Fitness Resource Guide

By Casey Lyons | Boston Magazine |

Casual to Hardcore: Diets

Atkins
In a nutshell: Meat and potatoes, hold the potatoes.
How it works: Replacing carbs with protein and fiber forces the body to metabolize fat, which causes weight loss with quick initial results.
Sample meal: For dinner, steak grilled with green bell peppers and onions.
Avoid: Sugar, bread, and pasta.
Criticisms: Lacks focus on exercise; a long-term diet rich in saturated fats may contribute to heart disease.
Duration: Forever.

Paleo
In a nutshell: If it isn’t found in nature, don’t eat it.
How it works: Eating only whole, unprocessed foods eliminates sugar, salt, and excessive fat, which are staples of the typical American diet.
Sample meal: For breakfast, three eggs from cage-free chickens with mushrooms, and a side of bacon made from free-range animals.
Avoid: Anything processed (plus sugar, dairy, and grains).
Criticisms: Free-range meats and organic foods can get spendy.
Duration: Forever.

Juice Cleanse
In a nutshell: Detox and drop weight by not eating.
How it works: Abstaining from solid food allows the body to expel toxins, recover from the relentless stress of digestion, and shed a few pounds.
Sample meal: Filtered water, cashew nut milk, and vanilla.
Avoid: Anything that’s not in the juice.
Criticisms: It comes with a panoply of side effects, including fainting, dizziness, arrhythmia, and vomiting—plus the weight often comes back quickly.
Duration: Typically 3 to 5 days.

HCG
In a nutshell: Weight-loss results you can inject.
How it works: Daily injections of human chorionic gonadotropin (a hormone pregnant women release)and a daily limit of 500 calories trigger the brain to burn fat.
Sample meal: For lunch, 3.5 ounces of tilapia with a side of beet greens.
Avoid: Dairy, carbs, and sugar.
Criticisms: The near-starvation diet produces short-term weight loss, but isn’t sustainable over the long term.
Duration: 23- or 40-day regimens.