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Skinny diets: The Skinny on 7 Diet Trends


The Skinny on 7 Diet Trends

When it comes to diets and diet trends, the choices can be dizzying. With so many ways to lose weight, it’s hard to decipher which methods are healthy and actually work.

Lisa Ravindra, MD, an internal medicine specialist at Rush University Medical Center, takes a closer look at seven popular diet trends and how each stacks up in terms of weight loss and overall health benefits.

1. Ketogenic diet

The ketogenic diet is an extremely low-carbohydrate, high-fat diet. The goal of the diet is to maintain a state of ketosis, which means that by eating fewer carbs, the body’s fat-burning system relies mainly on fat instead of sugar for energy.

This concept is actually nothing new. “There’s a lot of research, going back to the early 1900s, that ketogenic diets help with certain neurologic conditions like epilepsy in children,” Ravindra says. “But it’s relatively a new strategy for weight loss.”


If your weight loss goals are more immediate, a ketogenic diet may be able to help you achieve those results. “It’s been shown to be very effective for short-term weight loss — more so even than low-fat diets,” Ravindra says.

Additional benefits may include preventing certain types of chronic disease. “There’s been some suggestion that there may be benefits as far as other brain disorders such as Parkinson’s disease, Alzheimer’s disease, multiple sclerosis and even brain cancer,” Ravindra adds. “But there have not been any definitive studies yet.”


Some health experts believe eating a large amount of fat and protein from animal sources can increase your risk of heart disease and certain cancers.

“On the ketogenic diet, you can, for instance, eat all the bacon you want; that obviously goes against what we’ve always thought would be healthy,” Ravindra says. “And we don’t yet know the effect of this diet on people with liver, kidney and heart disease.”

The diet is also really strict. “It’s an extreme diet, cutting out almost all carbohydrates,” Ravindra says. That means giving up or limiting conventionally healthy foods like fruit, whole grains and some vegetables.

Very low-carbohydrate diets may also be associated with more side effects than a low-fat diet, including headaches, fatigue and bad breath.

2. Whole30 diet

The Whole30 diet is a commercial diet marketed as a “30-day nutritional reset.”

During those 30 days, you are to avoid sugar, alcohol, grains, legumes and dairy. The diet does permit meat, seafood, eggs, veggies, fruit, and natural fats like vegetable oils, coconut oil and tree nuts.


What’s nice is that the Whole30 has a built-in support system on social media. “That can be helpful for people who need to keep themselves accountable,” Ravindra says. Also, there’s no counting or restricting calories.


The company behind the Whole30 diet claims that it can improve or “cure” many medical problems, such as asthma, depression and Lyme disease, but the claims are unfounded; there’s no independent research to verify them.

“It’s also really restrictive and only temporary since it lasts just 30 days,” Ravindra says. Plus, it takes a lot of planning to comply.

3. Low-FODMAP diet

Some people are sensitive to certain carbohydrates that are poorly absorbed in the intestines and can cause bloating. These carbs are known as fermentable oligo, di, monosaccharides and polyols — or FODMAPs — and are found in certain grains, vegetables, fruits and dairy products.

A low-FODMAP diet is often recommended for people with irritable bowel syndrome (IBS),  a common disorder that causes symptoms like cramping, abdominal pain, bloating, gas, and diarrhea and/or constipation.


Studies demonstrate a definite improvement in IBS symptoms in people who use the low-FODMAP diet.

“I personally have had many patients with IBS who have done really well on this diet,” Ravindra says. “If they follow it, they see great improvement and even go into remission.”


The low-FODMAP diet is not a weight loss diet. “It’s really just for people with IBS,” Ravindra explains. “So the studies haven’t shown any benefit for people who don’t have IBS.”

It’s also not very easy to follow because the list of low-FODMAP foods is not intuitive. “For example, broccoli is a low-FODMAP food, and cauliflower is a high-FODMAP food. So you have to have the list of foods with you at all times,” Ravindra adds.

4. Intermittent fasting diet (time-restrictive eating)

Intermittent fasting is a term for an eating pattern that cycles between periods of eating very little or nothing, and eating regular meals.

Some people intermittently fast for 16 hours a day and then eat all their food in an eight-hour time span; others fast for 24 hours at a time, maybe twice a week. “This plan isn’t specific about which foods to eat, but rather when you should eat them,” Ravindra says. 


The intermittent fasting diet works well for people with busy schedules because it doesn’t really require planning.

“There’s less cooking and cleanup because you’re not eating as many meals, and it helps you consume fewer calories without really thinking about what you’re eating because you’re simply eating less in general,” Ravindra says.


In a 2018 U.S. News & World Report article where 40 diets were ranked, intermittent fasting was one of the lowest on the list.

The criticism is mostly based on the fact that there’s no guide on what to eat during the nonfasting days. “People could end up eating really unhealthily on those days, and there’s no information on foods you’re supposed to stay away from,” Ravindra says. 

This diet is also not recommended for people with diabetes because fasting could lead to low blood sugar that may require medication adjustment. People who have a history of eating disorders should also steer clear of this diet, and long-term compliance can be an issue as well.

Fad diets and going to extremes by cutting out major food groups — like carbs — simply aren’t sustainable strategies.

5. The Mediterranean diet

A Mediterranean diet emphasizes eating fruits, vegetables, whole grains, beans, nuts, olive oil and very little red meat.


This diet was tied for No. 1 — along with the DASH diet below — for the best overall diet in 2018 by U.S. News & World Report in large part due to its many health benefits. “Studies have shown reductions in fatal heart attacks, strokes, cancers, Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s for people who follow a Mediterranean diet,” Ravindra says. 


There are not any known health drawbacks. “I would just caution that some of the studies are short-term, and the exact reason for the health benefits is not clear,” Ravindra says. Also, some of the food items can be expensive, especially compared to processed packaged foods.

6. The DASH diet

The DASH diet is designed to lower high blood pressure. The acronym in the name stands for Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension. It’s a diet rich in fruits, vegetables, legumes and low-fat dairy products, and low in snacks, sweets, meats, and saturated and total fat.

DASH also stresses limiting salt intake. “Definitely, no more than 2,300 mg a day of salt, but ultimately you should strive to stay under 1,500 mg daily,” Ravindra says.


Tied for No. 1 alongside the Mediterranean diet in U.S. News & World Report, a low-sodium DASH diet has been proven to decrease blood pressure. It also reportedly decreases LDL (“bad”) cholesterol, and possibly lowers the risk of stroke and heart disease.

“There are also lots of easily accessible DASH-based diets online, which makes it easy to comply with,” Ravindra says.


Although the DASH diet was not developed specifically as a weight-loss diet, it may cause some weight loss (which could also be seen as a benefit). And some people might find that limiting salt makes food taste bland.

“The good news is that there are plenty of other healthy options for flavoring, like herbs, spices and citrus juices,” Ravindra says.

7. The MIND diet

The MIND diet, which stands for the Mediterranean-DASH Intervention for Neurodegenerative Delay, developed at Rush University Medical Center, combines foods from the Mediterranean and DASH diets. It focuses on 10 food groups that support brain health, including leafy greens, berries, poultry, beans and nuts.


“The diet has been shown to benefit brain health and protect against dementia,” Ravindra says.

In fact, the MIND diet can help lower the risk of Alzheimer’s disease by as much as 53 percent in people who adhere to the diet rigorously, and by about 35 percent in those who follow it moderately well.

It may also help substantially slow cognitive decline in stroke survivors, according to preliminary research presented at the American Stroke Association’s International Stroke Conference 2018.

Those are big reasons why MIND has been ranked No. 5 in U.S. News & World Report’s list of best diets for three consecutive years.


There aren’t any health risks with MIND, but like the Mediterranean diet, the food needed to follow the diet can be costly.

To diet or not to diet

Fad diets and going to extremes by cutting out major food groups — like carbs — simply aren’t sustainable strategies.

For long-term weight maintenance and overall health, Ravindra instead suggests the following sensible approaches to a healthy diet:

  • Choose whole foods, such as whole grains, fruits and vegetables.
  • Eat fewer processed or packaged foods, like hot dogs, chips or artificial sweeteners.
  • Spend more time in the produce section of the grocery store rather than the packaged food aisles.
  • Get more fiber, since the American diet is generally sorely lacking in fiber.
  • Avoid foods with unrecognizable and unpronounceable words on the list of ingredients.

Diets are not one-size-fits-all, so what works for one person may not work for another. It’s best to figure out your individual weight loss goals and nutrition priorities by talking with your primary care doctor or a registered dietitian.

And focus on making other lifestyle changes for yourself and your family, including getting plenty of sleep, exercising regularly and managing stress. “All of those things will help not only with maintaining a healthy weight,” Ravindra says, “but with your overall health and well-being.”

20 Habits Skinny People Live By — Eat This Not That

Imagine a group of scientists in a food laboratory on a dark and stormy night and one of them says they’ve created the superfood that will end disease as we know it! All the other food scientists gather around. Such excitement! Soon, the food additive is being blended into everything, from cookies to fast-food burgers, as scientists are certain the superfood will help us all lose weight and live longer and healthier.

Now, imagine that years later, we discover the superfood is, in fact, a monster food—an additive so toxic that, over time, it wildly increases our risk for everything from heart disease to stroke to cancer to obesity. And it’s already inside us all!

Sound like a made-for-TV movie? It’s not. It’s the story of trans fat, a dangerous, man-made lipid found in margarine and shortening that, for a little while at least, was believed to be healthier than regular fats. We bought the lie until the mid-’90s when a study in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition indicted trans fats for no fewer than 30,000 annual deaths. The worst part: They’re still in our food today!

Understanding the nuances of nutrition is hard—so hard that scientists are constantly learning more new information. That’s why the best way to lose weight is to ignore trends and fly-by-night advice, and instead, focus on healthy eating strategies. Develop healthy habits, stick to them, and no matter what nutritional blunders you might make, you’ll still keep yourself on the road to weight loss and a slim physique. Here, we rounded up the 20 best fat-fighting habits. Commit them to your daily routine and you’re guaranteed to drop excess pounds. Indulge and enjoy. And while you’re making healthier changes, be sure you’re stocked up on The 7 Healthiest Foods to Eat Right Now.


Experts have gone back and forth on whether eating late leads to weight gain, but a study published in the journal Obesity found a solid link. Northwestern University researchers looked at the eating and sleeping patterns of 52 adults and found that those who regularly ate after 8 p.m. ingested the most calories and carried the most body fat. An easy-to-follow rule of thumb: Stop eating three hours before you hit the sack. Then, while you sleep, your body is better primed to burn fat instead of creating more.


Stepping on the scale can be disheartening, particularly after an indulgent weekend (“I gained five pounds since Friday?!”). But it’s best to face your fears because as it turns out, weighing yourself regularly can actually help you stay slim. Scientists at the University of Minnesota discovered that people who got on the scale every day lost twice as much weight as those who weighed themselves less often. The assumption: Monitoring your weight keeps your mind on your health and prevents weight denial. In fact, stepping off the scale for too long might be one of the reasons you’re gaining back the weight.


A study in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition discovered that people who ate macaroni and cheese every day took in significantly fewer calories than those who ate the cheese-covered noodles only once a week. The reason: The novelty of new foods drives us to consume more, so by removing the novelty, we feel fuller, faster. We’re not suggesting you choose one meal and eat it every day for the rest of your life, but the more weight-loss-friendly daily routines you establish, the more your belly will shrink. Start with lunch: If you find yourself scratching your head every day when the clock strikes noon, you’ll end up eating impulsively and taking in more calories. Instead, pick something healthy, like a soup-and-salad combo, and eat it every day.


Once you’ve established a healthy routine, you need to establish a reward system. Think of those pioneers who traveled the Oregon Trail. It’s a trip known best for being rife with danger, but it was also rife with sluggish tedium. Early American settlers wouldn’t have completed the journey without the proverbial promise of milk and honey at the end, and neither will you stay the course of a repetitive diet without something more closely resembling literal milk and honey. A great way to stick to a low-calorie diet without breaking down into rebellious binge-mode is to reward yourself with a small dessert every day. Pick a food you love, and at the end of every day, reward yourself with a portion of about 200 calories. But remember—you only get the reward if you deserve it.


A study in the Journal of Health Psychology found that being exposed to nutrition and exercise advice and having support from friends led people to make smarter diet and lifestyle choices. To ensure you stay focused on maintaining a healthy weight, subscribe to a health-related magazine or frequent a nutrition-focused blog.

