It’s been more than three months since the new year began, and chances are, most of the people who resolved to stay on a diet have long forgotten about good eating habits. Back to stuffing our mouths with plenty of fast foods, junk foods and fatty foods. But as bathing suit season is fast approaching, many people will pick up where they left off, trying out another fad diet. Try, try again. But will this time be a success? Old habits die hard, and unfortunately, most of those fad diets do too. There are so many to choose from, and each one has its own perks and downfalls. Finding the right diet for you can seem impossible.

The Atkins Diet

Probably the most recognizable diet in America, the Atkins diet’s main goal is to cut carbohydrates and increase protein intake. It quickly dissolves fat by cutting off the body’s main energy suppliers, forcing your body to utilize its stored energy supply.

Atkins is becoming easier to follow as popular restaurants offer low-carb menus and alternatives to carb-packed foods are plentiful. But if you’re a carb-addict, as many people are, staying on the Atkins diet can be torture. You can’t eat bread, pasta, potatoes or rice. And you can scratch most fruits and vegetables off your menu as well, opting instead for a hearty serving of meats and cheeses.

The South Beach Diet

Designed by a Miami cardiologist, the South Beach Diet was created to help patients maintain a healthy lifestyle. Much like Atkins, the South Beach Diet focuses on carbohydrates, separating the good carbs from the bad. According to the diet, bad carbs, such as white bread and white rice, will make you gain weight and should be kept out of your diet. But the good carbs, such as whole grains and vegetables, take longer to break down, creating energy and leading to weight loss. South Beach dieters are supposed to lose up to 13 pounds in the first two weeks, but it is uncertain whether it is fat or water weight you’re losing. Maintaining weight loss requires a lifetime commitment to the diet.

The Zone

Based on hormones instead of calories, the Zone prescribes the proper percentages of each food group that should be in your diet. To get the desired weight-loss results, a diet should consist of 40 percent carbohydrates, 30 percent proteins and 30 percent fats. On the Zone, you should eat three meals and two snacks each day.

As with any diet, people react differently to such drastic alterations in the way they eat. Some people complain there isn’t enough food; some people say there is too much. Some people say they are in a better mood when on the diet; some say their moods are worse.

To make the diet easier to follow and to prevent health problems, you are only supposed to follow the diet plan 75 percent of the time, which allows you to indulge on a holiday or birthday.

Like any diet that has specific food groups to avoid, the Zone can be difficult to follow if you don’t research. Many people do not follow the diet as directed and have a lower long-term success rate.

The Subway Diet

If you’ve turned on a TV lately, you’ve probably heard about the Subway diet. Spawned by Jared Fogle, who lost a whopping 94 pounds in the first three months, the Subway diet advocates replacing two meals a day with a low-fat sub from, you guessed it, Subway.

While you may be “eating fresh,” you won’t necessarily be eating healthy. The Subway diet is easy to follow casually, but on a long-term basis, your body needs more than just sandwiches to survive. It could also cause serious problems for people with diabetes or heart disease.

The Cabbage Soup Diet

Claiming to promote weight loss of 10 to 15 pounds in seven days, the Cabbage Soup diet stuffs you with nothing but cabbage, tomatoes, mushrooms, onion soup mix, green peppers, carrots and vegetable juice. Although the claims seem fantastic, this diet has little to boast about. A person can safely lose one to four pounds per week, but even that is pushing it with nothing but vegetables as nutrition. What weight you do lose is most likely water weight and will ultimately come back once you resume normal eating habits. The Cabbage Soup diet could also cause problems with such a high sodium intake. The occasional bowl of soup is healthy, but using soup as your only nutritional source could pose serious health risks.

Ultimately, a fad diet could work short-term, but eating right is the healthiest way to a fit body. God put food on the earth for a reason, so why starve yourself of it? But that doesn’t give you a reason to go overboard, either. Have three balanced meals each day. Don’t consume too many fats. And don’t eat too late at night. Just eat right, exercise daily and be happy with what God gave you. You are a work of art, and there is no reason to destroy a masterpiece He created.

[Erica Howard is currently a student at UCF.]

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