Find the Right Diet for You

Get the facts about fad diets and see how they fit with your weight-loss and nutrition goals

A woman pulling fruits and vegetables from her refrigerator is getting ready to make a healthy meal that fits her nutrition and weight management goals.

Get the facts about fad diets and see how they fit with your weight-loss and nutrition goals

Summer in San Diego can mean a lot of things: family vacations, backyard barbecues, days at the beach. But for many of us, summer carries pressure to drop a few pounds and get our bodies swimsuit-ready. There are plenty of diets that claim to have the answer to weight-loss woes, but can they actually follow through?

“We live in a world of instant gratification with a high demand for immediate results — this applies to weight loss as well,” says Fatma Deif, MD, an internal medicine physician at Scripps Clinic Rancho San Diego. “Today’s market is full of methods to help that happen, but with so many options out there, it can be challenging to find the right regimen.”

Comparing popular diet plans

Diets aren’t one-size-fits-all, so what works for a friend, neighbor or celebrity may not necessarily work for you. Also, diets vary greatly from one to another, as you can see below in the top 10 most-Googled diets of 2018:

The keto diet: A popular low-carb, high-fat diet that forces the body into a state of ketosis, when it burns fat for energy.

Intermittent fasting: Eat only during a specific timespan, e.g. eight hours, and fast the rest of the day. There are many variations of this.

The Dubrow diet: Reality TV stars Heather Dubrow and Terry Dubrow, MD, promote intermittent fasting combined with a low-glycemic diet.

Noom: A subscription-based smartphone app tracks your progress, counts calories and provides advice and weight-loss coaching specific to your triggers and goals.

The carnivore diet: Exactly what it sounds like — meat and other animal products, like cheese and eggs, are allowed. Everything else is not.

The Mediterranean diet: US News and World Report named this the best overall diet for 2019. It emphasizes fruits, vegetables, whole grains, beans, seeds, fish and healthy fats, while limiting red meat, sugar and salt. Learn more about the Mediterranean diet.

Optavia: A company delivers prepackaged food to your door, and you prepare one healthy “lean and green” meal on your own each day. A coach helps users develop healthy habits.

The Gundry diet: In his book The Plant Paradox, Dr. Steven Gundry claims that eliminating lectins (proteins in legumes, nightshade vegetables, fruits, grains and dairy) has many health benefits, including weight loss.

The low-FODMAP diet: Designed to counter irritable bowel syndrome, this diet eliminates foods containing fermentable carbs, including many dairy products, grains, fruits and vegetables.

Shepherd’s Diet: Also known as the Biblical Belly Breakthrough Diet, the Shepherd’s Diet is rooted in Christian ideology. Its Bible-inspired plan focuses on eating whole foods and healthy fats, and lowering stress.

Talk to your doctor about healthy weight management goals

Consult your doctor before beginning any diet and be realistic about your goals. In general, aim to lose about 1-2 pounds per week.  

“Big changes usually don’t happen overnight,” Dr. Deif says. “It’s important to assess personal challenges and create a strategy that uses a multistep approach involving physical activity, behavior changes and dietary adjustments in order to gradually make habit changes that last. Long term weight loss takes time and effort.”

The cover of the June 2019 issue of San Diego Health Magazine.

This content appeared in San Diego Health, a publication in partnership between Scripps and San Diego Magazine that celebrates the healthy spirit of San Diego.

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