Diet Plans & Programs: The "Skinny" on Popular Diet Plans

Weight Watchers

Commercial Weight-loss
With SmartPoints, people can choose the foods they want to eat at home, in restaurants, in the workplace — or anywhere else food shows up in their lives. Those who have a family history of ailments like prostate and colon cancer, the diseases that most likely hit men in fifties and above, should get regular medical checkups done. By eating a little more some days and a little less on others, you'll supposedly prevent your body from becoming used to the same number of calories every day. How do they work? For the first two weeks, you eat three extremely low-carb meals a day plus two snacks.

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It is a capsule that is usually taken three times per day before a meal that contains dietary fat. It works by decreasing the amount of fat your body absorbs. The average weight-loss is about 5 percent of your weight after one-year. In a person who weighs pounds, this would mean 10 pounds of weight-loss.

It does not work well for people who are already on a low-fat diet since their calories from fat are already low. Common side effects are cramps, gas, stool leakage, oily spotting and gas with discharge that improve with a lower fat diet.

Utilizing a commercial weight-loss center or program is one of the most popular options for someone affected by obesity. Commercial weight-loss programs often provide various resources such as pre-packaged meals, support and more. Programs usually offer a 1, to 1, calorie-per-day diet plan which produces weight-loss of about pounds per week. The slow-down of weight-loss is not unique to these approaches. It is true of any weight-loss program because as you begin to weight less, you burn fewer calories.

Because commercial plans vary greatly, the FTC recommends asking the following questions before engaging in a program:. In this section, we will examine some of the most popular commercial weight-loss programs by separating them into two different categories: Meal Replacements Meal replacement through pre-packaged meals can be appealing because of the convenience and ease of choices they offer.

However, when meals are pre-packaged, participants may not learn the basics of nutrition and healthy eating. Pre-packaged meals may also be expensive this claim is dependent on the normal weekly food cost an individual could incur. Liquid meal replacement plans, if used for too long, may be harmful because they can cause nutritional deficiencies. Unfortunately, when participants have not learned the principles of healthy eating and portion control, they often resume prior eating patterns.

Non-meal Replacements Some programs do not require meal replacement as part of their program. Their main goal is to teach you about healthy eating patterns, behavior modification and incorporating physical activity. While it is helpful long-term, behavior change does not happen overnight and can be a challenging adjustment at first.

Overall, a safe and effective commercial program will offer educational materials that have been reviewed by a licensed healthcare professional. These materials will include information on healthy eating plans, exercise and behavior therapy.

Nutrisystem features portion-controlled foods and structured meal plans that are both high in protein and low in glycemic index GI. Low-GI means means that the foods do not cause your blood sugar to rise sharply. For people with diabetes, a low-GI diet can help keep blood glucose in control. Nutrisystem plans, tailored for men and women, encourage you to consume three meals and two or three snacks per day. The plans offer about different pre-packaged to choose from.

Foods are home-delivered, typically in shipments every four weeks, after you place an order online or over-the-phone. You have to purchase additional fruits, vegetables and dairy products on your own. These are grouped into three categories: Smartcarbs nutrient-rich, high-fiber carbohydrates , PowerFuels lean proteins and healthy fats and vegetables non-starchy ones which can be eaten freely.

A meal planner explains how and when to add these foods into your diet. The program has an active online community, including discussion boards and dietitian-led chats.

Counseling, for those who want it, is available and included with most Nutrisystem programs. With the recommended fruits, vegetables and dairy products, this diet plan can be considered well-balanced. Research on Nutrisystem customers showed an average weight-loss of 18 pounds at three months and 27 pounds at six months. Some research finds a small weight-loss advantage for low-GI diets over high-GI ones, but other studies find no difference.

So, this should be a healthy way to lose weight. Another concern is that participants using pre-packaged meals do not necessarily learn good nutrition, which makes maintaining weight-loss difficult once they return to buying food on their own. Counselors are also available throughout the program and during transition and maintenance to educate about good eating habits.

The final concern is the cost of the food. This does not include the additional fruits, vegetables and other foods that you must purchase on your own. Although Nutrisystem claims that the full cost of eating while on the program is about 15 to 40 percent less than what the average American spends on food, some consumers would rather buy food week-to-week. Some employers and health plans subsidize or reimburse program costs. The program is developed by registered dietitians in consultation with an expert Science Advisory Board.

