lose around 4.5kgs in a week and never gain it back again.
During Phase One, you are on a strict lean protein diet. This runs for an average of five days in order to speed up the fat burning process early and kick start your weight loss. Lean protein, oat bran, lots of water and daily 20 minute walks are a big part of the plan.
Although the diet is relatively simple to follow and doesn’t require any exotic foods or ingredients, it can cause dry mouth, tiredness, dizziness and nausea for some people in the beginning phases.10
Created in 2000 by general practitioner and nutritionist Pierre Dukan, it has gained a lot of popularity amongst many people and celebrities, such as Penelope Cruz and Carole Middleton.11
The ITG or Ideal Protein diet looks to provide pre-packaged meals that include shakes, soups, snacks and desserts. Also using the method of ketosis to help burn stored fats, this diet focuses on a low carbohydrate, high protein principle. The three steps involved in the plan aim to teach you how to eat right, lose weight and make better food choices.
The ITG plan promises to work on burning stored fats and avoiding the loss of muscle mass, targets issues some people may have with metabolic syndrome, stabilises insulin levels (making it great for diabetics), and there are also many Kosher, gluten-free and soy-free products available.12
The Zone Diet, according to creator biochemist Barry Sears, helps you to take in the right amount of foods at the right times to ensure your insulin levels do not go too high or too low. Having your insulin levels spike or drop unnecessarily can mean an increase in inflammation, leading to weight gain.
Each meal will need to be 40% carbohydrates, 30% protein and 30% fat in order to keep your insulin levels regulated. The claim is that you can lose between half a kilo to a kilo each week on this diet.13 All foods are allowed on the plan, with frequent meals and snacks allowed.
However, measuring the correct percentages for each meal can be a tedious task for some people who may be in a hurry and don't have time to measure their food. The diet works on “blocks” of food. So a 1 block meal will have one choice from the protein list, one from the carbohydrate list and one from the fats list. Each food type “block” will be weighed a particular amount depending on which food it is. A 2 block meal will have 2 choices from each list and so on. Depending on your weight loss needs, you will have a particular amount of blocks available to you per day. These blocks can then be used throughout the day for each meal.14
Demi Moore and Jennifer Aniston have found success with this particular diet in the past.15
‘Fad’ diets, or crash diets, are often used by those looking for an extremely quick way of losing weight. These diets are not to be used for a long period of time (due to their extremity), and can be unhealthy for users to sustain.
Although these diets may sometimes help people to lose a few quick kilos before an event, they primarily work at burning muscle mass rather than body fat, and the weight is often quick to return when normal eating habits are resumed.
This strict diet primarily consists of a 35 day plan where you will learn the basic principles of the diet. Each day is allocated to a specific food type that must be eaten, and certain foods can only be eaten at certain times. For example, on day 2 you will only eat prunes, strawberries and baked potato. Day 17 allows only for watermelon and so on.
After the initial 35 days, you can continue eating on the plan and eat what you want, as long as you follow a few simple rules. Fruit must be eaten alone at all times. If you eat an “enzymatic fruit” such as a prune, apricot or pineapple, you must wait an hour before eating any other fruits. Protein can be combined with fats, but not carbohydrates. Once you’ve eaten protein, the rest of your day should contain at least 80% more protein. Carbohydrates can be combined with fat, but not proteins and most alcoholic beverages are considered carbohydrates.
There are no portion sizes, so you can eat as much as you want, so long as you eat them in the right combination at the right times.16
Some people use the Cabbage Soup diet to kick start their weight loss, and lose around 4.5kgs or more per week.17 This crash diet is certainly not for the long run and is only used for a short term change to your weight, which is not likely to be sustained. As described in the name of the diet, the diet consists of predominantly cabbage. Eaten two to three times a day, you can also add some foods from the allowable foods list. The diet can leave you feeling nauseous, dizzy and lightheaded. It is really only used for a week, and many critics say that the weight lost in this time is mainly water, meaning it will be very quick and easy to gain the weight again when resuming normal eating habits.
Sarah Michelle Gellar has been known to take on this crazy fad diet when needing to shed some unwanted weight.18
Gaining popularity during the 80’s, the Grapefruit diet was dismissed at the time for being yet another fad diet. The diet consists of mainly grapefruits, black coffee, some daily protein and the occasional piece of dry toast. The maximum calories per day on this diet is around 800 calories, and many critics say that there is no special weight-loss magic to grapefruits but rather the weight loss is due to the limit calorie intake. The belief was that eating a grapefruit or drinking grapefruit juice before each meal would help to burn fats and leave you feeling fuller before eating permitted foods. Drinking enough water whilst on the plan is also essential.
