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What are Different Types of Diet Programs?

By Erin J. Hill
Updated May 17, 2024
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Many different types of diet programs are available for consumers and patients, both for individuals who have significant weight to lose and those who just wish to drop a few pounds before bikini season. The most common form of diet plan restricts calories or fat or both, but newer research is suggesting that because no two people are the same, different individuals may do better on different diet programs. This has led to a multitude of new plans formulated by doctors, dietitians and celebrities. Some of the most common diet programs are the low carb diet, low fat diet, grapefruit diet, and juice fasting diet.

Low fat and low calorie diets were once the most popular diet plans because if weight is gained by consuming more calories than are burned, a person should lose weight by eating fewer calories than he burns. This is true as long as the dieter stays within a healthy daily calorie range. Eating fewer calories will generally lead to weight loss, but once caloric intake drops too low, a restricted calorie diet can have an adverse effect. A body that is not getting enough calories to sustain itself will eventually go into starvation mode and instead of losing weight, the body will begin to hold onto its fat in preparation for famine.

Low carb diets are some of the most popular options among diet programs because they allow dieters to consume larger amounts of food than low calorie plans. While carbohydrates and sugars are severely limited, dieters are welcome to eat large portions of vegetables, lean meats, eggs, and other carb-free foods. The downside to this plan is that it can be high in saturated fat if large portions of red meat and eggs are consumed. Those who follow this plan are encouraged to eat mostly vegetables and lean proteins such as chicken or fish.

Other types of diet programs would be accurately described as fad diets. These include plans like the grapefruit diet, cabbage diet, and rotation diets. Although severely limiting food options and eating large portions of certain foods may provide rapid weight loss in some people, they are not suitable for long-term weight maintenance. The body needs nutrients derived from all the food groups in order to stay healthy.

Juice fasts may be a good thing when done in the right way, because fresh juice has many health benefits and can provide detoxification for the many of the body’s systems. When choosing any juice diet plan, it’s important to remember that any regimen which requires more than three or so days without solid food is not a good idea. Additionally, it’s also a good idea to stick with plans that allow juices from multiple food sources, especially those that are freshly extracted from a juicer.

In some cases a patient who has a chronic disease or ailment may be advised to stick to a very strict diet. Diabetics, for example, may be given a list of foods to avoid entirely for long periods of time. These plans should only be used under a doctor’s supervision.

Most healthy individuals will benefit most from a diet which allows servings of all major food groups eaten in moderation. Even sweets are fine to consume in reasonable amounts. Physical activity should be included in any weight loss plan and should be continued for life in order to maintain a healthy weight.

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Discussion Comments

By TunaLine — On Nov 22, 2010

OK, is it bad that I've tried almost every diet plan that you mentioned up there? I've seriously tried almost every diet plan in existence (it seems like), and over the years I've lost and gained a total of almost 500 pounds.

In the end though, do you know what did it? I just finally went to a nutritionist and worked out a personal weight loss diet program that was based on two things: moderation, and planned rewards.

I'm not one of those people that can just cut out sweet things, or carbs, or whatever forever. I've tried; it really just doesn't work.

However, with this plan, I've got the rewards all planned out, so I know when I have the caloric budget to accept the sweets, and when its better to wait a while.

Of course, I do slip up, but this has been the best diet plan that I've ever been on so far, and it's starting to look like it really could be a permanent change. My point is, if you really want to lose weight, see a dietitian or nutritionist. Don't do what I did and try to fight it yourself for years, just frustrating yourself again and again.

You really can do it, you really can lose weight (If I can anyone can!), but give yourself the help you need to succeed, don't try to go it alone.

Best of luck!

By closerfan12 — On Nov 22, 2010

Did you know that they even have religiously-themed diet plans? There are diet plans associated with almost every religion, some more well-researched than others.

I've never personally tried one, but the Christian diet programs seem to be the best-researched ones that I've seen. There's one called the Daniel diet that even includes a detox. There's also a "What Would Jesus Eat" diet, which I don't know that much about, and the "Maker's Diet," which as I read it, focuses mostly on natural foods.

Apparently some people find these diets really helpful, which is great for them -- but what about you guys? Would you ever try a religiously-themed diet?

By pharmchick78 — On Nov 22, 2010

I really liked the way that you wrote this article. With so many diet and exercise programs out there, it's really easy for people to get lost in all the hype, and you did a nice job of writing a non-biased, hype-free article.

I also have to reiterate, it's really true that moderation is the key, and that there's no one diet program that works for everyone. The best diet program for you may be (and probably is) totally different than the one that suits your neighbor or friend, so remember not to get too caught up or discouraged if a dieting program doesn't work for you -- it might not be you; it could just be that the program doesn't fit you.

Also, please remember, most fast diet programs are not very healthy or effective in the long-term, so if you really want to lose weight, then stop scrolling through diet program reviews and talk to a nutritionist.

They'll be able to help you work out a plan that really works for you and is healthy at the same time.

Really well done article; I very much liked it.

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