Whether you’ve been instructed to lose weight by your doctor or you’ve recently been diagnosed with diabetes, your diet can play a big role in the condition of your health.
If you have been diagnosed with a medical condition that can be affected by diet, your doctor will likely send you to a dietitian for a more in-depth recommendation.
A dietitian will be able to assess the severity of your condition and create a personalized meal plan that will help you maintain or, in some instances, reverse the affects of your illness.
Here’s a look at some of the most popular diets and how they may be able to impact you.
Best Weight-Loss Diets
When you need to lose weight, research has shown that a lifestyle change is much more successful than a fad diet. Gone are the days of “lose weight fast” diets—although with these top diets you will likely shed the pounds pretty quickly.
Weight Watchers—now called WW—is one of the most popular weight-loss diets as it focuses on a healthier mindset when it comes to food.
This diet allows you to eat what you want, with no foods off-limits; however, you do have to keep track of your SmartPoints (a system created by Weight Watchers) to make sure your meals aren’t too high in calories, saturated fat and sugar.
People are attracted to the freedom that WW allows since many foods, such as eggs, corn, fish, seafoods, turkey breast, etc., are considered zero points. This allows for some treats as long as you stay within your SmartPoints target.
With the Volumetrics diet, there is a focus on a food’s energy density, which, in turn, helps to fight hunger.
This diet is great for those who are worried about hunger because it allows for three meals, two snacks and a dessert.
Foods are categorized into four groups: very low-density (nonstarchy fruits and veggies), low-density (grains and legumes), medium-density (meat, bread and cheese) and high-density (crackers, chips and cookies).
The priority with this diet is to properly fuel yourself throughout the day so that you’re not reaching for the chips when hunger strikes. However, it’s up to you how strictly you follow the diet.
The Flexitarian Diet
By combining vegetarianism and a flexible diet, you get the Flexitarian diet.
This diet suggests that you can reap the health benefits linked to vegetarianism without eliminating meat completely. By eating more plants and less meat, you can lose weight and lower your risk of heart disease, diabetes and cancer.
Many people like this diet because it’s extremely flexible and includes lots of delicious recipes; however, it does require quite a bit of home cooking. If you’re someone who doesn’t like fruits and vegetables, this diet may also be tough for you.
Best Diabetes Diets
If you’ve been diagnosed with diabetes, you’re likely feeling overwhelmed. Your doctor has probably talked to you about cutting carbs and sugar and may have even sent you to a dietitian.
Putting this advice into action can be much easier said than done. Fortunately, there are several popular diets today that adhere to the diabetic guidelines and can keep you healthy and happy.
Those who live in the countries surrounding the Mediterranean Sea tend to live longer and are less likely to suffer from cancer and cardiovascular diseases compared to most Americans.
Many believe that active lifestyles, weight control and diets low in red meat, sugar and saturated fat are contributing factors. With the Mediterranean diet, the focus of the meal tends to be produce, nuts and other healthy foods rather than a large serving of red meat.
Many people chose to adopt a Mediterranean diet after a diabetes diagnosis because it’s nutritionally sound and includes diverse foods and flavors.
While there are no set parameters—you are on your own to figure out the number of calories you need each day and what you’ll do to keep active—this diet emphasizes fruits, veggies, whole grains, beans, nuts, legumes, olive oil, and lots of herbs and spices.
You’ll also want to include fish and seafood regularly and poultry, eggs, cheese and yogurt in moderation. Red meat and sweets are only enjoyed for special occasions.
The Jenny Craig diet is great for diabetics who need a bit more structure and support. It includes prepackaged meals and recipes that emphasize healthy eating, an active lifestyle and behavior modification.
With this diet, you will also have a personal consultant who guides your journey and offers support and motivation.
Through Jenny Craig, you can sign up for either the standard program or the Type 2 program, which is lower in carbs and encourages consistent meals and snacks to support consistent blood sugar levels.
Many people opt for this diet because it removes the guesswork and includes prepackaged meals that can be delivered to accommodate a hectic schedule.
The Flexitarian diet, mentioned in the Weight-Loss Diets section, is also commonly recommended for those suffering from diabetes.
Best Heart-Healthy Diets
An estimated 610,000 people die of heart disease in the United States every year, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. That’s one in every four deaths.
On top of that, many people suffer from clogged arteries that can put them at risk for a heart attack and don’t even know it. This is due in large part to the standard Western diet—full of red meat, saturated fat and sugar.
Fortunately, by adopting a lifestyle that includes exercise and a healthy diet, you can improve your heart health and even reverse the effects of any previous damage.
Created by Dr. Dean Ornish, this diet is low in fat, refined carbs and animal protein, and it puts a focus on helping people “feel better, live longer, lose weight and gain health.”
This approach makes the diet ideal for someone looking to improve their heart health because it puts an emphasis on exercise, stress management and healthy relationships.
The Ornish diet divides foods into five categories—from most healthful to least healthful—and emphasizes consuming fiber and plenty of complex carbs.
For those focusing on heart health, it’s recommended that only 10 percent of calories come from fat, while refined carbs, oils, excessive caffeine and animal products be limited as much as possible. Alcohol consumption is limited to 2 ounces a day.
Short for Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension, the DASH diet puts an emphasis on the foods you’ve always been told to eat, like fruits, veggies, whole grains, lean protein and low-fat dairy.
These foods are rich in blood pressure–deflating nutrients such as potassium, calcium, protein and fiber. The diet discourages foods that are high in saturated fat, like fatty meats, full-fat dairy foods and tropical oils.
Many people enjoy the DASH diet because it’s simple to start. By making small changes, such as adding a vegetable or fruit serving to every meal or switching from white flour to whole-wheat flour, you can begin to improve your heart health.
A Mediterranean diet, mentioned in the Diabetes Diets section, is also commonly recommended to improve heart health.
If you have questions or concerns about your diet, consider visiting your local CareNow®.
One of our qualified and experienced healthcare providers can help you understand which diet is best for you and your health needs.