Brooke Shields and Kylie Minogue have both been fans of the diet to help them stay slim.19
Unlike some of the other diets listed, the Hay diet does not mean you’ll be munching down on a bale of hay for a week. The diet is name after it’s creator William Howard Hay who developed the plan in 1904 to help treat some medical conditions he was experiencing, including a dilated heart. He lost around 22kgs in three months and also recovered from his illnesses.
The diet consists of the idea of “food combining” which includes some basic rules. You must not eat carbohydrates with proteins and acid fruits within the same meal. Vegetables, salads and fruits will form the staple to your diet on this plan, and protein, starches and fats are to be eaten in small quantities. Only whole grain and unprocessed starches are permitted, excluding white flour, white sugar and margarine. As well as this, you will also be required to leave at least a four to four and a half hour space between meals/eating.
Both Catherine Zeta-Jones and Liz Hurley are fans of this diet plan.20
Residue refers to the material in the digestive tract that is indigestible or is roughage left over from fibre-containing foods. This diet aims to increase your intake to be full of residue foods.
The fibre components from residues play a good part in healthy digestion, and means your body can promote movement through the digestive tract. This diet is often advised to people experiencing digestive issues such as constipation and diverticulitis.21
Following a diet like this suddenly can cause issues such as bloating and gas. However, increased high residue foods slowly over time can give you a much needed fibre boost.
Dr. John McDougall created the McDougall’s Diet to teach his patients that illnesses and conditions can be reversed through correct eating habits. The diet is mainly a vegan course, and severely limits the consumption of grain products other than grains cooked whole.
The main source of calories is from starch foods such as sweet potatoes, white potatoes, pumpkin and parsnips. Legumes, lentils, whole grain foods, fruits and vegetables are the only source of foods whilst on the plan, while some other restricted foods are allowed after your initial 12 days on the plan.
As well as the restricted diet regime, exercise is also encouraged in order to fasten the weight loss process.
Named after the glamorous area of Miami, the South Beach diet was created in 2003 by cardiologist Arthur Agatston. It is a low carbohydrate, high protein diet, however it is not as strict as some other low carbohydrate diets. The purpose of the diet is to help you change the balance of the foods you eat by encouraging less carbohydrates in your daily life.
The diet says it will teach you how to eliminate “bad” carbohydrates from your diet for healthy, sustainable weight loss. The first two weeks can feel very restrictive for some, as almost all carbohydrates are eliminated, including pasta, rice, bread and fruit, fruit juice and alcohol.
Some famous faces that have followed the plan include Bill Clinton, Oprah and Bette Midler.22
John Walker, a computer programmer and engineer, had many successes during his years working with computers but struggled with his weight. The Hacker’s Diet was created by him to look at weight loss from an “engineer’s perspective”. He had constantly looked at his weight through fad diets and struggled over the years, so instead he looked at his issues the same way he would look at his work; like working on a buggy program or a malfunctioning circuit.
The idea is to look at your body as if it is a malfunctioning computer, analyse how it works, and make some adjustments to optimise the “computer’s performance”. As this is quite subjective, there is no diet plan – everyone works out their own ‘bugs’ for themselves.
Lifestyle diets aren’t to be taken lightly. They are often the start of a complete change to your habits, and aren’t considered to be (at times) an easy transition. Some of the diets require a complete diet overhaul, and some of the diets have been known to have great health benefits.
Clean eating has been making quite an appearance in recent years, promising to make you look and feel the best that you can be and help you to lose weight. Modern day foods can be highly processed, and clean eating hopes to remove anything from the diet that is processed.
In its simplest form, clean eating refers to eating simple foods and being aware of how it got from the farm to your plate. Eating foods with no additives and trying to eat fresh produce is a huge factor to eating clean. Anything that is “ready-to-eat” or quick and simple like a humble hot dog would be completely out of the question.
Celebrity Katy Perry has found clean eating to be great for her health.28
A flexitarian refers to a person who mainly eats a vegetarian diet, but on occasion will eat meat. Some flexitarians have given up meat mostly for health reasons, or perhaps the only meat they will consume is free-range or organic meats. One is not to be confused with a vegetarian eating meat (as vegetarians will strictly not eat any meats), but rather a person who mainly eats vegetarian foods and the occasional meat dish would be referred to as a flexitarian.
