With so many types of diets to choose from, some people opt to select a diet plan that combines all of the major diet plans into one to create low-carb, low-calorie, low-fat diets. Most diet plans fall into only one or two of these categories, and each type of diet has its own merits and drawbacks.
Types of Diet Plans
Most diet plans fall into one of -- or a combination of -- three diet types. Each of the diets restricts something in order to help your body lose weight. Each diet actually also works on different principles. The three types of diet are:
- Low-calorie diets are based on simple math and thermodynamics. According to the low-calorie diet philosophy, if you eat less than you burn, then you will lose weight. This type of diet works well for many people; however, many people have difficulty sticking to the diet because they feel deprived or hungry.
- Low-fat diets are based on the belief that eating fat causes you to gain fat and a whole host of other health problems. Typically, in order to lose weight on a low-fat diet, the diet must also be calorie controlled.
- Low-carb diets are based on something called the glycemic index. The philosophy behind a carbohydrate controlled diet is that eating carbs brings about spikes in blood sugar, which causes your body to produce insulin. Insulin is the primary mechanism by which fat is ushered into and stored in your fat cells. If you can keep your body from producing much insulin, then it will be far less likely to store fat, instead using it as a fuel. When on a low-carbohydrate diet, dieters also enter a state known as ketosis, which helps to reduce hunger and stabilize energy levels. In this way, low-carb diets are more about body chemistry than calorie control; however, detractors of low-carb diets point out the restriction of carbs leads to a restriction of calories and ultimately, low-carb diets are merely calorie controlled diets.
Low-Carb, Low-Calorie, Low-Fat Diets
Low-carb, low-calorie, low-fat diets combine all three of the above plans in an effort to create a "can't miss" type of diet plan. With this type of diet, all of your bases are covered. The low-carb part creates a state of ketosis, which helps to quell hunger. Controlling calories brings the mathematical and thermodynamic equation into play, making sure the amount of calories you take in is fewer than the amount of calories you burn. The low-fat component helps to sustain heart health and maintain healthy blood lipid levels.
These diets are not meant as a long term diet solution. Because they are such severe and restricted diets, they are usually recommended for short term needs - such as to break through a dieting plateau or if you need to lose weight quickly.
Here are a few of the advantages and disadvantages of this type of diet plan.
There are a number of reasons why dieters find this plan appealing.
- The diet almost always results in significant weight loss unless a metabolic or hormonal disorder comes into play.
- You can lose weight quickly on this diet.
- The diet is excellent for breaking through dieting plateaus.
- It is pretty simple to plan on this diet and know what is and isn't off limits. The diet consists mostly of leafy green vegetables like spinach and kale and lean meats like skinless chicken, fish, and turkey. In other words, it's very easy to know what to eat.
- The diet supports a healthy heart and blood lipid profiles.
- The diet is protein-sparing, which means it maintains lean body mass while burning off body fat.
This type of diet also has many disadvantages.
- They lack variety, which can quickly lead to boredom and "falling off of the wagon."
- Low-fat diets can often be less satiating than diets with more fat in them. Even with stable blood sugar, hunger is usually part and parcel of this type of diet.
- A return to "normal eating" following a diet of this type often leads to weight regain.
- One of the side effects of ketosis is bad breath. Chances are, you'll experience this.
- Without carbohydrates or fat as your source of energy, you may find yourself lacking energy.
- Diets of this type are not usually sustainable for the long-term, although they may be good for helping you to break through a plateau.
Because low-carbohydrate diets are more about chemistry than mechanics, it is always best to follow a specific diet plan which can help you to choose the right foods and combinations to sustain energy, maintain lean body mass, and still lose weight in a healthy manner. There are a few diet plans that combine low-carb, low-fat, and low-calorie that you might want to check out:
- The Stillman Diet is one popular diet of this type. It is a plan that needs to be followed exactly in order to be successful.
- Kimkins is a low-fat, low-carbohydrate, low-calorie diet that promises rapid weight loss.
- The Yoli diet cycles macronutrients (carbs, protein, fats), and does have elements of all three of these plans. However, it also uses supplements.
- Bariatric surgery diets often restrict carbs, calories, portions, and fat to help generate and maintain weight loss.
- The Ideal Protein Diet is low in all three of these macronutrients, especially early phases of the diet.
- While not super low in any one macronutrient, the South Beach Diet is considered a low-carb diet, and it also restricts calories and fat.
Restriction With Benefits
If you've been dieting and have hit a plateau, then a low-calorie, low-fat, low-carbohydrate diet might be for you. Because of the severe restrictive nature of this type of diet, always check with your personal health care provider before undertaking it.