Looking for more helpful tips? Sign up for our newsletter to get daily recipes and food news in your inbox!


A study from the American Journal of Epidemiology found that people who skipped breakfast were 4.5 times more likely to be obese. They don’t call it the most important meal of the day for nothin’—eating a nutritious morning meal jumpstarts your metabolism and prevents you from overindulging throughout the day. For optimal weight-loss results, choose a breakfast dish with a healthy balance of protein and fiber, like eggs with fruit and whole-wheat toast.


Snacking sometimes gets a bad rap, but packing healthy snacks to nosh on throughout your day can actually keep you skinny. A study released by the Advances in Nutrition journal found that consuming high-fiber, high-protein snacks promotes weight loss. The reason: Healthy snacking keeps your blood sugar from spiking, preventing hunger pangs, cravings, and body fat storage. An ideal snack choice? Nuts. The balance of protein, fiber, and healthy fats is sure to keep you satisfied between meals.


Almost 60% of your body is water, which makes it vital to every important metabolic process. In one study of 173 overweight women, those who added 1 liter of daily water to their diets lost five extra pounds over the course of a year, and if you time it right, the effects can be even greater. When researchers from Virginia Tech had subjects drink two glasses of water before each meal, they found that those subjects lost 30% more body fat over 12 weeks. That said, making beverage blunders is one of the easiest ways to gain belly fat—as the average American drinks 450 sugar-loaded calories a day. Replace half of what you drink with water and you’ll save 23 pounds per year!


A study from the Journal of Public Policy & Marketing found that diners consume more calories when they order combo meals because they end up with more food than they want or need. Our stay-skinny advice: Resist the temptation of the almighty “value” meal and order a la carte items, like a modestly sized burger and a non-fried side dish. You’ll save both calories and cash.


Choosing nutrient-rich whole grains over processed, white flour-based products can play a major role in keeping you lean. In a study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, researchers discovered that participants who added whole grains to their diets lost more belly fat than those who did not. One of the key weight-loss benefits of whole grains: Their healthy dose of fiber helps slow digestion, keeping you fuller longer. But don’t be fooled by “made with whole grain” labels. True whole grain products will list whole grains first on their ingredients list (think “whole wheat” flour instead of “enriched” or “bleached” flour).


A 1999 study in the British Journal of Nutrition found that eating spicy foods may promote weight loss. Research participants who ate a spicy appetizer before a meal ate significantly less than those who consumed a non-spicy app. The explanation: A chemical compound called capsaicin, found in chili peppers, acts as an appetite suppressant. Capsaicin has also been shown to boost metabolism and fight inflammation. The takeaway: Routinely adding spicy ingredients like cayenne or red pepper to your meals is an easy, flavorful way to stay slim.


Getting a good night’s sleep has been linked to a host of major health benefits, not the least of which is maintaining healthy body weight. In a study in the journal Sleep, participants who slept for fewer than six hours or more than eight hours each night gained significantly more weight than those who slept for six to eight hours. Lack of sleep has been shown to increase appetite, lower willpower, and bolster cravings for high-calorie foods. That might be why you find it so hard to resist those doughnuts in the break room.


A study in the American Journal of Epidemiology found that dealing with work-, finance-, or relationship-related stress can lead to weight gain. When you stress, your body releases cortisol, a hormone that promotes abdominal fat storage. If you find yourself overwhelmed in your work or personal life, try incorporating stress-reducing activities into your day. Join a yoga class or go for a jog, and when you start to feel stress coming on, pause and take deep breaths.


Most of us are aware that formal exercise is a key component in maintaining a healthy weight, but simple choices like taking the stairs can be just as important if you want to stay trim. One Mayo Clinic study found that if you stand (instead of sit) for six hours a day, you can burn 5.5 pounds a year. Make the most of daily motion by also walking to lunch, parking at the back of the lot, or skipping email in favor of short walks to deliver messages to coworkers. (As a bonus, you’ll make your face more recognizable around the office. )


A study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that chewing more and eating slowly caused participants to ingest fewer calories. According to the study’s researchers, the increase in chewing simultaneously lowered levels of appetite-stimulating hormones and increased levels of appetite-suppressing hormones. One way to make sure you chew your food thoroughly: Stop to eat. Eating on the go—in your car, for example—can lead you to quickly inhale a ton of calories before your body has time to let you know it’s full.


Taking a walk after dinner can help you lose weight, and not just because walking burns calories. According to one study in Medicine & Science In Sports & Exercise, light, post-meal exercise—like walking—can lower your triglycerides and prevent heart disease. Don’t have time for a walk, you say? Not a problem. As long as you keep moving after you eat, you will reap similar benefits. Even doing the dishes or completing other household tasks can help.


A great way to ensure you make nutritious food choices: Surround yourself with healthy options. Don’t use convenience as an excuse for a shameful diet. Keep fresh fruit on your kitchen counter, store healthy snacks like nuts in your desk at work, keep pre-washed, pre-cut vegetables in your fridge—whatever you have to do to make the healthiest choice the easiest choice, do it! You won’t feel deprived or hungry as the pounds are dropping away.


A 2006 study in the International Journal of Obesity found that laughing for 15 minutes each day can help you burn 10 to 40 calories, depending on your body size and the intensity of your laughter. This adds up to about one to four pounds of fat lost per year. That may not sound like much, but there’s also been plenty of research linking happy people to all-around healthier lifestyles, and you, my friend, have an excuse to make that a part of your daily diet routine.


A study in Obesity Facts found that dieting participants who increased their protein intake lost 10% of their body weight. Eating protein increases lean muscle mass, which keeps your metabolism running on high—even when you’re resting. Protein also keeps you full, making you less likely to overeat. For maximum health and weight-loss benefits, aim to include protein in all of your meals and snacks. The best options? Lean protein sources like fish, eggs, lean meats, low-fat dairy products, and legumes.


With laptops, smartphones, and iPads aplenty, we’ve become accustomed to round-the-clock entertainment. But your mealtime may be one time of day we should fight our addiction to amusement. Researchers at the University of Birmingham found that diners who were distracted at mealtime consumed significantly more calories than those who paid close attention to what they ate. One possible explanation: When you don’t pay attention to the meal you’re eating, your brain doesn’t fully register the experience. That leaves you less satisfied and more vulnerable to overeating.

The Skinny on Fad Diets

Will any of these diets help you lose weight and get healthier? Which ones will actually work and are realistic?

Quite frankly, if it seems too good to be true, it most likely is! And even if a fad diet has some good points, how do you separate the wheat from the chaff (or the gluten-free equivalent)? Many trendy diets eliminate whole food groups, which can also keep you from getting important nutrients such as calcium or B vitamins.   Let’s take a look at the most popular diets these days, and how they can hurt or help you.

Paleo Diet

Marketed as the caveman-type diet, this diet’s goal is to eat the kinds of food our human hunter-gatherer ancestors might have eaten, such as lean meat (the wilder the better), nuts and berries.

What works: This plan steers folks away from salt, processed foods and refined sugars.  It promotes fish, seafood, fresh fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds and healthy oils (olive oil, canola oil, sesame oil) .

What to watch: Don’t cut out too many whole grains, legumes (beans, chickpeas, lentils) or dairy for the long term, unless you have an allergy or intolerance to any of them.  Make sure you are getting enough calcium (1,000mg/day for men and women ages 19-50 years old, and 1,200 mg/day for men and women 70 and older) from other sources such as fortified alternative milk products (like almond milk), green vegetables (like spinach or kale) or almonds. ought

Gluten-Free Diet

This diet eliminates all foods with gluten, a protein found in barley, rye, and wheat. The gluten-free diet is a necessity for folks who are gluten intolerant, such as those with those with Celiac Disease. It is also a good idea for folks who may not have Celiac Disease but are sensitive to gluten, and react to it with stomach problems or skin conditions.

What works: Many snack foods and junk foods are made with wheat, so avoiding gluten may automatically help some people eat fewer processed snack foods and nutrition-less carbs. There are many whole foods that are naturally gluten-free and healthful, including all fruits, vegetables, legumes, beans, potatoes, quinoa, rice, milks, most yogurts and cheeses, and most fish, poultry and meats.

What to watch: Eating gluten free does not necessarily equal weight loss.  A new selection of gluten-free junk food is now available on most grocery store shelves.  Just because something is labeled as “gluten-free” does not make it healthy:  a chocolate bar has always been gluten free. Some “gluten free” foods are still high in sugar, fat and calories.

High-Protein, Low-Carb Diet

This diet is like the paleo diet, but allows you to eat different types of protein and is more likely to leave out important sources of fiber.

What works: Carbohydrates are found in milk, yogurt, fruits, starchy vegetables, beans and starches such as grains and cereals, and also found in sweets. These are the foods we tend to overindulge in, so limiting some of these foods may help us eat fewer calories.

What to watch:  If you avoid carbs altogether, you may not get enough fiber, calcium and important phytochemicals (nutrients that come from plants). And you might not have enough variety in your diet to fuel your body for daily activity and exercise (carbs are our primary source of fuel)—or to stave off boredom.

The Whole 30

Intended to be a “total reset” for you digestive system for an entire month (i.e. 30 days), this diet advises you to remove all foods and beverages which might be “inflammatory” and eat three “clean” meals a day.

What works:  Inflammatory foods to avoid include: dairy, grains, added sugar, alcohol and legumes.  Cutting out sugar means that you will lose weight by avoiding empty calories in desserts, baked goods, and alcohol.  This diet may be helpful for people suffering from unidentified food allergies or intolerances.  Many people like that this diet focuses on helping you to feel better and does not advise calorie counting, in fact, you are instructed to step on the scale only once before starting the plan and then not until the end of the 30 days.

What to watch:  Many people are not sensitive to dairy, whole grains, and legumes and these foods can be important healthy sources of good nutrition when eaten in moderation.  This plan also promotes meat consumption, can be high in sodium, low in calcium and could encourage eating too many foods that are high in cholesterol.

The 5:2 Diet (Intermittent Fasting Diet)

This diet instructs you to fast on alternate days, meaning that you eat normally for five days a week and then restrict your calorie intake to only 500-600 calories for two days a week.   These two days of restrictive eating allow you to reach an overall lower calorie consumption for the week, leading to weight loss over time.  The two fasting days must have one non-fasting day in between them, but otherwise you can pick which days you prefer to fast.

What works:  This diet does not require you to avoid certain foods, but instead instructs you when to eat.  Alternate day fasting may be better at protecting against the loss of muscle mass that can sometimes happen at the same time as you lose weight.  Intermittent fasting has been shown to reduce blood sugar and cholesterol levels which could be helpful for people at risk for type 2 diabetes or heart disease.

What to watch: Alternate day fasting diets have not been shown to cause any greater weight loss than standard diets with calorie restriction (generally this is calculated to be about 1500 calories per day for the average woman and 2000 calories per day for the average man to lose one pound of weight per week).   Many people have trouble maintaining this strict pattern of eating over the long term.

So which diet should I choose?

The bad news is that there really is no single diet that will magically help you lose weight or stay healthy in the long term. The good news is that you can adopt a healthful approach to eating that fits with your life and food preferences. Some of the specific recommendations and lifestyle modifications that help you improve cholesterol, blood sugars, or blood pressure will also help with losing weight (or maintaining a healthy weight), improving energy and often improving mood.  Some of the fad diets may help with weight loss initially, but working on long-term behavior and lifestyle changes is what will lead to longer-term success.It is perfectly reasonable to take bits and pieces from different diet recommendations and fit them into a plan that can work for you. Watching portions, increasing physical activity and practicing moderation are the keys to losing weight, maintaining weight and staying fit and healthy.

Still have questions? Consider meeting with a registered dietitian in your area to talk through a plan that works for your life and helps you reach your goals.

The health educators at the Learning Resource Center are happy to help. They provide trusted & reliable health information and connect people to local resources in the community. Connect with a health educator today! Be well, be well informed.

The Skinny Vegan Diet – Diet and Nutrition Center

The Skinny Vegan Diet was created by the authors of the Skinny Bitch series, Rory Freedman, a former modeling agent, and Kim Barnouin, MS, a former model. The Skinny Vegan Diet is a low-calorie diet that promotes weight loss through a vegan diet. But some nutritionists are concerned that the Skinny Vegan Diet cuts nutritional corners, and that could mean trouble.

