By: Brandy Abalos
echnically speaking, a “diet” is simply the foods that a person habitually eats. However, when today’s society talks about diets, they are referring to a specialty diet that often promises to help you achieve a specific goal. While fad diets are not always the best option for everyone, there are some diets that health and medical professionals generally agree can be beneficial for some people.
The Mediterranean Diet
Many experts agree that a Mediterranean-style diet is beneficial for most people, especially those who want to prevent cancer and reduce cardiovascular ailments. Specifically, a Mediterranean diet can help you lose weight and avoid many chronic diseases.
There is no specific diet prescribed by the Mediterranean diet. It is more a style of eating, wherein you avoid red meats, sugar and saturated fat. It also includes a lot of fresh produce, nuts and other healthy foods like olive oil, whole grains, fish and seafood and dairy in moderation.
The DASH Diet
The DASH (dietary approaches to stop hypertension) diet is geared to lower blood pressure and the risk of adverse cardiac events and stroke. It can also prevent Type 2 diabetes and obesity.
DASH discourages eating foods that are high in saturated fats like fatty meats, tropical oils and full-fat dairy. Sugar-sweetened beverages and sweets should also be avoided. Sodium should also be limited to 2,300 milligrams per day, with the most dedicated DASH followers lowering that amount to under 1,500 milligrams.
The DASH diet promotes eating fresh produce, whole grains, low-fat dairy and lean protein, all of which promote healthy blood pressure through nutrients like potassium, fiber, calcium and protein.
The Flexitarian Diet
The Flexitarian diet is a combination of a flexible diet with one that is primarily vegetarian based. It is best for people trying to lose weight, prevent disease and be healthier overall.
You don’t have to eliminate meat with a flexitarian diet completely, but you should limit burgers, steaks and other red meat. Vegetarian meals should be the primary focus of this diet. The flexitarian diet requires a careful balance of protein, carbs, fat and other nutrients, which can require a significant amount of planning and preparation.
The Mayo Clinic Diet
The Mayo Clinic published a diet program in 2013 that specifically works well for people with prediabetes and Type 2 diabetes. It also helps people lose up to one to two pounds per week. It encourages you to break bad habits by replacing them with healthy ones.
The food pyramid published by the Mayo Clinic encourages you to eat more fruits, vegetables and whole grains. Those foods have a “low energy density,” which means you can eat a higher volume but take in fewer calories. For example, you can eat the same number of calories for one-quarter of a candy bar or two full cups of broccoli.
The Volumetrics Diet
If you get hungry easily, the volumetrics diet can be beneficial. It is an approach to eating instead of a diet with a structured plan. It works well for long-term weight loss and building healthy habits for a lifetime.
The volumetrics diet teaches you to determine the energy density of the food. Foods are divided into four groups. Very low-density foods include things like vegetables, fruits low in starch, broth soups and nonfat milk. Low-density foods include fruits and vegetables with a lot of starch in them, whole grains, low-fat meat and some mixed dishes like chili or spaghetti. Medium-density foods include salad dressings, ice cream, processed white bread, pizza and cheese. High-density foods include nuts, butter, crackers, chips, chocolate and oil.
The volumetrics diet encourages you to eat foods primarily in the very low density and low-density food groups. Medium and high-density foods should be limited.
Find The Diet That Works For You
Whether you are trying to prevent chronic disease, improve your overall health, lose weight or simply become less hungry, there is a diet out there for you. To find the right one, you should focus on your goals and maintain an understanding of what matters to you. Talk to your doctor about your options and consider consulting with a certified nutritionist or dietician.