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The Best New Diets To Try To Achieve Your Fittest Year Yet

It's a new year, and therefore a great opportunity to create a new you. Getting fit and healthy — and making it last — is on everyone's minds now that 2018's just begun, and we'll be glad to help get you started with these awesome new diets you can try now. 

While these diets have been developed to target individuals with specific health concerns in mind, always remember to consult your physicians before trying one out! Eating healthily is something all doctors would approve of, but it's important that the diet you choose continues to meet all your nutritional needs. And of course, pairing diets with an active lifestyle is the way to go to see their full effects.  

So if you're ready to be the fittest you've ever been, read away! 


The TLC diet: Less cholesterol + more fiber 


Also known as the Therapeutic Lifestyle Changes diet, this eating regimen was developed to reduce bad LDL cholesterol. Guaranteeing a bad LDL cholesterol reduction of 8 to 10 percent after six weeks of dieting, this diet asks you to sacrifice fatty meat, fried food, and lots of whole-milk dairy — all of which contain soaring levels of saturated fat — while fiber-rich food will replace fatty favorites.

Let's clarify one important point before you decide this diet is what you need: not all cholesterol is bad. In fact, your body needs a healthy amount of "good cholesterol" to properly digest food and produce certain hormones. The trick is lessening the bad, and increasing the good by feasting on more food that provides you with unsaturated fat, or good fat (yup! There is such a thing as good fat) and the TLC diet is targeting exactly that. Think lots of Omega 3 from fatty fish, whole grains and nuts, avocado and other high fiber fruit, as well as dishes infused with recommended doses of olive oil. 

Created by the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute, this diet consists of three parts: diet, exercise, and weight control. Not to be confused with other fad diets in the horizon, the TLC program was developed for long-term lifestyle change. The best thing about this diet? It can help your health stay on track without totally depending on medication. 

This is most suitable for those at risk for cardiovascular disease. 


The DASH diet: Blood pressure first, waistline next


Ranked as the #1 diet by the US News & World Report for eight years in a row and developed primarily to keep blood pressure down, the DASH diet stands for Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension. It puts emphasis on food rich in potassium, calcium, protein and fiber (i.e.: fruits, veggies, whole grains, lean protein, and low-fat dairy), while pushing away salt, sugar, and other sweeteners. Going on this diet helps you ward off water retention (that often makes you feel much heavier and bloated), prevents high blood pressure that could lead to stroke, and — you guessed it — lose weight!

Don't be in a hurry to begin restraining your food intake, though; the key thing to remember about the DASH diet is its focus on sustainable and healthy weight loss. Those looking to cut a dramatic amount of weight in the shortest time possible may want to re-think their strategy. As this diet helps you cut back on empty carbs and replace them with lean protein and fibrous food, your body is trained to stay full for longer on much more nutritious food; in other words, you curb your cravings for all the bad snacks you can think of as your body learns to run on fuel from much healthier food. It basically encompasses the fundmanental principle of dieting: diet for health first, then your midsection will reap the benefits of doing so soon afterwards. 

Those battling hypertension are encouraged to give this diet a try. 


The flexitarian diet: Be vegetarian, sometimes


It's challenging enough to begin a new diet, but to go completely vegetarian is a whole other league of its own! That's why the flexitarian diet was developed; it encourages people to be vegetarian most of the time, while allowing them to still enjoy a burger once in a while when the urge strikes.

Note that the name of this diet is pretty much the result of combining the words "flexible" and "vegetarian," but that doesn't mean you get to decide on your own when you want to go green, or when you want to go back to eating meat. While you're essentially not restricted to an all-veggie diet, the catch is to slowly move away from red and fatty meat when you do get the craving, and turn to more easily digestible sources of protein like chicken, fish, and other seafood as your body slowly gets used to your new eating habits. In addition to this, the flexitarian diet also gradually weans you away from meat, week by week, and trains your body to be able to go for longer periods of time without meat. 

Consult your physician to learn how quickly you can make the change to a mostly veggie diet, what kinds of greens to incorporate into your regimen, and the frequency in which you can eat meat for a healthy way to take on this diet. 

The flexitarian diet is recommended for those prone to diabetes, cancer, and heart disease. 


The Mediterranean diet: Yes to freshness


The Mediterranean diet is named as such because of how it mimics the eating habits of people in the region: they love fresh produce, be it seafood, veggies, or fruit, and their salt and sugar intake is at a minimal because of how delicious their fresh food tastes even without additives. The diet also does away with red meat, while incorporating red wine intake and other sources of good fat like nuts, grains, seeds, and legumes for heart-healthy eating.

Note that it's not just Mediterranean dishes or recipes you can try while you're on this diet, but also modes of cooking and kinds of ingredients! Small yet impactful changes you can pick up from this diet are replacing butter with olive or canola oil, using herbs and spices instead of salt (or even worse, MSG) to flavor food, having fish or poultry instead of red meat as your main source of protein at least twice a week, and replacing white rice with whole grains, whole-weat bread, or beans and legumes. 

This diet was built to help shave off pounds and keep them off — in a dependably tasty way that you could get used to. You won't even feel like you're dieting once you've embraced the best parts of eating healthily, Mediterranean style, because it's so delicious! 