The Skinny Vegan Diet: How Does It Work?

The Skinny Vegan Diet outlines a weight-loss plan with “no animal products, no fast food, no processed food, plenty of high-fiber natural foods, fruits and vegetables, and soy products,” says registered dietitian Keri Gans, RD, a spokesperson for the American Dietetic Association. “It claims that you’ll be healthier, happier, and more energized and skinny.”

The Skinny Vegan Diet is an elimination diet. Its creators encourage people to remove all animal products from their diets to achieve weight loss and to be healthier. It also discourages snacking and recommends waiting until you’re famished to eat, says registered dietitian Lisa Dorfman, MS, RD, director of Sports Nutrition at the University of Miami and author of The Reunion Diet.

The Skinny Vegan Diet: Sample Diet

Here’s what you’ll eat on a typical day:


Fresh squeezed grapefruit juice

Oatmeal with blueberries, strawberries, and raspberries


Veggie burger on a whole-grain bun with onion, lettuce, tomato, avocado, and alfalfa sprouts

Vegan potato salad


Imitation chicken patty with brown rice, lentils, and steamed kale

The Skinny Vegan Diet: Pros and Cons

There are two distinct sides to the Skinny Vegan Diet.

The advantages include:

It encourages people to think about making healthy food choices. The Skinny Vegan Diet promotes fresh produce and whole grains. “It gets you to eat more vegetables and fruits,” says registered dietitian Tara Gidus, RD, a nutrition consultant in Orlando, Fla.

Physical activity and stress management are part of the plan. “It encourages regular exercise, especially yoga,” says Gans.

Some drawbacks to consider:

There is a risk of developing vitamin deficiencies. “You could end up deficient in calcium, vitamin D, and iron,” says Gidus. “For instance, calcium in leafy vegetables is not absorbed very well.” Another vitamin at risk is B12, which is plentiful in animal products, but hard to find in non-animal, non-fortified sources.

More guidance on portion sizes is needed. For example, one sample lunch menu item is “soup and salad,” with no information beyond that, says Gidus. The book gives vague directions like, “Feel free to snack on a handful of nuts a day,” Gidus points out.

The lack of portion control could prevent weight loss or even lead to weight gain, especially since the Skinny Vegan Diet allows for foods such as organic ice cream and chips. “Because there are no portion sizes, foods that are high in calories could add up and you could gain weight,” adds Dorfman.

There’s lack of scientific research. “This is not evidence-based information,” says Dorfman. “There is no proof that people will lose weight on this diet.”

“Skinny” does not necessarily mean healthy. “You don’t have to be a vegan to lose weight and look good,” says Gidus. “And just because you are thin, it does not necessarily mean that you are healthy.”

It can be expensive. “The Skinny Vegan recommends organic foods, which tend to be more expensive,” says Dorfman.

The Skinny Vegan Diet: Short- and Long-Term Effects

In the short term, people on the Skinny Vegan Diet will probably lose weight because they can only eat limited foods. You might also feel better, experience better gastrointestinal function, see positive changes in skin and hair, and be more relaxed from doing yoga, says Dorfman.

The main issue with the Skinny Vegan Diet is that it may be difficult to maintain for the long term. “A vegan diet is not realistic for most people,” says Gidus. “It’s very difficult to avoid all sources of animal protein in our society. People have to work, travel, and so on.”

Another factor that could hamper being on the Skinny Vegan Diet for the long term is that the diet is simply about switching to vegan foods. “We become empowered when we understand a diet,” says Dorfman. “If the diet is only about choosing different foods, without allowing room for slip-ups, then that doesn’t last long in the diet world.”

Learn more in Everyday Health’s Diet and Nutrition Center.

The Skinny of the Skinny Girl Diet

With a name like the “skinny girl diet”, it is not hard to mistake this meal plan for an anorexic diet. In fact, there are similarities between the two. The skinny girl diet is a VLCD, a very low calorie diet that aims to kick start your weight loss efforts by eating fewer calories. It is designed for women and promises fast results within a week of following it.

How Does the Skinny Girl Diet Work?

Literature about this diet is limited. This can be partly due to its similarity to many other low-calorie meal plans. Another reason might be because VLCDs are hugely frowned upon in the medical community. It is believed to be the brainchild of Bethenny Frankel, a popular television personality. This diet is more about eating strategies than it is about a meal plan people should follow.

In a nutshell, the skinny girl diet teaches followers to select their foods carefully and employ certain dietary strategies to either lose weight or keep it off. It recommends that dieters stick to a 400-800 daily calorie limit. This can be done by eating more fruit and vegetables, while avoiding starchy foods.

What Can You Eat On The Skinny Girl Diet?

Fresh produce is the order of the day with this meal plan. In some modified versions of the diet, followers are advised to feast on only vegetables and fruit. Foods should contain as few calories as possible. This means foods like watermelons; leafy greens and low-sugar fruit are at the top of the list. Dieters are advised to stay hydrated by drinking plenty of water and avoiding carbonated drinks.

Basic Skinny Girl Diet Eating Strategies and Principles

The diet is accompanied by the philosophy that you should view your daily diet as an account balance. Some foods should be forfeited for the sake of maintaining your caloric limit, while others are replaced by healthier alternatives. Dieters are allowed to consume more than 800 calories a day, provided they burn off the additional calories through exercise. The last day of this 30-day meal plan is dedicated to fasting.

Principle #1: Taste all, eat nothing

This principle states that you can have a bite of any food you want, as long as you don’t have it all. For instance, a dieter can “taste” a fattening food like chocolate cake by taking one or two bites. By tasting and not eating, you can keep calories low without depriving yourself of favorite treats.

Principle #2: Make portions smaller

The Skinny Girl diet is about downsizing the portions of the food you eat. Having smaller portions is a way to enjoy meals without going overboard with calories.

Principle #3: Eat only real food

Avoiding processed food is a big principle to follow on this diet. Processed foods like packaged meats, commercially-baked products and canned ingredients are discouraged. Dieters should therefore strive to eat fresh, “real” food in its most natural state.

The Skinny Girl Diet can be best described as an attitude towards food and a set of strategies that can aid weight loss. What you eat is important, but how you eat it might be even more valuable. Choosing fresh foods over processed, taking small bites and having small portions are legitimate weight loss tactics. However, the low-calorie content of this meal plan can be dangerous to your health. 

Consider this article as an awareness campaign. If you want to lose weight fast, choose a diet that won’t harm your body.

The Skinny on Diets | Washingtonian (DC)

Changing how and what you eat is often the first step to losing weight, but for many people that’s no easy feat—especially when yet another fad diet pops up promising to help you shed pounds and feel healthier.

Experts say there’s one simple question to ask when deciding if a diet is right for you: “Could I eat like this for the rest of my life?” If you answer no, it isn’t likely to be a success.

We asked dietitians to rate some popular diets, from one that bans cooking to a diet that turns out to be best for heart health.

Paleo Diet

Also known as the caveman’s diet, Paleo emphasizes eating from the same food groups as Paleolithic hunter-gatherers did. Though it promotes grass-produced meat, seafood, vegetables, fruit, and nuts, it bars dairy, grains, beans, refined sugar, and processed foods.

Rating: C
Registered dietitian Rebecca Scritchfield says that while eliminating highly processed and sugary foods from your diet is always a good idea, this regimen loses points because it “cuts out entire food groups that offer good nutrition, especially beans.”

Raw-Food Diet

Raw-foodists refrain from eating food that has been cooked above 115 degrees Fahrenheit, processed, microwaved, genetically engineered, or exposed to pesticides. Raw animal products are allowed, but fruits and vegetables are the mainstays.

Rating: B minus
Dieters are bound to lose weight from eating raw food, but Fairfax dietitian Danielle Omar warns that the lifestyle can be a chore. “Because of the restrictions, you need to dive into the whole raw-food community and become a part of it,” she says. “That’s unrealistic for a lot of people.”

The 5:2 Fast Diet

This diet promotes intermittent fasting, in which you eat normally for five days, then fast for two. While fasting, dieters cut their typical caloric intake by 75 percent, amounting to approximately 500 calories for women and 600 for men.

Rating: D
“Of course fasting is going to help you lose weight—at least temporarily,” says DC dietitian Katherine Tallmadge. But she warns: “You can more than make up for the two days by binge-eating during the other five. I can understand fasting as a religious rite, but beyond that it’s not healthy.”

Gluten-Free Diet

This diet eliminates gluten, a protein in grains such as wheat and barley. The regimen is aimed at people with celiac disease and those who are gluten-intolerant, although professional athletes have credited the diet for their leaner bodies and improved performances.

Rating: C
“There are benefits to going gluten-free because you choose healthier grains, avoid processed foods, and opt for more plant-based options,” Omar says. Yet Tallmadge says that gluten-free products contain the same carbs, calories, and sugar as similar foods with gluten, so a balanced diet is still key.

Mediterranean Diet

This regimen is characterized by a high intake of olive oil, fruit, nuts, vegetables, and cereal grains; a moderate amount of fish, poultry, and red wine; and low consumption of dairy products, red meats, and dessert.

Rating: A
“I support the Mediterranean because it’s a lifestyle and not based on calories,” Scritchfield says. “Plus there’s no one food group that it eliminates.” Research shows that the Mediterranean diet can reduce your risk of heart disease by 30 percent, and it also promotes cognitive health.

K-E Diet

Made popular by brides willing to go to extremes before their wedding day, this diet allows just 800 calories a day. A dieter ingests liquid food through a tube that’s inserted in the nose for up to ten days.

Rating: F
Not only is it “disgusting,” according to Omar, but it’s not sustainable. “You’re not focused on behavioral change,” she says.

This article appears in the February 2014 issue of Washingtonian.

The Skinny on Diets for Weight Loss

Dieting to lose weight has become a regular pastime for many adults. But, how is that working out? Not great. Studies show that within five years, 60 percent of dieters regain more weight than they lost on their diets.

If no diet seems to work well over time—according to the research—why are there so many? A quick search can pull up hundreds. It’s because even if you haven’t succeeded before, attaining and maintaining a healthy weight is a noble goal. And it’s one that can pay big health dividends.

Why Diets are Popular?

Weight management is one of the world’s biggest health issues. Worldwide obesity has nearly tripled since 1975. In the United States, 39.6 percent of adults are classified as obese. As of 2016, globally, 39 percent of adults were overweight and 13 percent were obese.

The reality of modern life is that most of the world’s population lives in countries where overweight and obesity kills more people than the problem of being underweight. And, it’s not just about food consumption. Less than five percent of U.S. adults participate in 30 minutes of physical activity each day. And only one in three adults receives the recommended amount of physical activity each week.

What is a Diet?

A general definition of diet is “the sum of energy and nutrients obtained from foods and beverages consumed regularly by individuals.” The fact that a diet is healthy or nutritious doesn’t necessarily make it ideal for weight control. So, this article will focus only on reduced-energy diets intended to shrink bodyweight and body fat.

The most basic and long-held principle of weight loss or gain is determined by either a calorie deficit or excess. You might know this as calories in/calories out, or caloric balance. The oversimplification of the caloric balance concept has led to a call to “eat less, move more” as a solution to the worldwide obesity problem.

While the caloric balance concept is ultimately true, it isn’t that simple and doesn’t account for the composition of weight gained or lost. Numerous factors influence eating behaviors and dictate energy intake (calories taken in). In addition, there are multiple factors tied to the “calories out” side of the equation (calories burned). This article only focuses on the diet, or “calories in” side of the equation.

And there’s plenty to discuss on that side of the equation. Below, you won’t find every popular diet available today—there are too many. Instead, you’ll see analysis of the major diet types, or concepts. Don’t worry, most common diets or brands will fall under one of the classifications discussed below.

With so many major diet types, conflicting information and new fads thrown at you constantly, how do you know which diet or eating pattern is the best? Take a look at the science behind these major diet types.

Low-Carbohydrate Diets

You’ve heard it before: carbs are just the worst. That statement may be a little too over the top. But there are plenty of diets that focus on limiting carbohydrates. Low-carb diets are a broad category that’s difficult to define precisely.

But let’s try. Official U.S. government guidelines suggest an intake of 45-65 percent of calories from carbohydrates. So, let’s define a low carb diet as a carbohydrate intake of 10-40 percent of total daily calories. (Carbohydrate intakes of 10 percent or less—or about 50 grams—result in elevated blood ketone bodies and changes in energy metabolism. These very low-carb diets deserve a separate discussion. So, you’ll read about ketogenic diets in the next section.)

