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Fad Diet Pros and Cons

These days diets are a dime a dozen. But which ones actually work? Nutritionist Melissa Ramos put three of the top ones to the test. Here is what she found.

The Dukan Diet

The Dukan diet consists of four stages called the "attack" phases:

Attack phase: pure protein + 1.5 tbsp oat bran per day.

Cruise phase: protein again + 2 tbsp oat bran per day + vegetables (add grilled asparagus & mushrooms) + more water.

Consolidation phase: 1 portion of fruit (apple) per day + 2 slices of whole grain toast per day + 40g of cheese

Stabilization phase: eat anything you want for six days but have a protein-only day once a week.

A Day's Worth of Food:

Breakfast:

  • Warm drink (tea or water)
  • Low fat cottage cheese
  • 2 slices of grilled chicken breast

Lunch:

  • Steamed fish with herbs
  • Low fat cottage cheese

Dinner:

  • Roast chicken without the skin

Snack:

  • Oatbran muffin

Melissa's Pros

  • No counting calories or weighing food
  • You can eat as much food on the list as you want.

Melissa's Cons

  • The phases are complicated
  • In the attack phase, there are no vegetables and she got really sick of oat bran.
  • In the cruise phase, there are still limited vegetables.
  • In the consolidation phase, people could overdo the unlimited amount of protein, which could be hard on the kidneys.
  • Results in bad breath, some constipation, and dry mouth.
  • Artificial sweeteners are allowed on this diet.

For more information: Dukan Diet

2. The Cabbage Soup Diet

The cabbage soup diet claims it's not intended to be a long-term diet, but will help you rapidly lose weight by simply eating cabbage soup from a recipe they provide. It consists of eating cabbage soup for breakfast, lunch and dinner.

Melissa's Pros

  • Rapid weight loss

Melissa's Cons

  • Severely limited and having cabbage constantly is nauseating
  • Doesn't offer anything to help people really change their habits
  • Doesn't lead to a lasting change
  • Cabbage has sulfur, which leads to gas
  • Dangerously low calories, so you're always hungry!
  • Socially disruptive and isolating!

For more information: Cabbage Soup Diet

3. The Paleo Diet

The Paleo diet, also known as the caveman diet, is all about eating wholesome natural foods, like the cavemen used to eat. This consists of meats, fish, vegetables, wild fruits, eggs and nuts.

A Day's Worth of Food:

Breakfast: 2 eggs and a spinach salad

Lunch: 6 oz grilled chicken and steamed veggies

Dinner: chicken shish-kebabs with veggies

Snack: avacado, nuts and fruit

Melissa's Pros:

  • No calorie counting
  • No exercise plan needed
  • Lots of veggies and fruit allowed

Melissa's Cons

  • More expensive shopping bill
  • Difficult for the carb lover at first (withdrawal is difficult initially)
  • Can be socially disruptive

For more information: The Paleo Diet

So the winner? The Paleo Diet!

Melissa chose The Paleo Diet as a clear winner. The diet has a balance of the major food groups you need to survive. This diet is more of a lifestyle change so your chances of success are greater!

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