Diets: A Beginner’s Guide to Every Major Plan and How it Impacts Your Health

Written by: Elly Hancock

If there’s one thing we’re not short of in the world, it’s diets. Low carb, high carb, low fat, high fat, 500 calories a day, juice cleanses, and everything else in between – would you be surprised if I said there are nearly 100 diets to choose from?

As someone who has tried a fair few different diets over the years, it’s safe to say that finding the right one for you can be challenging.

In this guide, I’ll share all you need to know about every diet there is, including what you can (or can’t) eat, any health benefits or implications, and the essential pros and cons. 

With the tips in this guide, you’ll be able to decide which diet is best for you, your body, and your lifestyle, whether that’s cutting out certain foods, adding in new ingredients, or counting calories.

How To Know Which Diet is Right For You

The right diet for you is just that – the right diet for you. What works for one person might not work for the next, and it’s always worth bearing that in mind before you get started.

You need to consider various factors when deciding to change your diet. First of all, your taste preferences are very important. If you don’t like what the diet is telling you to eat, then you won’t stick to it, and you won’t want to either.

But health implications are also important. If you suffer from gluten intolerance, following a diet high in grains and legumes probably won’t be your best fit. The same goes for any other allergies or intolerances.

It’s also worth thinking about other health conditions you have, or might be at risk of. Consider whether you have a family history of conditions that a diet can affect, such as diabetes or heart disease.

And last but not least, remember why you’re switching up your diet. If you want to lose weight, finding a diet with a sustainable calorie deficit will be just fine. But if you’re looking to add a few pounds, or you just want to improve your overall health, cutting down calories isn’t the way to go.

Remember that dieting doesn’t have to be difficult, and it certainly doesn’t have to cost you your entire paycheck, either. There are easy ways to eat healthy on a budget, no matter your goal. A few simple swaps here and there could be all it takes to lose those few pounds or increase your nutrient levels.

Before You Change Your Diet…

No matter what a diet tells you to cut out or add to your plate, some factors should always stay the same. 

Lifestyle habits like your sleep, hydration, and activity levels, are essential for your overall well-being, and they’re also crucial for maximizing the success of your diet.

Any dietary changes are always worth discussing with your doctor first. They know you and all about your health, so they can also tell you what might or might not work so well. Plus, they can put your mind at ease about any potential health implications.

How To Spot A Fad Diet

Although there are plenty of diets to choose from, it doesn’t mean they’re all good ones to follow. 

Fad diets are more than just a fad. Most of the time, they’re dangerous and damaging to your health – which is exactly why it pays to be aware of them.

The wrong diet can cause horrible side effects like nausea, headaches, low energy, and malnutrition. And more often than not, fad diets lead to weight gain once the diet is over.

A good diet should be easy to stick to and be sustainable in the long term. But fad diets are usually the very opposite. Aside from the harmful health side effects, fad diets can be downright painful and boring to endure, especially when you’re left feeling very hungry.

So how do you spot a fad diet? Here are four key giveaways to help you know a fad diet when you see one.

Drastic calorie cutting

Fad diets usually have a very low calorie intake to increase sudden weight loss. As you’d expect, this can be dangerous, especially if you create a deficit of more than 500 calories a day. And most of the time, it’s only water that you lose.

Taking pills/powders

Many fad diets promise a ‘magic’ pill, powder, or herb to kickstart weight loss, claiming that you won’t need to do any other type of ‘dieting’ alongside the supplement. Or they suggest that your actual input is minimal, because the magic supplement does all the work. But the only thing you’re losing is money. 

Extreme limits on certain types of foods 

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