Why diets fail | How to pick the right one to succeed finally
Everybody tried them in the past: Diets.
Unfortunately, they don’t prove to be very successful. Research shows that 95% of all diet attempts fail.
But why do diets fail?
Most diets fail because they don’t fit with the person. If you choose the wrong diet that doesn’t meet your needs and desires, you won’t be able to stick to it and make it a success.
But when you pick the right diet that you can stick to for the rest of your life, you will be successful, lose weight, and be happy permanently.
After you’ve read this blog post, you’ll never have to fail a diet again.
So let’s start with discussing the ten most popular diets and why they’re so hard to maintain if you don’t do it right.
- Juicing and detoxification diets
- Intermittent Fasting
- The Paleo Diet
- High-Intensity Training
- Low calorie and very low-calorie diet
- Low carb and low-fat diet
- The Keto Diet
- Mediterranean Diet
- A combination that fits your needs
For most people, diets are not sustainable because they limit your choices too much, which makes it hard to maintain as a life long lifestyle.
But when you can follow one of these diets for the rest of your life, it will help you lose weight successfully. It’s all about choosing the right lifestyle for you.
1. Juicing and Detoxification Diets
Juicing or detoxing diets refers to a short period, usually less than two weeks, where the entirety of the calories consumed is from juices and other supplements. Some well- known juicing diets include The Master Cleanser, Lemon Detox Diet, the Liver Cleansing Diets, and many more.
These diets also often require the use of laxatives or sauna visits.
Unfortunate, there is little scientific data to support their various claims.
The weight loss that occurs is the results of a significant reduction in caloric intake, as well as the loss of water weight and fecal matter due to the laxatives and sauna visits.
These extremely low-calorie diets lead to a rise in stress hormones, including cortisol, which may cause other adverse downstream effects, including appetite stimulation, which can lead to rebound weight gain from binge eating or stress eating. Interestingly, increased cortisol levels persist even after 21 days of caloric restriction to 1200 kcal/day.
After finishing the diet, you will gain weight because you’re increasing your calories again.
It shouldn’t come as a surprise, but it demotivates people to continue with their weight loss resulting in more weight than when they started the diet.
There is also no evidence that these types of diets detoxicate the body at all. Present studies about the subject are of low quality at which no conclusions can be drawn.
2. Intermittent Fasting
The intermittent fasting strategy involves fasting for an extended period, usually 16-48 hours, with little or no calorie intake, followed by periods of healthy eating. Depending on the particular intermittent fasting diet, the time spent fasting as well as the allowable caloric consumption during the fasting period can vary.
Several metabolic changes occur during the fasting period and include decreased glucose levels, reduced glycogen stores, fatty acid mobilization, decreased leptin, and may also be associated with a heightened level of alertness.
Intermittent fasting diets lead to a weight loss in general because caloric intake tends to be reduced by about 25% when compared to the baseline caloric intake of the individual.
That’s because you have limited time to consume all your calories for the day. So if you’re prone to late night snacking, intermitted fasting might be beneficial for you. When you have a clear timeframe in which you’re allowed to eat, you raise the bar for eating late at night because you’re not allowed to do so. It can help you reduce your energy intake. Also, when you have a busy life and limited time to eat, Intermittent fasting can guide you in a healthy eating pattern.
There have been some small studies that have compared intermittent fasting diets with caloric restriction diets where each group takes in a similar number of calories. These studies show that overall body mass was identical, but the intermittent fasting might lead to more lean body mass.
More lean body mass suggests that intermittent fasting leads to healthier weight loss. Unfortunately, this is only 1 study researched this, which doesn’t give much power to the evidence.
Also, fasting for long periods can be hard for people, especially when it interferes with their social life.
However, many people are successful using intermittent fasting as a lifestyle choice. If you can eat in an 8-hour window, without feeling hungry or late night snacking then intermittent fasting can be a useful way to lose weight.
3. The Paleo Diet
The Paleo Diet was created to mimic the way cave dwellers ate in the Stone Ages when only non-processed foods were available for consumption. The rationale behind the creation of this diet based on a theory that human genes stopped evolving 10,000 years ago during the Stone Age. Therefore, human genetics optimized for this type of diet.
Paleo foods include fresh vegetables, fruit, lean meats, fish, eggs, tofu, nuts, and seeds.
So if you love these foods very much, the Paleo Diet might be the right pick for you.
