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Pros and Cons of Popular Diets

Most of us have been around the block a few times when it comes to diets. It’s all too easy to spend a few months on this one, a few months on that one and, before you know it, any weight loss has crept back on and you’re at square one again. If you are planning a diet, you want something that fulfils all the criteria. It’s got to work – there’s no point starting a diet and then finding yourself at the exact same weight you started at. Unless you want a sudden drop in weight to fit into a specific dress before a big occasion (and, let’s be honest, we’ve all been there), you want it to be sustainable. Not only a diet that you can keep up, but weight loss that doesn’t plateau after the first couple of weeks and then leave you having to make more and more cutbacks.

What we’re all looking for is a diet that allows us to hit our target weight and then enjoy the occasional treat days whilst staying at roughly the same digit on the scales. Finally, and probably the most important part of any diet, the food you end up eating should be healthy and provide your body with the fuel and goodness that it needs to do all the things you like to do on a daily basis.

Below, we’ve unpacked three of the most popular diets doing the rounds at the moment, so you can look at the pros and cons of each and find what works for you. Remember though, fundamentally the most important part of any “diet” is that you are healthy and looking after your body. Supplement any diet with the right vitamins and minerals, from sources like a Blue Sky Vitamin, and make sure the food you are eating fuels an active lifestyle.

Weight Watchers

What is it?

One of the most popular diets, and definitely one you’ll have heard of, even if you haven’t tried it yourself. Weight Watchers works on the basis that all food is worth a certain amount of points, and you have to stick within your personal allocation of points for the day. Do this, and you’ll lose weight. As simple as it sounds, and for all its popularity, there are some pros and cons to this plan.

Pros

–          The flexibility of this diet is very appealing for a lot of people. You can basically eat what you want, when you want, as long as it is within the point you have to “spend” throughout the day.

–          Because of its enormous popularity, there are plenty of apps and guides to held you with Weight Watchers and give you the points for various foods, as well as helpful shopping guides for Weight Watchers.

–         There is a lot of support available for members of Weight Watchers – there are groups as well as apps and online resources available which many people find encouraging and helps them to commit and stick to a diet. Losing weight can be a solitary affair – especially if you’re the only one in your household on a diet and you are watching your family eat different meals. Having a group to go to on a regular basis with people who are going through the same process as you can be incredibly motivating.

Cons

–          Some people don’t like the idea of being tracked all the time. Constantly monitoring and counting your food points can be invasive and isn’t the way many people prefer to eat and diet. The point counting can be tedious and means you do have to evaluate a meal before you eat it, which is not the case quite so much with diets where you are either cutting out or emphasizing a particular food group.

–          Weight Watchers can lead to unhealthy dieting behavior. You might be tempted to skip meals entirely to save up your points for a big dinner later on in the day, which isn’t necessarily good for your metabolism and overall health.

Weight Watchers is a relatively simple diet and allows you freedom to indulge every so often. You can also earn back points through exercise if you want to have a few glasses of wine, or enjoy a cheeky slick of cake. You can expect to lose on average one to two pounds a week, so the weight loss is steady with this diet.

The Keto Diet

This seems to be the big diet of the last few years that everyone’s raving about. Short for the Ketogenic diet, it works by emphasizing high-fat and low carbs. By all but eliminating carbohydrates from your diet, it puts your body in a state of ketosis, so it is burning fat to use as energy. It seems relatively straightforward to follow but, as with any diet, it’s worth talking to your physician before you begin. Here are some pros and cons of the Keto plan.

Pros

–          You will burn fat. In a normal diet, your body uses carbohydrates for energy and burns these before hitting those hard-to-shift fats. But, in the Keto diet, your body has significantly less carb to burn and so starts straight away on the fat. Most of us have quite sedentary jobs so, if you are spending the majority of every day in front of a computer in the office, a low-carb diet shouldn’t have too much of a negative effect on your energy-levels.

–          Because of its popularity and some notable celebrity followers of this diet (Kim Kardashian, amongst others), it’s easy to find guides on what you should be eating and what the Keto diet looks like on a daily basis.

Cons

–          There’s a reason that carbohydrates are one of the top food groups in a balanced and nutritious diet. They provide energy for exercise and, if you are particularly active, you might find yourself lacking in energy and motivation and with less power for your sport of physical activity. We do need sugar to be able to function and, without carbs, glucose can’t enter your bloodstream which may result in you finding it difficult to focus.

–          The “Keto flu” is used to describe the strange sensations some followers of this diet can get – headaches, dizziness, light nausea – there’s a lot of symptoms that people can get in the first few weeks of following this diet as your body gets used to it. Some have even described it to be like a detox, similar feelings to when people cut out caffeine.

We are currently lacking medical research on the long-term consequences of the Keto diet. But studies have shown that it is very effective at losing weight in the short-term, although you might find that this is not a sustainable diet.

The Paleo Diet

This has also been called the “caveman” diet and is basically the idea that, to lose weight, cut out all the processed food that we wouldn’t have eaten in the bygone days and focus on meat, vegetables and unprocessed grains. Sounds fairly simple on paper, but let’s have a look at some advantages and disadvantages of eating like our ancestors.

Pros

–          Nutritionally, this is a diet that contains a lot of the things your body needs, whilst cutting out or severely reducing things that aren’t necessary for a healthy diet. Because you’ll be focusing on lean meat and fish, fresh vegetables, and grains, you will be following a healthy diet and, through this plan, be giving your body the nutrients and vitamins it needs. You may have increased iron intake, due to consuming more red meat, as well.

–          The Paleo diet does tend to result in weight-loss. Because the diet is so limited, you will find that you will naturally be losing weight as you can only eat healthy food without additives, preservatives or chemicals. You may also find that you have an increased feeling of fullness between meals which will also reduce the desire to snack.

Cons

–          This can be quite an expensive diet to follow. Because of the quantity of fresh protein you’ll be eating, this can prove expensive. Also, in terms of cutting back on meat for the environment, this diet (for obvious reasons) doesn’t fit the bill. It can be very difficult for vegetarians or vegans to follow as it excludes beans, a primary source of protein for people who don’t eat meat.

–          Similarly to the Keto plan, because you are limiting certain foodstuffs, it can result in low energy and bad moods when initially begun. It excludes grains, beans and dairy so you are limiting some important food groups for good health.

You should always consult your doctor before starting any diet. Ultimately, if you are looking to lose weight, then a restrictive diet should only be followed for a short period of time. Aim to eat healthily, supplement any nutrients that you can’t get from your diet in other ways, drink plenty of water and exercise regularly and the weight loss will follow. 

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