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The Best Ways To Lose Weight !

There are a multitude of diets for weight loss. Among the best known are the high-protein diet, the monodiet or the low-carbohydrate diet. However, despite achieving short-term weight loss goals, these diets do not offer lasting results. In fact, the best diet for weight loss is the combination of a high nutritional value diet, regular physical activity and a good mental state.

Characteristics of a balanced weight loss program:
  • Weight loss between 500g and 1kg per week
  • All food categories must be represented
  • Physical activity integrated to the program
  • Work on positive body image and self-acceptance
  • Must allow for the development of healthy eating habits over the long term

The main principles of the diet

Any weight gain or loss is the result of a change in our caloric intake. To reach what is called the energy balance, we must spend as much energy as we consume. Calories represent the energy value of food. The more calories we eat, the more energy we have to expend to compensate.

How does the weight loss diet work?

To lose weight, you need to create a negative balance, that is, burn more energy than calories ingested. Losing 0.5 kg per week, a reasonable goal, is equivalent to spending 3,500 calories more than you consumed. This implies a negative energy balance of 500 calories per day, which will be achieved by a combination of reasonable food restriction and regular physical activity.

Several factors can interfere with the variable of calories consumed. For example, it has been shown that the nutritional value of a food listed on the nutrition label can be 20 to 30% higher or lower. Can we really trust the nutrition label to calculate our calories? Furthermore, the amount of energy a food contains in the form of calories is not necessarily the amount of energy we absorb, store and/or use. In fact, we absorb less energy from minimally processed carbohydrates and fats because they are more difficult to digest. It is therefore in our interest to eat as little processed food as possible.

Also, we absorb more energy from foods that are cooked because these processes break down plant and animal cells, thus increasing their bioavailability. Finally, depending on the type of bacteria present in our gut, some people have an easier time extracting energy/calories from plant cell walls than others. These species of bacteria are called bacteroids. In short, it's not all about the calories you eat. Introduction (food/nutrient families to focus on and those to forget)

Why is a quick weight loss diet not a good idea?

In the vicious circle of dieting, we negatively affect the basic metabolism by decreasing it. The basic metabolism is the energy spent by the body to ensure essential functions such as breathing, blood circulation, etc.. These functions make up about 60% of our daily caloric expenditure. The higher our basal metabolic rate, the higher our daily energy expenditure. However, drastic diets decrease our basal metabolic rate. When we go on a diet, our body panics and goes into energy saving mode. We therefore spend less energy at rest and the risk of putting on weight is therefore much higher. Furthermore, age is not on our side. From the age of 20, our basic metabolism decreases by 2 to 3% per year. This is why the older we get, the harder it is to lose weight.

On the other hand, muscle mass and the level of physical activity increases the basal metabolic rate, and therefore energy expenditure. Usually, men have a higher basal metabolic rate than women because they have more muscle mass. This highlights the importance of including strength training in our physical activity routine.

What is the best diet to lose weight?

If you decide to lose weight, it is advisable to do it intelligently. Drastic methods are too restrictive: very low in calories, complete exclusion of certain foods or food groups and many food bans. This can lead to food compulsions and a feeling of loss of control. This leads to a feeling of failure and then to another diet. This is the vicious circle that begins. The more you do, the more the risks to your physical and mental health accumulate. The miracle diet does not exist. If it did, we would have known about it a long time ago!

Diets to watch out for
  • images of perfect bodies
  • use of so-called "natural" products and "fat burners
  • no need to exercise
  • very rapid weight loss (5 kilos in 2 weeks for example)
  • guaranteed weight loss
  • approved by a pseudo-specialist
  • phony clinical studies with no references
The criteria for choosing a good diet according to the Wellness Organization :
  • Is a detailed and complete evaluation of our condition done: health status, lifestyle, eating habits, stress and physical activity levels, among others?
  • Is it supervised by recognized health professionals: dieticians, kinesiologists, psychologists, physicians and others?
  • Does this method propose a realistic weight loss objective (5 to 10% of the initial weight)?
  • Does it target a moderate rate of weight loss (no more than 0.5 to 1 kg per week)?
  • Does it provide personalized advice that takes into account our lifestyle and our psychological and dietary needs?
  • Does the diet provide a daily minimum of 1200 calories for a woman and 1800 calories for a man?
  • Does the diet emphasize variety and not eliminate any food or food group?
  • Does the diet teach you to trust your internal feelings of hunger and satiety?
  • Does it encourage regular physical activity?
  • Finally, does the diet encourage a gradual and not drastic change in our lifestyle?
Did you answer yes to each of the above questions? This method has many advantages that promote realistic, safe and lasting weight loss. However, if you answered no to some or most of the previous questions, you may want to explore other options because it does not promote realistic, healthy and sustainable weight loss.

How do you set a good weight loss goal?

Your goals should be Specific/Measurable/Achievable/Realistic/Temporally defined. These are called SMART goals.

Write a contract with yourself. By rereading it regularly, you will avoid losing your bearings. These goals should not only be related to weight loss, but to something more powerful. Establish a non-food reward system. When you reach your goals, treat yourself, buy yourself a massage, a ticket to a show, etc.

If your weight and/or waistline is normal and you still want to lose weight, what should you do? First of all, ask yourself why you are doing this. If it's just a question of appearance, look for ways to improve your body image. If your weight is normal but your lifestyle habits are not healthy, this may be a good reason to change your diet. Naturally, you will lose weight.

For those whose weight is already in the "healthy" weight category, you should try to reach your balance weight. The equilibrium weight is the one in which you feel good physically and psychologically. It is unique to each person. The "set point" theory, developed in 1982 by Bennett and Gurin, proposes that there is a control system built into each person, a sort of internal thermostat for body fat. For some people, this balance weight would be higher than for others. This could explain why some people have difficulty losing weight beyond a certain point. In short, our weight would be physiologically predisposed around a weight range that the body will try to maintain, even if it is not the "healthy" weight.

Several factors determine this equilibrium weight:
  • heredity (very important factor)
  • age (the equilibrium weight increases with age)
  • basic metabolism
  • physical activity
  • eating habits
In short, if your weight remains stable, despite your efforts, ask yourself the question, perhaps your body is not made to go further.

What is the right rate of weight loss?

If you are overweight or obese, losing only 5 to 10% of your body weight over a 6-month period significantly reduces your risk of heart disease and other health conditions. The recommended rate of weight loss to stay healthy is 0.5 to 1 kg per week. Losing weight at this rate will help you maintain your weight afterwards and give you time to integrate your new lifestyle habits. Maintaining a moderate weight loss over a long period of time is better than losing a lot of weight and then gaining it back, because it has been shown that when people regain the weight they lost, they mainly gain back fat and do not return to their original muscle mass. If you want to lose more than 10% of your body weight, wait until you maintain this weight loss for at least 6 months before continuing.

A loss of 5 to 10% of your initial body weight is associated with significant improvements in blood sugar, blood pressure and cholesterol levels, with less medication needed to treat these cardiovascular risk factors. Other benefits include improvement in sleep apnea, joint pain (especially knees), mobility, depression and quality of life.

What foods are forbidden and what foods are allowed in a weight loss diet

In a well-conducted weight loss diet, there are no forbidden foods. All foods have their place, only the frequency of consumption is important. Some foods with high nutritional value should be eaten daily while others should be eaten in moderation just for fun. Here is a list of some foods to be encouraged and others to be consumed in moderation.

Foods to be encouraged                             
  • Vegetables
  • Fruits
  • Raw vegetables
  • Whole grains
  • Wholemeal bread
  • Olive, rapeseed and flaxseed oils
  • Fish
  • Poultry
  • Tofu
  • Eggs
  • Seafood
  • Oilseeds
  • Seeds
  • Herbs, spices and aromatics
  • Water
  • Tea and herbal teas 
Foods to be consumed in moderation   
  • Refined grains
  • White bread
  • Butter, cream and oils rich in Omega-6
  • Red meat
  • Cold cuts
  • Dishes with sauces
  • Industrial sauces (ketchup, mayonnaise, etc.)
  • Sugar and sweet products
  • Prepared dishes
  • Processed products
  • Pastries, pastries, cookies
  • Confectionery
  • Salt
  • Fast food
  • Sodas, industrial fruit juices
  • Alcohol

Typical day of a weight loss program

The ideal ratio for weight management would be 30% for proteins, 40% for carbohydrates and 30% for fats.

Here is a weight loss program that respects these ratios*.

Morning                       

2 slices of whole grain bread                                                                          
1 egg
1 piece of fruit
1 cup (250 ml) of soy beverage

Morning snack

Raw vegetables
¼ cup (35 g) almonds

Noon

120 g grilled chicken breast
Vegetable salad with olive oil dressing and ¼ avocado
100 g cooked quinoa
1 piece of fruit

Afternoon snack

1 Greek or standard yogurt
50 g fresh fruit
¼ cup (25 g) rolled oats
1 tbsp (15 mL/7 g) ground flaxseed

Evening

120 g grilled salmon
Vegetables sautéed in olive oil
100 g brown rice
250 ml vegetable or non-vegetable milk 1-2% fat

Evening snack

100 g cottage cheese
Ground cinnamon

* This menu provides about 1800 kcal per day.

