Tacos all day every day? Yes please. The Taco Cleanse promises weight loss from eating one of your favorite foods exclusively, and you can actually get a decent amount of nutritional variety because, well, you can put anything in a taco. It's only supposed to last for 30 days — though going at it for only a week is cool, too — and that's why this diet can help you hit a reset button (you shouldn't be using it as a full-time nutrition plan.) Plus, a lot of the recipes are actually vegan, so you'll typically be reaching for healthy ingredients over processed ones.
Among the salient points of proven health benefits the researchers note, nutritionally-replete plant-based diets are supported by a wide array of favorable health outcomes, including fewer cancers and less heart disease. These diets ideally included not just fruits and vegetables, but whole grains, nuts, and seeds. Katz and Meller found "no decisive evidence" that low-fat diets are better than diets high in healthful fats, like the Mediterranean. Those fats include a lower ratio of omega-6 to omega-3 fatty acids than the typical American diet.
The goal? Reverse (or prevent) heart disease. Nutrition of course plays a huge role in a healthy ticker, and Dr. Ornish's plan keeps you focused on eating the super healthy stuff: fruits, vegetables, whole grains, legumes, soy, nonfat dairy, egg whites, and omega 3s. The challenge is no meat, poultry, or fish or caffeine (so it can be hard to follow), but you can eat unlimited calories if you're doing it for health rather than weight loss. Not only is it ranked a top plant-based and heart-healthy diet by U.S. News & World Report, but research shows people on the diet had healthier cholesterol levels and they lost about seven pounds after a year.
A relatively new offering, the Nutritarian diet is based on maximizing the amount of healthy vitamins, minerals, and trace nutrients in your food, balancing your hormones, and avoiding toxins. The plan—created by Joel Fuhrman, M.D., author of The End of Dieting—is nutrient-dense, plant-rich, and includes anti-cancer superfoods to help you not just lose weight but live a long, disease-free life. (P.S. Follow these guidelines to make sure you're absorbing all the nutrients from your food.)
U.S. News evaluated and ranked the 40 diets below with input from a panel of health experts. To be top-rated, a diet had to be relatively easy to follow, nutritious, safe, effective for weight loss and protective against diabetes and heart disease. The government-endorsed DASH diet, which stands for Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension, tied with the Mediterranean diet for the top spot.
Timing out your meals can be a useful strategy to maintain and lose weight, suggests a study in The Journal of Nutrition. The researchers found that eating less frequently was helpful in reducing intake, and they recommended eating breakfast and lunch five to six hours apart. That’s relatively easy to do if you have breakfast at 7 a.m. and lunch at noon, but it’s an important reminder that timing matters.
@Mark, Whey protein is fantastic as a meal replacement. When you’re on the cutting phase (dieting) to retain muscle mass, a protein supplement will help with this. Remember though, there is no substitute for food. Consider lean turkey or chicken breast (with the skin off) but half your normal portion with lots of green veggies (which also contains carbs and protein to help keep you fuller for longer!)
Soy milk is both the source of protein in this fruity shake and the first ingredient, followed closely by banana puree. The complex carbs from the fruit give you sustained energy, plenty of potassium and a deliciously creamy bottled shake. The dessert-like flavor gets high praises from fans of this brand, but it’s in a dead heat with other drool-worthy flavors like Spiced Chai and Cappuccino.
Over the last three months I’ve lost 22 pounds simply by upping my exercise and reducing bad calories. I’m 68 years old, always in good shape, but added sedentary pounds as I aged. (6 feet tall, 212 pounds before — 190 pounds now) I’ve generally restricted my diet to about 1200 calories a day — 200 – 300 for breakfast, 200 for lunch, and about 700 or less for the rest of the day. I try to vary the foods, do as much exercise as I can (biking, swimming, walking, weights). I drink as much non-caloric liquid as I can and I try to find food that fills me up — vegetables, fruits, mostly. I eat some cheese and a good hamburger occasionally, although I avoid most meat. I still work full time. I realize the discipline necessary, but it’s not that hard to do. I rely on a good scale and moderate my diet each day to keep a constant weight. My blood pressure has dropped from 130/80 to 117/72 and heart rate is resting 58. I’m lucky that my chronic diseases are not yet serious (osteoarthritis and borderline cholesterol, although I dont take statins because of reactions). I’m not a diet fadder, but using common sense goes a long way. Eat smart and work out. MM
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You hear the term glycemic index thrown around, but what does it really mean? Whether a food ranks high or low on the scale depends on how it affects your blood sugar. High GI foods (muffins, crackers, cookies) spike your blood sugar and can bring on cravings and hunger. Low GI foods (non-starchy veggies, meats) keep blood sugar stable. In a new study, scientists discovered that eating higher GI foods was associated with weight gain over a 16-year span. That doesn't mean carbs are out, though—just choose lower-GI ones like beans, lentils, and brown rice more often than not.
If you've got baby making on the mind, this may be the diet for you. Its basis comes from a 2009 book by Harvard docs, in which they make their recommendations from the Nurses' Health Study that concluded that what you eat impacts egg quality, ovulation, and your chances of getting pregnant. So you'll skip Standard American Diet stuff—red meat, processed foods with trans fats—and eat more veggie protein, nuts, and whole fat dairy. U.S. News & World Report gave The Fertility Diet one of the top overall diet honors thanks to the balanced approach; plus, it comes with the added perks of helping protect your heart and prevent diabetes.
Life without bacon and cheese sounds harsh, but your hips will thank you. Vegan diets beat out semi-vegetarian, pescatarian (fish), and omnivorous (meat and plant foods) diets, according to recent research. In fact, after six months, dieters lost more than twice the weight compared to the other groups. But you can't nix all animal products and call it a day—quality matters. "I see it a lot: two vegans, one is really healthy and the other is really unhealthy," says Pamela Salzman, an LA-based cooking instructor and holistic health counselor. "You can eat potato chips all day and that's a vegan diet," she says. If you're going vegan, focus on those complex carbs, produce, healthy fats, and whole soy foods; skip processed junk, even if it's vegan.
It’s no secret that chugging plain H2O can be less than stimulating, but there are fun ways to make this healthy habit less of a chore. Certain fruits have detoxifying properties in their flesh and peels; slice them whole into your water to reap the benefits and hit your water intake quota with an infusion of flavor. For the definitive ways to drink up and de-puff, check out our list of 50 Best Detox Waters for Fat-Burning and Weight Loss!
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Though Katz also says it isn’t nearly enough. "That doesn't help you pick the most nutritious bread, or the best pasta sauce. A member of the foodie elite might say you shouldn't eat anything from a bag, box, bottle, jar, or can." That's admittedly impractical. "We do need to look at all the details that populate the space between where we are and where we want to be."