It is estimated that 31% of the world’s population is overweight; that is A LOT of people! And obviously, a lot of people want to do something about this; so it’s no wonder there are always a new ‘latest crazy’ fad diet out there.

Here is a breakdown of the most popular ones around.

Dukan Diet

Also known as the ‘Princess Diet’, this diet was created by a French doctor Dr. Pierre Dukan. The Dukan Diet is protein rich, and based on a list of 100 allowed protein foods.

This program is broken down into 4 phases:

  1. Attack: The dieter rapidly loses 2-3kg in 2-7 days by kickstarting their metabolism. They are allowed to eat as much as they want of the 68 rich protein foods from the list.
  2. Cruise: This phase allows the dieter to gradually achieve their goal weight and allows the addition of 28 specific vegetables. The dieter will lose approximately 1kg a week.
  3. Consolidation: To help prevent any large weight gain in the future, some carbohydrates are reintroduced eg. Fruit, bread, cheese, some starch. They are also allowed 2 celebratory meals per week.
  4. Stabilisation: The dieter can eatwhever they want without weight gain by following 4 rules:
    1. They are required to have a ‘protein day’ once a week
    2. Must consume oat bran every day
    3. Must commit to taking the stairs everyday
    4. Phase 4 is to be followed for the rest of their life to avoid regaining of weight

Atkins Diet

This is one of the more famous diets and was created by Robert Atkins. It limits the dieter’s carbohydrate consumption which switches the body’s metabolism from metabolising glucose as energy to converting stored fat as energy (called ketosis). This diet is high in protein, fat and fibre and is also broken down into 4 phases:

  1. Induction: This phase runs for 2 weeks and is the most restrictive. This phase allows the body to quickly enter into ketosis. Carbohydrates are limited to less than 20 grams per day; where 12-15 grams must be in the form of a salad or fruit from a list of 58 allowed by Atkins. Dieters are allowed to consume 113-170g of protein and 113g of most salad vegetables, some cheeses and low carbohydrate vegetables, butter and olive oil. They are also required to drink 8 glasses of water per day, alcohol is not allowed but coffee is allowed in moderation. It is recommended the dieter should consume a daily multi-vitamin.
  2. Ongoing weight loss: Dieter is allowed small increments of carbohydrates (5g), but at levels where weight loss still occurs. This phase lasts until the dieter is 4.5kg within their target weight.
  3. Pre-Maintenance: The dieter increases their daily net carbohydrates by 10g each week. The aim is to find their carbohydrates maintenance level ie the max number of carbohydrates that can be eaten each day without gaining weight. Forbidden carbohydrates can be reintroduced to their diet once a week. Dieters are encouraged to drink 8 glasses of water, and it is recommended that if dieters reach their goal weight and can maintain it for 1 month, they can increase their carbohydrate intake by 10g if possible without gaining weight.
  4. Life Time Management: Dieter carries habits from previous phases.

Paleo Diet

Also known as the caveman/stone-age/hunter-gatherer diet, this diet is based on the presumed ancient diet consumed during the Palaeolithic era (10,000 years ago, pre the development of agriculture and grain based diet).

This is a high in fat and protein diet. It is centered around food that was hunted, fished or picked; such as fish, grass fed meats, eggs, fruit and vegetables, fungi and nuts and excludes grains, legumes, dairy, potato, refined salt and sugar and processed oils.

These foods can all be consumed cooked or raw. Approximately 60% of these foods will be animal based and 40% plant based.

5:2 Diet

Also known as ‘intermittent fasting’, this is one of the more newer diets, and is extremely restrictive. The idea is to consume a normal diet for 5 days, and fast for 2 days; restricting your intake to 2175 kilojoules (the normal recommended daily intake is 8700kj).

The dieter is allowed to eat whatever and whenever they want, so long as they stay in their daily recommended kilojoule intake. This will burn fat stores rather than glucose, and allows the body to recover and rebalance. The two fast days do not have to be consecutive.


So whichever diet you choose to go with, it is ideal to check with your doctor first. The most important things is to ensure your diet is high in fat and protein; these will keep you fuller for longer and remember to snack throughout the day. Carbohydrates should be consumed earlier in the day (to take it out completely is not ideal as it is an energy source). And most importantly; EXERCISE!


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