Diets – Is there one that suits you?

So it’s that time of year when we have all made those resolutions and potentially eaten a little too much over the festive period, so lots of us plan to diet. We have had a look at some of the popular diet plans out there to give you a look at some of the choices and to see if there is one that could work for you?

Dukan Diet

The Dukan Diet claims it’s the ideal diet for people who want to lose weight quickly but can’t be bothered with counting calories or weighing their food. Unlike many other diet books, it promises to help keep off lost weight for good.

The plan

First comes the Attack stage, where you eat only protein for up to seven days.

Second is Cruise Control, when you to alternate between days restricted to eating pure protein and days of protein with unlimited vegetables.

The Third phase, called Consolidation, is designed to gradually ease clients off the diet and into a lifelong regimen. At this stage, slimmers start eating whole grain bread, fruit and cheese, with starchy food added twice a week.

Dieters are also allowed a weekly “celebration” of a main course, dessert and glass of wine.

The Fourth and final Stabilisation phase follows three basic rules: eat only protein on Thursdays for the rest of your life, walk 20 minutes every day and consume three tablespoons of oat bran a day to maintain results.


You can lose weight very quickly, which can be motivating. It’s a very strict and prescriptive diet and some people like that. It’s easy to follow. You don’t need to weigh food or count calories. Apart from keeping to low-fat, low-salt and high-protein foods, there’s no restriction on how much you can eat during your first two weeks.


At the start of the diet you may experience side effects such as bad breath, a dry mouth, tiredness, dizziness, insomnia and nausea from cutting out carbs. There is also a very high risk that you will regain all of the weight that you have lost based on the results below:

35% of respondents regained all the weight they had lost less than a year after starting the diet

48% regained the weight within a year

64% within two years

70% within three years

80% over a period of more than four years

Atkins Diet

The Atkins diet promises that not only will you lose weight — and not be hungry — with a low-carbohydrate diet, but you’ll also be on the road to better heart health and memory function, as well as other wellness benefits.

The Plan

You start with a low-carb diet designed for rapid weight loss. This lasts at least two weeks depending on your weight loss goal. During this phase, you’re on a protein, fat and very low-carb diet, including meat, seafood, eggs, cheese, some veg, butter and oils.

During the next three phases, the weight loss is likely to be more gradual, and regular exercise is encouraged. More carbs, fruit and veg are introduced to your diet with the aim of working out what your ideal carb intake is to maintain a healthy weight for life.


You can lose weight very quickly, which can be motivating. The diet also encourages people to cut out most processed carbs and alcohol. With its diet of red meat, butter, cream, cheese and mayonnaise, it’s one of the few diets out there that appeals to men.


Initial side effects can include bad breath, a dry mouth, tiredness, dizziness, insomnia, nausea and constipation from cutting out carbs and fibre. The high intake of saturated fat may increase your risk of heart disease and there are concerns that a lack of fruit, veg and dairy products and a high protein intake may affect bone and kidney health in the long term.

Cambridge Diet

The Cambridge Diet is an extremely low-calorie diet while on this diet; individuals will consume pre-packed foods to help with calorie counting. The foods have been created to provide exact amounts of vitamins, nutrients and calories.

The Plan

The Cambridge Weight Plans are based around buying and eating a range of meal-replacement products with the promise of rapid weight loss. There are six flexible diet plans ranging from 415kcal to 1,500kcal or more a day, depending on your weight loss goal. The bars, soups, porridges and shakes on offer can be used as your sole source of nutrition or together with low-calorie regular meals.


The Cambridge Diet is based on consuming pre-packed foods. Foods are available as sachets, meal bars, soups and shakes. All of these foods come in a variety of flavours, allowing people to customise this diet to their tastes. You do lose weight very quickly, especially in the first few weeks and then there is a long term plan to sustain the weight loss.


The Cambridge Diet is not advised for everyone. This diet is only recommended for individuals who have a body mass index above 25. Furthermore, this diet is not recommended for people who suffer from kidney problems, heart disease or chronic infections. The foods available on the Cambridge Diet are quite expensive, a week’s supply of meal replacements is around £44.10 per week. To complete all phases of this diet, individuals should expect to spend hundreds of pounds.

Slimming World

It’s called Food Optimising – an eating plan that’s practical, flexible, generous and liberating. There’s no laborious calorie counting, no food is banned and it’s perfect for the whole family – for life.

The Plan

Slimming World’s weight loss plan encourages you to swap high-fat foods for low-fat foods that are naturally filling. You choose your food from a list of low-fat foods they call ‘Free Foods’, such as fruit, vegetables, pasta, potatoes, rice, lean meat, fish and eggs, which you can eat in unlimited amounts. There’s no calorie counting, no foods are banned and you’re still allowed the occasional treat. You can get support from fellow slimmers at weekly group meetings and follow an exercise plan to become gradually more active.


No food is banned so you don’t have to totally give up anything you love (including alcohol). Weekly meetings provide help and support. It’s a safe and healthy way to lose weight and is a sustainable way to create a healthy lifestyle.