Advantages and disadvantages

The positive points of a balanced weight loss diet

  • Respect for the body's needs
  • No frustration or food compulsions
  • Rare weight regain and easy weight maintenance
  • Compatible with a fulfilling social life
  • Positive body image
  • Allows you to develop good eating habits for life
  • Reduces the risk of diseases related to overweight
  • Pleasure in eating a balanced diet and taking care of yourself
  • High nutritional quality food that avoids deficiencies
  • A healthy and fulfilling relationship with oneself and with food

The health risks of a strict diet:

  • Muscle wasting
  • Risk of dehydration, drops in blood pressure, digestive problems, hormone disruption, hair loss and muscle cramps
  • Risk of deficiencies in proteins, essential fats, certain vitamins and minerals (iron and calcium, for example)
  • Risk of disease: anemia or osteoporosis
  • Risk of electrolyte imbalance, cardiac arrhythmia
  • Risk of weight gain after stopping the diet
  • Development of an unhealthy relationship with food and the body
  • Loss of contact with hunger and satiety signals
  • Intense fatigue, headaches, difficulty concentrating and decreased productivity
  • Decreased self-esteem, body dissatisfaction, feelings of failure and guilt
  • Excessive preoccupation with weight, or development of eating disorders (anorexia, bulimia, binge eating, etc.)

Recommendations and precautions to take

Are there any risks associated with being overweight?

Most people are aware of the risks associated with being overweight. It is even one of the reasons given for losing weight: to be healthier. Excess weight can increase the risk of type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease, certain types of cancer, sleep apnea, osteoarthritis, fatty liver, kidney disease and problems during pregnancy in women, such as gestational diabetes, high blood pressure and increased risk of caesarean section.

To assess your weight and associated risks, you can calculate your BMI and your waist circumference. If your BMI is above 25 and your waist circumference is above 88 cm for a woman or 102 cm for a man, you are at higher risk of developing the health problems mentioned above. Consult a health care professional, who can make an overall assessment of your condition.

The location of fat accumulation is more important than total body weight. In addition, a person with a normal BMI but a high waistline indicates the presence of abdominal fat (apple shape) and their risk of suffering from health problems may be as great as an individual with a higher BMI but a normal waistline. It should be noted that in a person aged 65 years and older, a BMI between 23 and 27 has been shown to be more optimal for survival rates than the standard BMI range of 18.5 to 25. Mortality rates would not increase until a BMI of 33 in these individuals.

Are women and men equal when it comes to weight loss? 

Men and women are not equal when it comes to weight loss. As mentioned earlier, men have more muscle mass and therefore a higher basal metabolic rate, which is beneficial to weight loss. However, men, mainly because of hormones, tend to accumulate more visceral fat, which is dangerous for health. In addition, men, unlike women, underestimate their degree of obesity. Another difference is that women eat more frequently with their emotions (stress, depression, low self-esteem, general mood), which can hinder the maintenance of weight loss because we eat with our head and not our stomach. This indicates that there are differences in the way men and women view weight loss. This must be taken into account when making lifestyle changes.

How to lose weight after pregnancy?

Most pregnant women would like to see their extra pounds melt away after giving birth, but it is important to understand that weight loss after pregnancy varies from one woman to another. It is important to understand that weight loss after pregnancy varies from one woman to another, but it is important to maintain the healthy habits you had during pregnancy. In fact, eating well after pregnancy helps to restore the mother's nutritional reserves, maintain a good energy level and, of course, help you regain a healthy weight. You should therefore forget about diets and weight loss programs and focus on a varied and balanced diet. Don't forget that the pregnancy weight was gained in 9 months, so it is not realistic to lose it in 2 months. One year after giving birth, the majority of women return to their pre-pregnancy weight (within 1-2 kg) while 20 to 30% would have 4 to 5 kg more.

Also, women who were already overweight before pregnancy (BMI 27 and over) or who gained more weight during their pregnancy than recommended are more likely to be overweight one year after delivery. However, limiting weight gain during pregnancy will not help you lose the extra weight after delivery. If you are breastfeeding, it is even more important not to start a drastic diet because the quality of your breast milk could be affected and thus harm the development of your baby. In addition, studies show that breastfeeding contributes to a faster weight loss after delivery.

Should I always include sports in my weight loss program?

It's the best way to ensure your motivation. Staying physically active will help you lose weight and maintain it over time.

The benefits of physical activity
  • Reduced risk of heart disease, diabetes, breast, uterine and colon cancer
  • Strengthen your lungs
  • Strengthen your muscles and keep your joints in good condition
  • Slowing down the loss of bone mass
  • Relaxation and better stress management
  • Increased self-confidence
  • Better sleep
For overall health and to reduce the risk of disease, aim for at least 30 minutes of moderate physical activity most days of the week. To help manage body weight and prevent gradual weight gain, aim for 60 minutes of moderate to vigorous physical activity most days of the week. To maintain weight loss, aim for at least 60-90 minutes of moderate daily physical activity. You can split the amount of time you do physical activity, such as 15 minutes at a time. If you have not been physically active for a while, then don't let that stop you. Start slowly and gradually increase your activity. For example, start walking for 10-15 minutes three times a week, then gradually build up to the recommended amount with brisk walking. Do a mix of resistance (strength training), cardiovascular and recovery activities. Above all, choose an activity that you enjoy.

How can I keep the weight off?

According to the National Weight Control Registry in the United States, the following behaviors are associated with low weight regain

  • Have a nutritious breakfast rich in protein: add eggs, Greek yogurt, cheese, tofu, nuts and seeds or butter. Protein helps you maintain your lean body mass and increases the feeling of satiety. In addition, the cost of digesting protein is the highest among macronutrients (20-30% for protein, 5-6% for carbohydrates and 3% for fat). It is important to have protein at every meal and to distribute it well.
  • have a diet that includes unsaturated fats, this helps maintain sex hormones, stimulates the immune system and adds taste to food.
  • Eat as little processed food as possible: this decreases the actual calories absorbed and requires more energy from the body for digestion. Eat basic foods in their most natural state.
  • Eat little fast food: it is high in calories, fat, saturated and trans fats, sugars, sodium, etc.
  • Drink few sugary drinks and prefer water to hydrate yourself: these are empty calories, with no effect on satiety. In addition, the brain makes little difference between the symptoms of hunger and thirst and people often confuse them easily.
  • eat a diet rich in fibre: whole grains, fruits and vegetables, nuts and seeds, and legumes all contribute to the feeling of fullness. Foods rich in soluble fiber are particularly interesting because they form a gel and take up more space in the stomach: psyllium, artichoke, green beans, green peas, kohlrabi, avocado, pear, bran cereals, oatmeal, all legumes and almonds are good sources. In addition, the carbohydrates provided by these foods will prevent feelings of deprivation.
  • Reduce your meal portions: even if you eat quality food, you can eat too large portions. Listening to satiety signals and controlling portions are therefore very important. Learn to eat slowly, savouring your food in a way that saturates your taste buds with different flavours. You will need smaller amounts to feel full.     
  • Have good sleep habits: researchers recommend sleeping between 7 and 8 hours a night, this affects the hormones of hunger and satiety positively.
  • limit screen time to a maximum of 10 hours per week: we move less and eat more when we are in front of a screen.
  • developing a positive body image: seeing your body as it is, accepting it as it is in the present moment, accepting your body's abilities and particularities, having confidence in your body and its abilities, treating your body with kindness, enjoying your body as it is, trusting your food choices, eating according to your appetite, accepting that your weight varies from time to time are all signs of a positive body image.
  • Have better emotional/stress management and relaxing activities not associated with food: reading, listening to music, meditating, moving are many activities shown to promote calmness. Rid your home of temptations: the goal is not to eliminate them completely, but the more you have, the more likely you are to eat them in times of stress.
  • Get support from family and friends or health professionals: a dietician-nutritionist can help you evaluate your nutritional habits, give you a personalized plan and tools to achieve it, according to your lifestyle.
  • Weigh yourself regularly without becoming obsessed: this will allow you to act quickly if your weight has increased and to maintain it in the long term.
  • Keep a food diary: the effectiveness of this tool has been scientifically proven. According to a study published in the Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, women who keep this type of diary have less difficulty maintaining their weight.

Some figures to go further

According to a recent study, more than 60% of French people admit to paying attention to their weight. This statement concerns almost as many men (57%) as women (67%).

More than 44% of the French adult population has already followed a diet aimed at losing weight. People who want to lose weight follow an average of 4 to 5 different diets during their life.

However, the figures are clear: the majority of diets intended for weight loss fail. In fact, 60% of people who have followed a diet are not satisfied with the results. Either because they did not lose the desired weight or because they regained it very quickly. Despite these pessimistic figures, the French do not stop dieting. One third of the population says they are considering going on a diet again in the next few months.

