Dieting & Nutrition

Recent research carried out by the eating disorder charity, Beat, has discovered that 1 in 5 young women is on a permanent diet. Dieting is now a huge business, with an increasing amount of people eager to lose weight in a bid to improve the way they look and live a healthier lifestyle. Since the media started to bombard consumers with endless images of beautifully sculpted, slim models, the dieting industry has been booming and is worth millions of pounds. Periodically, a new miracle diet appears on our television screens and in magazines, but which diets are the most effective and what is the best way to lose weight? The articles below will explore a few of the most popular diets and discuss which diets best suit certain types of people.

Do diets work?

Dieting is effective for some people and a nightmare for others; the success of a diet is completely dependent on the individual. Usually, people find that diets that restrict the range of foods you can eat as well as limiting portions are not as successful as those that simply modify current eating habits by offering healthier alternatives; this is mainly because people often crave the so-called forbidden foods and feel hungry between meals if the portions are too small; this usually leads to snacking on unhealthy foods. Nutrition experts recommend adopting a healthy diet and doing regular exercise in order to lose weight.

What is a healthy diet?

A healthy diet should include a range of foods and should not prohibit the consumption of any foods. The body needs a complete range of nutrients in order to function effectively and it is therefore important to incorporate foods from all the major food groups into your diet.

Complex carbohydrates and fruits and vegetables should provide the majority of the daily calorie intake; this will ensure the body is fuelled and a large range of vitamins, minerals and vitamins are taken in. Examples of complex carbohydrates include rice, pasta and cereals; eating wholegrain versions of these foods is beneficial for the heart, so you should try to buy these rather than the conventional white versions. Protein is important for growth, cell repair and regeneration and building muscles; examples of protein rich foods include meat, eggs and cheese. Fats, contrary to many dieters beliefs should also form an integral part of a healthy diet; you should try to limit your fat intake to unsaturated fats and steer clear of trans-fats and saturated fats.

Experts recommend that people wanting to lose weight should reduce their calorie intake by around 400-600 calories per day; eating healthier foods will actually increase the amount of food you consume while still reducing the calories and helping you to lose weight. The recommended daily calorie intake for women is 2000 calories and the intake for men is 2500; people that are trying to lose weight and those who live sedentary lifestyles should reduce their calorie intake, while active people may need to increase their calorie intake. Allow yourself a treat once in a while as this will prevent you from craving the foods you love.

How much exercise should I do if I want to lose weight?

As a minimum, health experts recommend that adults do 3 cardiovascular workouts per week; however, people wanting to lose weight should try to do more exercise than this. Exercise sessions need not be restricted to the gym, you can also do other activities such as swimming, tennis, team sports, climbing, canoeing and even skiing. If you are self-conscious about exercising in front of people try getting a workout DVD and then you can exercise in the comfort of your own home.

Types of diets

Atkins diet

Low GI diet

South Beach diet

Weight Watchers diet

Zone Diet