There is no standard for how often a flexitarian will eat meat, as it is up to the individual and their needs and wants. Some may only have a meat dish once a week, where others may eat it less (or more).
One of the most restrictive diets out there is the Fruitarian diet. Just as vegetarianism is purely just the consumption of fruits and vegetables, the fruitarian diet is the consumption of fruit. The risk of malnourishment is rather high with this kind of diet, so is often not recommended for people to follow.
Although fruit isn’t the only thing that is eaten on the plan, it generally consists of around 50% of the total food source. Nuts, seeds and vegetables are recommended to be eaten alongside fruits to gain the right amounts of protein and fats and to avoid health issues and malnourishment.
For diabetic and pre-diabetic patients, this diet can be dangerous to follow as fruits contain a large amount of sugar.
Although a small population within Australia, there has been an emergence of people referring to themselves as “Kangatarians”. These people refer to their diet, which mainly consists of a vegetarian lifestyle, with the addition of kangaroo meat. The basis of eating only kangaroo meat is that kangaroos mainly only eat wildly grown vegetation themselves. They also produce less methane than their cattle counterpart.
Because kangaroo meat is generally harder to come by in countries outside of Australia, the population of Kangatarians is mainly only within Australia at this stage. “In Australia about 20 per cent of the population eat kangaroo meat regularly.”29
A Lacto-Ovo Vegetarianism diet consists of a diet that excludes all meat, fish and poultry, but allows dairy products and eggs. The addition of eggs adds more variety and flexibility for those following the diet, as well as a great protein source.
A well-planned Lacto-Ovo Vegetarianism diet can be healthy, nutritious and flavoursome with a nice variety. Heart-friendly grains, fruits and vegetables are needed to keep the diet balanced, and to not create any issues with high cholesterol and related heart problems.
Similar to a Lacto-Ovo Vegetarian, a Lacto-Vegetarian is a person who eats a vegetarian diet and dairy, but does not eat eggs. Simply put, Lacto-Vegetarianism means “vegan plus dairy”.
Although it can be a healthy approach to eating, a lot of vegetarians need to be mindful they are getting enough vitamin B12, calcium, iron and zinc in their diet. Because vitamin B12 only occurs naturally in animal products, the consumption of veggie burgers or taking B12 supplements is sometimes recommended.
Another popular diet mentioned in mainstream trends over the past few years is the Paleo diet. The Paleo diet is also often referred to as the “caveman” diet, and mainly consists of foods that can be hunted, fished or gathered. This includes, meat, fish, eggs, nuts, seeds, fruits, vegetables, herbs and spices.
The diet is based on the diet of our hunter-gatherer ancestors from around 10,000 years ago. Although there’s no official “Paleo diet”, the diet is often high in protein and low in carbohydrates. Some say that this particular diet can help you lose weight, reduce your risk of heart disease, cancer, diabetes and other health problems.
Pescetarians, although not recognised as “true” vegetarians by some, is the consumption of a mainly vegetarian diet with the exception of eating fish. Pescetarians do not eat any land animals or birds, and will only consume anything from the waters. This includes shellfish such as lobster, prawns and other foods such as salmon, tuna, whitefish and sardines, along with fish roe.
Pescetarians may or may not eat dairy depending on their own personal preference, so if cooking for a Pescetarian it’s best to ask if they eat dairy and eggs.
Veganism is sometimes seen as a strict vegetarian. Veganism is a type of vegetarian diet, however no animal products and by-products are consumed at all. The diet consists of fruit and vegetables, breads, cereals, grains, legumes, soy products, nuts and seeds.
Veganism prohibits any kind of animal product, so meat is strictly off limits as well as eggs, milk, dairy, animal fats and honey. Vegans often need to ensure all ingredients in packaged meals are vegan friendly, as many additives can be animal derived, such as gelatine.
Like any other vegetarian type diet, it is best to understand what food groups are eaten and not eaten, what nutrients may be lacking, and how to counteract any such deficiencies.
Vegetarian is the most common diet out of the selection of variants. Vegetarians eat plant based-foods and although some people may be lacto-ovo vegetarian, lacto-vegetarian, kangatarian or flexitarian, they all fall under the spectrum of “vegetarian” and may just refer to themselves as a vegetarian, without going into the details of the foods they have decided to still eat or exclude.