Protein diet

The protein diet is without a doubt the diet that has been the most talked about in recent years. In fact, there is not one, but several protein diets and the offer is constantly renewed every year. These high-protein diets generally consist of consuming meat, eggs, fish or even protein powders at will and drastically restricting the consumption of other foods. Protein diets are very controversial in the nutrition and health community.

Characteristics of the protein diet:
  • Based on all-you-can-eat meat, eggs and fish at every meal
  • Represents a risk to the renal and cardiovascular systems
  • Dramatic but often short-lived weight loss
  • High risk of side effects, deficiencies and transit disorders
  • The vegetarian protein diet seems to be a more interesting alternative

The main principles of the diet

Protein diets are diverse and varied, they range from the protein diet designed by Pierre Dukan to diets based on protein powder sachets or protein shakers, which are widespread in the sports world. These diets have been around since the 1970s and are regularly updated with new products or books that still follow the same basic recommendations.

How does the natural protein diet work?

In high-protein diets, you can eat lean meat, fish and eggs as much as you want, as well as vegetables. Fruits and oilseeds should be consumed in moderation while grains and legumes should be banned from the diet. The goal is to have a significant and rapid weight loss.

How does the protein diet make you lose weight?

It is by drawing on sugar reserves (glycogen) that weight loss is triggered. Fat mass only decreases slightly during this type of diet, it is the diuretic effect that allows you to eliminate several kilos of water with a high-protein diet.

The high protein intake allows you to feel full and to reduce the feeling of hunger that can exist when following a low-calorie diet.

How long does the natural protein diet to lose weight last?

The duration is very variable depending on the method chosen. On average it lasts between 1 and 6 months. It is strictly inadvisable to go beyond this because of the numerous health risks that these diets represent.

The foods allowed and the foods forbidden in the protein diet

There is not one but several different protein diets. Even though the basic principle remains the same, the foods allowed and the foods prohibited may vary slightly from one method to another. In general terms, here are the foods that are allowed and the foods that are not allowed in most protein diets. For the exact frequency of consumption allowed, please refer to the method in question (e.g. Dukan).

Permitted foods                                                         
  • Red meat
  • Poultry
  • Fish
  • Game
  • Seafood
  • Eggs
  • Tofu
  • Oat bran
  • Some green vegetables 
Prohibited foods    
  • Starchy foods
  • Cereals
  • Bread
  • Fats
  • Some sweet vegetables (carrots, beets, etc.)
  • Sweetened fruits (banana, cherry, grape)
  • Sweetened products
  • Industrial and processed products
  • Sodas
  • Alcohol

Protein diet menu (women and men)

Here is a typical menu for a day on a high-protein diet. The portions indicated correspond to the needs of a woman of average build and with normal physical activity (30 minutes per day). For men, athletes, or other special situations, be sure to increase the caloric intake. To do this, you can add one or two snacks between meals.

Breakfast                    
  • 1 coffee
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 slice of chicken breast                                                             
Lunch
  • Veal cutlet 150 g
  • Zucchini with turmeric
  • Fruit salad
Snack
  • 1 handful of almonds
Dinner
  • Pumpkin soup
  • Cod en papillote with spinach 150 g
  • Cottage cheese

Advantages and disadvantages

The positive points of the high-protein diet

  • Rapid weight loss
  • Satiety facilitated by the protein intake
  • Requires little cooking

The negative points of the natural protein diet

  • Weight regain and inevitable yo-yo effect
  • Weakens the renal system
  • Increases cardiovascular risk and blood cholesterol
  • Not compatible with an active social life
  • Unpleasant side effects (bad breath, fatigue, etc.)
  • Monotonous and frustrating
  • High risk of deficiencies
  • Too little fiber and carbohydrates
  • High cost because meat and fish must be eaten in large quantities

Recommendations and precautions to take

Are there any risks?

This diet is not recommended for people with kidney failure and can damage the kidneys if too much meat and fish is consumed on a daily basis.

In addition, some high-protein diets indicate that red meats can be eaten as much as you like, but they contain saturated fatty acids, even in lean cuts, which tend to raise blood cholesterol levels. In the long term, this type of high-protein diet represents a risk for the cardiovascular system.

Is this diet right for you?

Whatever your situation, following a high-protein diet over the long term is not recommended. With such a diet, you are almost certain to regain the weight you lost and to weaken your body. Nothing beats a high quality and varied diet to achieve and maintain a healthy weight.

Do protein diets and sports (weight training) go well together?

Contrary to popular belief, the high-protein diet is not adapted to intensive sports that require carbohydrate intake to rebuild muscle after exercise. Adopting a protein diet does not promote weight gain, and it is considered that an intake of more than 2g of protein per kg per day is of no interest to the body. It is even at this point that it becomes dangerous.

Is there a vegetarian protein diet?

There is a vegetarian variant of the protein diet. This variant is only based on vegetable proteins and has the merit of not encouraging the consumption of red meats rich in saturated fatty acids. Moreover, it is suitable for vegetarians. In this variant, animal proteins are replaced by cereals, oilseeds, tofu, soy or even cereal-based meat substitutes. The vegetarian protein diet also promotes the consumption of vegetables and quality fats. Starchy foods are not banned but their consumption is moderate. It seems that this vegetarian protein diet is a much better option for your health.

How to keep the weight off?

Following such a restrictive diet, weight regain and the yo-yo effect are almost inevitable. To avoid this, nothing beats a varied and balanced diet combined with regular physical activity.

Dietitian's opinion on the protein diet

This diet is, in my opinion, one of the most dangerous for the body since it weakens the renal system and can lead to important cardiovascular complications. With the numerous restrictions it implies, it also tends to isolate the person following the diet and does not help to develop good eating habits. At the same time, the ecological impact of this type of diet is considerable in view of the large quantities of meat consumed. In conclusion, I do not recommend this type of diet in any way, as it goes against all sensible nutritional recommendations.

Pleasure Weight Diet

In brief

Weight loss
Yes

Choice of foods
Very varied

Practical
Relatively easy to follow in the short and long term

The origins

This weight loss program was conceived by Marie Salvas, who is the president. After several unsuccessful attempts (even disastrous ones, she says) to lose weight, she decided to approach the issue in a different way. She chose to abandon any idea of dieting. Instead, she embarked on an "inner journey" to learn to love herself and to really take care of her needs. She also resolved to have fun in life, including at meals.

In 15 months, she lost 63 kilos (140 pounds). She was able to maintain her new weight for over a year. Given her success, friends encouraged her to start a program to share her experience and help other overweight women. This is how Poids Plaisir was founded in 2004.

Meetings of the program are now held in 32 municipalities in Quebec and Marie Salvas' book, Maigrir avec plaisir, has sold several thousand copies.

The main principles

The objectives

  • Losing weight with pleasure
  • Adoption of healthy lifestyle habits
  • Strengthen your self-esteem
  • Regain control over your diet, your body and your life

The main points

Poids Plaisir is a weight loss program that does not recommend any dietary restrictions. Instead, it advocates the adoption of healthy eating habits based on Canada's Food Guide to Healthy Eating. The program relies on a multidisciplinary team of nutritionists, kinesiologists and psychologists. One of the particularities of Poids Plaisir is that it includes professional photo sessions at different stages of the program - both to follow the progress of weight loss and to highlight the charms of each person and allow them to discover and appreciate themselves.

The program offers three "packages" of 12 weekly meetings each. The themes covered are :
  • Needs, stress, pleasure
  • Self-esteem and changes
  • Emotions and relationships
Participants can register for one, two or three packages. A "coach facilitator" leads each meeting. He is accompanied by kinesiologists, dieticians, psychotherapists and photographers, who take turns being present.

For those who have completed the three packages, Poids Plaisir offers courses led by psychologists: they can therefore go further in their weight loss process. Private consultations with the program's psychologists, nutritionists or kinesiologists are also possible.

As a reference tool, Poids Plaisir has developed a diagram called the "food tree", which is based on Canada's Food Guide to Healthy Eating as well as on the servings of the diabetic food guide. The servings suggested in this pattern are appropriate for most adults, but participants can increase them at the beginning of the program to ease the transition to a healthier diet. For example, someone who is used to eating 12 servings of grains and starches a day will not have to limit themselves to five servings at once.

The eight guidelines of Poids Plaisir

  • Eat three meals and two snacks.
  • Drink six to eight glasses of water.
  • Choose high-fiber foods and whole grain products.
  • Choose fresh or frozen fruits and vegetables.
  • Choose lean meats and low-fat dairy products.
  • To meet lipid needs, choose vegetable oils and nuts.
  • To ensure a diet without deficiencies, vary your menus.
  • Get moving!

Mechanisms of action

Alleged

Because there are no restrictions in the choice of foods, the risks of cravings caused by compulsion are much lower than in restrictive diets. Participants are not taken over, but are given the tools to decide for themselves what changes to implement and at what pace. Weigh-ins are only done once a month, so the changes observed are more significant than with weekly weigh-ins.

Also, there is no deadline for reaching the desired goal. The participants feel responsible for their actions.

The recommended psychological approach takes into account many contributions and works of contemporary psychology. It allows participants to reflect on their behaviors so that they can become more aware of possible changes.

