There’s an endless variety of diet plans available today, which means there’s a ton of information to sort through in order to determine which diet program will work best for you. Losing fat is hard enough. Why make it any harder?
Is Your Diet Restrictive?
Some diet plans are super restrictive, so you can rule them out from the get-go. After all, who wants to follow a fat loss program that only allows for a couple of foods to be eaten week after week. I love salads as much as the next person, but after a few days, I need something different. I’m sure you feel the same.
Other diets have menu plans, requiring you to eat specific amounts of specific foods at specific times on specific days. Sure, you can lose fat following these types of diets, but you’ll spend countless hours planning and preparing portion sizes, counting calories, and determining your eating schedule.
Worst of all, the fat usually comes right back on and then some whenever you stop the diet. You’ll probably gain all of the fat back plus a few extra inches. These short-term diet plans are not only unfeasible over the long haul, but they can be unhealthy as well. In truth, they’re nothing more than diet fads with high rates of failure.
Other diets provide comprehensive meal replacement plans with shakes, snacks, and supplements to ensure your body receives all of the vitamins, minerals, enzymes, probiotics, and adaptogens it needs to stay satiated, build lean muscle, and lose fat. Some even do all of carbohydrate, calorie, fat, and protein counting for you, making fat loss achievable and actually quite easy.
These types of diet programs also encourage regular exercise alongside their comprehensive dieting plans to not only help you lose fat, but facilitate lean muscle growth as well. They take a long-term approach to fat loss, helping you to embrace certain lifestyle changes and achieve sustained fat loss results.
Of course, this is a Pruvit article and I am an active Pruvit associate and coach. I’m also a Pruvit user. I have witnessed first-hand the keto-boosting power of Pruvit, so I eat and drink Pruvit products every single day. However, I want you to be as informed as possible and choose a diet program that will work best for you. Therefore, I’ve put together this unbiased, comprehensive review of today’s most popular diet plans.
The five diet programs below are discussed in no particular order. However, I saved the Keto diet program for last. Why? Put simply, it’s the best, at least in my experience. However, I’ll let you be the judge of that. You can read about the others first and make an informed decision as to which diet program is the best match for your lifestyle and fat loss goals.
For each of the diet programs outlined below, I’ve given a summary, detailed the level of diffulty, discussed the amount of support available, talked about the exercise involved, and provided the pros and cons from an unbiased perspective. Without further ado, let’s dive right into the first popular diet program on this list.
1. The Paleo Diet
Ever want to eat like a caveman? The Paleo Diet allows you to do just that, minus the Brontosaurus burgers of course. Cavemen were hunters and gatherers who primarily ate red meat, white meat, fish, and wild grown vegetables and fruits. With this diet program, there’s no dairy, grains, potatoes, sugar, salt, refined cooking oils, or any foods grown by farmers.
The Paleo Diet claims to make people leaner and improve their overall health. While cutting out carbs and eating fresh foods may have benefits, more research is needed to determine the validity of these health claims. This is especially true considering the lack of physicians during prehistoric times and the considerably shorter life expectancies. In fact, the average caveman only had a life expectancy of 30 years. To adopt their diet knowing these facts is questionable at best.
- Level of Difficulty: The Paleo Diet is not the toughest diet to follow, but it’s also not the easiest. Since refined oils, butter, and so on is forbidden, most of the food must be prepared from scratch. This isn’t very easy for busy working men and women. It also costs more to follow as fish and lean meats aren’t the cheapest grocery items. Grass fed beef and wild caught fish are even pricier.
- Support: There are websites, forums, and books offering Paleo Diet recipes, tips, and encouragement. However, the diet is performed by you alone and it’s your responsibility to seek out help and advice.
- Exercise: Unlike many other diet programs, there are no specific exercise instructions for the Paleo Diet.
- Pros: This diet program places an emphasis on eating fish, poultry, lean red meat, eggs, nuts, fruits, and vegetables. It also condones the use of olive and coconut oils. Since the Paleo Diet excludes salt, sugar, and processed foods, it’s also beneficial for people with high blood pressure.
- Cons: One of the downsides of the Paleo Diet is the potential for nutrient deficiency due to the lack of dairy and certain healthy carbohydrates. With an emphasis on eating fish, meat, and eggs, it’s also not very vegetarian friendly. There are also no daily exercise recommendations, so you’re left completely on your own in this regard.
2. The Atkins Diet
The Atkins Diet was developed by Dr. Robert Atkins in 1989, but its popularity really began to explode in the early 2000s. Despite having a number of versions, each one emphasizes minimal carb intake. As such, only lean protein, healthy fats, and fruits and vegetables high in fiber should be eaten.