A vegetarian diet is often seen by many as a healthy option and it can be quite a beneficial plan for many people. However, as with all diets, it’s best to ensure that you are not lacking in any vitamins and minerals and not deficient in anything through your diet.
Not all diets are to lose weight and look a particular way. Some diets are followed purely due to a person’s personal beliefs or religion. Many religions and belief systems have ideals that are said to help one follow their beliefs better and be a better person. Some of these diets, because they are linked to a religion or belief system, can be easier for people to follow as it is in line with their beliefs.
The fourth most popular religion in the world today is Buddhism. Buddhism was founded in around 500 BCE, and was an offspring of Hinduism and Jainism. The general rules for the Buddhist diet consists of no killing or using animal products, no alcohol and no consumptions of “the five pungent spices”. The five pungent spices are onions, garlic, scallions, chives and leeks. They have been said to lead to anger (when raw) and passion (when cooked). As well as this, Buddhists add that their odour can attract hungry ghosts and demons.
Although a lot of Buddhists eat meat, it is preferred that the meat is slaughtered by Chinese or Muslims or Christians if available. If a Buddhist must kill an animal, certain last rites must be performed for the animal.
Hinduism promotes simple living on the path towards spiritual purity. Depending on region, the Hindu diet can vary, where some will be strict vegetarians, while others eat meat.
The diet is also based on the concept that the body is made up of fire, water, air and earth. Certain foods can either keep the elements balanced or throw them out of balance. There is also a widespread belief that the consciousness of the cook can enter the food and enter the mind of the eater. For this reason, the cook often is very clean, hygienic and free of any ill-matters of the mind.
Cows are often not consumed by Hindus as the cow is seen as “The Mother”, however there are small populations of Hindus that will eat beef.
The Muslim diet consists of foods that are pure, wholesome, pleasing to the taste and clean. In general, all foods are allowed (halal), except for forbidden foods. Some of the foods that aren’t allowed (haram) is dead meat (carcass of an already-dead animal), blood, flesh of pork, intoxicating/alcoholic drinks, meat that has been sacrificed to idols, meat of an animal that has died from strangulation or blunt force or meat which wild animals have already eaten.
Some Muslims will not eat meat if they are uncertain of how it was slaughtered. The slaughter process for the Islamic diet consists of slitting the animal’s throat in a quick manner and reciting “In the name of God, God is Most Great” (Qur’an 6:118-121).
Ital cooking is a way of life for Rastafarian people who wish to eat food that is “vital” to life. In Jamaica, this means using foods and ingredients that are easily available. As well as this, there is also the need to remove the use of salt, no meat (especially pork), preservatives, colourings, flavourings and anything artificial.
When cooking in Jamaica and using foods that are readily available this process is a lot easier than for those living in foreign countries trying to cook the I-tal way. In this respect, some canned goods would be required to cook a meal, in which case preservatives are unavoidable and therefore is accepted to be used.
Coconut is one of the key ingredients to many dishes in the Ital diet.
The Jain diet is followed by the Jains, followers of Jainism. It is thought to be one of the most restrictive belief-based diets. Jains go out of their way to ensure they do not hurt a single living matter, even ensuring not to hurt small insects or tiny animals. They also go to great lengths to ensure they do not injure plants in everyday life.
Because of this, the Jains also don’t eat root vegetables such as potatoes, onions and sweet potatoes as tiny life forms can be hurt as the plant is uprooted from the ground. Strict Jains also don’t eat after sunset as small insects and bugs are attracted to the lamps or fire at night and could get hurt or killed.
They don’t consume any foods stored overnight as there is a higher incidence of micro-organisms (such as bacteria and yeast). Because of this belief, yoghurt isn’t consumed unless it is eaten the same day it is set. Beer, wine and spirits are also not to be consumed.
In Hebrew, “Kashrus” – derived from Kosher – means suitable and/or “pure”, therefore, it refers to being fit for consumption. There are a few general rules that must be adhered to when eating kosher. Certain animals cannot be eaten at all, including the flesh, organs, eggs and milk of the forbidden animals. Birds and mammals that are allowed must be killed in accordance with Jewish laws. None of the blood from the allowed animals can be consumed and must be either drained or broiled out. There are also certain parts of animals that cannot be eaten.
Meat cannot be eaten with dairy, and any utensils or cooking equipment used with meat cannot be used for dairy. Wines and grape products made by non-Jews are also prohibited.
