•There are many types of diets, most are based on one or more of the following:
•Lower Calorie – Reducing daily intake by about 600 calories a day, so for men 1,900 calories a day and women 1,400 calories a day
•Reducing Portion sizes – Everywhere we look there are large and extra-large portions of food and drinks – this has left many of us not knowing what a normal portion looks like.
•Low-carb – Restricting carbohydrates, mostly found in sugary foods, pasta, and bread. Instead of eating carbs, you eat whole foods including natural proteins, fats, and vegetables.
•Mediterranean – High in vegetables, fruits, legumes, nuts, beans, cereals, grains, fish and unsaturated fats such as olive oil. It usually includes a low intake of meat and dairy foods. Ideally, fruits and vegetables should be minimally processed.
•Other popular diets may also include:
•Low-calorie 800 to 1200 calories a day, and Very low-calorie diets 800 calories or less a day. Following these type of calorie meal plans can be challenging. Most people who follow these diets use special meal replacement products, like soups and shakes, which are nutritionally complete.
•Intermittent fasting, such as the 5:2 diet which is an eating pattern that involves eating normally for 5 days of the week and restricting calories even lower to either 500-600 for 2 days per week.
•Low Glycaemic Index (GI) is a rating system for foods containing carbohydrates, showing how quickly each food affects your blood sugar (glucose) level when that food is eaten on its own. Some low GI foods, such as wholegrain foods, fruit, vegetables, beans and lentils, are foods we should eat as part of a healthy, balanced diet. However, using the glycaemic index alone to decide whether foods or combinations of foods are healthy can be misleading.
•Commercial weight-loss programmes – Some people feel that they need more support and choose to join a commercial weight-loss programme. These usually involve calorie-controlled eating plans or meal replacements, like milkshakes or bars.
•Evidence shows that the best approach is the one that you’re likely to stick to. So the key is to find a plan that you enjoy and fits in with the rest of your life. Everyone’s different and what works for some may not for others.
Meal time inspiration
•Healthy eating doesn’t need to be dull. Whip up tasty, affordable family meals from NHS Better Health with easy step-by-step recipes.
•Looking to try something new? Diabetes UK has loads of recipes to choose from. All recipes have been checked and approved by a specialist team of dietitians, so you’ll always know what’s in your food.
•Take a look at Heart UK’s most popular heart-healthy, low-cholesterol recipe collections, which have all been reviewed by qualified Dietetic Advisors.