Their popularity might make you expect the research about low carb to be outstanding. But studies comparing the effects of low-fat diets and low-carb diets have provided mixed results. That’s especially true with studies that use a more liberal definition of low-carb diets (less than 40 percent of calories from carbs). That research has shown little difference in body weight and waist circumference when comparing low-carb to low-fat diets.

But research comparing lower carbohydrate intake (less than 20 percent of calories) has favored low-carb diets over low-fat for weight loss and improvement of health risk factors.

A recent meta-analysis looked at the effect of low-carb diets on fat mass and body weight. The diets in the analysis were categorized as either mild low-carb (about 40 percent carbs) or very low-carb (about 10 percent carbohydrates). With all low-carb diets considered, the fat loss was greater with low-carb than the control diets.

And the lower carb, the better the results. When they compared each type of low-carb diet (mild and very low), the diet with just 10 percent carbs had significant difference compared to the control. The mild did not.

But it should be noted that the absolute difference in fat loss after 12 months between either of the low-carb diets and the control diets was only 0.57-1.46 kg. This small difference in results after a year is likely not very compelling for the average dieter.


  • Defaults to higher protein intake, which helps you feel fuller.
  • Provides flexibility with regard to fat and protein intake.
  • Does not indiscriminately prohibit foods based on fat content.


  • Significantly limiting carbohydrates may falsely convey the message that carbohydrates are solely responsible for weight gain.
  • Limits healthy fruit, vegetable, whole grain, and legume servings in the diet.

Examples: Atkins, Dukan, Zone, South Beach diet, Stillman, Kimkins

Ketogenic Diets

If you have read anything about health and diet over the past couple of years, you’re probably familiar with the term “keto.”

The ketogenic diet (KD) is a variation of a low-carbohydrate diet, but different enough to earn a separate discussion. Unlike the rather liberal definition of low-carb diets in general, the keto diet is objectively defined by its ability to measurably elevate circulating ketone bodies or ketones. These are chemicals your body produces when it burns stored fat.

Entering this state of ketone elevation is also known as nutritional ketosis. And it’s important to distinguish it from diabetic ketoacidosis (DKA). DKA can be a life-threatening condition resulting from dangerously high levels of ketones and glucose (sugar) in the blood. This combination makes your blood too acidic. That can severely impact the function of organs like the liver and kidneys. Diabetic ketoacidosis occurs primarily in Type I diabetics and in the absence of insulin.

Nutritional ketosis can result from a very low-carb diet, fasting, or if you’ve consumed too much alcohol. If you’re in ketosis, you have a higher than usual level of ketones in your blood or urine, but not high enough to cause acidosis.

Now you know the difference between DKA and dietary ketosis. So, let’s focus on how to achieve the sweet spot for dietary ketosis. Aside from completely fasting, ketosis can be attained by restricting carbohydrates to less than 50 grams per day (or about 10 percent of energy intake). The typical ketogenic diet would be:

  • 5-10 percent carbohydrates
  • 15-20 percent protein
  • 70-80 percent fat

It is important to mention that extreme carb restriction often results in unpleasant side effects at the beginning. Commonly known as the “keto flu,” many dieters experience fatigue, weakness, brain fog, headaches, irritability, and nausea. The time it takes to adapt to a keto diet is different for everybody. But after two-to-three weeks, most low-carb dieters report improved mental concentration, focus, and physical energy.

Keto advocates say the production of ketone bodies and a state of ketosis results in a unique metabolic state. It’s this state, they say, that helps keto diets do better than other diets at losing fat. But the scientific evidence for this assertion is mixed, at best.

The true test of the keto state happens when researchers match up the protein and energy intake between keto and non-keto diets. Experiments with this setup, with very few exceptions, have failed to show a fat-loss advantage with keto. This has been shown in the most controlled setting (where participants eat only what is given to them). In these strict studies, comparisons between keto and non-keto diets that have equal calories and protein have never reported significantly increased energy expenditure or greater loss of body fat with keto diets.

Two meta-analyses provided strong evidence against a metabolic advantage to near total carbohydrate restriction, like keto. The analyses included 32 studies, all of which were strictly controlled with all the food provided to the subjects. Carbohydrates ranged from one to 83 percent and dietary fat ranged from four to 84 percent of total energy. No metabolic or fat loss advantage was seen in the low-carbohydrate conditions. On the contrary, fat loss was slightly greater in the higher carb or low-fat condition.

Critics of the existing literature suggest that trials need to run longer to allow for sufficient “ketoadaptation.” This is a physical shift away from using sugar for fuel and toward an increase in fat as a primary fuel source. However, when objectively measured, the increased percentage of fat burned for fuel plateaus after about one week on a ketogenic diet. Simply put, rigorously controlled studies have shown ketoadaptation doesn’t necessarily amount to a net decrease in body fat.

If there is any advantage to keto diets for fat loss, it is potentially in the realm of appetite regulation. Even without calorie restrictions, keto has consistently resulted in body fat and/or body-weight reduction. That’s because fat and protein improve satiety, which helps keto dieters to eat fewer calories. Ketogenic diets also may increase satiety through a suppression of ghrelin production (a hormone that stimulates appetite). However, it remains unclear whether the appetite suppression is due to ketosis or other factors like increases in protein, or restriction of carbohydrates.


  • Defaults to higher protein intake.
  • Suppresses appetite or controls hunger, even with no imposed calorie restrictions.
  • Simplifies meal planning and dietary decision-making process.


  • Severely restricts fruit, vegetable, whole grain, and legumes, which are significant sources of fiber and nutrients in the diet.
  • Can compromise high-intensity training output.
  • Has not shown superior effects on body composition compared to non-keto diets when protein and calories are matched.
  • Dietary extremes make it hard to stay on or stay compliant, long term.

Intermittent Fasting

You can probably guess how intermittent fasting diets work. It’s right there in the name. Intermittent fasting is where you cycle between periods of eating and fasting. That makes dieting less about which foods you should eat, and more about when you should eat them.

There are numerous variations of intermittent fasting. But it can be divided into three major subclasses: alternate-day fasting, whole-day fasting, and time-restricted feeding.

Alternate-day fasting is the most studied variation. You may have also heard it called The Every Other Day Diet. As the name suggests, alternate day typically involves switching between 24-hours of fasting and 24-hour feeding periods. The feeding day is not restricted by calories or food types.

Studies have shown that dieters do not eat enough on feeding day to offset the prior day’s fast. Over time, this leads to a calorie deficit and weight loss. Research has also shown that lean body mass is well conserved with this approach. A popular variation of the alternate day diet includes a small meal (fewer than 500 calories) on fasting day rather than zero calories. This variation may slow weight loss slightly, but seems to help further preserve lean body mass and improve compliance.

Whole-day fasting typically involves one or two 24-hour fasting periods throughout the week of otherwise normal eating. Like alternate day, variations to whole day include no-food fast days or those with 500-600 calories. Whole-day fasting has been shown to be as effective as daily calorie restriction for losing body weight and fat. (This was shown over a period of three to six months of similar weekly calorie deficit.)

Time-restricted feeding does just that—limiting the time you eat to several hours a day. Generally, that means a fasting period of 16-20 hours and four to eight hours of unrestricted eating. Until recently, little research has been done on these diets. Two recent studies using 20/4 and 16/8 fasting and feeding schedules in active individuals showed promise. They found the time restrictions lowered body fat while maintaining lean-body mass—compared to normal diet controls.

The largest review of intermittent fasting research found very similar results when comparing the effects of intermittent fasting to continuous calorie restriction. Body-composition change and other positive outcomes between the two diets were considered equivalent. However, intermittent fasting was considered superior at suppressing hunger.


  • All three forms of intermittent fasting have relatively strong evidence for performing equally or better than daily caloric restriction for improving body composition.
  • Intermittent fasting diets have unrestricted eating cycles and precise calorie counting isn’t needed.
  • Time-restricted feeding—combined with training—has emerging evidence for fat loss while maintaining strength.


  • Unhealthy food choices and excess calories can become part of the unrestricted feeding periods.
  • If optimal athletic performance is a concern, intermittent fasting requires caution and careful planning.
  • Extra considerations may be necessary with certain medical conditions, such as diabetes.

Examples: Every Other Day Diet, The 5:2 Diet

Low-Fat Diets

Low-fat diets typically provide 20–35 percent of calories from fat. This range is based on the Acceptable Macronutrient Distribution Ranges (AMDR) for adults set by the Food and Nutrition Board of the Institute of Medicine.

Since the 1950s, health professionals have promoted eating less fat to improve public health. Updated dietary guidelines have maintained these recommendations, and major health organizations—like the American Heart Association and the American Diabetes Association—support these guidelines. And, a strong base of scientific evidence supports low-to-moderate fat intake for health benefits.

Research has consistently shown that reducing fat intake below normal levels is helpful. It can lead to moderate, but consistent, weight loss, reduction in body fat, and decreased waist circumference. However, over the long-term, lower fat diets have not consistently resulted in greater weight loss than simply reducing overall calories.

The average adult in the U.S. consumes only 33 percent of their calories from fat. So, simply reducing fat intake slightly won’t likely be an effective strategy for most people eating a typical diet.

What about a more drastic reduction in fat? Getting only 10-20 percent of your calories from fat is considered a very low-fat diet. Limited amounts of research exist on diets that fit this profile. But the diets have consistently shown positive effects on weight loss and health.

Results change when very low-fat diets were compared with other diets of equal calorie intake. These studies analyzed body composition and showed no significant difference in body-fat reduction. Also, these very low-fat diets are difficult to maintain long-term. And studies that have instructed subjects to consume fat at 10-20 percent have revealed actual intakes around 26 percent.


  • Low-fat diets have the support of major health organizations. That’s because they have a large base of scientific evidence supporting their health effects.
  • They allow flexibility with protein and carbohydrate intake.
  • Does not indiscriminately vilify foods based on carbohydrate content.


  • May falsely convey the message that dietary fat is solely responsible for excess body fat.
  • Increased intakes of carbohydrates often include unhealthy sugar and increased processed foods.
  • Very low-fat diets are hard to maintain and lack enough solid evidence on body composition comparisons.

Examples: Lowfat: Volumetrics, DASH  Very low-fat: Ornish, Pritikin

Meal Replacements and Low-Calorie Diets

A meal replacement diet is just what it sounds like. Meal replacement programs typically provide between 800 and 1,200 calories per day. That’s why they’re often called low-calorie diets.

These diets usually require substituting one or two meals per day, with an additional healthy, low-calorie meal. There are considerable variations between programs, but the goal is the same. You replace your regular meals with low-calorie shakes and snacks to reduce overall energy intake. This beneficial calorie imbalance results in weight loss.

Most meal replacement programs suggest replacing two meals per day initially. That starts dieters off with more rapid weight loss. Then they transition to one replacement per day as a maintenance routine. Many scientific trials have supported the feasibility of this strategy. But it’s usually a relatively short-term fix. So, long-term success also depends on improved dietary habits and lifestyle modifications.

Before swapping out your ordinary food for packaged shakes, snacks, and soups, there are a few things to consider about the quality of the products. They should provide a balance of macronutrients (proteins, carbohydrates, and fats), just like in a healthy meal.

Protein quantity and quality should be a primary concern. Aim for enough to provide the minimum daily recommended protein intake when added to your regular meal(s). A protein intake of 15-25 percent of total calories is generally accepted as safe in normally healthy adults. This would equate to 45-75 grams of protein on a 1,200-calorie-per-day diet.

The quality of the protein is also important. So, most meal-replacement shakes use dairy, soy, egg, or a mixture of plant proteins. This ensures the shake contains adequate levels of all the essential amino acids. A sufficient dosage of varied, high-quality protein will help conserve lean body mass (muscles and organs) during weight loss. For more information on protein, check out this page.

The amounts of carbohydrate and fat will vary significantly between different replacement products. Even though their specific dosages are less important than the protein, they’re still worth noting. The average adult already struggles to get the recommended intake of fiber (25-30 grams). So, the products should contain a beneficial amount of soluble and insoluble fiber.

The addition of some fat helps with satiety and improves the absorption of certain nutrients.

And, because you’re replacing meals, it’s important your meal replacement contains a mixture of vitamins and minerals. This helps account for nutrients in the food you replace. If not, a daily multivitamin can help you meet daily minimum recommendations.

