Diets! Do they work?

Updated: December 23, 2012
Slim woman after diet.

To follow or not to follow a diet for losing excess pounds – that is the question!

Diets can be either beneficial or harmful, therefore you should be well aware of all the facts when dieting.

Diets will work well when done in combination with exercise and eating the right foods. Discover what diets really are and how they work.

Diets can be either beneficial or harmful, just like strength and cardio workouts can improve or alter one’s health state. The effects diets and workouts have on one’s organism and appearance is strongly influenced by how eating and exercising plans are built.
While lots of women opt for restrictive diets for quickly dropping a few pounds, it’s scientifically proven that limiting the intake of nutrients is one of the worst strategies one can adopt for achieving a slimmer body. If you’re curious to find out why diets can be destructive and why they can cause weight gain instead of weight loss, take a look at the explanations below!

 How to effectively lose weight?

Limiting the amount of food you eat daily is not bad as long as you stick to the recommended daily intake for your body weight, activity level and fitness goal. If your purpose is to drop excess pounds in a healthy way, you shouldn’t cut off more than 500 calories per day from your menu as this will activate the so-called starvation mode and lead to weight gain instead of weight loss.

 You’re probably a little confused right now so let’s explain things better:

It’s recognized that 3500 calories equal 1 pound of body weight and it’s generally accepted that losing more than 1-2 pounds per week is unhealthy.

diets humourThus, an individual looking to drop 1 pound per week should create a caloric deficit of 3500 calories, meaning 500 calories per day.
This can be done by either limiting the intake of foods or increasing the amount of physical activity and burning more calories than you eat daily.

For dropping 2 pounds per week, you need to cut off 500 calories from your daily menu and burn an additional of 500 calories through physical activities so that at the end of the day, your caloric deficit equals 1000.

Sounds tough? Well it’s not, as 500 calories can be easily burned in 30 minutes of  HIIT or 60 minutes of strength and cardio workouts performed at high speed and intensity.

Then, 500 calories can be eliminated from your diet by simply replacing a portion of French fries and a hamburger with grilled chicken and a salad! A typical fast-food menu has around 1200 calories so it’s not really a surprise you keep gaining weight if you eat junk, is it?

So a diet, whether it’s a high protein one, a vegetarian diet or a dissociated diet, can be healthy and safe and can provide your body with all the needed calories and nutrients as long as healthy choices are made.

You can easily create the needed caloric deficit for losing weight by incorporating in your diet fruits, veggies, nuts and seeds, whole grains, lean meat and low fat dairy fruits for dietsproducts and limiting the amount of cookies, sweets, greasy foods and pastries.

In other words, you can reach your goal weight by choosing high protein foods products that are rich in good fats and complex carbs instead of foods that provide high amounts of simple carbs and bad fats.

Still, you should never cut off more than 500 calories from your daily menu as a too restrictive diet activates the starvation mode. Continue reading to see how this mechanism works and why it leads to diet failure!


 Why restrictive diets fail

diet girl Your body needs a specific number of calories daily to stay healthy and function normally. When you don’t give it enough food, your body tells your brain you’re trying to cheat and keep it hungry, so what your brain understands is that you’re actually starving in order to lose weight.

Starvation mode is the state appearing after long periods of starvation. In this state, your organism destroys muscle mass and lean tissue for energy because it receives too low amounts of carbs and fats, which are its main fuels.

And given that your body is like a little child that does what it’s taught to do, it will learn that its main energy source is represented by proteins. So it’ll continue to burn these nutrients for energy and you’ll lose weight by losing muscle mass instead of fats.

And now the real problem arises: unless you follow the restrictive diet for the rest of your life, lost weight will come back and not as lean mass, but as fat tissue. Why is that? Your body will continue to burn proteins first, so when you’ll eat carbohydrates and fats, these nutrients will be stored in internal reservoirs, which are the layers of adipose tissue underneath the skin.

Moreover, the persistent sensation of hunger which is typical for restrictive diets will make you want to increase the amount of calories eaten daily, once you’ll finish dieting, and this will lead to weight gain eventually.
So are you still willing to starve yourself for getting rid of excess pounds?

Now that we have presented all the facts and myths regarding diets in general, you can discover the facts about the prominent diets out there currently.

Not a day goes by that a new fad diets does comer along however we will explore the more common diets and give you an in depth explanation of each one with advice and tips you can trust.





NadiaWritten by: Nadia (17 Posts)

Nadia is a life coach and health writer residing in Toronto.

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