Weight Loss Diets Overview

These days, losing weight should be easier than it has ever been, thanks to the proliferation of great diet programs that can now be accessed by anyone who wants to make a difference to the way they look and feel both inside and out. The choices are truly vast with virtually limitless ways of putting together food to suit the individual and help them to lose weight.

This article takes an overview approach to singling out some of the better and more popular diets.

Conventional Diets

weight loss diets workThere are basically two kinds of diet from our perspective. They are the conventional kind where the dieter gets a personalized diet sheet or program and prepares their own meals according to what they are allowed to eat and drink; and the modern, convenient kind where a diet company provides all the food for the dieter. Let's take a look at some of the conventional diets that have been extremely popular and have demonstrated some great successes over the years.

Weight Watchers

Leading the pack not only for its incredible success but for its amazing longevity in this aspect of health, Weight Watchers has been around for decades and helped literally millions of people to lose weight. Its methods may have changed and evolved over the years, but its core methodology of maintaining a daily calorie limit has been the basis of their success.

Whether it be by religiously counting calories each day or the later approach of allocating food "points" so people can eat as many foods as their daily points total allows, the successes speak for themselves.

Mediterranean Diet

This diet format takes its lead from the foods that people living around the shores of the Mediterranean Sea have eaten for all of their lives. This includes people from Italy, Southern France, Southern Spain and Greece, who have lived on a diet dominated by fresh fish, vegetables and fruits, tomatoes, garlic, onions and olive oil.

On this diet, people are documented as living longer and healthier lives than their Northern European counterparts with relatively low numbers of overweight or obese people. This is changing now that the fast food chains have invaded those shores and younger generations are attracted by the much hyped American fast food industry and obesity levels are rising in those areas too.

But the people who stick to the traditional diet do not gain weight!

Atkins Diet

The Atkins diet sparked off a minor revolution in dieting circles by cutting carbohydrates completely from the diet and allowing the consumption of high fat, high protein foods based around meat and dairy produce. The result was that people's bodies reverted to burning fat for energy in the absence of the sugars provided by carbs.

In the short term, it worked extremely well and people lost a lot of weight. It fell out of favor when nutritionists objected, citing the long term damage to health from omitting vital sections of the diet such as fresh fruits and vegetables. Most controversially, the diet's author, Dr Atkins died an obese man.

This diet spawned a collection of spin-off diets such as the South Beach Diet and more recently the Dukan Diet.

Convenience Diets

This group of diets is a more modern approach to dieting created in response to a great need by very busy working people who had no time for working a conventional kind of diet. Instead of working to a specialized diet sheet and preparing and cooking their own meals, dieters signing up for these diets had all their meals provided for them by the diet company in convenient individual packages.

This makes them easy to use and most importantly, portable so they could be taken to work and eaten in place of the often high calorie fast food lunch. There are several big names in the US operating highly successful diet programs based on this model and people are happy to pay that little extra to save time and effort.

Nutrisystem

One of the largest and most popular of these diet food delivery companies is the all-American Nutrisystem. Originally conceived in the 1970s as a store based diet company, it soon found a niche in mail order diets and began shipping packaged diet meals to customers.

It was a huge hit and with the advent of the Internet, the business moved online and has helped many thousands of people every year to lose weight ever since.

The diet plans, of which there are several to cater for different groups and needs, are based around a four week food package that provides three square meals a day plus two snack bars and a high protein shake. This maintains a "little and often" eating method with food that is nutritionally balanced (proteins, carbs, fat and fiber) while being low in calories.

Dieters lose weight through a combination of calorie restriction, learning to eat smaller meal portions and burning more fats through eating less, more often.

Plans are targeted to men or women, seniors, diabetics and vegetarians. There are special meals available for those with certain allergies such as gluten or lactose intolerant.

Basic plans consist of processed meals, freeze dried pasta and rice dishes and thirty percent fresh frozen meals which are shipped separately by Scwanns. There is also a completely fresh frozen meal plan called Select, which costs a little more than the regular plans but provides superior quality meals.

Jenny Craig

The main rival to Nutrisystem, Jenny Craig is owned by the giant Swiss food company, Nestle. Their diet program is not dissimilar to their rivals and they also provide a four week diet plan as well as ongoing support for customers, counselling and specialist diet plans. There are several popular plans that are geared towards different groups in a similar manner to Nutrisystem.

Medifast

Another diet program similar to the two above, Medifast has captured the advocacy of doctors and medical experts who have endorsed the product in preference to the others. Quite why this happened may simply be down to clever marketing, as the food is basically similar to that provided by the other two. The majority of the meals are processed with a percentage of fresh frozen meals and there are a variety of different plans to cater for different groups.

eDiets

This company provides a home delivered meal system like the above, with the difference being that they provide a seven day diet plan consisting of freshly prepared meals that are shipped in cool bags. This means higher quality meals and no processed foods, which also means no additives. Prices are higher than the others to reflect the better quality of food.

Bistro MD

Another seven day diet plan provider similar to eDiets with the difference that their meals are fresh prepared but shipped frozen. The quality of the food is believed to be the highest amongst the major diet delivery companies with a nationwide shipping policy.

There are many other diet programs available and they all have their own advantages and disadvantages. This article is designed to be fluid and will be expanded as more diets are researched and can be included in this collection.