FIT FOR LIFE

Type of Diet: This is a food-combining diet, consisting of mostly fruits and vegetables. It recommends eating foods in specific combinations at certain times of the day.

How the Diet Works: Fit for Life advocates claim that combining foods in a specific way and eating them at specific times improves digestion and results in better energy levels. They also claim the diet encourages weight loss.

Results: There is no scientific evidence that combining foods in a specific way can help you lose weight. The restrictiveness of this diet probably reduces energy intake and this is what is likely to be responsible for any weight loss. You can only eat so many fruits and vegetables!

Nutritionist's Comments: Food combination diets are a complicated way of reducing energy intake. They are difficult to follow and limit food choices to a degree that almost ensure nutrient deficiencies. Losing weight doesn't have to be this difficult.

THE SOUTH BEACH DIET

Type of Diet: This diet encourages consumption of lean protein foods and low glycaemic carbohydrates. It also promotes a low saturated fat intake.

How the Diet Works: This diet works in three phases. Phase one eliminates carbohydrates including fruits and starchy vegetables. This supposedly removes the craving to overeat. In phase two carbohydrates are reintroduced, and phase three is a weight control phase.

Results: Drastic reduction of carbohydrates in the first phase will cause rapid fluid losses from the body. This will probably motivate most to continue with the diet. While there is some evidence that eating low glycaemic foods helps with weight loss, it is not yet clear whether a low glycaemic diet is any better than just reducing calories and encouraging a nutritionally balanced diet (i.e. the right amount of carbohydrates, protein and fat).

Nutritionist's Comments: The focus of this diet seems to be the limiting of carbohydrates in the first phase. There isn't any scientific evidence that supports this practice other than it achieves initial rapid weight loss. Once the carbohydrates are added back in this diet resembles a typical, healthy heart diet. This diet may not be appropriate for certain people, especially the very active.