Weight-loss and dieting are common New Years resolutions, but which diets really work and which ones don’t? We look at the best and worst diet trends of 2015 to help you achieve your goals! If you were looking to the Paleo or raw food diets to lose weight this summer you might want to reconsider. The US News & World Report’s ranking of 2015’s popular diets, have used scores developed by several doctors from Johns Hopkins and New York Presbyterian Hospitals to rank 35 diets. The diets were rated in terms of how easy they were to follow, the weight loss success rate and the effect on diabetes and heart health. Here are the worst 5 diets of 2015 #35: Paleo Diet: The Paleo diet is based on the notion that over processed high carbohydrate foods are causing ill-health. The Paleo diet recommends followers eat only naturally occurring foods – if the cavemen didn’t eat it, then you shouldn’t either. Exercise is also based on the hunter-gather style of incidental continued movement rather than a defined exercise routine. Will it work? The jury is still out on the weight loss benefits of the Paleo diet, however experts have expressed concerns about the high level of fat and low levels of fibre. Overall score = 2/5 #34: Dukan Diet: Named for the French physician Dr Pierre Dukan, this diet is based on the idea that eating high volumes of protein and avoiding fats and carbohydrates keeps you feeling full while forcing your body to switch to a less preferred fuel source such as fat which results in weight loss. Exercise of 20-60minutes per day is required depending on the phase of the diet you are in. Will it work? The downside of the Dukan diet is that is that adherence is difficult and there are A LOT of rules to be followed. Doctors are also concerned about the long-term effects of protein rich diets and build up waste products which may harm the kidneys. The weight loss results were mixed. Overall score = 2/5 #33: Raw Food Diet: Raw food dieters eat foods (75-80% of which are plant based) that have not been heated above 45deg Celsius. The theory is that raw foods are packed with a higher level of natural enzymes than cooked foods, that help your body to reach a state of optimal health and weight loss follows. The raw food diet deals only with diet and does not make any specific recommendations regarding exercise. Will it work? Researchers suggest that raw food dieters tend to eat fewer calories so weight loss is highly likely. Many followers are vegan or only partially follow the diet. The main risk of the raw food diet is the risk of food poisoning from incorrectly prepared foods. Overall score = 2.3/5 #32: Atkins Diet: The Atkins diet has been rigorously studied. The Atkins diet recommends high protein food and avoidance of carbohydrates and fat, similar to the Dukan diet the theory is that this will force the body to burn into its fat stores. Atkins followers are recommended to exercise, however they recommend it is not essential for weight management. Will it work? Studies to date have only lasted 2 years and results indicate the Atkins diet does assist with weight loss, however it has a very high drop out rate compared to most other diets due to the limitation of many whole food groups. Overall score = 2.3/5 #31: Fasting Diet: Backed by Doctor and journalist Michael Mosley, the fasting diet recommends drastic calorie cutting 2 days per week. The theory that by fasting your body is tricked into thinking you are experiencing famine and causes it to switch to a fat-burning mode. The fasting diet is sometimes called the 5:2 diet and does not make specific recommendations about exercise. Will it work? The fasting days can be tough for followers, however on the other 5 days of the week you can eat whatever you like. Exercise can also be hard to maintain and fasting days may generally leave you feeing low on energy. Overall score = 2.5/5 And now the top 5 diets to follow: #5: Weight Watchers Diet: More than just calorie counting, Weight Watchers allocate each food a point value based on protein, carbohydrate, fat and fiber content. The program allows you to eat whatever you like as long as it fits in your daily points allowance and encourages you to make smart food choices. Exercise is treated in a similar way to food with differing activities being assigned a points value. Will it work? Weight Watchers is easily customizable to each person’s tastes. There is a membership fee associated with the Weight Watchers diet however there is also a lot of support from fellow Weight Watchers followers to help you stick to your goals. Overall score = 3.9/5 #4: Mediterranean Diet: There isn’t really “a” Mediterranean diet, but there is a central principle of maintaining an active lifestyle, weight control and a diet low in red meat, sugar and saturated fats and high in produce, nuts and other healthy foods. Keeping active is a big component of this diet plan, so starting an exercise regime is essential. Will it work? The jury is out on whether the Mediterranean diet will help you lose weight, however there is research to say that people who follow this type of meal plan are less likely to be overweight or obese. The main benefit linked to this way of eating is the focus on avoiding saturated fats, which can help to lower bad cholesterol and improve your heart health. It is also quite an easy and tasty diet to follow, so you’re likely to stick with it. Overall rating = 3.9/5 #3: Mayo Clinic Diet: The Mayo Clinic diet uses the medical model of a heart healthy diet and uses its own specially developed diet pyramid. This eating plan is heavy on fruits, veges and whole grains and light on saturated fats and salt and was designed to manage cholesterol and blood pressure for people with heart disease or risk factors. It is also recommended for diabetes sufferers. Exercise is also essential to the success of the plan. Will it work? With a focus on healthy eating the Mayo Clinic’s research suggests you will lose weight so long as you keep your portion size in check. Overall score = 3.9/5 #2: TLC Diet: The American Heart Association endorses the Therapeutic Lifestyle Changes Diet (TLC) as a heart-healthy regimen. The key is cutting back sharply on fat, particularly saturated fat (fatty meat, full cream milk and fried foods) which increase the risk of heart attack and stroke. Will it work? Calorie counting and at least 30 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise – like brisk walking – most or all days of the week makes the TLC diet likely to lead to weight loss as well as lowering the risk of heart disease, stoke and diabetes. Overall score = 4/5 #1: DASH Diet: The number one diet is the DASH (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension) developed by the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute (USA). The diet has a 64 page plan that recommends a diet rich in nutrients such as potassium, calcium, protein and fibre and reducing salt intake. Basically its eating the foods we all know are good for us and avoiding the ones we have grown to love (calorie rich sweets and fried foods). Will it work? If you follow the plan and ensure you create a calorie deficit with chosen menu and exercise regime the research suggests you will lose weight and improve your health with this sensible eating plan. Overall score = 4.1/5 So, overall it looks like sensible, healthy eating, avoiding saturated fats, sugar and salt and maintaining an exercise routine will produce better results and help you to maintain long term weight and health management than many more extreme eating plans. You can read more about each of these diets here: We can’t wait to see what your New Years resolutions bring and remember our talented and qualified team are here to help. If you’d like to speak with an Exercise Physiologist about weight loss or health management call or make an appointment.