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Are you looking to lose weight? Well, your diet makes up about 50 percent of the equation. Combining an effective diet with an exercise program typically leads to optimal results.
While losing weight is one of those struggles many people deal with, it can be broken down into a relatively simple equation. Your body extracts energy from the food and beverages you consume and uses this energy to power all your bodily functions and movements.
The key to losing weight is consuming fewer calories than your body needs daily. This leads to a caloric deficit, forcing your body to tap into your fat stores for energy. That’s what most of the fat on your body is used for. They are energy reserves for your body to use when you don’t get enough to eat. Tap into your fat reserves regularly, and your body will become leaner as the fat melts off your frame.
If you’re looking to gain muscle mass, you’ll have to eat more calories than your body needs so it can build bigger, stronger muscles. You’ll probably end up gaining some fat with your new muscle tissues, but you can always get rid of it once you’re done with your bulking phase.
Popular Diet Trends In 2022
Now that we’ve gone over the formula for weight loss or muscle gain, let’s take a look at some of the most popular diets in 2022:
1) Intermittent Fasting
Intermittent fasting (IF) is one of the most popular diet trends in 2022, but it’s more than just a diet. Research shows that IF has other benefits besides helping you to lose weight, such as improved brain health. Some studies even indicate IF might extend your lifespan.
Intermittent fasting is about controlling when you eat instead of focusing on consuming specific things. You still want to eat healthy foods that get you towards your fitness goals, just during specific windows during the day.
There are multiple ways to go about intermittent fasting. For some people, it involves fasting for 16-hours daily, while others fast for 24-hour periods twice a week.
Intermittent fasting might be a relatively new diet trend, but it mimics the way humans have lived for thousands of years. Hunter-gatherers didn’t sit on their couches and consume potato chips all day. Life was difficult, and you were lucky to get one meal a day back then. That means most humans had to function for extended periods without any food. Fasting regularly is more natural for humans than eating three to four meals per day.
Some of the most popular ways to practice intermittent fasting include:
- 16/8 Method: This is arguably the easiest way to make IF a part of your lifestyle, especially if you’re not a breakfast person. It is also known as the ‘lean gains protocol.’ The practice involves fasting for 16-hour windows that include the time you spend sleeping. You get an eight-hour window to consume all your calories daily. An example of the 16-8 method would be starting your fast around 9 p.m. daily and ending it at 1 p.m. the next day.
- Eat Stop Eat Method: Most people would find this to be a more challenging way to practice IF. It involves fasting for 24-hour periods twice a week.
- 5 2 Diet Method: This is a simplified version of the eat-stop-eat method. Instead of fasting for 24 hours twice per week, you consume about 600 calories on your fasting days. You get to eat like you usually do the rest of the week.
Intermittent fasting is an effective way to lose weight, and it leads to some beneficial changes to your body like:
- Increased Human growth Hormone Levels: IF can increase HGH levels by up to five-fold. HGH helps with muscle gain and fat loss.
- Increased Insulin Levels: IF lowers insulin levels and improves insulin sensitivity. Lower blood insulin helps with fat loss and can help reverse prediabetes.
- Improved Cellular Repair: Fasting prompts cellular repair processes like autophagy.
- Improved Gene Expression: IF can cause changes to genes related to the immune system and longevity. Research (http://www.karger.com/Article/Abstract/212538) shows the lifespan of lab rats was increased by up to 83 percent.
- Improved Brain Health: IF helps with the growth of new nerve cells, improving brain function.
2) Paleo Diet
The paleo diet is a fitness trend that won’t be going anywhere in 2022. It’s effective, and it allows you to enjoy a wide range of food choices. The idea behind the paleo diet is to eat similarly to how our paleolithic ancestors ate.
The paleo diet includes fish, fruits, vegetables, lean meats, seeds, and nuts: essentially, the types of foods hunter-gatherers consumed. Dairy products, grains, refined sugars, salt, and legumes are forbidden since these all came after farming was invented 10,000 years ago.
The paleo diet is an effective way to lose weight, and it can be combined with strategies like intermittent fasting. Some of the other benefits of the paleo diet include:
- Improved blood sugar regulation
- Lower blood pressure
- Improved appetite control
- Lower triglycerides
3) Low Carb Diet
Low carb diets will never go out of style since they work. This way, you get to choose what foods you can eat. The key to getting the desired results with a low carb diet is portion control. You still need to end up with a caloric deficit to force your body into tapping into your fat reserves.
A good formula for low carb diets is 50 percent non-starchy vegetables, 25 percent protein, and 25 carbs. That ensures your body still gets all the nutrients it needs to stay healthy while keeping your caloric consumption low.
A low carb diet can also be combined with intermittent fasting for improved results. The benefits of low carb diets include:
- You get to choose what you can or can’t eat.
- It’s an effective way to lose weight while minimizing muscle loss.
- Targets abdominal fat better than other diets.
- Increases “good” cholesterol levels.
- Reduced blood sugar and blood pressure.
- It may be therapeutic for brain disorders like epilepsy.