Members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, the Word of Wisdom diet holds the dietary needs for their beliefs. The Word of Wisdom diet has seven main principles: avoid alcohol, avoid tobacco, avoid hot drinks (such as tea and coffee), eat all herbs in season, eat all fruits in season, eat meat sparingly and eat grains, especially wheat.
Although not a goal to the diet, losing weight is one of the side effects of eating in this manner. A lot of the foods eaten are fresh and unprocessed, which can lead to great health benefits.
Medical diets have popped up over the years that look at a person’s body and specify a diet to them specifically. Diets such as blood type diets have emerged to provide nutrients and foods that are best for a person as different blood types require different needs. As well as blood type diets, there are some plans that cater to health issues and problems which can be alleviated by following a particular diet.
The Best Bet Diet aims to slow the progression of multiple sclerosis and lower the chances of premature death from MS. It’s also a diet that family members of those who are already diagnosed with MS can appreciate to help prevent the onset of MS in themselves. MS is an autoimmune disease and although no “miracle cures” have been mentioned whilst on the diet, it hopes to provide some relief to MS sufferers.
The two main concepts include: avoiding potential “problem” foods and taking vitamin, mineral and herbal supplements. “Problem” foods relate to foods that have proteins that resemble those found in myelin that are attacked by the immune system. These foods include dairy, gluten, legumes, refined sugar, eggs and yeast. The types of vitamin, mineral and herbal supplements include vitamin D3, Calcium and Magnesium.
The blood type diet was initially created by naturopath Peter J D’Adamo.30 The claims of this specific diet is that the foods you eat will react chemically to your particular blood type, therefore certain foods are best to be eaten and avoided, depending on your body and blood type. The claims are that if you eat foods for your blood type, your body will digest them more efficiently, leaving you with more energy, the ability to lose weight easier and avoid preventable diseases.
Type O Blood – Those who have a Type O blood type (negative or positive) will benefit greatly by eating a diet reliant on protein. Lean meat, poultry, fish and vegetables are staples to this diet, as well as grains, beans and dairy in medium amounts. Various supplements are also advised for this blood type to help stomach issues that many O Blood Type people often experience.
Type A Blood – Because people with Type A Blood are more likely to have a sensitive immune system, organic and fresh foods are recommended. Meat is to be restricted for this particular blood type, with the diet being based on fruits, vegetables, beans and legumes and whole grains.
Type B Blood – Eating green vegetables, eggs, some meats and low-fat dairy are good options for those who have Type B Blood types. As well as this, some foods should be avoided. The main culprits are corn, wheat, buckwheat, lentils, tomatoes, peanuts, sesame seeds, and even chicken.
Type AB Blood – According to D’Adamo, people with AB Blood types often have low stomach acid levels. The best foods for this blood type include items such as tofu, seafood, dairy and green vegetables. It is best to avoid caffeine, alcohol and smoked/cured meats with the blood type.
The DASH diet (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension) was originally developed to help lower blood pressure in patients without the use of medications. Initial research into the diet found that it helped to reduce blood pressure as well as standard medications. Since then, it appears that the DASH diet can also help to reduce the risk of some other conditions such as some cancers, stroke, heart disease, heart failure kidney stones and diabetes.
The diet is rich in fruits, vegetables, low-fat and/or nonfat dairy. Whole grains, lean meats, fish and poultry are also permitted, alongside nuts and beans. The diet is high in fibre and low to moderate in fat. As well as lowering blood pressure, it also helps users to lose weight safely.
Diabetes has been an increasing worry over the years for many people, and millions have been diagnosed with the condition. With a newfound knowledge of this chronic disease, it can be hard to know what foods should be eaten to avoid diabetes symptoms and worsening the condition.
The Diabetic Diet aims to help manage the condition and the symptoms associated. Meals must be eaten regularly and spread out across the span of the day. The diet is also lower in fat, in particular lower in saturated fats. In order to lower the consumption of saturated fats, choose reduced or low-fat milk and dairy products, trim off fat from meat products, remove the skin from poultry and avoid using butter, cream and sour cream (as well as other high in saturated fat creams).
Limiting sweets and cakes will also help, as well as reducing the amount of pre-packaged foods and meals, snacks and biscuits.