Poids Plaisir aims at "empowerment". In other words, it seeks to give participants back the power over their food, their body and their life. The fact that the meetings take place in a group setting with a different expert at each meeting contributes to the effectiveness of the program.

As for the photo sessions, the instigator of the program believes that they play an important role in the participants' process, particularly by promoting their self-esteem.

Demonstrated

The Fun Weight program is relatively new. It has not been the subject of scientific studies to date. However, it is based on recognized weight management techniques, such as the gradual adoption of good eating habits, empowerment, listening to body signals, practicing physical activities and rediscovering the pleasure of eating without guilt.

The contribution of the multidisciplinary team (nutritionists, psychologists, kinesiologists) is generally very appreciated and effective. Studies show that managing weight problems with the intervention of only one specialist (either a nutritionist or a psychologist) brings at best only short-term results.

Poids Plaisir encourages gradual weight loss and does not impose any restrictions. These are positive points.

A typical day's menu

Please note. Taken from the book Poids Plaisir2, this menu is presented here as an example only. It is not suitable for everyone and should not be followed in its entirety.

Morning meal

1 bag of sugar-free Quaker oatmeal (100% whole grain) with 1 tbsp of molasses (20 g) and sprinkled (after cooking) with 1 tbsp (7 g) of wheat germ

1 plum

½ cup foamed skim milk in coffee

Morning snack

15 dried banana chips (30 g)

Lunch

1 raw zucchini (150 g)

2 eggs

1 slice of rye bread with sunflower seeds

12 canned asparagus (100 g)

½ cup foamed skim milk in coffee

Snack

10 seasoned rice chips (17.5 g)

½ cup (125 mL) foamed skim milk in coffee

Evening meal

Soup made with leftover boiled vegetables blended with half a cup of skim milk

110 g of cod fillet seasoned with 1 tbsp of tamari sauce

1 cup boiled green beans (150 g)

¾ cup (45 g) cooked brown basmati rice

Evening snack

1 piece of watermelon (optional)

Benefits and drawbacks

Satiety and well-being

In Quebec, Poids Plaisir is the only commercial weight-loss program that respects the minimum number of servings for women established by Canada's Food Guide to Healthy Eating, even when it comes to servings of bread and substitutes. It is a balanced program that ensures satiety and well-being. In fact, it ensures satiety thanks to an increased consumption of vegetables and a sufficient quantity of whole grain products. There is also no risk of nutritional deficiencies.

In practice

Since the Fun Weight program has no dietary restrictions, it is easy to follow at home or away from home. Participants can follow their own tastes and make dietary changes at their own pace.

Weight loss

This program has not been the subject of scientific studies: there is no data to prove its effectiveness. In a publicity brochure, the president Marie Salvas mentions some very nice successes. But the adventure is still young. We will have to see if the participants maintain their weight loss in the medium and long term.

My comment

Finally a commercial weight loss program that makes sense! A balanced and non-restrictive food plan, a multidisciplinary approach, what more could you ask for? What remains to be seen is the long-term impact...

Banana diet

The banana diet for weight loss recommends the exclusive consumption of bananas in the first part of the day, before lunch. Far from the mono-diets that prohibit the consumption of all other foods, this diet offers a relatively balanced meal structure while promising a rapid weight loss.

Characteristics of the banana diet :
  • All-you-can-eat banana breakfast
  • Standard lunch and dinner
  • Possibility of including snacks
  • Loss of 2 to 3 kg per week
  • Little risk of nutritional deficiencies

Main principles and definition of the banana diet

The banana diet is a relatively recent method invented by the Japanese pharmacist Sumiko Watanabe. This method follows the principle of the monodiet and promotes the consumption of bananas in order to lose weight quickly.

How does the banana diet work to lose weight?

The banana diet consists of consuming only bananas in the first part of the day, that is, before lunch. At breakfast and as a morning snack, the banana can then be consumed as much as you like and until you are full.

To follow the banana diet, you must respect a few rules:
  • The banana must be the only food eaten before breakfast
  • You can eat it cooked or raw, but without adding sugar or fat
  • It is necessary to drink water at room temperature throughout the day
  • It is forbidden to eat after 8 pm
  • Lunch and dinner remain classic. However, they must be balanced and eaten until you are full.
How does the banana yogurt diet make you lose weight?
The banana diet promises a weight loss of 2 to 3 kg per week. The lipase contained in the banana would promote the burning of fat and facilitate the loss of excess weight. In addition, the fact of replacing the products intended for the breakfast often fatty and sweetened (cereals, pastries, cakes, etc.) by fruits and water reduces considerably the number of calories consumed in first part of the day.

As a result, the banana diet could induce a negative energy balance and initiate a significant weight loss. As soon as the body ingests less calories than it uses to function, weight loss occurs. It is on this principle that this diet seems to be based.

Finally, the banana is a fruit rich in starch that is relatively satiating. It is rare to want or need to eat five bananas in one sitting. Finally, since it takes few bananas to feel full, the caloric intake is lower.

How long does the banana diet last?
The banana diet is an express diet that usually lasts between 3 and 12 days. However, there are various variants that consist of incorporating 3 days of the banana diet per week, or following it over the longer term.

Foods allowed and forbidden in the banana diet

In this diet, some foods are to be eaten daily at lunch and dinner, and others to be limited to promote weight loss:

Foods to favor                                 
  • Vegetables
  • Raw vegetables
  • Fruits
  • Poultry
  • Fish
  • Seafood
  • Eggs
  • Tofu
  • Pulses
  • Whole grain cereals
  • Whole grain bread
  • Steamed foods
  • Low-fat preparations
  • Water and herbal teas 
Foods to limit             
  • Red meat
  • Cold cuts
  • Refined cereals
  • White bread
  • Dairy products
  • Dishes with sauces
  • Sugar and sweet products
  • Pastries, pastries, cookies
  • Industrial products
  • Prepared dishes
  • Fast food
  • Butter, cream and fatty products
  • Sodas, industrial fruit juices
  • Alcohol
  • Salt

Banana diet: diet program and typical menu

Before noon 
  • All-you-can-eat bananas
  • Water at room temperature
Noon 
  • Grilled chicken salad with tomatoes, asparagus tips and quinoa                                        
  • Soy, lemon and mint yogurt sauce
  • Seasonal fruit
Snack 
  • Handful of oilseeds
  • Fruit of the season
Evening 
  • Iced tomato and bell pepper soup
  • Papillote of white fish and julienne vegetables
  • Brown rice
  • Soy yogurt

Advantages and disadvantages

The positive points of the banana diet to lose weight

  • Promotes the consumption of bananas rich in fiber, vitamin B and potassium
  • Limits snacking and the consumption of sweet products at breakfast
  • Feeling of satiety brought by the banana
  • Relatively varied and balanced meals
  • Little risk of deficiencies
  • Compatible with a fulfilling social life
  • Weight loss
  • Easy to set up
  • Suitable for all budgets

The negative points of the banana diet

  • May cause transit problems
  • Monotonous and tiring in the long term
  • Risk of hypo- and hyperglycemia in vulnerable people
  • Risk of weight regain when stopping the diet

Recommendations and precautions to take

Are there any risks?

This diet is not recommended for people suffering from glucose intolerance, type 1 diabetes or type 2 diabetes. The banana is a fruit rich in sugar, and eating it alone in the morning can cause significant variations in blood sugar levels. This can be dangerous for people on insulin or suffering from insulin resistance. For people who have to follow a potassium-controlled diet, this diet is also not recommended because bananas are very rich in potassium. Pregnant and breastfeeding women are also not advised to follow this diet.

Is this diet for you?

Why not, if you want to lose weight relatively easily while maintaining a classic meal structure. The banana diet seems to allow you to lose weight while eating everything and respecting your hunger, which is a very important point. This diet will be even easier to follow if you are not a big eater in the morning and if you do not have any particular habits concerning this first meal of the day.

Is this diet compatible with sports?

The banana diet does not necessarily emphasize sports. The method recommends doing physical activity only when you feel like it. For my part, I recommend maintaining a minimum of 30 minutes of physical activity per day during this diet. Physical activity helps to prevent muscle loss, regulate appetite, support weight loss and make you feel good psychologically as well as physically.

How to keep the weight off? What to expect before and after?

The banana diet promises significant weight loss in a short period of time. This is why the balance is fragile and why weight regain is quite frequent. To avoid regaining the weight lost with this method, it is recommended not to reinstate bad eating habits after the diet and at breakfast time. Instead of croissants or sugary cereals, it is preferable to eat a fruit, a dairy product and some wholemeal bread.

Dietitian's opinion on the banana diet

Contrary to what one might think, the banana diet does not consist of eating only bananas throughout the day. Lunch and dinner remain rather balanced and well-structured meals. This diet is not particularly low-calorie and all food categories have their place. Furthermore, and this is a very important point, the method recommends listening to your food sensations (hunger, satiety) to know when to eat and when to stop. Except in special cases, it is not dangerous to have a breakfast based only on bananas if the other meals are complete and balanced. On the other hand, physical activity is a missing point in this diet. In my opinion, nothing beats a varied diet and regular activity. However, I believe that this diet is relatively harmless unlike many others.