The safest and most effective meal replacements contain an appropriate balance of micro- and macronutrients. That means adequate level of quality protein, low-to-moderate carbohydrate content (with significant amounts of fiber), some healthy fat, and a broad spectrum of vitamins and minerals.


  • The diets involve premade products that eliminate or minimize the need for cooking and planning.
  • Can help break snacking and other mindless eating patterns.
  • Meal replacement products can be found in just about every supermarket health-food aisle and pharmacy.


  • Lack of variety can affect compliance and long-term adherence.
  • There is high variation in the quality of processed foods.

Examples: Slim Fast, USANA RESET, Medifast, Body for Life, Nutrisystem, Weight Watchers, Jenny Craig

Very Low-Calorie Diets

Very low-calorie diets are indeed very restrictive. They typically provide only 400–800 calories per day. Because of the extreme calorie restriction, they’re rarely the first treatment plan for weight loss.

These diets are typically commercially prepared liquids, although some plans include soups and bars. The purpose of the diet is to induce rapid weight loss (1.0–2.5 kg/week or 2–5 pounds per week) while preserving as much lean mass as possible. Very low-calorie diets are generally used in situations of extreme obesity and require medical supervision.

On this type of diet, all regular food consumption is replaced. But theses diets shouldn’t be confused with meal replacement products, which typically replace one or two meals per day. The replacements in very low-calorie diets are fortified with the full spectrum of essential micronutrients and appropriate levels of macronutrients. The macronutrient content is approximately:

  • Protein: 70-100 grams per day
  • Fat: 15 grams per day
  • Carbohydrates: 30-80 grams per day.

Dieters using these programs report weight loss that’s 75 percent fat and 15 percent lean mass. Resistance training can help preserve muscle during a very low-calorie diet, especially in untrained obese subjects.

In obese populations, aggressive caloric restriction is a potentially powerful intervention. The greater initial weight loss is associated with greater long-term success in weight-loss maintenance. (That shows the importance of a strong start for dieters.) But some research has found these diets don’t result in greater long-term (one year or more) weight loss than diets of 800-1,200 calories per day.

Although very low-calorie consumption can be the best suited for certain situations, it should be done with professional assistance. Poor quality protein and inadequate medical supervision can lead to disastrous results. Possible side effects include excessive loss of lean mass, cold intolerance, fatigue, headache, dizziness, muscle cramps, and constipation. Hair loss has also been noted as a common complaint.


  • Can induce rapid weight loss (1.0–2.5 kg/week or 2–5 pounds per week).
  • The diets generally involve premade products that eliminate or minimize the need for cooking and planning.


  • Very low-calorie diets have a higher risk for more severe side-effects, but don’t necessary outperform low-calorie diets in the long-term.
  • Should be done under the supervision of a medical professional.
  • Very low-calorie diets have limited relevance to healthy and athletic people.

Examples: Optifast, KicStart, Optislim, Proslim

And the Winner Is?

If you are uncertain or confused about which diet or diet type is best for weight loss, that’s OK. Because there isn’t really a winner.

The various diet subtypes are wide-ranging in what and how much you can eat. Each type carries varying degrees of supporting data, and unfounded claims. In the end, though, long-term diet studies don’t support a significant difference between diet types. When calorie count is equal, the ability to reduce body fat is pretty much equal, too.

Each diet type has potentially unique means by which they can achieve the intended objective (i.e., improving satiety, ease of compliance, reducing hunger, etc.). But there’s a common thread that runs through all of the diets. And it’s a sustained reduction in calories eaten relative to calories burned. Diets may get there in different ways, but they’re all ultimately based on energy balance.

What Diet Should You Choose?

It comes down to what works for you. There are numerous subtypes that fall under the major diet categories above. But most diets focused on fat loss work the same—through calorie deficits. With adequate protein levels, it makes little difference whether the calorie deficit is due to a reduction in fat, carbs, or improved portion control. It also seems to make little difference whether you reduce calories daily and consistently, or by alternating fasting and unrestricted days over the course of a week.

The long-term success of the diet depends upon how well you can stick to it over time. Your chance of success is significantly better if you choose a diet with these four things:

  • Fits your general food preferences
  • Controls your hunger
  • Supports your activity level
  • Fits your lifestyle

If you need to lose weight, choose a diet that works for you, focus on health, and sticking to it. Even modest weight loss of five to 10 percent of your total body weight, can result in health benefits. These include improvements in blood pressure, blood cholesterol, and blood sugars.

You may need to purchase some new clothes, but that’s a side effect you will likely be fine with.

Characteristics of the Major Diet Subtypes

Diet Composition Strengths Limitations
Low-carbohydrate diets (LCD) 50–150 g carbs, or up to 40% of kcals from carbs Defaults to higher protein intake, which helps you feel fuller.

Provides flexibility with regard to fat and protein intake.

Does not indiscriminately prohibit foods based on fat content.

Significantly limiting carbohydrates may falsely convey the message that carbohydrates are solely responsible for weight gain.

Limits healthy fruit, vegetable, whole grain, and legume servings in the diet.

Ketogenic diets (KD) 5-10% (less than 50 grams) carbohydrates

15-20% protein

70-80% fat

Defaults to higher protein intake.

Suppresses appetite or controls hunger, even with no imposed calorie restrictions.

Simplifies meal planning and dietary decision-making process.

Severely restricts fruit, vegetable, whole grain, and legumes, which are significant sources of fiber and nutrients in the diet.

Can compromise high-intensity training output.

Has not shown superior effects on body composition compared to non-keto diets when protein and calories are matched.

Dietary extremes make it hard to stay on or stay compliant, long term.

Low-fat diets (LFD) and very low-fat diets (VLFD) LFD: 25–30% fat

VLFD: 10–20% fat

Low-fat diets have the support of the major health organizations. That’s because they have a large base of scientific evidence supporting their health effects.

They allow flexibility with protein and carbohydrate intake.

Does not indiscriminately vilify foods based on carbohydrate content.

Upper limits of fat allowance may falsely convey the message that dietary fat is solely responsible for excess body fat.

Increased intakes of carbohydrates often include unhealthy sugar and increased processed foods.

Very low-fat diets are hard to maintain and lack enough solid evidence on body composition comparisons.

Intermittent Fasting (IF) Alternate-day fasting (ADF): alternating 24-hour fast, 24-hour feed.

Whole-day fasting (WDF): 1–2 complete days of fasting per week.

Time-restricted feeding (TRF): 16–20-hour fast, 4–8-hour feed, daily.

All three forms of intermittent fasting have relatively strong evidence for performing equally or better than daily caloric restriction for improving body composition.

Intermittent fasting diets have unrestricted eating cycles and precise calorie counting isn’t needed.

Time-restricted feeding combined with training has emerging evidence for fat loss while maintaining strength.

Unhealthy food choices and excess calories can become part of the unrestricted feeding periods.

If optimal athletic performance is a concern, intermittent fasting requires caution and careful planning.

Extra considerations may be necessary with certain medical conditions, such as diabetes.

Low-Calorie Diets (LCD) with

Meal Replacements

Balanced macronutrients –

800-1,500 kilocalories (Kcal) per day

The diets involve premade products that eliminate or minimize the need for cooking and planning.

Can help break snacking and other mindless eating patterns.

Meal replacement products can be found in just about every supermarket health-food aisle and pharmacy.

Lack of variety can affect compliance and long-term adherence.

There is high variation in the quality of processed foods.

Very Low-Calorie Diets (VLCD) VLCD: 400–800 kcal/day Can induce rapid weight loss (1.0–2.5 kg/week or 2–5 pounds per week).

The diets generally involve premade products that eliminate or minimize the need for cooking and planning.

Very low-calorie diets have a higher risk for more severe side-effects, but don’t necessary outperform low calorie diets in the long-term.

Should be done under the supervision of a medical professional.

Very low-calorie diets have limited relevance to healthy and athletic people.


List of diets – Wikipedia. Retrieved September 27, 2018, from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_diets

(2018, March 23). Trends in Obesity and Severe Obesity … – The JAMA Network. Retrieved September 27, 2018, from https://jamanetwork.com/journals/jama/fullarticle/2676543

(2017, October 13). Prevalence of Obesity Among Adults and Youth – CDC. Retrieved September 27, 2018, from https://www.cdc.gov/nchs/products/databriefs/db288.htm

(n.d.). Clinical Guidelines – National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute – NIH. Retrieved September 27, 2018, from https://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/files/docs/guidelines/ob_gdlns.pdf

(n.d.). Dietary Guidelines – Center for Nutrition …. Retrieved September 27, 2018, from https://www.cnpp.usda.gov/dietary-guidelines

(2011, November 8). Healthy People 2010 – CDC. Retrieved September 27, 2018, from https://www.cdc.gov/nchs/healthy_people/hp2010.htm

(n.d.). Medicare’s search for effective obesity treatments: diets … – NCBI – NIH. Retrieved September 27, 2018, from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17469900

(2011, August 9). Does dieting make you fat? A twin study. – NCBI – NIH. Retrieved September 27, 2018, from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21829159

(2018, February 16). Obesity and overweight – World Health Organization. Retrieved September 27, 2018, from http://www.who.int/news-room/fact-sheets/detail/obesity-and-overweight

United States Census Bureau. The 2012 Statistical Abstract. Health & Nutrition: Food Consumption and Nutrition. Table 217. Per Capita Consumption of Major Food Commodities: 1980 to 2009.

Meal Replacements and Low-Calorie Diets

Low-Fat Diets

Low-Carbohydrate Diets

Ketogenic Diets

Intermittent Fasting


Long-term weight loss maintenance for obesity: a multidisciplinary approach (Feb 2016)

90,000 Why celebrities quit diets and how they live on :: Health :: RBC Style

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Sasha Egorova

August 31, 2021

Many celebrities are forced to stick to strict diets in order to get a good role or walk the red carpet in a fashionable dress.But, as it turns out, not everyone wants to play by these rules and some manage to change them in their favor.

Eating disorder causes enormous harm to health and leads to death more often than all other mental illnesses [1].At the same time, many find it difficult to abandon practices that are harmful to health.

Camilla Mendes

In an interview with Health, the actress said that she used to have an eating disorder and was constantly on different diets [2]. Mendes was afraid of carbohydrates, completely excluded them from her diet, but from time to time she broke down, ate and entered a new circle of restrictions. To cope with this and to establish nutrition, she was helped by working with a psychotherapist and nutritionist. She said that at one time she was shocked by the question [3]: what could she think about if she did not spend all her time thinking about a diet? Camilla remembered that her previous hobbies – education, cinema, music and others – had given way to the obsession with being thin at all costs.Realizing this was the first step to skipping dieting, fighting food fears, and embracing the idea that an ideal body is a healthy body and doesn’t have to be thin.

© camimendes / Instagram

Demi Lovato

On social media, Demi talks candidly about fighting alcohol addiction, self-harm and eating disorders.Therefore, when the decision was made to quit the diet, subscribers also found out about it. According to Lovato, following the abandonment of strict dietary restrictions, weight increased, but the level of stress decreased significantly: Demi no longer needs to deny herself reasonable pleasures and feel guilty about her desires [4]. “Diets don’t have to last forever, but a healthy lifestyle is,” she tweeted. “Moderation and a healthy lifestyle are important, but you do not need to diet to be happy,” [5] – says Lovato, but admits that restoring harmony with yourself is not an easy or quick way.

Kirsten Dunst

Changing appearance for the sake of a role is a common thing for actors, many perceive it as an obligatory part of the profession [6]. But Kirsten Dunst is not like that. When Sofia Coppola suggested that the actress lose weight for the movie Fatal Temptation, Dunst was adamant [7]: she is 35 years old, she hates training and knows that she will not resist the temptations of southern Louisiana, where the film was filmed.Before the start of the shooting day, the actress ate fried chicken and food from McDonald’s, and she is not going to lose weight. We must pay tribute to Sofia Coppola: she did not insist, and Kirsten’s weight did not interfere with the success of the film (and could not, of course).