There is evidence that suggests that the Paleo Diet results in weight loss, reduction in waist circumference, increased glucose sensitivity, and improvement in lipid profiles.
Unfortunately, these studies where short and underpowered, and there was no difference after 24 months.
One of the downfalls of the paleo diet is that the foods tend to be more expensive, and the increased cost may make this type of diet impractical for specific populations.
Since the Paleo Diet prohibits dairy, it can also be low in calcium if you don’t substitute it correctly. That might lead to reduced bone density and reduces strength.
But when you can give up your fast food, dairy, and other good stuff, then the paleo diet can help you to lose weight.
I selected a great book with recipes to get you started with the paleo diet if it’s for you.
4. High-Intensity Interval Training
High-Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) has been used by elite athletes for years to optimize athletic performance but has more recently become a strategy for weight loss in the general population. HIIT involves short bursts of maximum intensity work followed by periods of rest. It differs significantly from moderate intensity training (MITT) such as distance running or cycling at an average pace.
Evidence shows that HIIT is effective for weight loss, reduction of waist circumference, and increases lean body mass.
So when you’re in relatively good shape and have little time to exercise, HITT can be a good option.
The problem with HIIT is that most overweight people aren’t able to perform HIIT because of the intensity of the program. It can lead to injuries, and it might not improve endurance as much as MITT.
Read more: 28 benefits of exercise on mental health, physical and weight
5. Low-calorie and very low-calorie diet
Low calorie and very low-calorie diets have proven to be very successful at losing weight.
A low-calorie diet consists of less than 1200 calories and a very low-calorie diet consisting of less than 800 calories.
These are all very restricting diets. Research done in 2007 shows that a low-calorie diet results in almost 18 kg weight reduction after one year.
So if you can maintain it, this diet is beneficial. It focuses on burning your fat reserves due to the high energy deficit. Another study shows that a calorie-restricted diet reduces cravings. It will take at least three months to notice this effect so you’ll have to push yourself through that first period.
Read more: How to stop cravings | Reduce calorie intake to lose weight
The problem with this diet is its maintainability. Eating at such a deficit results in a lot of hunger during the day. That’s why so many people give up on a low-calorie diet. And when you stop following it, you will regain weight very fast again.
Also, a very low-calorie diet can lead to increased levels of cortisol and stress, as does counting calories
It can enhance depression, anxiety, and other mental problems. So if you’re already prone to psychological issues, you won’t be able to follow this diet successfully, and I wouldn’t recommend it.
Furthermore, when you don’t do it right, a low-calorie diet results In the loss of fat-free mass. It happens because you often don’t consume enough protein in a low-calorie diet. The only protein your body can use them to function correctly is to use the protein in your muscles. It results in loss of muscle mass, which is also a part of your total weight loss.
To prevent this, you’ll have to do calorie deficit right so that this won’t happen and you’ll healthily lose weight.
Read more: How many calories do I need to lose weight | calorie deficit
So if you have the discipline to restrict your food intake significantly and are willing to feel hungry for most of the time the first few weeks, then a low-calorie diet can be a very successful weight loss strategy. You have to keep in mind that at some point you’ll have to increase your calories a little bit to stay healthy. It will come with a small increase in weight, which you have to be able to cope with to be successful.
To help you start using a low-calorie diet the right way, I’ve selected a cookbook that shows you how you can prepare healthy low-calorie meals.
6. Low carb and low-fat diet
A low carb diet focuses on reducing all kinds of carbohydrates, where a low-fat diet focuses on reducing as much fat as you can from your diet.
Research shows that a low carb diet results in more weight loss at six months than a low-fat diet. However, after 12 months, this difference disappeared.
The low carb diet did results in a 58% reduced progression of Type 2 diabetes. That’s because it improves insulin resistance, which results in better blood sugar regulation of your body.
The main reason for this is that all junk food contains both high amounts of sugar, fat, and calories. With a low carb diet, these are all off the table. It results in consuming fewer calories, which aids your weight loss.
Both diets also result in a reduction of your cholesterol levels as your banning out many unhealthy and high cholesterol foods.
So if you have high blood pressure, high cholesterol or Type 2 Diabetes, then a low carb diet might be useful for you. However, when you like things like pasta, rice, or potatoes, then you won’t be able to follow this diet because these are all forbidden.
So it doesn’t matter wheater you choose a low carb diet or a low-fat diet. The most important thing is that you can stick to it for the rest of your life. Otherwise, it will be all for nothing, and you’ve failed yet another diet.