Dissociated diet or shelton: what is it?

Established in 1951 by Herbert MacGolphin Shelton, the dissociated diet consists of not mixing several foods in the same meal in order to optimize their digestion. Foods are eaten according to precise combinations in order to respect the biological capacities of assimilation of nutrients (acid or basic environment) and digestion times are also respected. The goals of this diet are above all to improve digestion and general well-being.

The principle of the Shelton diet

The dissociated diet, established in 1951 by the American Herbert MacGolphin Shelton, is explained in his books and particularly in his work entitled "Food Combining Made Easy". It is based on the principle of dissociation of food intake, thus avoiding combining certain types of food during the same meal.


It observes that each food has a specific digestion time, a particular acid-base environment necessary for its digestion and a different assimilation of nutrients depending on the organs (stomach, duodenum, intestine, etc.) and the food.

Thus, by ingesting only a similar category of food, the energy spent on digestion and assimilation of nutrients is optimized: less energy spent on digestion and more energy for other physical, organic and intellectual activities.

Moreover, since digestion is facilitated, digestive pains and disorders are eliminated, and certain illnesses are avoided.

The essential points and objectives of the dissociated diet

Essential points

  • Do not combine just any foods with each other
  • Favour foods that are digested in a similar way during the same meal

Objectives

  • Better digestion
  • Gain energy on a daily basis, no "energy crash" between meals
  • Avoid fermentation and putrefaction in the body (source of gas, slow digestion and bed of certain diseases)
  • Prevent certain modern diseases (cardiovascular, autoimmune)
  • Prevent certain diseases related to the acidification of the body (acidification of tissues and mucous membranes, joint inflammation, tendonitis, arteriosclerosis, osteoporosis, etc.)
  • A return to a healthy weight and overall well-being

The 7 main principles of the Shelton diet:

The combinations

The overall idea is not to mix acidic foods (proteins) with alkaline foods (vegetables, fruits). The enzymes needed to digest them are different for each, and the nutrients of each are not assimilated in the same way and in the same organs of the digestive tract; it is recommended to ingest them separately.

Ideally, each meal consists of only one food category.

Shelton observes, for example, that proteins are digested in the stomach by enzymes in an acidic environment, while carbohydrates are digested in a basic environment. Thus, when the two foods are mixed, the stomach tries to produce acids and bases in order to digest everything as well as possible, which leads to very slow digestion, stomach aches, significant fatigue, heaviness, gas, etc.

Thus, Shelton recommends eating protein-rich foods with vegetables, vegetables with starchy foods, but never starchy foods and proteins at the same time. Acids don't go with proteins or starches. The same goes for sugar (Shelton even advises, and I quote, "to desert desserts"). Fats are associated with vegetables but very occasionally with proteins (to be avoided because they delay digestion). It is not recommended to mix 2 different types of proteins (for example egg and meat).

It is therefore advisable to have, for example, one meal of fruit, one meal of starchy foods and one meal of protein in one day.

Digestion time

The notion of digestion time also comes into play.
  • After a protein meal, it is necessary to wait 4 hours before eating another food. For starchy meals, 4 hours are also required.
  • For meals made up of proteins or starchy foods combined with fats, you will have to wait 7 hours.
  • For fruits, 2 hours of waiting will be enough.

Fruit

According to him, fruit is not compatible with any other food. He explains that it is the most rapidly digested food (less than 20 minutes) and at the intestinal level. So if they stagnate in a stomach full of other slowly digested foods, there is a risk of fermentation and therefore of stomach aches, swelling, and especially important gas. Therefore, they should be eaten alone on an empty stomach, either as a single meal or at a distance from meals.

However, not all fruits can be eaten together: neutral fruits can be eaten with acidic fruits or sweet fruits. But sweet fruits should not be eaten with sour fruits.

There are 2 exceptions: melon is a separate fruit, which can only be eaten on its own. Lemon can be associated with proteins (example: on fish).

Vegetables and starches

Vegetables can be combined with starchy foods or proteins. But acidic vegetables (tomatoes, gherkins, sorrel, etc.) do not go well with starchy foods.

Starchy foods can only be combined with vegetables or other starchy foods.

Juices

Of course, all this also applies to juices. Fruit juices should be consumed alone or with other fruits and at a distance from meals. They cannot be combined with vegetable juices. However, they can be consumed with other vegetables, proteins or starchy foods.

Dairy products

As for dairy products, Shelton recommends avoiding them as much as possible or, very occasionally, ingesting them on their own, just like fruit.

Water

As water is necessary for life, Shelton emphasizes the importance of drinking enough of it (about 1.5 liters) per day.

To summarize the associations

  • Protein and vegetables (but never starchy foods);
  • Starchy foods and vegetables (but never proteins);
  • Fruit alone (but not acid and sugar together).

The advantages of the dissociated diet

The advantage of this diet is that it does not exclude any food, although its intake is regulated. In addition, there is no limit to the quantity of the different food categories. Deficiencies are therefore avoided, as well as the frustration associated with the restrictions of traditional diets.

The preparation of meals is also made easier, since only one type of food needs to be cooked.

Moreover, thanks to the right food combinations, putrefaction and fermentation linked to poor digestion are eliminated, which prevents the passage of endogenous toxins into the bloodstream via the intestinal wall and thus avoids certain modern pathologies.

Finally, weight loss is often the result of the dissociated diet, since health is improved and the feeling of being full is quickly achieved with the same type of food as a meal.

The disadvantages of the dissociated diet

The dissociated diet is moderately easy to implement. Once the food categories are well understood, it is easy to manage compatibility. However, it is a rather complicated method to follow in society, for example in a restaurant, and therefore rather isolating.

Moreover, it is necessary to know the macro-nutrient content of the food before consuming it, in order to know how to combine it.

Finally, a large amount of protein must be consumed during the meal dedicated to it if the recommended daily intake is to be reached, since it cannot be consumed during any other meal of the day.

Precautions

It is important to be followed by a doctor or a professional when following a dissociated diet as for any other diet.

Example of a typical day

Morning

  • Bananas
  • Apricot juice

Snack

  • Oilseeds (almonds, cashews, hazelnuts)

Noon

  • Vegetable soup
  • Cauliflower gratin
  • Broccoli
  • Potatoes
  • Wholemeal bread
  • (without cheese)

Evening

  • Raw vegetables
  • Vegetable and herb omelet
  • Sugar-free dessert (optional)

Small reminder of the food categories

  • Animal proteins Red meat, white meat, fish, shellfish, eggs
  • Vegetable proteins Pulses, oilseeds 
  • Vegetables Green and colored vegetables, spices, seaweed, mushrooms, herbs and spices, sprouted seeds
Beware of acidic vegetables and condiments:
  • spinach ;
  • tomatoes ;
  • lemon ;
  • sorrel ;
  • cider vinegar ;
  • brewer's yeast ;
  • mustard ;
  • pickles ;
  • capers ;
  • gomasio (which do not have the same compatibility: they combine with proteins).
Starchy foods Cereals (wheat, oats, barley, etc.), starches (potato, sweet potato, etc.), vegetable drinks and creams (oatmeal, rice, etc.)
Fruits and fruit juices
Milk products Milk, yoghurt, cream
Fats Vegetable oils, oilseeds
Sugars Desserts with added sugar, sodas, candies

Apple diet: what are the benefits? Effectiveness ? Risks ?

The apple diet, or 3 apples diet (not to be confused with the apple mono-diet) was set up by Tammi Flynn, an American nutritionist following the observation of the weight loss of one of her clients. The principle is to eat an apple before each meal and to combine a low-calorie diet, low GI foods, lots of water and physical activity.

The principle of the apple diet

The apple diet comes from the American nutritionist Tammi Flynn, who suggested to one of her clients who could no longer lose weight, to eat an apple before each meal. Result: she managed to lose 1kg in 1 week.

Tammy Flynn then applied this diet to many of her clients, who all managed to lose weight as well. In 2013, she wrote a book entitled "The 3 Apple a Day GI Diet: The Amazing Superfood for Fast-track Weight Loss" which describes her 12-week weight loss method using 3 apples a day and a low-calorie, low-GI diet.

The principle is very simple: eat an apple before each meal, i.e. three apples a day. But it is also very important to drink water (minimum 1.5 liters per day). Apples, although rich in vitamins and minerals, are composed largely of soluble fibers: pectin. When in contact with water, pectin will form a viscous gel that will help to increase the food bolus and thus "fill the stomach" and induce the feeling of satiety.

Apples can be eaten raw or cooked, but not in juice form (since it would lack the fiber).

It is also important to watch your diet to maximize the benefits of the apple diet. Tammi Flynn recommends adopting a low-calorie diet (she presents three formulas: 1200 kcal/day, 1500 kcal/day or 1800 kcal/day) and giving preference to foods with a low Glycemic Index (since apples already have the advantage of having a low GI). It is then interesting to eat a lot of vegetables, to consume proteins at each meal, to avoid sweetened or processed products and to respect the recommended daily allowances.