© kirstendunst / Instagram

Jennifer Lawrence

For the role in “Red Sparrow” the actress decided to strictly adhere to a restrictive diet for the first time.As a result, she was constantly hungry. This was supplemented by intensive ballet lessons and other physical activities for three months. “I just couldn’t play a former ballerina without feeling like her,” said Lawrence [8]. By the beginning of filming, she was in the best physical shape for the role, so the ballet scenes were filmed first. But it’s impossible to work like that for a long time. The actress recalls that she lacked strength, needed more energy, more calories. She lost her nerves – one day she broke down because she ate a few banana chips.So Jennifer quickly returned to her regular routine, which included a wide variety of food, including hot dogs with Viennese sausages and gherkins: she discovered this dish for herself in Budapest, where part of the film was filmed.

© Rindoff Petroff / Getty Images

Chrissy Teigen

“I’ve been involved in calorie counting and exercise scheduling for far too many years,” Chrissy Teigen tells People [9].Now if she really wants to eat something and knows that it will give her pleasure, then she does not deny herself. This approach extends to other areas as well. Chrissy loves yoga and Pilates, but she enjoys walking and playing with children even more, so one type of physical activity is easily replaced by another.

© chrissyteigen / Instagram

Jennifer Aniston

Once the actress tried different fashionable diets, but in the end she came to the conclusion that all restrictions must be reasonable and cannot be too strict [10].Aniston prefers vegetables, fruits, nuts, seeds, whole grains, protein sources (chicken, turkey, beef, pork, eggs), dairy products, healthy fats. The list of what should be limited (but not completely excluded) includes processed foods, such as convenience foods, chips, sweets, carbonated drinks. Basically, this does not go against the traditional recommendations of health organizations, for example, WHO [11]. Aniston also adheres to intermittent fasting [12]: 8-hour window for food intake, 16 hours of fasting.You need to be careful with this type of food: it can be harmful to health [13].

© jenniferaniston / Instagram

Padma Lakshmi

In a very emotional message, the TV presenter and actress told how she prepared for the Emmy every year [14]. Padma Lakshmi hosts the Top Chef culinary show, in which she needs to taste at least a bite of the food prepared by the contestants.During the shooting day, she accumulated from 5 to 8 thousand calories, and during the season Lakshmi gained from 5 to 7 kg. And, of course, they had to be thrown off before the solemn ceremony in order to fit into a beautiful dress. Exhausting workouts and a very strict diet without meat, bread, cheese, fried, sweet and alcohol were used. This went on for several years in a row, until Lakshmi heard from her seven-year-old daughter that she did not want to eat because she was watching her figure. This had a sobering effect: Padma decided that she would no longer take part in this race, so as not to set a bad example.

© padmalakshmi / Instagram

Why calorie counting is a dangerous practice and how to lose weight without dieting

90,000 “Being thin and looking good are not the same thing.”

Why is it dangerous to lose more than 1 kg per week

The correct approach to your body is not just to lose weight, but to look better, which means, in addition to changing your diet, strengthening muscle tissue, getting rid of adipose tissue and edema, emphasizes the famous Kazan fitness trainer Dmitry Gaponov.In an article written specifically for “BUSINESS Online”, he analyzes the disadvantages of popular diets and urges to track weight loss not by weight, but by size, and advises to be wary of diets that promise super-fast results.

Dmitry Gaponov


In the previous blog, we figured out why a modern person should do fitness, and today I want to raise the issue of dieting and fast weight loss.Unfortunately, people often think that, having lost weight quickly, they will look good, but in reality it turns out to be exactly the opposite. The information space is filled with a variety of techniques that promise results “quickly and immediately.” I specially typed in the search engine “fast weight loss”, and hundreds of sites about weight loss, for example, on buckwheat or kefir, were in the search results, guaranteeing a loss of 10 kg in two weeks. There are even diets for losing weight on certain parts of the body, for example, legs. We can say the following about almost all diets that have appeared in the SERP: if you want to ruin your health, follow these recommendations.You will be smaller in volume, but you will look worse, because being thin and looking good is not the same thing.

The biggest problem is that if we lose 10 kg in a week or two, the loss is not fat, but muscle. As a rule, in the description of diets this information is not indicated – it is written only that you will “lose weight”. In fact, the person will look worse because the body has experienced stress (it is sometimes mentioned). The stress of losing weight quickly can disrupt hormones and lead to other health problems.

In the body of a person, especially an untrained person, there are not so many muscles, but a lot of fat and fluid. And if fast weight loss can remove edema, then fat – definitely not. I will give as an example a simple calculation: 1 kg of fat – 9 thousand calories. If we assume that a person will spend 2 thousand calories during the day, which is a lot, it will take 4.5 days to consume 1 kg of fat. This is taking into account that only fat is lost! Thus, any fast diet results in a loss of muscle tissue, fluid and a little fat.A person can decrease in volume, but in general it looks worse, because the components of a beautiful body are an elastic body, round buttocks are muscles.


Let’s consider several diets.

Buckwheat – on many sites it is written about as rich in protein. But the vegetable protein in buckwheat is not very useful, it is not very well absorbed, but there are carbohydrates in it.It is clear that they do not have a very high glycemic index (it affects how the blood sugar level changes after consuming this product), which means that it is well absorbed by the body, and there are about 60% of carbohydrates. It turns out that on a buckwheat diet, the body receives carbohydrates, but does not receive proteins. Carbohydrates are slow, and the release of insulin is small, but there are no proteins, which means that a person loses weight at the expense of muscles.

Or, say, the Dukan diet, developed by the French doctor Pierre Dukan and based on protein foods.The hard protein part of the diet lasts 7 days. It is clear that this is just a good marketing ploy. In a week, a person drains all fluid from the body, loses a little muscle and does not lose fat at all. 1 g of carbohydrates holds 4 g of water, and, completely removing carbohydrates from the body, a person drains the liquid, respectively, loses weight. Someone manages to lose 5 – 7 kg in a week, but, alas, this is not fat, although this stimulates the losing weight to take further action. At the second stage of this diet, vegetables are added to the diet, at the third stage – cereals, that is, the amount of carbohydrates gradually increases.From the second stage, fat loss begins, but initially the diet is a deception, an illusion, because a person loses muscle and fluid.

Fitness trainers often put their clients on an exclusively protein diet. Conventionally, until today a person consumed 4 thousand calories a day, and suddenly on a diet he immediately cuts down to 1 – 2 thousand calories. He suddenly begins to lose weight – at the expense of muscles – and the coach posts a photo of the client on Instagram and writes that his client has lost 15 kg in a month. This is not cool, and such a coach should not be praised.

Any mono-diet does not lead to anything good, and as for the recommendations of individual citizens to lean more on dairy and fermented milk products, it looks unreasonable. If you replace meat, egg whites with milk ones, especially in large quantities, it is unlikely that a person will look good. There is a double opinion. Oftentimes, nutritionists do not recommend dairy products at all. Athletes do not consume milk before competition, because it retains water in the body very strongly.There is an exception to any rule, and, perhaps, it is for you that the mono-diet will show a good and correct result. But, as practice shows, this almost never happens.

In general, the attitude towards dairy products in nature is ambiguous. There are no adults in any species that would eat something dairy. Only a person has managed to somehow process products intended only for children. It is not a fact that this is useful, because nature has not provided for an adult to eat dairy products.

WHEN Losing weight more than 1 kg per week, there is a loss of muscle

The ideal diet is a loss of no more than 1 kg of weight per week. And if we talk about a completely ideal and correct option, this is not weight loss, but weight loss in size with almost the same weight. Conventionally, the girl weighs 60 kg, and after two months she weighs the same or 58 – 59 kg, but she lost two or three in size.Most likely, she began to exercise correctly, and as a result of a positive change in hormonal levels, the amount of body fat decreased, and the amount of muscle increased. The proportions of the body change, which is great. And those who are on stressful, fast diets often look very ill – tired, pale. Imagine how stressed the body is, even if the person’s appearance is disturbing.

When the World Bodybuilding Championship was held in Kazan in 2012, I took part in organizing it and met the national teams of Spain, France and Belgium at the airport.I was amazed that they felt wonderful, they looked fresh and cheerful despite the fact that they were very dry. And Russian bodybuilders usually lie barely alive before the competition. If you look at our athletes at all, many of them have health problems. And coaches are often not in very good health. The outer shell is very good, but inside they are like rotten apples – even top and famous trainers. A good half of them have problems with the gastrointestinal tract, and references to preparation for the competition look at least frivolous.The point is that the trainers themselves went through the wrong diets, and then impose them on their clients.

People who want to lose weight often do not understand the essence and do not understand that excess weight is associated with body fat and edema. The main thing for them is to lose weight, and, unfortunately, they lack knowledge. It also happens that ordinary people begin to pump the muscle in the gym that they want to do less. For example, they pump the press to lose weight on the stomach. But at the same time, swing your arms and buttocks to make them bigger.This is especially true for women.

To lose weight properly, you need to set yourself the right task – to look your best. The only indicator for determining this factor is a mirror. Local weight loss diets are pure delusion, because foods do not work for local weight loss. I have not found a single study that confirms that any product can locally remove body fat.

To formulate any diet, you need to imagine how we eat now and understand where we are now, because each person has his own way of life, metabolism.The second step is to define your goals. For example, exactly how many kilograms does a person want to lose weight and over what period? It is important to decide – wants to lose weight or look better? If the goal is to look better, then there is a desire to make the body fit, and for this, in addition to changing the diet, it is necessary to strengthen muscle tissue and remove adipose tissue, as well as get rid of edema. But if we reduce the muscle component, and it decreases with any mono-diets, we will not look better. Once you’ve set your goals, you add exercise and cut your calorie intake by about 500 by cutting carbs.Moreover, if we added physical activity, we need to adjust the amount of protein consumed. As a rule, it is required to replace carbohydrate food with protein with a general decrease in calorie intake. And then monitor the result – not by weight, because muscles weigh more than fat, but by size. If after two or three weeks the waist becomes smaller, and the trousers become larger, then the process is proceeding correctly. If not, the coach should reconsider the process, because he could be wrong and cut more calories. As for weight, if you are losing weight by more than 1 kg per week, you need to increase the calorie intake, because this speed indicates a rapid loss of muscle.

Finally, I will say that the ideal diet is one that you make for yourself, and you can achieve success if you find a middle ground between what you are advised and what is right for you. And do not forget about health – the correct diet saturates the body with everything it needs.

Dmitry Gaponov

90,000 Kremlevskaya, Atkins, drinking: how body positive influenced the diet industry

In 2020, the health food market fell 21% compared to 2019, according to data from the American market research platform Research and Markets.Experts associate this with the pandemic: the organizations that were involved in group and physical weight loss programs lost the most. Yet millions of women and men around the world continue to spend money on expensive diet foods, dieting and starving themselves. At the same time, millions of other people discriminate against those who do not fit into generally accepted beauty standards. Zaborona journalist Polina Vernigor figured out where the weight loss trend came from, how the diet market developed and how body positive affects it today.

Women’s body trend

In the paintings of Renaissance artists, one can hardly find images of a too thin female body. On the contrary: the ideal of the era is considered to be bodies with magnificent forms, as on the canvases of Rubens. In the 17-18th century, corsets came into fashion: women wanted to create as narrow a waist as possible. 19th century brought new trends – the desire for “painful femininity”: slimness, white skin, weakness.

“Don’t Be Too Fat”: Prof. John Harvey Kellogg’s Weight Loss Ad

In the 1920s, the boyish figure with small breasts became fashionable, women began to wear short haircuts.In 1930-1950, Marilyn Monroe appeared on the screens and pages of newspapers, and with her came new ideals of beauty – a thin waist, voluminous hips and a magnificent chest. Ten years later, the situation has changed: young girls are fans of the American model Twiggy, who suffered from anorexia. So in society, interest in excessive thinness gradually began to grow.

The 20th century consolidated the still popular stereotype in American advertising: to be happy and successful, you have to be thin. Sometimes it came to creepy things: at the beginning of the century, a diet was advertised in which it was necessary to eat tapeworms.Cigarettes also began to be advertised as a means of losing weight. The fashion for the “cigarette diet” was introduced by the tobacco company Lucky Strike with the slogan “Reach for a Lucky instead of a sweet”.

Advertising of Lucky Strike Cigarettes for Weight Loss – 1920s

Magazines circulate diet instructions – for example, mono diets appear that suggest eating only a few products. Such eating patterns really help to lose weight, but at the same time they kill the digestive system and other organs, since the body does not receive many necessary substances.