The program consists of four progressive phases. During the first phase, only 20 grams of carbohydrates are allowed per day. The second phase is a little less strict as certain foods are allowed to be added. Meanwhile, the third stage begins when you are close to your target body fat percentage. The fourth and last stage is designed for management by providing you with a lifelong eating routine.
- Level of Difficulty: This diet program requires a little more effort to follow than the Paleo Diet. Although there is no need for calorie counting, you do need to keep track of your carb intake in order to follow the diet as intended and see results.
- Support: The Atkins Diet plan is taught through books and certain websites, but it’s up to you to follow the program with little to no direct support. That being said, there is an Atkins website that offers support groups and information regarding meal planning, recipes, carb counting, and other helpful information.
- Exercise: There is no exercise or workout program associated with the Atkins Diet, and you do not need to follow one in order to lose fat. However, according to several books about this diet program, daily exercise is recommended to maintain fat loss.
- Pros: The only restriction of this diet plan is carbs, and there are entire food groups available to you. It also doesn’t require you to get your protein from any particular source, so it is vegetarian friendly. There is also no need to visit a specialty grocer to purchase certain items as everything allowed is available at local grocery stores. While they’re not necessary, official Atkins meals and snacks are available at stores and online. There are also no meeting requirements or member fees associated with the Atkins Diet program.
- Cons: One of the major drawbacks of this diet plan is having to go at it alone. Unless you join an Atkins forum online, there is no encouragement or support to lean on. It’s also not ideal for diabetics as carb restrictions may require you to adjust your medications. Kidney problems can also occur as a result of increased protein intake. Lastly, completely cutting off carbs can be difficult. While some diet plans allow for nuts, beans, and whole grains, carbs of any kind are basically off limits with the Atkins Diet.
3. The Mediterranean Diet
The Mediterranean Diet is arguably the least controversial of all of the diets on this list. It’s also been around the longest. In fact, the Greeks, Italians, French, and Spanish along the Mediterranean have been following it for millennia.
This diet calls for drinking a glass or two of red wine daily, drinking a lot of water, and eating plenty of fresh fish, vegetables, fruits, whole grains, beans, nuts, seeds, legumes, herbs, and of course, olive oil. In addition to these foods and drinks, the Mediterranean Diet also calls for daily exercise and making a lifestyle change rather than trying to reach a short-term goal.
- Level of Difficulty: According to the U.S. News and World Report, the Mediterranean Diet is one of the easiest to follow. Since it doesn’t require you to abandon entire food groups, it’s relatively easy to stick with long-term. However, you may struggle, especially at first, if you’re used to regularly eating red meat, poultry, eggs, cheese, and dairy in general.
- Support: There are Mediterranean Diet websites offering guides, recipes, and meal ideas, but otherwise, there is very little support. Due to the relatively easy-to-follow nature of this diet plan, there are few if no opportunities for coaching or support groups and forums for peer encouragement and advice.
- Exercise: Regular exercise is recommended, but this diet program doesn’t specify what exercises to perform. From cardio to weight training, it’s up to you to determine the best exercises for the best results.
- Pros: The Mediterranean Diet has a lot going for it. Not only does it promote fat loss, but it reduces the risk of certain diseases, including heart disease. Since it doesn’t completely eliminate whole food groups and you’re allowed to eat whole grains and some red meat from time to time, it’s also easier to follow than several other diet plans.
- Cons: Despite its ease of use, the Mediterranean Diet doesn’t outperform low-carb diets in terms of fat loss. It also doesn’t specify exact daily serving amounts. Instead, it outlines total macronutrient distribution. This may be confusing for some people. For instance, rather than giving an exact amount, it uses terminology like “often,” “abundance,” and “moderate intake.”
4. The Grapefruit Diet
Despite being one of today’s most controversial diet plans, the Grapefruit Diet has been around for nearly 80 years. Unlike the other diet programs on this list, it’s only designed to last from 10-14 days, so it is specifically designed to deliver short-term results.
The diet is based on the theory that the enzymes in grapefruits help burn fat, so it encourages you to eat a grapefruit or drink grapefruit juice prior to eating a meal. During the short diet period, you should also avoid high fat and high protein foods, limit your consumption of carbs and sugar, drink one cup of black coffee and eight glasses of water per day, and keep your total daily calorie count below 800, which can be difficult to do.
