Modern weight loss plans are as numerous and diverse as they’ve ever been, and with an increasing number of diets purporting to be the most effective for weight loss, we take a closer look at two of the options that are available.
First off, you will undoubtedly be familiar with the concept of intermittent fasting (IF), which has received huge amounts of press attention in recent years. IF remains a popular way of eating for those who are looking to make positive changes to their health; be this to either lose or maintain weight, improve metabolic health, learn how to manage appetite – the evidence in all these areas is accumulating.
Our evidence-based, unique ‘Fast Philosophy’ is a form of IF in which we recommend that you split your week into ‘Fast days’ and ‘Smart days’. Choosing any four LighterLife Fast products to have throughout your designated Fast days means that you get to select from a wide range of nutritionally-balanced, calorie-controlled products. These include a variety of tasty shakes, soups, bars and meals, but with only around a quarter of your usual daily calories. On your remaining Smart days, you select two calorie-controlled meals of up to 300Kcal each, a couple of 100Kcal snacks, and finally, a meal of your choosing that you would normally eat. And to make it simple, we have a wide range of healthy and balanced options available in our recipe bank to help guide you. It really is that easy, and it’s incredibly effective too. Most importantly, you can still enjoy that evening out without having to worry about your diet; a plan that works around you and fits into your lifestyle, but still ensures first-class nutrition!
Ketogenic DietAnother frequently mentioned weight loss plan is the ketogenic diet, or more popularly known as the ‘keto’ diet. So what is this, and how does it work? In brief, a ketogenic diet involves a very restrictive way of eating. In fact, it’s so restrictive, that in order for the diet to be effective, you have to drastically reduce your carbohydrate intake down to no more than 15-30g carbs per day; approximately the amount you would find in one average, small bread roll. That’s it – that’s all you’re allowed in terms of carbohydrates – I can’t say that this sounds either particularly appealing or balanced. Essentially what you end up consuming, day after day, is a very high-fat diet, with approximately 75% of the calories from fat, with most of the remainder coming from protein and just the small amount of allowed carbs as described above. This type of diet is also commonly referred to as a ‘low carbohydrate, high fat’, or ‘LCHF’ diet too, and many foods are completely off-limits.
What’s probably most surprising about this type of keto plan is that there is surprisingly little in the way of randomised controlled trials investigating their impact keto on weight loss. However, one recently published, independently written review paper1 which describes a few relevant observations regarding these restrictive, high fat diets states that ‘any diet which results in reduced energy intake will, of course, result in weight loss and related favourable metabolic and functional changes’.
What we need to remember is that food isn’t just for fuel and the way we eat shouldn’t just be seen simply as a means to an end. Arguably, any conventional diet that simply bans whole food groups in the absence of a specific medical or health need, isn’t one that should be advocated. And from a professional practice point of view, is generally inadvisable because of the high rate of ‘falling off the wagon’ and the inevitable, subsequent feelings of failure. Additionally, low/very low intakes of carbohydrate food sources may impact on overall diet quality and long-term effects of such drastic diet changes remain at present unknown.
We eat as part of social occasions and for pleasure, and we use food as celebration. And within the context of a healthy lifestyle, we should enjoy our food, ensuring that we eat a wide variety, encompassing all different foodstuffs, which will help ensure that our diets are nutrient-rich.
When you cut out entire classes of macronutrient containing foods (i.e. most carbs) and increase the majority of your intake to one macronutrient (i.e. fat), like you do with the keto diet, a nutrient-rich diet is far more difficult to achieve.
Instead, an eating plan that encourages a range of healthy foods; either pre-packed or freshly prepared, which is balanced for nutrients, is a far more versatile plan to follow. And whilst we wouldn’t advocate eating a very heavy carb diet all the time, not being allowed to enjoy a pasta dish, or some chocolate cake as part of a conventional food diet – well, that’s really, rather miserable isn’t it.
Find out more about our Fast Philosophy and how it can help you achieve your goals.