This diet claims to encourage weight loss, heart and brain health, and encourage longevitiy. 


The weight watchers diet: Healthier, overall

Supported by a number of celebrities incliding Oprah, the weight watchers diet is essentially a lifestyle management regimen, rather than just a way to manage food intake. You can eat whatever you want; no food is hands-off! You set weight loss goals at the beginning of the program and have a daily target to meet to help keep you on track (and make it look less daunting, overall). 

The key is moderation, and this diet helps you keep track of what you eat with its SmartPoints system that you can monitor online (healthier, low-calorie food cost fewer points, while junk food is assigned more points). Personal consultations are also available for those who prefer face-to-face sessions. You can use SmartSystem points however you like, as long as you meet your daily targets. This diet's online system also suggests recipes and exercise regimens depending on where you are, and how much time you have for an activity, your body type, and what you want to achieve, whether it be weight loss, muscle toning, or all of the above. After all, diets are much more than just weight-loss programs called by a different name; they're overall lifestyle changes that were developed to help keep the weight off, while encouraging you to move more, and be more.

While targeted towards those who with weight loss as their primary concern, this diet can be recommended for pretty much anyone wishing to live more healthily and responsibly. 


The Paleo diet: Eating like our ancestors


The Paleo diet, aka the Paleolithic diet, is a rather interesting take on nutrition as it suggests  that if our hunter-gatherer ancestors ate (or didn't eat) certain kinds of food, you should too (or shouldn't). It literally patterns our modern-day eating habits on those they had during a time when no sythentic or processed food or ingredients, preservaties, pesticides, antibiotics, and other chemicals made their way into their bodies.

The focus of this diet is on eating the right food, and doesn't require you to do a single calorie count; you can eat as much as you like, as long as you eat the right stuff. So what exactly is the right stuff, according to Paleo? Say goodbye to dairy, grains, soy, legumes, alcohol (especially sweet cocktails), all refined sugars, salty snacks, and everything that comes in a bag or jar, then wave a big welcoming hello to fresh veggies, fruits, nuts, honey, and meat from livestock fed with only premium feeds — good-for-you food that comes straight from the earth with minimal human intervention. Remember too that our ancestors moved around a lot (couch potatoes would not have survived more than a few days!) and burned through about 4,000 calories a day, which means the Paleo diet doesn't provide you with exercise loopholes — getting active is a must. Because you can eat as much as you can and dictate the size of self-prepped meals, exercising for a solid 20 minutes daily as a minimum is necessary. 

The Paleo diet isn't so much a weight loss regimen as it is a muscle-building lifestyle change. Those looking to increase muscle mass and tone their physique would do best with this diet. 



The MIND diet: Good for mind and body



Just as its name suggests, the MIND diet, or the Neurodegenerative Delay diet, is about caring for your coconut; spefically, it claims to be able to reduce your risk of Alzheimer’s by a mind-blowing 53 percent, according to the Rush University Medical Center. It's a hybrid of the Mediterranean and DASH diets and heavily emphasizes food that's great for brain health, so expect to be feasting on lots of leafy greens, nuts, berries, beans, whole grains, fish, poultry, olive oil, and wine — all of which provide you with omega 3s, antioxidants, and fiber, as well as low levels of added sugar and saturated and trans fat that can shield you from dementia. 

The best part of this diet is that it gives you guidelines for how to make the shift to healtiher eating without dictating you completely give up certain foods. For instance, it suggests that you have less than four servings of red meat a week, eat sweets and pastrie less than five times weekly, and only have fast food, fried food, cheese, margarine or butter once a week. Instead, fill yourself with three servings of grains, a leafy salad and a glass of wine daily, have chicken and berries twice a week, have fish once a week, and turn to a half cup of beans or a bowl of nuts for snack time. Easy to remember!

The MIND diet is suggested for those at risk for Alzheimer's disease and dementia, with weight loss as a welcome offshoot of the regimen. While it's not a cure for either condition, it can help delay their onset and minimize their effects. Feel free to start this diet at any age. 



The Volumetrics diet: Eat more, weigh less



Yup! It's possible to increase your food intake and expect to shave off pounds, according to the Volumetrics diet that encourages you to watch the volume of food you eat on a daily basis. The not-so-secret secret of this diet's success is cutting down on food that give you empty calories, and replacing them with those that energize you with all the right nutrients and vitamins. Empty calories come from foods with little to no nutritional value like sweets, chips, those with high levels of fructose or corn syrup, and energy and sports drinks. The diet doesn't depend on deprivation for weight loss, and instead reprograms your body to depend on food that keeps you fuller for longer. That means no more random food cravings every 20 minutes and feeling energized for longer periods of time minus the risk of crashing.

The trick is to focus on low energy density food: stuff that's low in calories that you can eat tons of every day and won't make you feel lethargic, or guilty, after a binge. Think non-starchy veggies like broccoli, tomatoes, mushrooms, fibrous fruit like watermelon, berries, and oranges, whole grains like brown rice and whole wheat pasta, as well s lean proteins, legumes, low-fat dairy, and fat-free baked goods and cheeses. 

The Volumetrics diet is a popular choice for those looking to lose weight. The diet can be adjusted after a weight goal has been achieved.