The program is delivered by trained personal consultants in weekly motivational one-on-one consultations, in center, over the phone or via Skype. Consultants partner with members to identify personal motivators, set weekly menu and activity plans, monitor progress, overcome obstacles and positively reinforce success.

A typical menu day on Jenny Craig consists of three meals and three snacks per day, which, in combination with the added grocery items, adds up to an individualized menu calorie level that is based on your gender, age, height, weight and level of physical activity.

The standard menu caloric distribution is percent carbohydrate, percent fat and percent protein. For the Jenny Craig for type 2 diabetes menu, the caloric distribution is 45 percent carbohydrate, 30 percent fat and 25 percent protein. For the first half of your program, you primarily follow menus that include Jenny Craig foods for seven days a week.

For special events or other times when you need an alternate option, your consultants will offer guidance for meals on your own. When you have lost half of your total weight-loss goal, you make the transition to five to six days of menus that include Jenny Craig foods and one to two days of your own foods. Throughout your program, you work with your consultant to utilize behavioral strategies to address challenges like emotional, social and unconscious eating and dining out, as well as to build an enjoyable, active lifestyle.

Jenny Craig is a well-balanced, scientifically proven program on which you can expect to lose pounds per week on average. A clinical trial of people with type 2 diabetes demonstrated a 9 percent weight-loss at one year with greater improvements in diabetes control and heart risk factors as compared to usual care.

For both programs, Jenny Craig participants achieved three times greater weight-loss when compared to usual care. The daily menu is a model for learning nutritional balance, variety and moderation in food choices.

Counselors are not dietitians. However, they have been trained to deliver an evidence-based program that is developed by registered dietitians and recommended by the Obesity Guidelines.

SLIM-FAST Available in supermarkets, grocery stores and pharmacies Slim-Fast has been around for more than 25 years and offers relatively quick weight-loss by substituting a calorie-controlled, sweet-tasting fortified meal replacement shake or bar for some of your regular meals.

The program offers online support that includes weight, diet and exercise charting, chat rooms with online buddies, chat sessions with registered dietitians, a weekly newsletter, exercise programs and meal planning.

The diet plan is centered around two Slim-Fast meal replacements. A snack of calories is also offered during the day. Fruits and vegetables about servings are encouraged in addition to the meals and snack.

Overall, if followed correctly, the plan does encourage additional fruits and vegetables and it stays at or above 1, calories a day, leading to a more balanced consumption than traditional liquid diets.

Meal replacement diets such as Slim-Fast are appealing because of their simplicity and convenience. If you plan to use Slim-Fast, you should consider doing so under the supervision of a healthcare professional who can help teach you how to transition yourself from the the shakes and who can monitor for potential complications of a fast weight-loss.

The biggest drawback is that dieters may not receive comprehensive information about nutrition, which means that as they transition back to regular foods, which they are likely to do eventually, weight gain may be inevitable.

Also, the recommended calorie level may be too low for some dieters. The plan emphasizes a well-balanced diet and encourages lifestyle changes and increased physical activity.

The Weight Watchers program is called Beyond the Scale, which still emphasizes weight-loss but does it in a broader context of eating healthier, moving more and making more time for yourself. Beyond the Scale offers an approach to healthier living that allows people to personalize the program and define their own success both on and off the scale.

The Weight Watchers food plan, SmartPoints, is consistent with the Dietary Guidelines for Americans to make healthier eating simple by translating complex nutrition information into one simple number, giving each food and beverage a SmartPoints value. Everything is still on the menu with SmartPoints, but it does encourage a healthier pattern of eating with more fruits, vegetables and lean proteins, and less sugar and saturated fat.

Members are given a personalized daily SmartPoints target based on their height, weight, age and gender and also receive weekly SmartPoints to provide flexibility for occasions when members may eat more than usual. With SmartPoints, people can choose the foods they want to eat at home, in restaurants, in the workplace — or anywhere else food shows up in their lives.

Fitness is also a core component of Beyond the Scale. Weight loss can only occur when you consume fewer calories than your body needs. In the introduction chapter the author makes numerous claims that you do not need to limit the quantity of food that you consume and then provides portion restrictions on many high calorie foods, such as nuts. It's appealing to hear you can eat unlimited quantities, but weight loss will not be achieved without limitations.

The initial phase of this diet should be avoided. This two-week phase claims to produce a weight loss of eight to 13 pounds with severe dietary restrictions; including fruit, dairy, and starches. Phases like this are usually included so people see quick results, but are limited in time because they are not nutritionally balanced and can't be followed for a long period.