Read more: Why we need carbs, protein, and fat for a healthy lifestyle
7. Keto Diet
Opposite to a low-fat diet, also high-fat diets known as the keto diet are popular these days. The Ketonic Diet focuses on eating high fat, low carb, and low-calorie meals.
The purpose of this diet is to force your body into ketosis; It’s a state where your body burns fat for energy due to a lack of glucose. Research shows that it suppresses the drive to eat, improves glycemic control, and reduce some cardiovascular risk factors. It also may protect against cognitive impairment caused by weight gain and obesity.
A 2015 study shows that after 12 weeks, the ketogenic Diet results in significant weight loss. The study used a 1200-1500 low carb, high-fat diet to follow. Participants reported increased feelings of fullness at weeks 2 to 4. The participants consumed on average 74% from Fat, 20% from protein, and 8% from carbohydrates.
Man lost an average of 18 kg during the 12 weeks and the woman 11 kilograms. Unfortunately, also the fat-free mass reduces, which you don’t want because it shows loss of muscle mass.
Furthermore, the participants reported less emotional eating, depression, anxiety, and body dissatisfaction.
Below you can see an example of a female daily menu (1188 kcal)
|Food||Quantity (g)||Energy (kcal)||Carbs (g)||Fat (g)||Protein (g)|
|Extra virgin olive oil||13||115||–||13||–|
If you like these types of food, then the Ketogenic Diet might be the best pick for you. It’s a little more restricted to the low carb diet because you have to get your energy only from fat.
But remember, all carbs are off the table. So when on the KETO diet, you can’t consume fruits, alcohol, or sugary beverages at all. Also, rice, potatoes, and pasta are forbidden. When you do this, it through you out the ketosis and stops the fat burning.
So when you can’t live without these foods, then the KETO diet is not for you. But when you can, it can be a very effective way of life.
You can buy this book with healthy and delicious Keto meals to get you started if you want to try it.
8. Mediterranean Diet
The Mediterranean diet originates as the name suggests from the Mediterranean region in southern Europe. There is no one singular template for a Mediterranean diet. It’s a style of eating that varies between countries but retains the same core principles.
A traditional Mediterranean style diet is generally considered to be moderate fat, with approximately 35-45% of energy coming to from total fat. Fat intake comes primarily from mono- and poly-unsaturated fatty acids.
Research has shown that the Mediterranean diet results in a reduced incidence of cardiovascular disease. It also improves insulin sensitivity reducing type 2 diabetes risks.
A systematic review from 2016 also shows that the Mediterranean Diets lead to the same weight loss as other popular diets and even more weight loss than a low-fat diet.
The Mediterranean kitchen is very tasteful with a lot of spices an healthy food.
It uses a lot of fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, legumes, potatoes, whole grains, fish, and seafood. It prohibits the consumption of sugar-sweetened beverages, added sugars, and processed foods.
If you want to try the Mediterranean diet, here is a good book with over 500 recipes to try. That way, you can see if this is a diet you can follow and enjoy.
9. Use a combination of Diets
What all these diets have in common is that they focus on reducing your calorie intake.
So when none of these diets fits your needs, you can always create your own diet. It is how I’ve maintained my weight for years.
Eating in a calorie deficit is what you want to focus on when you try to lose weight.
So what you first want to do is calculate how many calories you need each day.
You can do that here:
It shows you how many calories you need based on your age, weight, height, and activity level to maintain or lose weight.
To lose weight, you want to focus on consuming fewer calories than your maintenance level and distributed them correctly.
It’s recommended to distribute your calories between carbs, protein, and fat in the following way.
- Carbohydrates: 55% of calories
- Protein: 15% of calories
- Fat: 30% of calories
In my opinion, you’ll have the most significant chance to be successful if you use a combination of a calorie deficit and at the same time increasing your physical activities to burn more calories.
That is the best way to stay motivated, not be hungry, and lose weight slowly.
It won’t give you fast results, but you will keep the weight off for the rest of your life.
Focus on eating a lot of vegetables, whole grains, and lean meat and limit your intake of sugary beverages and junk food.
I’ve written a full blog post on how to use a calorie deficit to lose weight.
Now I want to hear from you
In the end, it’s all about picking what works best for you.
Are you going to try the KETO diet or is intermitted fastening more your thing?
Let me know in the comments below.
Let’s make the world healthy again!