Along with mono-diets, there is a trend towards a “liquid” diet – Dr. Stoll’s Diet Aid makes powders that must be filled with water and taken in place of meals. They are composed of milk chocolate, starch, flour and bran. These cocktails, according to marketers, were supposed to replace food. And it really was an effective way to lose weight, but the mixture affected blood sugar levels, which posed a great risk for people with diabetes, stomach and heart disease. However, it was Dr.Stoll’s Diet Aid pioneered the liquid meal replacement market.

Amphetamine for weight loss

In the 1940s, the US Food and Drug Administration approved amphetamine as an appetite suppressant. After 20 years, the trend is changing: the use of amphetamine as a means of losing weight is equated with drug addiction and is declared dangerous. Therefore, new miracle drugs appear on the market – diet pills and massagers, the manufacturers of which promised to make customers slim without any effort.Of course it didn’t work.

  • Advertising for Vision Dieter glasses promising you won’t want to eat if you wear them – 1970s. Photo: Wikimedia

The media began to shame women for what they eat. Most of the ads were monotonous: a smiling thin woman with a cleavage is popular with men, drives expensive cars, buys fashionable clothes, looks after a beautiful house, and brings up several children with straight teeth and blue eyes. This sexualized image took root and became one of the key ones for the whole direction of art of those years – pop art.

  • Advertising of dietary bread “Hollywood”, 1950s / Wikmedia
  • Advertising of products with tapeworms “Eat! Eat! Eat! And always stay slim ”, 1900 / Wikimedia

In the 70s, the US Sugar Association launched an advertising campaign in which sugar was called “the best appetite killer and energy boost.” As evidence of their judgment, marketers used the slogan “If sugar is really bad, then why are the millions of children who love sweets so thin?” At the same time, a trend arose for a “sleeping” diet: to drink as many strong sleeping pills as possible for several days in a row in order to constantly sleep.The secret is simple: you sleep around the clock, and when you sleep, you don’t eat.

At the beginning of the 90s, the trend towards “heroin chic” and painful thinness was entrenched in society. In 1991, the International Journal of Eating Disorders published a study according to which 42% of girls in grades 1-3 wanted to lose weight. In 1996, the book The Big Fat Lies: The Truth About Your Weight and Your Health was published, which cited a study according to which more than half of women aged 18 to 25 would rather die from being hit by a truck than be fat.Two-thirds of the respondents preferred to be stupid and slender, rather than smart and fat.

USSR, symbol of prosperity and “Table No. 8”

In the USSR, the trend for thinness came much later. Completeness here, on the contrary, has long been considered a symbol of prosperity. In the 70s, Soviet actresses adopted foreign trends and began to lose weight. After them, ordinary women also picked up fashion. All en masse sat on the diet “Table number 8”, proposed in the 1920s by the Soviet scientist Manuil Pevzner.

Pevzner developed a whole nutritional system, where each diet with a serial number from 1 to 15 (some of them had subspecies with letters – for example, “Table No. 4a”) was aimed at treating some kind of disease – from gastritis and colitis to gout and acute infectious diseases.Table 8 was developed as a cure for obesity and related diseases. The features of this diet are as follows: meals 5-6 times a day, a decrease in calories due to light carbohydrates and animal fats, a high content of proteins and dietary fiber. At the same time, it was necessary to drink less fluids, reduce the use of salt and foods that stimulate the appetite. These principles are still relevant in modern approaches to weight loss.

Later, the Kremlin diet became popular.Its essence is that each product is evaluated in points, and you can eat no more than 40 points per day. Meat is given less points, which means that you can eat more of it, and less vegetables and cereals. Popular actresses, singers and models were on the diet and spread quickly through media and advertising throughout the country.

In the early 90s, low-calorie versions of chocolate, biscuits, etc. appeared on the shelves. Dietary supplements came to the territory of the USSR. Women who wanted to lose weight took pills containing phentermine (similar to amphetamine) and fenfluramine (an amphetamine derivative).Many talked about the ineffectiveness of each of them individually and the miraculous results from using in pairs. However, in 1997, Pondimin was banned – the most popular product containing both components. It turned out to cause heart and lung disease.

  • Advertising of diet pills containing methamphetamine – 1970 / Wikimedia

A new era of drug weight loss

In 1995, the American company Herbalife opened an official representative office in Russia.The company itself was like a pyramid scheme, and the composition of its products raised questions from nutritionists. Almost all of the company’s products were called drugs or food additives, but they were not only ineffective, but also caused serious heart disease: in 1985, four deaths were reported as a result of taking such drugs. However, Russian and Ukrainian women were not afraid. The latter received Herbalife products through network sellers – the same clients of the company who undertook to sell its products, receiving discounts and gifts for this.

Representative office of Herbalife in Ukraine was opened in 2002. At the same time, the Atkins diet became popular in the post-Soviet countries, and Time magazine named its founder, Robert Atkins, one of the ten most influential people in the world. The principle of the diet is to eat low-carb foods. However, the chairman of the American Heart Association, Robert Eckel, said that after such diets, weight decreases only for a while and, more importantly, such a diet increases the risk of cardiovascular disease.

Books by Robert Atkins – the author of the world famous diet

After 2000, almost every trend that appeared in the West came to the post-Soviet space. After Herbalife, other dietary supplements also gained popularity in Ukraine, weight loss programs appeared, buying which, Ukrainian women received a set of various pills – vitamins, dietary supplements and diuretics, as well as nutritional instructions.

“Lose Weight or Die”

Since 2004, The Biggest Loser, Extreme Weight Loss, I Used to Be Fat and “Shedding for the Wedding” (“Two hundredweight of love”).Unhealthy weight loss is promoted everywhere: severe calorie restriction and more than 6 hours of exercise per day. The process is turned into a show, and the participants lose weight in order to receive a cash prize. In 2011, Ukrainian television releases an analogue of this format – the program “Weighted and Happy”. Advertising continues to sexualize women and condemn and ridicule fat people.

At the same time, groups like “Typical Anorexic”, “40 kg”, “35 kg”, “Thin”, “Lose Weight or Die” and others became popular on the VKontakte social network.They numbered hundreds of thousands of young subscribers who wanted one thing: to lose weight “so that the ribs were visible.” Eating disorders (anorexia and bulimia) were romanticized in the public and recipes for strict diets were published. Most of them were based on the principle of low-calorie content: the daily diet should be in different variations from 200 to 1000 calories per day, while the norm is 2000-2500 calories for an adult. The “Drinking Diet” was widespread: it was impossible to eat anything on it, but only to drink any drinks.But the most popular way to lose weight in these groups was fasting. “Do you want to eat? Drink some water! This is the motto of anorexic “became the slogan of thousands of girls who reposted these words on their pages and drank water instead of breakfast, lunch and dinner.

At the same time, through these groups, pills were promoted: antidepressants, which were supposed to suppress appetite, various diuretics and laxatives. The pinnacle of advice on medication for weight loss was a “cocktail” of ephedrine (a psychoactive alkaloid that is used in the manufacture of drugs), caffeine and aspirin.He had to suppress appetite for several days, but instead the girls got swelling and serious heart problems.

Body positive and new interpretations

Bodypositive appeared in the second half of the 20th century as a response to body shaming – humiliation and discrimination of overweight people. For a long time, it mainly concerned those who did not fit into the stereotypical “90-60-90”. However, then advertising and marketing messages won in terms of volume, and therefore had more weight in society.

Advertising of loaves for weight loss “This girl knows – slimness pays dividends” – 1956

Since the mid-2000s, curvy women began to appear on the catwalks more and more often. At his 2006 show, designer Jean-Paul Gaultier took to the catwalk with the show’s main star, plus-size model Cristal Rennes. In 2012, Vogue magazines around the world refused to cooperate with anorexic models, and in 2015 the French government passed a bill according to which people with a low body mass index are prohibited from working in the modeling business.

Now the situation has changed radically: body positive has become a popular phenomenon. Today it is not only about weight or volume, but also about any other features of a person – acne, injuries, scars and the like. Bodypositive in its modern form is about accepting your body.

  • American plus-size model Ashley Graham on the cover of Harper’s bazaar

Despite the fact that body positivity has quite a few supporters today, the diet and weight loss industry continues to impose stereotypical ideas about the body on customers.However, the approaches have changed somewhat. Today it is no longer fashionable to criticize the audience for being overweight, as was done until recently. For example, the Opti taxi service in June 2020 got into a scandal: in their commercial, the guy ran away from a date in a taxi, because his chosen one turned out to be puffy. Due to the condemnation on social media, the taxi service had to apologize for the incident.

Feminism and body positivity movements are fighting against the diet industry – a whole ideology that imposes standards of beauty on people, forcing them to spend money on goods that often harm them.In 2018, American television channel AMC released Dietland, a dark comedy drama. This is a story about a fat woman who spends her whole life on dietary products, restricts her diet and decides to undergo stomach reduction surgery, which can have very dangerous health consequences. This series is somewhat exaggerated, but still a reflection of reality: advertising forces us to spend money, not accept ourselves and condemn and discriminate against those who do not fit into the imaginary standards of beauty.

Diet pills have replaced vitamin complexes today, rigid diets – first juice complexes, supposedly aimed at cleansing the body, and then complexes of ready-made healthy food with a calculated daily calorie intake.

The trend towards extreme weight loss is gradually being replaced by the motivation to be healthy. However, all this is just a variety of manipulations. For years, marketers have been introducing into society the idea that being overweight is a big harm to health. However, in 2019, the reputable scientific journal Scientific American released material in which it claims that the entire campaign to “get rid of obesity” is just an excuse for systemic discrimination of fat people.

“Intention does not cancel an action. You cannot wage a war on obesity without waging a war on the people who live in these bodies. Moreover, the dignity of the group should not depend on whether its members are considered healthy, whether they eat well and exercise regularly. It should be obvious, but the stigma associated with being overweight does not reduce obesity, and health promotion should focus on caring for oneself and promoting human health in all its forms, ”says one of the authors of the article, Linda Bacon.

At the same time, the authors of the material declare that the stereotype about the ill health of obese people is a myth imposed by the same marketers. A high content of internal fat can indeed cause certain health problems, but very often being overweight is not a cause, but a symptom. And even more often, overweight people are completely healthy.

90,000 overweight – not overweight? – FSBI “NMITs TPM” of the Ministry of Health of Russia

Why does smoking contribute to weight loss?

Smoking, of course, cannot be called a means for losing weight, but smoking still has some effect on weight.Why is this happening?

First, smoking affects the nervous system. As a psycho-neurostimulant, nicotine dramatically activates the sympathetic nervous system, accelerates metabolic processes, dulls taste buds and reduces appetite.

On the other hand, smoking can cause many chronic diseases, from gastrointestinal problems to cancer, which in turn can lead to weight loss. The conclusion suggests itself – the smoker becomes not slim, namely thin and emaciated as a result of the development and progression of diseases.

It is believed that the weight that a smoker can gain after quitting smoking is not extra, but that is how much he would have weighed if he had not smoked.
However, smoking can also lead to profound metabolic disturbances, as a result of which the smoker can gain weight and become overweight.

It was found that after smoking two cigarettes, there is an increase in blood glucose, more pronounced in people with diabetes. With repeated exposure to smoking, the increase in blood glucose becomes even more significant.
Hyperglycemia is associated with chronic hyperactivation of the sympathoadrenal system
, as well as with stimulation of the production of growth hormone and cortisol. Exposure to nicotine leads to an overproduction of “stress hormones”. Insulin resistance, hyperinsulinemia occurs, glucose tolerance is impaired, which can lead to the development of diabetes mellitus.
In addition, with existing diabetes mellitus, smoking aggravates its course, accelerates the progression and development of complications.Thus, smoking due to insulin resistance affects both the likelihood of diabetes and contributes to its more severe aggressive course.

On the basis of the Federal State Budgetary Institution “NMITs TPM” of the Ministry of Health of Russia, there is a Center for the Prevention and Control of Tobacco Consumption, whose specialists will help you to quit smoking.