To this, it is obviously advisable to add regular physical activity in order to optimize weight loss and maintain muscle mass.

Be careful not to confuse the apple diet with the apple monodiet which consists of eating only apples for a determined period of time. The conditions, the goal and the stakes are not the same.

Foods to avoid or limit

The foods to avoid or limit are the following
  • red meats (often fatty and slow to digest) ;
  • refined cereals (bread, pasta, flour-based products, etc.)
  • sweet products or confectionery, pastries;
  • Processed and industrial products;
  • pasteurized cheeses;
  • Trans fatty acids (hydrogenated oils, etc.);
  • sweetened drinks;
  • alcohol.

Examples of low GI foods

Low GI foods include:
  • fresh vegetables (except squash) and sprouted seeds
  • fatty fruits (avocado, olives, etc.);
  • legumes (soy, quinoa, lentils, chickpeas, etc.) and their flours
  • meats, poultry, fish, eggs;
  • oilseeds (almonds, cashew nuts, Brazil nuts, walnuts, etc.);
  • most fruits (except ripe bananas, kiwi, prunes, etc.);
  • fats (good quality oils, butter, etc.);
  • yogurt, fresh cheese;
  • dark chocolate with more than 80% cocoa.

The benefits of apples

Apples are a fruit with multiple health benefits.

They are rich in vitamins (A, B, C, E), minerals and trace elements (phosphorus, potassium, zinc, copper, manganese), antioxidants (flavonoids) and fiber (pectin, protopectin, etc.).

The richness of its composition makes it a health food that strengthens the immune system, reduces fatigue and participates in the fight against free radicals.

As for these famous pectins, they are soluble vegetable fibers that cannot be assimilated by the body. When in contact with water, the pectin in apples absorbs it, starts to swell and creates a viscous gel that :
  • increases the food bolus and fills the stomach (thus increasing satiety and "appetite suppressant effect");
  • protects the digestive mucous membranes;
  • slows down the absorption of glucose (by slowing down gastric emptying);
  • therefore helps to reduce the peak of glycemia after the meal and the level of LDL cholesterol;
  • regulate intestinal transit (for both diarrhea and constipation);
  • help reduce heavy metals (by absorbing them) in the digestive system.
Note: pectin is also available in the form of food supplements (and can increase the daily fiber intake). But be careful, an excess of fiber can irritate the intestine.

Finally, apples are low in calories: about 50 kcal per 100g.

To sum up, it is an ideal fruit for both health and weight loss.

The advantages of the apple diet

The apple diet remains an inexpensive method that can be followed almost all year round, because of the price of apples and their ease of acquisition in the shops.

This diet is not very restrictive and the gain in satiety due to the fiber in apples helps to avoid deprivation and frustration.

Beyond the appetite suppressant and calming effect on cravings, apples have real health benefits. Consuming them regularly is only beneficial. This diet allows you to resume certain good eating habits, by increasing the proportion of fruits and vegetables in your daily diet, and to drink plenty of water.

The disadvantages of the apple diet

Eating three apples a day, every day, can be redundant, or even tiring of the fruit in the long term.

The apple diet remains a low-calorie diet (especially the 1200 kcal per day formula) and is therefore restrictive and can lead to deficiencies, so it is important to be monitored by a doctor or a professional. A low-calorie diet can also have an impact on muscle mass and basic metabolism.

This diet can cause fatigue, headaches, difficulty concentrating or intestinal problems. An excess of apples (and therefore of fiber) can be irritating for the intestinal walls.

Finally, it is normally recommended to eat fruit at a distance from meals (or 30 minutes before but never as a dessert) because it is digested very quickly (about 30 minutes) and in the intestine. So a fruit that is stagnant in a stomach full of other food that is digested slowly will cause risks of fermentation and therefore stomach aches, swelling and gas.

Precautions

It is important to be followed by a doctor or a professional during an apple diet as for any other diet.

It is advisable to have a nutritional and blood test following the diet.

The apple diet is not recommended in case of :
  • chronic pathologies ;
  • triglyceride problems
  • diabetes - high blood pressure
  • thyroid problems
  • irritable bowel ;
  • eating disorders.

Conclusion

The idea of integrating apples in the dietary habits is good but it is necessary to privilege its consumption far from the meals, in order to obtain a maximum of benefits.

In order to lose weight in the long term, it is preferable to opt for a long-term dietary rebalancing and to start a caloric deficit little by little. It is important to practice sports regularly.

Tuna diet

The Tuna diet is a low-calorie, high-protein diet that takes place in two phases. It promises a weight loss of up to 10 kg in only two weeks, followed by a stabilization of the lost weight. It favors the consumption of lean proteins and green vegetables at the expense of all other food groups. This diet, as strict as it is effective, is very controversial in the medical community.

Characteristics of the tuna diet:

  • Very rapid weight loss
  • High protein, low carbohydrate and low fat diet
  • Detailed food program to be followed scrupulously
  • Stabilization phase whose duration depends on the weight lost
  • High risk of deficiencies and regaining lost weight

The main principles of the diet

The thonon diet was created by one of the doctors at the University Hospital of Thonon-les-Bains in order to make certain patients lose weight quickly. This low-calorie diet, as drastic as it is effective, has been in the news ever since.

How does the thonon diet work?

The Tuna diet is a high-protein, low-calorie diet. It is divided into two phases:

Phase 1 of the Tuna diet
The first phase of the Tuna diet is very restrictive. It consists of a low-calorie, high-protein diet. The food intake generally does not exceed 600 calories during this phase which lasts 14 days. The method promises a weight loss of up to 10 kg in only 14 days. The author of the method insists on the fact that the food program must be followed to the letter and that no deviation is allowed during these 14 days.

Phase 2 of stabilization
Phase 2 of the tuna diet is a stabilization phase. It should last 1 week per kilo lost during the first phase. The diet is always low-calorie since the daily energy intake does not exceed 1200 to 1500 calories.

How does the tuna diet lead to weight loss?

The Tuna diet combines several factors that lead to weight loss. First of all, it is a largely low-calorie diet that provides the body with less than what it needs to function on a daily basis. This so-called negative energy balance pushes the body to draw on its reserves and thus induces weight loss.

Secondly, it is a high-protein, low-carbohydrate diet. Normally, the body uses carbohydrates (stored in the form of glycogen) to provide the energy it needs on a daily basis. By drastically reducing the amount of carbohydrates ingested, the body is forced to draw on its reserves and use other energy production methods. In addition, the very low intake of fats pushes the body to draw a little more on its fat reserves.

Finally, this diet only allows the consumption of lean proteins and green vegetables in its first phase. The elimination of all sugary, industrial and fatty foods necessarily facilitates weight loss.

How long does the Tuna diet last?

The first phase of the Tuna diet lasts 14 days. The stabilization phase lasts 1 week per kilo lost during the first phase. For example, if an individual manages to lose 8 kg during the first 14 days of the diet, he/she will have to follow the stabilization phase for 8 weeks (approximately 2 months).

Foods allowed in the tuna diet

The Tuna diet, especially in its first phase, is very restrictive. Few foods are allowed to be part of the menu. Here is a non-exhaustive list of the main foods allowed: 
  • Lean cuts of poultry
  • Lean meats
  • White fish
  • Seafood
  • Lean ham
  • Eggs
  • Coffee and tea without sugar
  • Green vegetables
  • Fruits with little sugar
  • Lemon
  • Herbs and spices
  • 0% yoghurt and dairy products

Prohibited foods

Many foods are forbidden in the tuna diet, here are the main ones:
  • Fats
  • Refined cereals
  • Most starchy foods
  • Bread
  • Sugar
  • Industrial products
  • Prepared dishes
  • Cookies, cakes, pastries
  • Sodas
  • Alcohol

Advantages and disadvantages

The positive points of the tuna diet

  • Fast weight loss
  • Forum available to maintain motivation
  • Very detailed food plan

Negative points of the tuna diet

  • Too low a calorie intake
  • Sudden weight loss
  • Loss of water and muscles mainly
  • High risk of nutritional deficiencies
  • Frequent side effects: fatigue, constipation, nausea, etc.
  • May cause long-term damage to the kidneys and cardiovascular system
  • Not compatible with an active social life
  • Monotonous and very difficult to follow
  • May trigger risky behaviors in vulnerable individuals (food obsessions, etc.)
  • Doesn't help develop good eating habits

Recommendations and precautions to take

Are there any risks?

The tuna diet is strictly not recommended for pregnant and nursing women. In addition, due to its very restrictive nature and its high intake of animal proteins, this diet is strongly contraindicated for people suffering from kidney or cardiovascular diseases. The minimal intake of essential fats and micronutrients can lead to serious deficiencies in the medium term. These can result in the absence of menstruation in women, transit disorders, intense fatigue, kidney fatigue, headaches, etc. This type of diet can have serious consequences on the body.

Is this diet right for you?

Regardless of your situation and unless you have medical advice to the contrary, it is not recommended to consider this type of diet program. If you want to lose weight, consult a nutrition specialist and consider a balanced diet combined with regular exercise.

