To Eat or Not to Eat: The 5 Most Popular Diets of All-Time

Neelambra Lahori  |  Updated: July 03, 2018 17:06 IST

To Eat or Not to Eat: The 5 Most Popular Diets of All-Time
Looking for ways to lose weight instantly because you want to look fab for a wedding or a special occasion? The promising 7-day crash diet seems to be the easy way. Just one week of controlled eating and you could go all out and flaunt a gorgeous saree or fit into those super-cute skinny jeans. It definitely seems worth the grueling (wish it was some grilling!) week. But is it really a well-thought out diet that doesn’t compromise on the body’s nutritional needs or is it just a no-eating-food regime?

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In our busy lives, with barely any time to ensure we always adopt a ‘balanced diet’, bag-after-bag of potato wafers and can-after-can of diet colas miraculously end up on our desks. The confusion over what is an ideal diet somehow makes us altogether ignore the hard facts that we all know- only a controlled diet and daily exercise reap lasting results.

Bengaluru-based nutritionist Anju Sood warns us, “Short term diet plans deprive the body of essential nutrients and cause water loss, instead of fat loss. As soon as we plunge back into our dirty eating habits, the weight comes back and might also subject our metabolism to a lot of unnecessary strain.” But everyone is looking for magic - a shortcut to avoid making long lasting changes towards a ‘healthy lifestyle’.
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Social media remains abuzz with the quirkiest (and the not-so-quirky) diets and dieting ideologies (yes, these you have to follow for the rest of your life). While some only manage a couple of retweets, others are clearly here to stay. Whether these diet plans are just fads or actually a healthy lifestyle option will always remain a debate shrouded in confusion (with the world’s opinion divided at the median) but there’s no doubt about their celebrity-status.

Here’s presenting the 5 most popular diet plans of all time-

Paleo Diet

Agriculture is one of the most significant landmarks in human civilization, with almost every meal we have in a day majorly comprising of wheat, rice, dairy products and legumes in one form or the other. But maybe it’s time to say goodbye to your favourite pasta and healthy whole-grain bread because the Paleolithic Diet (Paleo for people in the know) is taking us back to the pre-agricultural era in a time-machine.

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This diet is considered more of a lifestyle change than a short term weight loss plan- allowing whatever the caveman ate- meat, eggs, fruits, vegetables and the occasional nuts and seeds- because experts claim that the caveman was fitter than farmers, not susceptible to obesity and high blood pressure. If you’re ready to blame the ‘modern grain’ for all your woes, the Paleo diet is here to help you stay lean, strong and energetic, keeping you away from saturated fats and sodium and stocking up on fibre, healthy fats and protein. Celebrities like Uma Thurman and Megan Fox are Paleo devouts and why not? It’s quite a delicious diet plan when you can eat fried eggs and bacon for breakfast and some roasted beef with a salad of berries and greens for dinner.

Weight Watchers Diet

Want to lose weight on your own terms? Don’t want to forgo the occasional chocolate truffle or pizza slice? Well, this one’s for you. The Weight Watchers Diet doesn’t deny you any treat. So what’s the catch? You have a target for each day based on points that you must not exceed (it’s personalised to your age, gender, height and weight); each food has a points value representative of the calories and its ability to keep you fuller for longer. So you may eat ice cream the whole day but in agonizingly small quantities because of its high points value. Initially app-driven, this diet gained popularity with celebs like Jennifer Hudson and Jessica Simpson vouching for it, and as such the subsequent versions were made free.

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The promotion of a more caring and humane world has taken vegetarianism to the next level; Veganism is not merely a healthy lifestyle but also an environmental and ethical stand against the domestication and exploitation of the animal kingdom. While vegetarians don’t eat meat, fish and poultry, vegans go a step further and keep away from animal products or by-products ranging from eggs, honey and dairy products to silk, fur, leather and wool. It does an excellent job at keeping you in top-shape, free from cholesterol and with very low levels of saturated fats.

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Well, it may be deficient in Vitamin D, but that’s why vegans are always advised to be outdoors, soaking up the sun (maybe the vegan singing sensation Beyonce could do more outdoor concerts). You can eat anything from green leafy vegetables and tofu to eggless cookies and pasta.

Gluten-Free Diet

Former president of the United States, Bill Clinton couldn’t stop going on about the benefits of becoming gluten-free post his heart surgery when he needed to take up a healthier diet; and while back then it was a brand-new term, today ‘gluten-free’ is considered synonymous with health and a happy gut.

The exponentially-rising figure of gluten-sensitivity cases all over the world has generated awareness about the devil’s role that this protein plays - leading to the autoimmune Celiac disease which corrodes the intestinal wall, the Irritable Bowel Syndrome and also some neurological ailments. Gluten is found in grains like wheat, rye and barley which are a strict no but the diet allows all unprocessed beans, seeds, nuts, rice, meat and fish. Gluten-free doesn’t necessarily mean taste-free, you will be surprised at the numerous ways that you can spruce it up.

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The Cabbage Soup Diet

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CommentsAll of us have this one friend who vanishes off the face of the earth and then after a week or two materializes out of thin air looking as thin as air. And then you start questioning what’s been cooking or not cooking. 7-day or 30-day diet fads have made the world go crazy in the recent past, because of their tantalizing promises, muting out critics who point out the ill-effects of these diets in the long run. The 7-day Cabbage Soup Diet claims that you can drop over 10 pounds in one go. Each day allows a single type of food in very (very) less quantities but an unlimited amount of Cabbage Soup can be consumed. Exercise is not advised on this low-calorie diet.

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