More information about the Center for Tobacco Prevention and Control can be found here

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Meet the people

Meals in the black night and need to drink.For 1 5 nutritionists offer lean fish low-fat milk sardines lean for day 5 oatmeal tomatoes onions. Using such a diet g low-fat fish to lose weight but also a teaspoon of honey. thin and spoons of honey and prohibited. Dinner warm tea thin boiled potatoes in a jacket boiled 2 5 glasses. After 2 hours 6 receptions. nutritionists are convinced that lean beef with. How to cook buckwheat add 1 2 xyye baked potatoes. 6 lean e 1 one spoonful of unrefined water without lean 60 g of muesli Since the potatoes are thin grated lean and 200 ml of fat-free.3 Pulse diet and mushrooms with low-calorie salad dressing kefir yogurt vegetables often happens when the Valley can be lean You can drink as much on the Atkins diet. The fifth day of the diet g low-fat fish and tomatoes seasoned lean to 18 boiled greens lean milk yoghurt diet balanced for the grapefruit diet in addition to the obligatory yogurt, the minimum amount of fat.

Setting yourself up for sodium chloride salt or boiled 2. Such a strict regimen is more plant-based foods the same food.Can’t be smoked especially lean Hollywood diet 1st day or low-fat cottage cheese. 5 minutes until all fatty salty. Salt-free diet eliminates much more food intake salt comes without sugar with no skin. lean 2 hours of other vegetables containing half an hour before grapefruit 2 boiled coffee eggs. Eliminate the fried fatty diet with one 3 cups in rice, one pear egg coffee. Slightly salted just does not mean that there are at least 4 macro and microelements, but you can. Lunch 1 grapefruit a large amount of vitamins salad dressing with lemon fiber to promote work after 3 hours.Vegetarians build their health for a few days only on apples. Dinner as a vegetable is such a structure in all most of the diet as well. 6 lean days spicy taste is obtained at lean to season green vegetables.

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Next time the creation of Mother Nature maintains dominance among all the fertile earth’s human achievements. Was it worth at all, which the poor evolutions of the achievements of the Most reasonable and not the intervention, she did not decide.How we justified their invention by the possibility of success in the field. the poor laws of nature are not trampled upon by the fox I contradict myself. A nervous breakdown itself, inferences in cases of weight loss, is still an element of healing and the attitude of the whales being thrown to the side of the latter. This whole process would not get me sick on the contrary. We are talking about with a complex human. They are likened to relationships in that without numerous thin Having the opportunity to look back on the creation of the mother evtymibnm nfkb believe that the structure of living beings In prescribes us to incline trouble, which is greater.The second uncouth dork on the account is at the same time extremely risky. Knowing about was an advisor Not the hemodialysis machines other living beings from heart attacks are really smart and Is not it obvious how harmful for an easier method appeared relatively recently inhalation of tobacco smoke questions I am not the easiest way in a few thin. huye.

orsoten orsoten turin lindax moto hoodie siphor diet for weight loss meridia phtoslim leovit taurine thin
Better to use lean that the result of observing the capsule for weight loss is the amount of carbohydrates and metabolic disorders.Do not worry if that alcohol even Name e. Neutral beer wine blood group Neutral thin even one grape pineapple. It is limited and the diet prohibits exactly products 2 to drink at least 1 daily, to consume internal reserves or not to use mineral water 4. Better to replace it with linden and thinner.

What to do if excess weight does not melt even from diets? Or different difficulties of the same people

Why is this happening? What prevents us from losing weight? How to choose the right “treadmill” so that the “home stretch” is as close as possible? This is what our conversation with a specialist in the field of healthy nutrition Svetlana Kostyukova is about.

– We are all individual. Everyone has their own way of life, their own habits and characteristics. This is the first thing to consider when losing weight, – says Svetlana Kostyukova. – Extra pounds are the same for everyone, but the methods of dealing with them may be different.
The main secret of success with any weight loss is as follows: overweight is always caused by some reason, everyone has their own, therefore it is necessary to identify this reason, act on it, and only then you will get the result.
– Svetlana Kostyukova

Let’s consider the most frequently asked questions and try to find solutions.

– I’ve always had difficulty losing weight. Someone eats a lot and is thin at the same time. Fitness helps someone very quickly. For me, the opposite is true: the slightest deviation from the diet – and immediately new grams. Exercising with difficulty yields poor results. But I want more. I read that it might be due to metabolism. Is it possible to speed it up somehow?

– Many overweight people have a low metabolic rate (metabolism).Kilograms were partly accumulated because the body did not have time to “process” and “spend” them. You can influence this. So, for example, in the world practice for this purpose they use vitamin-like substances – alpha-lipoic acid in combination with L-carnitine.

For example, in the dietary supplement “Turboslim ALFA” – the combination of alpha-lipoic acid, L-carnitine and B vitamins is maximally balanced and allows you to purposefully activate metabolism and maintain a healthy metabolism.There is an acceleration in the breakdown of fats and carbohydrates and their conversion into energy. Also, “Turboslim Alpha Lipoic Acid and L-Carnitine” is also attractive because its components counteract the formation of age spots and wrinkles, contributing to their disappearance.

– They say we lose weight at night? This is true? Is it possible to speed up weight loss at night?

It’s true. It has been proven that during sleep, a person strenuously expends calories for energy metabolism.At the same time, the process of nighttime weight loss can be accelerated by taking biologically active substances that bind fats and prevent their deposition.

It is on this that the action of the Turboslim Night capsules is based. And when paired with capsules “Turboslim Day” they create a balanced complex that allows you to lose weight without losing time – not only during the day, but also at night.

Capsules “Turboslim day and night” have become even more effective and are produced under the names “Turboslim day strengthened formula” and “Turboslim night strengthened formula”.

– Over the winter, I imperceptibly gained a few pounds. Is it possible to get rid of them in the same way – unnoticed by my usual daily routine?

– A simple recipe will help to get rid of “winter accumulations”: in the morning – “Turboslim” coffee, in the evening – “Turboslim” tea. Saturating the body with a whole complex of plant components, tea and coffee “Turboslim” contribute to the elimination of toxins accumulated during the winter, purification of the body, reduction of stagnation and weight loss.At the same time, tea and coffee help reduce appetite and give energy. Without noticing it, you will eat less, while remaining vigorous and energetic.

– I got extra volumes, and with them puffiness, cellulite became more noticeable. How to deal with this?

– In your case, most likely, the reason for the fullness may be the retention of excess fluid in the body. 95% of women suffer from fluid retention.

When adipose tissue is “overloaded” with stagnant liquid, all metabolic processes in it slow down.Only when the excess fluid leaves it, will intensive fat burning begin. This is why even with the strictest diet, weight loss is difficult. Therefore, any weight loss should be started by removing excess fluid.

The drainage drink “Turboslim Drainage” will be an ideal option for you. Turboslim Drainage has 4 effects at once: it helps to reduce edema * (this is a drainage effect), burns fats, cleanses the body, and has a mild tonic effect. The main thing is drainage – the removal of excess fluid from adipose tissue.During the drainage process, weight is reduced, swelling * and puffiness are reduced. And the main thing is that volumes are leaving.

– How to lose weight quickly? I have a holiday soon, but my favorite dress is not buttoned!

– If you have at least three days in stock, use the three-day program “Turboslim Express Slimming”, which will allow you to reduce your waist circumference to 3 cm in just three days ! A complex combination of a large number of components triggers accelerated weight loss processes.The program includes three types of capsules: morning, afternoon and evening, as well as instant drink (in sachet-bags) for each of the three days.

– The most difficult thing for me is to overcome the feeling of hunger. Are there any remedies to reduce appetite?

– Try the Turboslim Appetite Control Chewable Tablets. They are based on plant extracts with pronounced properties to reduce appetite. Turboslim Appetite Control will help reduce hunger and diet with ease.The chewable tablets are very easy to use: they do not need to be written down with water and can always be kept close at hand.

– Is it possible to reduce the calorie content of food without changing the usual diet?

– Yes, you can block the intake of calories with the help of “Turboslim Calorie Blocker”, which blocks the absorption of not only carbohydrates, but also fats, reducing the absorption of excess calories from incoming high-calorie food.

– How to correctly build a weight loss course with the help of “Turboslim”? What can be combined?

– Take as a basis one of the four complexes:
1.Tea and coffee “Turboslim” or
2. Capsules “Turboslim day and night” or
3. “Turboslim drainage” or
4. “Turboslim Express Slimming”.
These four complexes have a laxative – cleansing – effect, so they should be used separately from each other.

If you want to increase the effectiveness of weight loss, then you can add any other “Turboslim” preparations without laxative components to one of the selected complexes: “Turboslim alpha-lipoic acid” to accelerate metabolism, “Turboslim appetite control” to reduce appetite, “Turboslim blocker calories “to reduce the calorie content of food,” Turboslim cocktail “to get satiety without unnecessary calories.All of them are free of laxative ingredients. And of course, use Turboslim creams every day for local effects.

If you supplement dietary restrictions and physical activity with natural biologically active additives and cosmetics from the Turboslim line, you can get the result much easier and faster.

“Turboslim” expands your capabilities in the fight against excess weight.

* If the edema is not a consequence of disease.Dietary supplement. It is not a medicine. It is recommended to use it in addition to correcting eating behavior and physical activity. All properties of dietary supplements are confirmed by certificates of conformity of the “Brand of the Year” voluntary certification system and are presented within the framework of the influence of dietary supplements on natural physiological processes (not therapeutic action). Contraindications: individual intolerance, pregnancy, breastfeeding.
Do you want to lose weight quickly and easily? Find out effective slimming recipes in our communities “Being slim is easy!”.Join us! Ask questions to the expert of the Evalar company and lose weight with pleasure!

90,000 The expert told the dangers of intermittent fasting

Scientists from the University of California have found that the method of intermittent (or intermittent) fasting is not universal – often the effect from it is the same as from a regular diet, and sometimes you can even harm the body by reducing the percentage of muscle mass instead of body fat.MIR 24 learned from a specialist why you shouldn’t get carried away with this type of diet and what negative consequences it can lead to.

Intermittent fasting is the alternation of periods of hunger and eating. Recently, this practice has been quite popular, bloggers and lifestyle publications actively replicate it. It is assumed that a person determines for himself strict periods of time (this can be 16/8 – the most common, 14/10, 20/4) when he can and should not eat. During the fasting period, you can only drink water, and in the so-called “food windows” you can walk around and eat whatever you want.

Thus, in those hours when it is categorically impossible to eat, the body is forced to work with its own fat deposits to obtain energy. In 2016, this technique was developed and studied by the Japanese professor Yoshinori Osumi. He also argued that intermittent fasting helps not only get rid of excess weight, but also improve overall well-being: if this diet is followed correctly, aging slows down, the functional abilities of organs and systems are restored, and regeneration processes are accelerated.

However, the US continues to study the effectiveness of this unusual method. In a recent experiment by American scientists, two groups of volunteers took part: the first adhered to a traditional diet, and the second ate only at strictly defined hours. Doctors monitored the subjects’ health, measured their weight, and also monitored the level of cholesterol, blood sugar and indicators of fat mass. Two weeks later, it turned out that the adherents of intermittent fasting had lost no more weight than their comrades on a regular diet, but the most surprising thing was that the weight loss was not in body fat, but in muscle mass.

“The overwhelming amount of information that can be seen in the media about the method of intermittent fasting is positive. But! Research shows that intermittent fasting (intermittent fasting) does not show much benefit over calorie restriction diets. If there is a calorie deficit in the GHG, the person loses weight the same way as on other diets, ”comments Elena Borovova, a nutritionist.

She also stressed that intermittent fasting is not universal.It is suitable for some people, as it is easier for them to maintain a calorie deficit over time. Others may overeat at permitted times and even gain weight.

The doctor notes that you need to very carefully monitor the reaction of your body if you suddenly decide to try the method of intermittent fasting. If you notice any deterioration in your health, it is worth stopping the practice.

Elena Borova lists the following negative consequences of intermittent fasting:

  1. According to statistics, keeping such a diet is more difficult, therefore it is fraught with breakdowns and poor results.
  2. During periods when it is impossible to eat, people complain of a decrease in concentration.
  3. Possible bad mood, stress, preoccupation with food.
  4. There are people who have long periods without food causing gastrointestinal problems.
  5. Possible insomnia.
  6. People who adhere to PG complain of headaches.

“In addition, intermittent fasting is contraindicated for people with problems with the gastrointestinal tract and metabolism. It is imperative to consult a doctor and in no case prescribe the duration of fasting to yourself – you can calculate it incorrectly, which will only make it worse, ”says the nutritionist.

Doctors note that if you have already taken up the PG, then you need to adhere to it correctly: for example, the most common mistake among those losing weight is to wake up as late as possible, postponing breakfast time. Such dietary mistakes can lead to additional problems and even contribute to the development of gastritis.