Are the Tuna diet and sport compatible?

The Tuna diet does not mention physical activity in its program. In view of the low food intake during the first two weeks, it is difficult to recommend maintaining regular physical activity without medical supervision.

How to keep the weight off?

Although the program promises sustainable weight loss without a yo-yo effect, this seems hard to believe. With a 600 calorie diet and then a 1200 calorie diet, weight regain seems inevitable as soon as a standard diet is reintroduced. To keep the weight off, you would have to maintain a very low energy intake over the long term. This is obviously not recommended for obvious health reasons.

Where can I find before and after testimonials?

To find before/after testimonials, we recommend that you consult the website and the official forum of the thonon method.

The thonon diet: the dietician's opinion

The daily energy intake recommended by the tuna diet is much too low. Moreover, the high consumption of proteins to the detriment of foods rich in quality fats, fibers and micro-nutrients represents a long-term health hazard. Indeed, nervous fatigue, weakening of the kidneys, endangerment of the cardiovascular system and disturbances of the hormonal system are the risks of such a diet. The tuna diet does not promote healthy eating habits that combine nutritional quality and regular physical activity. It is therefore inevitable, as soon as the diet is stopped, that you will regain the weight that you lost with difficulty. I absolutely do not recommend this diet to anyone who wants to lose weight in a healthy and sustainable way.

Lemon diet, the detox with lemon

The lemon diet consists of reducing one's caloric intake and consuming large quantities of lemon juice daily. It consists of a day of detoxification followed by a food program to be followed daily. The lemon diet would promote weight loss by combining a balanced low-calorie diet and detoxification of the organs with the help of the active substances contained in the lemon.

The essential points of the lemon diet :
  • Balanced and varied diet
  • Low-calorie diet
  • Consumption of lemon water throughout the day
  • Detoxifying effect of lemon juice

The main principles of the lemon diet detox

Theresa Cheung was the first to mention the principles of the lemon diet. She was inspired by the advice of naturopath Stanley Burroughs who had discussed the positive effects of lemon juice in the 1970s. Their hypothesis focuses on the detoxifying aspect of lemon juice in the body and its contribution to good digestion.

How does the lemon juice diet work?

The lemon diet does not consist in consuming only lemon, but rather in integrating it daily through all meals and following a balanced low-calorie diet in parallel. To optimize the effects of lemon, this diet recommends consuming 4 glasses of lemonade* over 24 hours as well as unlimited water for the first day of detoxification. Thereafter, a low-calorie diet with all the food families will be integrated.

The 7 main principles of the detox with the lemon diet are :
  1. Drink lemonade every morning when you get up and plenty of water during the day.
  2. Take advantage of the benefits of vitamin C by eating 5 servings of fruits and vegetables a day.
  3. Regulate blood sugar levels by sprinkling 1 to 2 tablespoons of lemon juice on your food, eating protein at every meal, eating at regular intervals during the day, not skipping meals and eating complex carbohydrates (whole grains, vegetables) and fiber.
  4. Eat less sugar by reducing the added sugar in coffee, tea and cereals, by eating less refined products such as white bread, cookies, white pasta and by avoiding artificial sweeteners.
  5. Forget "light" products and choose foods rich in good fats (omega-3 and monounsaturated) and low in bad fats (saturated and trans). Eat 2 servings of fish per week, including 1 serving of oily fish, and also eat nuts and seeds with each of your daily snacks.
  6. Eat plenty of whole (unrefined) or plain foods such as cereals, rice, pasta, fruits, vegetables and legumes that are as close to their natural form as possible.
  7. Apply the rules of good digestion by chewing each bite, eating in optimal and calm conditions, without stress, by not eating 2 hours before bedtime or when you are very tired, by turning off the television and by practicing 5 to 6 times a week 30 minutes of physical activity.
*See the recipe for homemade lemonade below
How does the lemon water diet make you lose weight?
Lemon juice is said to have digestive properties, acting in particular on the liver and the stomach. The vitamin C contained in the lemon also has an anti-oxidant action that slows down cellular aging. If consumed as part of a calorie-reduced and balanced diet, the lemon water diet will promote detoxification of the body and support weight loss.
How long does the lemon diet last?
There is no predefined duration for following the lemon diet. As it is above all a varied and balanced diet with the addition of lemon juice, there are no contraindications for following it over the long term. It is quite possible to practice the lemon juice diet for several weeks, even several months. To do this, it is essential to maintain a diversified diet rich in nutrients in parallel with the consumption of lemon water.

Permitted foods

All foods are allowed, but the diet must be low-calorie. The books on this diet recommend consuming a maximum of organically grown ingredients, whole grains and reducing salt consumption.

The recipe for lemonade, or lemon water, to include in the lemon syrup diet:
  • 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed organic lemon juice
  • 300 ml filtered water
  • 2 teaspoons of organic maple syrup or a cinnamon stick (optional)
  • A pinch of cayenne pepper (optional)
Forbidden foods
Fried foods, sweets, cheese and added fats should be avoided as much as possible. These are foods that, when consumed in excess, promote weight gain and associated health problems. Moreover, in a detoxification perspective, they will not bring any benefits to the body. Indeed, their high fat, sugar and/or salt content makes them foods that disturb the proper digestion by the organs.

Advantages and disadvantages of the lemon syrup diet

The positive points of the lemon diet
  • Weight loss
  • Good contribution in vitamin C
  • Facilitates digestion
  • Easy to follow
  • Very varied, no forbidden foods
  • No deficiencies or frustration
  • Little risk of weight gain
  • Respects the nutritional recommendations of the PNNS
The negative points of the lemon juice diet
  • May damage the stomach in case of hypersensitivity to acidity
  • Detox effect still uncertain
  • The detoxification day is very low in calories and should not be prolonged over the long term
  • Not suitable in case of kidney or gall bladder disorders, ulcers, gastritis or citrus allergies
  • Not to be used by children, the elderly, pregnant or breastfeeding women

Recommendations and precautions to take

Are there any risks in following the detox with the lemon diet?

If the hypocaloric detoxification day is not prolonged and if the diet remains varied and balanced, there are no particular risks in following the lemon diet. Except in exceptional cases (pregnancy, kidney disease, etc.), this diet is generally suitable for most people.

Is it a diet made for you?

Yes, if you like lemon and if you want to shed a few pounds relatively easily. It is not a drastic diet, the weight loss is natural and allowed by a balanced diet that covers energy needs.

Is the lemon diet compatible with sport?

Absolutely, if your nutrient needs are covered by a balanced diet, practicing a sport is absolutely recommended in parallel with the lemon juice diet. Practicing a sport will tone the body, facilitate weight loss and maintain a healthy weight for a long time.

The lemon diet before and after: how to keep the weight off?

Weight regain after the lemon diet is not inevitable. It usually occurs when the caloric restriction was too important and the days of traditional food were not sufficiently built up to cover the body's needs. As long as the diet is balanced and provides the body with everything it needs, there is no reason for weight gain after the diet. On the contrary, the lemon diet can be a good way to relearn how to eat healthily and to develop better habits that should be maintained even after the lemon diet detox.

Some figures to go further

Weight loss with the lemon diet can occur from the very first days. On average, we observe a loss of 3 to 5 kg in the first month of the diet. Weight loss varies greatly depending on how you ate before the diet and your weight when you start the detox.

The lemon diet detox is even more effective if combined with regular physical activity. A minimum of 30 minutes of physical activity per day is recommended. In addition to this basic physical activity, you can include 1 to 2 sports sessions per week in your schedule. Swimming, running, dancing or aerobics are excellent ways to burn calories and tone the body while having fun.

The flexitarian diet: what is flexitarianism?

The origins of the flexitarian diet


If vegetarianism has been practiced for thousands of years, flexitarianism is much more recent. It was in 2003 that the term "flexitarian" appeared in the American dictionary. With the increase in the number of vegetarians in France, flexitarianism is becoming more and more widespread, especially as a transitional diet towards vegetarianism.

The main principles of the flexitarian diet

Why eat less meat?

Flexitarians generally eat less meat for reasons related to animal welfare, health or in an ecological approach. Reducing meat consumption would also have a positive impact on the prevention of certain digestive cancers (especially colon cancer).

Authorized foods

All food groups are consumed, it is the frequency of consumption that will vary: cereals, fruits and vegetables, dairy products and fats will be consumed every day while meat and fish will be occasional.

How the flexitarian diet helps you maintain good health?

The flexitarian diet may have similarities with the vegetarian diet and therefore the same health benefits (prevention of cardiovascular disease and obesity) but it will depend on how often you eat meat and fish.

Fatty fish are rich in omega 3 and will cover the needs in good quality lipids, on the other hand a too high frequency of consumption of fatty meats could cancel the protective effect of the cardiovascular system.