It tends to be more discouraging than motivating to lose quickly and to feel like you are "on a diet. It's best to begin slowly and to always consume a nutritionally balanced diet. Eat more, weigh less: Eat More, Weigh Less is one of the few diets developed as a result of research. The primary goal of this diet was to reverse heart disease. The basis for this diet is to consume a high-fiber, low-fat, vegetarian diet with limited amounts of dairy foods. The goal is to consume primarily complex carbohydrates vegetables, fruit, and whole grains , low total fat primarily from omega-3 fatty acids and limited in saturated fat, and low sugar.

Physical activity and stress management are also emphasized. The research does support the health benefits of this diet, and you will lose weight if you stick with the plan. The web site provides recipes and detailed information on nutrition , exercise, and stress management. The primary con to this diet is that it can be extremely limited and difficult for some people to follow.

This limitation is because meat is omitted from the plan. Cutting out an entire food group may be too much of a restriction to maintain over the long-term, so some people do best by modifying this diet to allow for a moderate amount of meat. The high fiber intake may also pose a problem initially. It's best to slowly increase the amount of fiber you consume so your body can get used to it.

The goal is always long-term weight loss and maintenance. This diet does have the research to support it, but it may need modifications to make it work for you. Jenny Craig has become best-known for the celebrities who are followed while losing weight on this diet. They explain how easy it is and how delicious the food is, and you see the results as they are happening. This diet provides you with your foods and snacks to ensure you consume the exact amount of calories your body needs to lose weight.

You add fresh produce and dairy. You meet with a consultant on a weekly basis to discuss your progress, and who will assist you with transitioning to your own food when you are ready to do so. Physical activity is emphasized throughout the diet.

The primary advantage to this diet is that you will lose weight if you eat what you are given. Portion-and-calorie-controlled meals are great tools for long-term weight loss and maintenance.

They take away the guesswork of how many calories you consume, they can be nutritionally balanced, they are quick and easy to prepare, and they teach you about healthy portion sizes. As with all diets, nothing works for everyone, and nothing works forever.

The celebrity endorsements are great when they work, but the celebrities who regain their weight once they discontinue this plan are proving that this is not the answer for everyone. Many people prefer to be able to eat food they prepare and do not like the idea of prepackaged foods.

The consultants are not professionals in this field. They undergo a training course but are not trained therapists, registered dietitians, or exercise physiologists, so the advice and support that you receive will be limited to what they have been taught to say. If you are taking any medications or have any health conditions, it is best to work with trained professionals.

The NutriSystem Advanced diet is a low glycemic index , high-fiber, and high-protein diet. The prepackaged food is provided for you by ordering online or by calling the toll free number.

This diet does address the three necessary components for successful weight loss and maintenance; diet, physical activity, and behavior. Prepackaged foods can be an effective tool for weight loss. You will be provided with the appropriate number of calories for weight loss without having to worry about counting anything.

This will give you the opportunity to learn what appropriate portion sizes are and which foods are necessary for a well-balanced diet based on your specific needs. The variety of programs based on gender, age, health, and dietary preference is another positive component of this diet.

The Mindset Makeover was developed by one of the leading psychologists in the weight loss field, Gary Foster, Ph. It is designed to "help people learn new behaviors when it comes to weight loss and related lifestyle issues. You are given access to this and an online account with community support as part of each of the programs.

Prepackaged foods are not for everyone and typically not something to use forever. They can be very limiting and create the sense of being "on a diet. Most people find that they only want to use this type of a diet for the short-term or for one or two meals per day.

The other negative aspect of this diet is that the prepackaged foods contain the artificial sweeteners Sucaralose and Acesulfame K. The dietary focus on this diet also has some limitations. The idea of "good carbs" and "bad carbs" is controversial. While there is some truth to the role of glycemic index in hunger, it is not a guaranteed tool for weight management. Labeling foods as "good" and "bad" creates problems for people trying to develop healthy eating habits. A well-balanced diet requires whole wheat sources of starch, while allowing for some sugar.

Weight Watchers has been around for many years. There have been changes to the program, but weekly meetings have remained a part of the plan. The two diet options that are currently available are the Flex Plan and the Core Plan. The Core Plan is based on the science of energy density. Energy density refers to the amount of calories in a given weight of food.