You have to feel ready to lose weight, despite the detailed plan; Slimming World cannot make you lose weight. There could be a tendency for some people to choose more Original days than Green days; this may lead to an unbalanced intake of nutrients, for example: too much protein and not enough carbohydrate.

Slim Fast

Slim Fast is a meal replacement plan that allows you to eat up to six times a day. Its most famous products are the milkshake-style drinks that you have instead of breakfast and lunch. Slim Fast claim you can lose up to 7lb during the first week and a steady 1lb a week after that.

The Plan

The Slim-Fast diet is a low-calorie meal replacement plan for people with a BMI of 25 and over. It uses Slim-Fast’s range of products. The plan recommends three snacks a day from an extensive list, including crisps and chocolate, two meal replacement shakes or bars and one regular meal, taken from a list of recipes on the Slim-Fast website. You can stay on the diet for as long as you want depending on your weight loss goal. Once reached, you’re advised to have one meal replacement shake a day, up to two low-fat snacks and two healthy meals.


Meal-replacement diets can be effective at helping some people to lose weight and keep it off. The plan is convenient as the products take the guesswork out of portion control and calorie counting. No foods are forbidden although you are encouraged to eat lean protein, fruit and vegetables.


On their own, meal-replacement diets do little to educate people about their eating habits and change their behavior. There’s a risk of putting the weight back on again once you stop using the products. You may find it hard to get your 5 a day of fruit and veg without careful planning.

Rosemary Conley Diet

The “Amazing Inch Loss Plan” is Rosemary Conley’s low fat, calorie controlled diet and exercise plan. If you attend a Rosemary Conley class you don’t just get a weigh-in and an informative talk, you also get a 45 minute workout.

The Plan

For the first two weeks the base diet consists of 1,200 calories to encourage early weight loss. You eat a 200 calorie breakfast, a 300 calorie lunch and a 400 calorie dinner. You are also allowed a 50 calorie mid-morning and mid-afternoon power snack plus ¾ of a pint of milk. After two weeks the diet increases to 1,400 calories a day which means you can include an alcoholic drink or a dessert a day. You can also save treats to use later if you know you have a special event coming up.


The programme is based around calories, with a focus on cutting fat. The ‘portion pots’, which are used to measure foods such as rice, cereal, pasta and baked beans, teach you about portion control. Physical activity is an integral part of the weight loss plan, with exercise sessions suitable for all ages, sizes and abilities offered at their weekly classes with trained leaders.


Some low-fat products aren’t necessarily more healthy because they can still be high in sugar and calories. It is unrealistic to expect people to go out with their portion pots and, therefore, portion control may be more tricky away from the home.

Weight Watchers

Weight Watchers claim that their diet makes weight loss as effortless as possible. With new Simple Start they introduce you to the tasty, healthy and nutritious foods at the heart of the ProPoints system without the distraction of counting or portion control. It offers you the freedom to eat what you want; when you want and achieve the healthy weight loss you want.

The Plan

The WeightWatchers plan is based on the ProPoints system, which gives a value to foods and drink based on protein, carbs, fat and fibre content. It is essentially a calorie-controlled diet where you get a personal daily ProPoints allowance, which you can use how you like. There’s no limit on the amount of fruit and most veg you can eat. You also get a weekly ProPoints safety net in case you go over your allowance, and an individual exercise plan.


No foods are forbidden. Weight Watchers teaches an all-things-in-moderation approach where you can continue to enjoy your favorite foods in controlled portions. There is no list of foods to be eliminated or avoided on Weight Watchers. Some education on nutrition is provided. Your leader will share good nutritional advice with the group, such as the importance of eating plenty of vegetables, healthy fats, low-fat dairy and drinking enough water.


When you begin, working out the points system can be just as time consuming as simply counting calories. Some people feel pressured into purchasing WeightWatchers branded foods



LighterLife offers a tailored weight loss programme to suit your needs and your pocket. They say that the weight loss you’ll achieve is just the first step in a journey towards lasting weight management.

The Plan

Depending on the plan followed, normal food is banned or limited and instead you have four meal replacement shakes, soups, mousses or bars every day, which provide around 500 calories in total and contain the protein, fatty acids, vitamins and minerals needed on a daily basis. Every week, you also attend group sessions with a qualified Lighter Life counsellor. The counselling is aimed at helping you understand the relationship you have with food, so you can make lasting changes to keep the weight off for good.


The counselling can help you understand your relationship with food, so hopefully you can make lasting changes to keep the weight off for good. With the meal replacements, there’s no weighing or measuring, so it’s a hassle-free approach to weight loss.


Initial side effects of the diet can include bad breath, a dry mouth, tiredness, dizziness, insomnia, nausea and constipation from cutting down on carbs and fibre. Surviving on a strict diet of shakes and soups and other meal replacements isn’t much fun and can feel socially isolating. Family life may also present difficulties, especially if you are responsible for shopping and preparing meals for your partner or children.


So if you have set your mind and heart on losing a few pounds in 2016 we hope this round up has been helpful and helped you choose the right diet for you. Let us know how you get on and if you have found a diet that works better than our suggestions. Whichever diet you choose, make sure you stay healthy and whatever your goal make sure it is realistic, after all your goal needs to be achievabale to spur you on. Good Luck!




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