Get the Skinny on 5 Popular Diet Plans

Learn about these diet giants and see which may be right for you.

Get the Skinny on 5 Popular Diet Plans

Whether you’re looking to shed some pounds, take control of your cholesterol or just want to feel better about your body, doctor-approved diets are a great way to get on track to a healthier you. But with hundreds of diet programs and books claiming to be the best in the business, it can be hard to know which ones are actually worth your time – and which to avoid. That’s why we’ve done most the research for you.

Click through to get a roundup of 5 popular diet plans and learn which may fit your lifestyle the best.

The Paleo Diet

The skinny: Thought a hunter-gatherer lifestyle was all in the past? Enter Paleo. This diet is one that’s full of animal protein and plants. All refined sugar, dairy, legumes and grains are out.

Why it works: Paleo-style eating emphasizes whole foods, lean proteins, vegetables, fruits and healthy fats. The diet helps you drop pounds by pushing you to eat good-for-you low calorie foods.

Who it’s best for: It's unclear. Some studies have found that Paleo may be good for blood pressure, weight loss and even metabolic syndrome (which can lead to diabetes). But there are some concerns about eliminating some food groups, like whole grains and legumes which have heart and anti-cancer benefits.

Q: I end up overeating because it makes me feel better and I never really get full. I'd like to lose weight but this makes it hard. Any suggestions?

A: Being persistently hungry can cause big trouble. So can overeating for comfort/pleasure. These two behaviors, say researchers from Baylor University's Children's Nutrition Research Center, are controlled deep within your brain by serotonin-producing neurons, but operate separately from each other — one in the hypothalamus, the other in the midbrain. They both can, however, end up fueling poor nutritional choices and obesity.

Eating for Hunger

When hunger is your motive for eating, the question is: "Does your body know when you've had enough?" Well, if you are overweight, obese or have diabetes you may develop leptin resistance and your "I am full" hormone, leptin, can't do its job. The hormone's signal to your hypothalamus is dampened, and you keep eating.

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