Many people in recent years have started to show a resistance to gluten in their diet, which is known as Coeliac disease. Not much research was done in the past as to how gluten can be tolerated by the body. However, today there seems to be an increase of people not being able to digest gluten well, causing upset stomach and other gastrointestinal upsets, fatigue, lethargy, bone and joint pains and even skin rashes. Other symptoms may also appear, depending on an individual’s reaction to gluten.
Gluten is found in wheat-based foods and products. Many gluten-free products have arrived in stores and are easily accessible, and some opt for gluten-free versions of their favourite foods and meals, while others remove gluten altogether.
When you have kidney disease, it’s essential that you watch what you eat to avoid making your condition uncomfortable or worse in the long run. Certain minerals found in foods are best to be avoided on a healthy kidney diet, as this helps waste from building up in your system and may also reduce the risk of other implications and diseases.
One of the key things to watch when on a Healthy Kidney diet is your intake of salt/sodium. Sodium is found in almost all foods, and too much can make you thirsty, leading to swelling and higher blood pressure levels, which could lead to making your kidneys working harder than they need to be. Some ways of reducing salt on this diet is to not add additional salt to meals, choose fresh ingredients where possible (rather than canned) and avoid processed meats such as ham, bacon, deli meats and sausages.
Some condiments also have an increased amount of salt, so avoiding them or choosing reduced salt options are best.
A Ketogenic Diet plan is the eating plan to make the body burn stored fats instead of sugar and glucose. This type of diet is reminiscent of others such as the Atkins diet, and works to change the metabolic state into ketosis.
Normally, the body would consume foods that have sugar and glucose, from various sources including carbohydrates. The body usually burns these sugars first before burning any stored fats on the body. By changing the diet to reduce the amount of sugar, glucose and carbohydrates consumed in the first instance, the body has little choice but to burn the stored fats first in order to continue working.
The body requires correct amounts of water and has high protein needs when in this state. Although a good choice for some, it can be hard to follow and stick with as it can be quite restrictive.
As the name would suggest, going on a liquid diet means most of your meals and food ingested are in liquid form. Although some people will opt for a liquid diet to lose weight, people who suffer from Crohn’s disease often have a hard time digesting food so will opt for a liquid diet to help with their symptoms.
Most of the drinks on a liquid diet will be made up of processed fruits and vegetables that replace most or all of your meals three or four times a day. The results of losing weight on a liquid diet may be sudden, however it is not likely to last long as your metabolism slows down in order to save energy from the lack of calorie intake. This means it is likely to regain weight lost on a liquid diet.
Some people will also opt for this kind of diet when symptoms such as diarrhoea, cramping and constipation are at their worst, as it makes for an easier intake of calories in liquid form.
The Specific Carbohydrate Diet was initially developed for people with various gastrointestinal disorders such as irritable bowel syndrome, inflammatory bowel disease, ulcerative colitis, Crohn’s disease and coeliac disease. It’s a very restrictive diet that allows consumption of specific carbohydrates that require minimal digestion, with most carbohydrates eliminated completely.
The foods included in the diet include vegetables (not canned), some legumes, unprocessed meats, poultry, fish and eggs, some natural cheeses, most fruits and juices without additives, nuts, oils, weak tea and coffee, mustard and vinegar, unflavoured gelatine and saccharin.
Although there is little scientific backing for this plan, many people have found it to help alleviate symptoms of their condition and some even found that their disease went into remission. However, more studies are required in order to have a stable idea of the effectiveness of the diet.
On the market are also some plans/diets known as “cleanse diets”. Often only followed for a very short period of time, a lot of them promise to cleanse the body of certain toxins, minerals or other bodies, or even to improve your general health or skin. The main intention is to cleanse the body, however some people find that one of the side effects of these plans can include weight loss.
Just like a liquid diet, the juice fasting diet is a diet consisting of only juices for a short period of time. The types of juices you consume will generally be mixed fruit and vegetable juices, and the amount will depend on your needs.
As a general rule, one would start with at least a litre of green vegetable juice each day, with more added depending on hunger levels. Some have said that a juice fasting diet is ideal if you suffer from headaches, constipation, diarrhoea, skin issues, fatigue, irritability, bloating or excess weight issues. The juice cleanse is aimed at giving your system a break from having to break down foods and instead focus on repairing and refreshing the system.
The Master Cleanse diet runs for a minimum of 10 days and claims to eliminate built-up waste accumulated in the body over the years. Each day starts with a Salt Water Flush – two teaspoons of non-iodized salt added to water and drunk on an empty stomach is needed to be consumed each morning. The next hour will induce several eliminations; if not, an increase in salt is then required the next day.
