Popular Diets: Is One Right for You?

person planning dietYou have hundreds, if not thousands, of diets to choose from, ranging from popular fad diets to medically prescribed eating plans. If you’re trying to choose a popular diet for yourself, learn about them first.

Below is an overview of several popular diets, with a review of what they are about, what you can or can’t eat on them, and what to watch out for. Maybe one will sound right for you!

The Pros and Cons of 4 Popular Diets


Overview: Based on an evolutionary view of prehistoric man, who ate simpler and performed at peak levels, the paleo diet and Primal Blueprint both recommend limiting carb intake (especially grains) to only as many as you require for performance. They also call for eating more protein and fat, and lots of veggies.

Watchouts: There are a few differences centering on whether or not dairy, legumes, potatoes and tomatoes are allowed, and if so, in what forms. If you don’t love meat, and wish not to invest in organic and grass-fed products or raw dairy, this popular diet may not be the right plan for you.


Overview: The theory behind the Atkins diet is that without so many carbohydrates, your body will burn fat for energy. Turning your body into a fat-burning machine requires going through phases on this popular diet, starting with a very restricted allowance of carbohydrate grams, which would mean no sugar or starches. Expect to eat plenty of meat and fats including cream, cheese and mayonnaise.

Watchouts: Many report initial side effects that include bad breath, dry mouth, fatigue, dizziness, constipation and more, all from cutting out carbs. A high intake of saturated fat may increase your risk of heart disease – there is always controversy over this indication.

Glycemic Index/South Beach

Overview: A heart healthy and low glycemic index diet was originally developed for heart patients, and the South Beach diet is based on that. Glycemic index (GI) is a rating system that indicates how the food affects the rise in blood sugar – lower numbers are better. Potatoes and bread have a high GI, whole grains and veggies are lower. This diet, after the first two weeks, doesn’t restrict much (no calorie or portion control) except the GI of food choices.

Watchouts: It starts out a lot like the Atkins diet, except without the fat – it can be tough to get through a couple of weeks with only lean proteins and produce to choose from.

Mediterranean/Clean Eating

Overview: If you feel you’d love to eat healthy like a farmer in the countryside of Spain or Italy, this might be a good plan for you. Your meals will revolve around fresh vegetables, legumes, nuts, herbs, fish, olive oil and only a small amount of meat. You can still enjoy a bit of wine, Greek yogurt and cheese, but sweets are more along the lines of fruit. All this is the style of diet that keeps people from the Mediterranean slimmer and healthier than most other places.

Watchouts: If you don’t care for whole food grocery shopping, or can’t afford stocking up on more natural or organic basics, this popular diet could be a hassle for you. You’ll need to pull together your European-style meals on a daily basis, and avoid processed or pre-packaged items.

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