Typical menu for a day on the flexitarian diet

Breakfast
  • Wholemeal bread
  • Butter
  • Jam
  • Clementines
  • Milk
  • Coffee
Breakfast
  • Tomato salad
  • Tagliatelle with smoked tofu (or occasionally chicken), cream and mushrooms
  • Apple
  • Plain yogurt
Snack
  • Banana
  • Some almonds
Dinner
  • Zucchini soup
  • Sautéed potatoes
  • Scrambled eggs with asparagus
  • Camembert cheese

Advantages and disadvantages of the flexitarian diet

Advantages

Easy to follow
With the occasional consumption of meat and fish, the flexitarian diet is extremely easy to follow on a daily basis: the diet is vegetarian most of the time except in cases where there are no vegetable alternatives.

Preserves the environment
Reducing your meat consumption will have a positive impact on the environment, even if it is not full-time.

Allows for a smooth transition
Many flexitarians become vegetarians, so it allows them to make a gradual transition without feeling a lack of certain foods.

Disadvantage

Variable health benefits
If vegetarianism has many health benefits, flexitarianism can come close provided that meat and fish are only eaten once or twice a week. It is also important to balance your vegetarian meals so that they cover all your protein needs with legumes for example.

My opinion on this diet


The flexitarian diet is becoming more and more widespread, and this is good news for the environment and the future of our planet. It is a very simple diet to follow and not very restrictive, a good step for those who tend to become vegetarians or vegans.

Scarsdale Diet

In brief


Weight loss

Yes and very fast, in the short term

Choice of foods

Limited variety

In practice

More than two weeks: difficult to follow

Attention

Low-calorie diet, unbalanced and deficient in several nutrients. Not recommended for children, teenagers, pregnant women and those who are breastfeeding, as well as for alcoholics, the elderly and those suffering from liver and/or kidney disease.

The origins


This diet was developed in Scarsdale, New York, in the 1950s by cardiologist Herman Tarnower, founder and dean of the prestigious New York Medical Center. Tarnower first proposed his diet to his heart patients who needed to lose weight quickly.


The speed of weight loss and the absence of the alleged feeling of hunger made it popular from its public introduction through the publication of a book in the late 1970s, under the name of the Scarsdale diet, also called SMD (Scarsdale Medical Diet).

The main principles


The Scarsdale diet is a very low-calorie diet with a high proportion of protein (about 40%), low proportions of carbohydrates (about 30%) and fat (about 20%).

The diet takes place over two-week periods with two weeks of strict dieting and two weeks of increased food choices until the desired weight is achieved. The Scarsdale diet claims to make you lose 7 to 9 kg in two weeks.

The first phase (massive attack period) lasts a maximum of two consecutive weeks.

This phase does not include many food choices and the menus must be followed to the letter. Breakfast is always the same for two weeks. Lunches and dinners consist of lean meat, poultry or fish, accompanied by fat-free vegetables. Sometimes another slice of bread is allowed during the day. Twice a week, the prescribed lunch is only a fruit salad. The amounts of food allowed are all-you-can-eat, except for the slices of bread.

The basic rules of the massive attack phase according to the book: "Scarsdale" The infallible medical diet:

1- Eat exactly what is prescribed. Do not resort to any food exchange.

2- Abstain from all alcoholic beverages.

3- Between meals, if you are hungry, eat only carrots and celery to your heart's content, if you wish.

4- The only beverages allowed are regular or decaffeinated coffee, black coffee, tea, club soda (with lemon if desired) and diet sodas of any flavor. You can drink them as often as you like.

5- Prepare all your salads without oil, mayonnaise or other seasonings rich in animal or vegetable fat. Use only lemon and vinegar.

6- Eat your prepared vegetables without butter, margarine or any other fat; you can add lemon to them.

7- All meats should be lean; remove all visible fat. Remove the skin and fat from chicken and turkey.

8- You don't have to eat all the foods on your menu, but you shouldn't substitute any food for another. Food combinations should be respected.

9- Never overload your stomach. When you feel that you have eaten enough, even if you have not finished your plate, stop.

10- Do not follow the diet for more than fourteen days in a row.

Second phase (Eat and Stay Slim) lasts two weeks.

This second phase prescribes a low-fat, low-carbohydrate diet, like the massive attack phase, except that the choice of foods allowed is greater.

List of restrictions for the second phase:

  • No more than two slices of bread per day;
  • No sugar, but sugar substitutes are allowed;
  • No potatoes, spaghetti or similar semolina-based foods;
  • No dairy products, rich in fat;
  • No sweets or desserts (except gelatin, sugar-free, and fruit).
  • No more than 450 ml of alcohol per day (1.3 liters of wine or 2.3 liters of low calorie beer).

Mechanisms of action:

Alleged

Dr. Tarnower believes that the low amount of fat and carbohydrates in his diet is the basis of its effectiveness. Indeed, with a low-fat, low-carb diet, the body will draw on its fat reserves to make up for the lack of carbohydrates and it produces ketones. In addition to melting fat mass, ketones suppress the appetite through an anorectic effect, making the low-calorie diet easier to follow.

Demonstrated

It is true that the decrease in calories, combined with the decrease in carbohydrate and fat consumption, induces a ketogenic state, which stops hunger within three days.

However, as with all low-calorie diets, this type of diet (because it is very low-calorie) decreases the basal metabolic rate (energy expended by the body at rest). Therefore, weight regain is very likely at the end of the diet cycle. Also, the weight loss caused by this diet is likely to be at the expense of lean mass (muscles), due to an inadequate consumption of complete proteins.

The rapid weight loss at the beginning is not only due to fat loss, but also to water loss. Since this is a carbohydrate-free diet and the body cannot function for long without carbohydrates, it burns up the glycogen reserves accumulated in the liver in the early stages. This glycogen reserve is bound to water. Therefore, the rapid weight loss in the early stages comes from this elimination of water that comes with the use of glycogen. This also explains why a deviation from the diet with starchy foods such as a donut for example can cause rapid weight gain because the carbohydrates in the donut will accumulate with water.

It is true that protein promotes satiety, but it has been shown that a combination of protein and dietary fiber from whole grain breads and cereals has a better effect on satiety. However, this diet limits whole grain breads and cereals to a minimum and the amount of protein in the menu on some days is too low.

A typical day's menu


Morning meal
  • 1/2 grapefruit
  • 1 slice of protein bread, toasted, but without toppings
  • Coffee or tea without sugar, cream or milk
Lunch
  • Cold or hot turkey or chicken
  • Tomatoes, carrots, cooked cabbage, broccoli or cauliflower
  • Grapefruit or seasonal fruit
Evening meal
  • Grilled steak
  • Lettuce salad, cucumber, celery, tomatoes (sliced or in casserole)
  • Brussels sprouts
  • Coffee or tea

Advantages and disadvantages

Satiety and well-being

The low amount of fat and carbohydrates and the low amount of calories will lead to the production of ketones which can reduce hunger and help sustain the restrictions, but not for more than two weeks, as the number of calories in the daily menu varies between 600 and 800 calories only. Since the diet is very strict and lacks variety, it is certainly difficult to follow in the medium and long term. It requires a lot of perseverance to be followed to the end.

In practice

People who follow this diet may not have to break their heads during the initial phase, as they do not have much latitude in the choice of foods to eat. However, they will find the diet extremely bland, because in addition to being low in carbohydrates, it does not allow any fat. The only snacking allowed, if there is hunger between meals, is raw carrots and celery. For the "eat and stay slim" phase, those embarking on this diet must be very creative in composing interesting meals, since the variety of foods allowed in this phase is also low, just like in the first massive attack phase.

Weight loss

Since the Scarsdale diet is very low in calories, it is very likely to cause significant weight loss in the first few weeks. However, no clinical study has seriously evaluated the impact of this diet on weight loss. But this weight loss is far from being caused by fat loss alone, because it is scientifically impossible to lose 7 to 9 kg of fat in two weeks. A large part of the weight loss is caused by water loss.

Attention

  • A diet containing less than 1,300 calories per day cannot meet the nutritional needs of individuals. This very restrictive diet can therefore lead to nutritional deficiencies, especially since no food supplements are suggested. It is strictly not recommended for children and teenagers as well as for pregnant or breastfeeding women, the elderly and those with liver and kidney diseases.
  • This diet is totally unbalanced. Most meals include only one or two food groups.
  • This diet is likely to cause a yo-yo effect because of the very rapid weight loss in the first two weeks.
  • In the 1978 edition of the Scarsdale Diet, nothing is said about the importance of physical activity for weight management.
  • People who follow this diet may experience some side effects: fatigue, constipation or diarrhea, irritability and risk of kidney stones.
  • There is a potential risk of kidney and liver damage resulting from ketosis. Ketosis is a metabolic process that occurs when carbohydrate levels fall below a certain level. The body must then burn muscle and fat to maintain its energy level. When fat is burned, fatty acids are released into the bloodstream. They are then converted into ketones, weak acids that must be excreted through the urine. An increase in ketones over a long period of time can strain the kidneys. Therefore, people with liver or kidney disease, as well as alcoholics, should not follow this diet.

 My comment


It is clear that this very low-calorie weight loss method is largely outdated with all the knowledge acquired on weight management since its publication. It carries significant health risks, especially when followed without medical supervision. The Scarsdale diet is not only totally unbalanced and deficient in nutrients, but it also does nothing to promote healthy lifestyle habits.

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