Low calorie diets, or calorie controlled diets, are when you reduce the amount of calories you eat each day. The theory behind it is that you will burn more energy than you are taking in from food each day, because of a calorie deficit, resulting in you losing weight.
It is recommended to talk to your doctor before you begin a diet.
The 5:2 diet involves Intermittent Fasting (IF), where you fast for any two days each week, and eat normally for the other five days. Supporters of this diet claim it increases your lifespan, helps protect you from disease, and improves your cognitive function. However, there is limited evidence to support these claims.
Generally, on fasting days, men consume no more than 600 calories, while women eat no more than 500. This does not mean you should eat loads on your normal days though, you should still consume a healthy selection and amount of food.
Some people have reported headaches, feeling dizzy/dehydrated and tired when fasting. If this occurs you should stop fasting and consult your doctor. It is also important not to fast on days when you are taking part in strenuous physical activity, otherwise you may lack energy.
So far, studies have been unable to identify the best fasting schedule, how sustainable IF is in the long-run, and the most suitable number of calories to consume when fasting.
The Cambridge Weight Plans are low-calorie diet plans focused on nutritionally-balanced, rapid weight loss. It is based around meal-replacement products, and there are six flexible diet plans to choose from. The Cambridge diet is not a long-term diet, although there is a long-term weight management programme offered too.
Depending on your weight loss targets, you can choose from diet plans ranging from 415 to 1,500 calories a day. The soups, bars, shakes and porridges involved in the diet can replace meals completely, or be combined with other food to make low-calorie meals.
All of the meal replacements are nutritionally balanced, ensuring you get the vitamins and minerals needed to stay healthy.
A Cambridge adviser is able to provide advice and support on eating healthily and getting regular exercise, during the programme. If you eat less than 600 calories a day for your diet plan, you need medical supervision.
However, due to the dramatic weight loss, side effects can occur. This may include: tiredness, dizziness, nausea, constipation, insomnia, bad breath and a dry mouth. The lack of fibre and carbs can be an issue.
This plan can provide quick and dramatic weight loss, but it is a very tough plan to stick to, so if you want a healthy long-term diet then you might want to consider other diet plans. You should also consult your doctor before starting this diet.
This diet is based on a ProPoints system, which is where values are attributed to foods and drinks, based on their carb, protein, fibre and fat content. Effectively this is a calorie-controlled diet, with you having to keep within your ProPoints allowance each day.
With the WeightWatchers diet, the plan is for you to undergo a behavioural change in the long-term, eating more healthily, and for it to help you lose 2lb each week.
No food or drink is banned, which will appeal to many people, with the only requirement being that you stick to your daily points allowance. The ProPoints system is generally seen as being easier than calorie-counting, and even allows you to have a ‘safety-net’ of points each week, which you can use if you are having a night out or a special occasion.
You can eat an unlimited amount of fruit and vegetables, and there is also an individual exercise plan for you to follow. There is also the opportunity to go to local meetings and (confidential) weigh-ins each week, to help you receive extra support and motivation.
Although this diet can be well-balanced and lead to positive long-term changes in your eating habits, understanding the ProPoints system in the first place can be a time-consuming affair, similar to if you were counting calories. WeightWatchers also sells its own branded foods, and some people may feel pressured into purchasing them. It is important that people recognise the link between calorie consumption and the points system too, to prevent overeating.