how popular diets stack up

Atkins Diet
Coined from the same name as the noted cardiologist, Robert Atkins, this diet is a low-carbohydrate diet that can certainly be helpful to some people. This is considered a “ketogenic” diet because it forces the body to burn stored body fat as a fuel source instead of blood sugar.

Ketones are formed from the oxidation of fatty acids. This can only be accomplished if you lower your carbohydrate intake to no more than 20 grams per day. The only carbohydrates you can have are from vegetables. The rest of your diet comes from protein and fat with no more that 20% of your calories derived from saturated fat.

Zone Diet
This is a balanced diet of carbohydrates, protein and fat. This specific diet is designed to control blood sugar and high insulin levels. It encourages the consumption of low-glycemic carbohydrates (fruit, whole grains, legumes and vegetables), omega 9 fats from nuts, olive oil, avocado, and omega 3 from fish.

The diet does not allow for refined carbohydrates, sugar and fruit juices. The meals are four to five hours apart but you can have a snack in between if you are hungry. Personally, I like this diet because there are no calorie counts. Not only this, but it is balanced from a nutritional standpoint.

Vegan Diet
Vegans consume only foods from the plant kingdom. Although most are lacto-ovo (meaning that they can still eat diary, eggs and honey), sometimes this type of vegetarian chooses to eat fish.

The diet can be beneficial for risk reduction and weight loss, too. Yes, this diet is lower in calories but also high in fiber and nutrients. It is also considered to be lower in trans fat and animal fat.

You do have to be careful though because the protein sources need to be combined to get the most complete protein, especially if you aren’t going to be eating soy very much. Also, key nutrients like iron, vitamin B12, vitamin D and zinc can be lower in vegans if they don’t take supplements.

Generally the diet can be a little high in carbs and sugar, too. Although flaxseed is an important source of omega 3 fats, fish are by far the best source. I am also concerned regarding the intake of omega 6 fat verses omega 3 fat in the vegan diet. If you pay attention to detail, this can be a good diet for most people. However, this diet takes discipline, which is why people often can’t sustain it.