- Level of Difficulty: This diet plan is one of the toughest to follow. Not only does it severely limit your daily calorie intake, but it requires the consumption of grapefruit, which can be an acquired taste. Unless you love grapefruit, you may have a hard time following the diet for a day, much less two weeks.
- Support: The Grapefruit Diet plan can be downloaded from the internet, but it’s up to you to follow the diet on your own. There are no support groups or coaches, but there are several websites and Facebook groups offering comments and general advice.
- Exercise: The program doesn’t outline any exercise requirements or suggestions.
- Pros: If you love grapefruit and are only trying to lose a little bit of fat in a short amount of time, this may be diet for you. In addition to no enrollment fees, there are no meeting requirements. However, this may actually be a negative if you prefer group encouragement. While the lack of an exercise requirement may also be considered a positive aspect of this diet plan, it can also be construed as a drawback depending on your needs, lifestyle, and point of view.
- Cons: Despite its appeal to citrus lovers, grapefruit doesn’t help burn fat. According to dieticians, the water content in grapefruit can help satiate your appetite and cause you to eat less, but that’s about it. It’s also a short-term diet plan and not ideal for long-term use or results. As such, most people regain any fat they lose once they stop implementing the diet. Consuming large amounts of grapefruit can also interfere with medications prescribed for blood pressure, high cholesterol, and acid reflux.
5. The Keto Diet
Now let’s discuss a cutting-edge diet program with a growing body of research backing it up: the Keto Diet. This increasingly popular diet plan is similar to the Atkins Diet in that it involves carb restrictions and increased protein intake. However, it differs in several unique ways.
Unlike the Atkins, the Keto Diet places an emphasis on replacing carbs with fat. This carb reduction and fat increase places the body into ketosis, which is a metabolic state proven to increase fat burning and fat loss. Rather than fueling your body with glucose derived from carbs, it utilizes ketones produced in the liver and derived from fat as fuel for both your body and brain instead. It’s also much more standardized.
- Level of Difficulty: The Keto Diet is the strictest of all of the low-carb diets. It forces the body to go into a state of ketosis and begin breaking down fat for fuel, which only occurs when carbohydrates are severely restricted. For this to take place, you should only consume 20 to 30 grams of carbs per day, which isn’t easy to do. However, thanks to ketone-boosting supplements like Pruvit’s Keto//OS Max, you’re able to boost your body’s ketone levels without following such a strict regimen.
- Support: Thanks to the rising popularity of the Keto Diet, there are meetups available online and more than likely in your local community as well. There are also keto Facebook groups and active online communities, such as Pruvit, that provide a ton of tips, education, inspiration, motivation, and support.
- Exercise: While exercise isn’t a specific tenet of the Keto Diet, it is highly recommended in order to expedite fat loss and boost your overall health. However, the way you exercise may need to change. When in ketosis, your body is unable to supply the muscles with sugar for short-term fuel, making it difficult to perform short, high-intensity workouts. Instead, it’s recommended to focus on long-term workout activities rather than short bursts. In other words, run longer distances instead of sprinting, perform more reps at a lower weight, and so on. That being said, with the aid of Pruvit’s ketone supplements, most users notice little to no change in their high-intensity training and performance.
- Pros: Despite being difficult to follow without the help of communities like Pruvit, the Keto Diet has been scientifically proven to decrease body fat, LDL cholesterol, and triglycerides. A variety of studies have concluded it’s highly effective in comparison to low-fat diets. In addition to fat loss, the Keto Diet is also effective at treating epilepsy and diabetes. It is currently being tested as a therapy for cancer patients as well.
- Cons: Like other low-carb diets, the Keto Diet can be difficult for most people to follow. Since carbs and sugars have long been a staple in most diets, cutting them out of your diet cold turkey can be difficult. While you will notice immediate results, sustaining them can be quite tough without supplements and support.
Which Diet Is Best for You?
The goal of this honest comparison of today’s most popular diet plans is to provide you with the information you need to make an informed decision and choose the best one for you. The debate over which diet program is best has been a topic of controversy within the health community for decades. This has added to the confusion, making it difficult to sort out the cold hard facts from the “white noise.”
The truth is when it comes to these diets and any others, opinions are subjective. When followed correctly, all of the work for just about everybody. However, some work better for some people than others. In terms of sustainable fat loss, most diets, including these, only work for a fraction of the population.
When you veer off track and quit a diet, you can expect to gain the fat back. it’s that simple.
For the best long-term results, it’s important to stop thinking about fat loss in terms of dieting and view it as a lifestyle change instead. Only then will you be able to experience sustained, long-term results and enjoy a healthier, happier life.