Will the Latest Diet Trends Help You Lose Weight?

The Trending Diet Breakdown 

Every January, one of the most popular New Year's resolutions is to lose weight1. Every year, a new crop of trendy diets comes around, aiming to help people follow through on their resolutions and drop unwanted pounds. Going into 2020, some diets are more popular than others, and some are promoted as being able to help people lose a considerable amount of weight.     

Do today's popular diets work and will they help you reach and maintain your goals when it comes to dropping a few pounds? Get the details on some of the most popular diets out there.

Keto 

A lot of diets, from Atkins to the South Beach diet, are often called "ketogenic" diets, as they are high in proteins and low in carbohydrates. The goal of low-carb diets is to push the body into ketosis, where it begins to burn fat for fuel, rather than glucose2.    

The goal of the keto diet is also to get the body to burn fat rather than carbs. But instead of having you consume a lot of protein, the diet has you consume a lot of fat. While following the keto diet, up to 90% of your calories will come from fat3.    

Following a keto diet can help you lose weight and in some cases, can help you drop a lot of pounds quickly. But there are potential risks to the diet, particularly because it so high in fat. If you are considering trying keto, it's a good idea to speak with your doctor or a nutritionist first.

Low FODMAP

A low FODMAP diet aims to reduce the amount of "Fermentable Oligosaccharides, Disaccharides, Monosaccharides And Polyols" (FODMAPs) a person eats. FODMAPs are types of carbohydrates that can be difficult for the body to digest, leading to diarrhea, gas and stomach pain.     

Often, the goal of following a low FODMAP diet isn't necessarily to lose weight. Instead, the goal is usually to help people manage symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome. Among the foods that you might avoid when following a low FODMAP diet include broccoli, lentils, apples and cow's milk.     

Since the diet does eliminate a number of foods that are typically considered "healthy," it's important to work with a nutritionist or dietician when following a low FODMAP plan4.

Intermittent Fasting   

Intermittent fasting might be one of the biggest diet trends of 2019 and going into 2020. Unlike the keto or low FODMAP diet, intermittent fasting doesn't ask you to stop eating certain types of foods or to eat more of some foods. Instead, the diet focuses on when you eat. 

People who practice intermittent fasting will abstain from eating from time to time. How long a person's fasts last depends on the pattern they are following. Some people fast for 16 hours at a time, others will go without food for 24 hours. A few popular intermittent fasting patterns are5:

● 5:2. If you follow the 5:2 fasting pattern, you eat "normally" on five days of the week. On two days, you can only eat between 500 and 600 calories.  

● 16/8. If you follow the 16/8 pattern, you do not eat breakfast or first thing in the morning and restrict the time you can eat to one eight-hour period (such as 12 to 8 pm or 2 to 10 pm). You fast for the remaining 16 hours.  

● Eat-Stop-Eat. With the eat-stop-eat pattern, you fast for an entire day (24 hours) twice a week. The rest of the time, you eat whatever you normally would.

Following an intermittent fasting pattern can help you lose weight. Some patterns, such as 16/8, are usually easier to follow than others and can help you stick with the program.

Whole30

As you might guess from the name, Whole30 is a diet plan that lasts for 30 days. The creators of the diet stress that the goal is it isn't necessarily to lose weight, but to completely reset your eating habits and thinking about food. During the 30 day program, you are strongly encouraged not to step on a scale or measure any part of your body.    

Like the low FODMAP diet, Whole30 is an elimination diet. Under the plan, you stop eating dairy, legumes, grains, processed foods and any added sugars. You can eat any type of vegetable or fruit, meat, eggs, seafood and natural fats (such as olive oil). Alcohol is also out during the 30-day program6.    

If you decide to try Whole30, one thing to understand is that it really is meant to be just for 30 days. Once you reach the end of the program, you can begin to add foods back to your diet, such as dairy or beans. Some people realize that they no longer want to eat certain things after doing Whole30, like dairy, because they find that doing so irritates their digestive system. 

Noom

Noom technically isn't a diet. It's a mobile app that provides one-on-one coaching and support groups to help you set and reach weight loss goals. To start the program, you answer questions about your current weight, height, gender, age, current exercise habits, eating style and overall goals.   

Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) is at the heart of the Noom program. After you answer the initial questions, the app pairs you with a specialist who will use CBT techniques to help you change your thinking about food and overall health. You also get matched up with a peer support group, with whom you can discuss common diet and food-related challenges.    

Unlike other trendy weight loss programs,  Noom doesn't promise dramatic, rapid results. Instead, the typical person loses a pound or two per week while using the app. Unlike many other programs, Noom also costs money. A subscription to the app is about $50 per month.    With any diet program, it's always a good idea to talk to your doctor before getting started, especially if your goal is sustained, long-term weight loss. Your doctor can help you decide which type of diet plan will be the most likely to help you reach your goals.

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Sources:  

1. Marist Poll National Adults Likely to Make New Year's Resolution, http://maristpoll.marist.edu/wp-content/uploads/2018/12/NPR_PBS-NewsHour_Marist-Poll_USA-NOS-and-Tables_New-Years-Resolutions_1812061019-1.pdf#page=3

2. "What is Ketosis, and Is It Healthy?", Healthline, https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/what-is-ketosis

3. "Should You Try the Keto Diet?", Harvard Health Publishing, https://www.health.harvard.edu/staying-healthy/should-you-try-the-keto-diet

4. "What is the Low FODMAP Diet?", US News and World Report, https://health.usnews.com/best-diet/low-fodmap-diet

5. "Intermittent Fasting 101 — The Ultimate Beginner's Guide", Healthline, https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/intermittent-fasting-guide#weight-loss

6. "Plan for Whole30 Success", https://whole30.com/whole30-program-rules/

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