During the day, 6 glasses of Master Cleanse organic lemonade mixture is consumed. The day is ended by sipping a herbal laxative tea. It can help people to lose some weight during this period. Some people also do the cleanse seasonally, however it is important to not eat solids if continuing with the plan to avoid additional stomach upsets.
The Watermelon Diet promises to help you lose weight, reduce inflammation and cleanse your body toxins. There are a few different versions to the diet, but the most popular is the watermelon diet cleanse. For three days, the user only eats watermelon. After these three days, most people often go back to their normal eating habits, while others introduce normal foods again slowly.
Because watermelon is almost 90% water, it is quite cleansing to the system. It's low in calories but can still provide some vitamins and minerals during the cleanse phase. Due to its natural sugars, watermelon will likely curb your sweet tooth, and the fibre contained in watermelon will help you to feel fuller for longer.
The Fit for Life Diet became popular in the mid 80’s, and was created by Harvey and Marilyn Diamond. It has been criticised by dieticians and nutritionists over the years, but claims to teach people what the correct foods are to eat and how to eat them in the right combination, rather than controlling portion sizes or counting calories.
The basis of the plan is the understanding that some foods cannot be eaten with some other foods at the same time. Original claims were that incorrect food combinations can “rot” in the stomach and some foods – known as “dead foods” – can clog the body, whereas “living foods” will help to cleanse the system.
The Locavore Diet, also known as the 100 Miles Diet, is the consumption of foods exclusive to the local area. The idea is that there is less travelling for your food needs and therefore a smaller impact on the planet. Foods bought locally are also then thought to be healthier and fresher, as they have not been travelling far to get to the consumer.
People who want to eat in this way will often frequent local farmers markets in order to get fresh, locally-grown produce. As well as consumers, a lot of restaurants have started to look for local growers and farmers in order to stock their kitchens with locally grown, bred and caught foods. Some people will also look at growing their own fruits and vegetables to cut the carbon footprint.
Some celebrity chefs have driven the benefits of eating and buying locally, such as Pete Evans.23
“Macro” means big and “bios” refers to life. So, in essence, the diet refers to living a “big life”. Not so much a diet but rather a lifestyle change, the macrobiotic plan includes the spiritual part of living and teaches you to see the bigger picture in life. One of the main principles is to eat foods that are rich in nutrients with balanced yin/yang properties. Most of the foods consumed include grains, vegetables, beans, fruit sea vegetables (such as seaweeds), soup, fermented foods, oils, fish and whole foods.
There are also other principles such as enjoying your meals and being thankful for the food you have, eating seasonal foods, chewing thoroughly, eating less, and being mindful of quantities and the quality of your meals.
Some celebrities who have followed this plan include John Travolta, Alicia Silverstone and Sting.25
The Mediterranean Diet looks at eating in the same way that people for many generations in the Mediterranean have eaten. Traditional foods and drinks eaten and consumed by those living in countries surrounding the Mediterranean Sea has been thought to bring good health, and is wonderfully delicious! Many scientists and nutritionists have stated it is one of the healthiest diets in the world, with plenty of good fats and healthy yet simple dishes.26
The diet consists of generous amounts of fruit and vegetables, healthy fats such as those found in olives and avocado, seeds nuts and legumes, fish and eggs. Some dairy is allowed (such as feta cheeses), and eat whole grains when choosing breads and pasta.
The Japanese people are most likely to reach the ripe age of 100 out of any other nationality in the world, which some researchers have put down to their diet as the leading reason why they live long healthy lives. The traditional diet consists of vegetables, beans and other plants. Their intake of fish and meat was less than 1% of their total diet, meaning the diet is predominantly plant based.
With 6–12 times fewer heart deaths than in the U.S, it’s easy to see why so many people are interested in eating like the Japanese and taking on the Okinawa Diet.
Many people have started taking on their diets in the rawest form possible. The idea is that eating uncooked foods means you are keeping the nutrients found in fruits and vegetables that would normally be lost through heating and cooking. Some also claim that a raw food diet can help clear up headaches, allergies, boost your immunity and memory functions, as well as improve diabetes symptoms and arthritis.27
Your food can be warmed a little, as long as it doesn’t go over 47 degrees celsius. You can however use food processors, blenders and dehydrators to prepare meals in different ways.