Foods that are considered low energy dense foods have a small amount of calories for a large volume of food for example, vegetable soups, vegetables, and fruit. High energy dense foods provide a lot of calories for a small amount of food for example, oils, butter, cream sauce. The Core Plan provides a "balanced diet by centering on a list of healthy foods that keep you full longer. The support and information provided online and in-person sets Weight Watchers apart from most diets out there.

There are numerous meetings across the country to choose from. For many people, having a place to weigh-in each week is a key to success. The focus on a balanced diet, exercise, and behavior changes is another advantage to this diet.

The goal is to educate people on all three components and assist with both weight loss and maintenance. The two plans give people an option to find what works best for their own success. Many people have a "been there, done that" attitude when it comes to Weight Watchers. They have tried it, may have had some success, may have even gone back a couple of times, but end up feeling that it can't help them any longer. The group leaders at the meetings are not trained experts; they are former members who have had success with Weight Watchers.

When someone is not having success the options for what to do can be greatly limited by the lack of experience and knowledge of the leader. There is a strong emphasis on weighing in each week. Many people have a difficult time attending a meeting when they are not having success. However, most people will not lose weight every single week, so expecting to do so is a recipe for failure.

The time when people need the support the most is when they are not losing, but most meetings are not set to address this. While there are two diet options, this still may not be enough for everyone. If counting points and following a low-energy dense diet do not work for you, there is no other option left.

The best weight loss diet is one that fits your lifestyle and needs, and you can't always get that with this plan. I also agree to receive emails from MedicineNet and I understand that I may opt out of MedicineNet subscriptions at any time. Lose Weight, and Keep It Off. It is indisputable that as a country we are more overweight and obese than we have ever been. As a result, the diet industry has grown along with us.

Some diets genuinely try to help people lose weight and keep it off, while others look to make money by saying whatever it takes to get people to believe their claims.

You need to be an educated consumer when it comes to weight loss. It's not enough to see that a doctor is the author of a book. You need to digest what is being said, and look for the facts supporting the claims.

It takes modifications in behavior, diet, and activity to succeed at weight loss. It also takes time, patience, commitment, and lots of hard work.

There will never be one diet that is the "cure" for everyone. If you are having difficulties with weight loss, seek helf from your physician. Dieting is a complex issue and ongoing professional support may be needed for success. It is possible to lose weight and keep it off, so never give up hope. Instead, find what works best for you right now, and be open to change as you go along.

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Medically reviewed by Joseph Palermo, D. Low iron or underlying disease, like cancer, may be to blame. Treatment can resolve anemia. Physical therapy can help a patient with arthritis to work out stiffness without damaging their joints.

Occupational therapy teaches the patient how to reduce joint strain during daily activities. Those receiving occupational or physical therapy will learn about their arthritis, be given a dietary plan if they are overweight, get foot care advice, and learn methods of relieving discomfort.

Congestive heart failure CHF refers to a condition in which the heart loses the ability to function properly. Heart disease, high blood pressure, diabetes, myocarditis, and cardiomyopathies are just a few potential causes of congestive heart failure.

Signs and symptoms of congestive heart failure may include fatigue, breathlessness, palpitations, angina, and edema. Physical examination, patient history, blood tests, and imaging tests are used to diagnose congestive heart failure. Treatment of heart failure consists of lifestyle modification and taking medications to decrease fluid in the body and ease the strain on the heart.

The prognosis of a patient with congestive heart failure depends on the stage of the heart failure and the overall condition of the individual. Take the Diabetes Quiz and learn the causes, signs, symptoms, and types of this growing epidemic. What does diabetes have to do with obesity and diet?

Learn about life as a diabetic. Learn about fat-fighting foods such as grapefruit, hot peppers, vinegar, and more. Discover the benefits along with surprising facts about how they may fight fat. Processed meats like pepperoni, beef jerky, and chicken nuggets are associated with an increased risk of health problems like colon cancer, heart disease, and diabetes. That's why many doctors recommend avoiding them to reduce cancer risks and other health risks.

Lap band gastric banding surgery, also referred to as laparoscopic adjustable gastric banding LAGB is a surgical procedure in which an adjustable belt is placed around the upper portion of the stomach.

Side effects, risks, and complications from lap band surgery should be discussed with a surgeon or physician prior to the operation. Weight loss without dieting? No diet, no problem. Learn the best way to lose weight with these weight loss tips designed to help men and women lose weight and feel great.

Migraine headache is a type of headache associated with a sensitivity to light, smells, or sounds, eye pain, severe pounding on one side of the head, and sometimes nausea and vomiting. The exact cause of migraine headaches is not known.

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