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Juice cleanses and popular diets: What’s worth it & what’s not

When the clock strikes midnight on Dec. 31, after the kisses and Champagne toasts, the moment comes when each one of us faces a new year of resolutions. And just like each year before it, one of the top resolutions this year is to lose weight/get in shape/get healthier.

Cabbage soup

Because of this, juice cleanses and quick-losing diets are ranking high on web search engine results. But before you stock up on exotic juices or eliminate carbs from your daily routine, take a look at how well these diets can really work for you.

If there’s one thing we Americans are constantly looking for, it is a quick fix, especially when it comes to losing weight. In our fast-paced, ever-changing culture where nothing is ever the same minute after minute, it’s no surprise juice cleanses and elimination diets are surging with popularity. However, that isn’t the case for everyone. The diets of 2012 are looking to be a little different than the years past. This year, people are looking for healthy, real ways to lose weight and stay in shape, which is bringing with it some real, healthy and attainable diets.

Here are some of the top rated and searched diets for 2012.

The DASH diet

This fairly new diet, which stands for Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension, was recently ranked the best diet for healthy eating and diabetes management by US News and World Report. This diet focuses on eating whole grains, lean proteins, lean dairy products, vegetables and fruits and was developed to help lower cholesterol, reduce inflammation, lower blood pressure and provide necessary heart benefits. What’s great about this diet is it’s more focused on healthy eating and healthy living and doesn’t advise against any eliminations. Instead, it provides healthy meals, recipes and guides to helping your whole family eat a healthier, more balanced diet. It’s very attainable and easy to follow.

Juice cleanses

Juice cleanses have been around for years yet have resurfaced in popularity due to the endorsement of many celebrities. Two of the most popular and reviewed cleanses are the BluePrint and Cooler Cleanse. The BluePrint juice cleanse allows you to choose from three different levels (beginner, moderate, advanced) and delivers juices to your doorstep for a steep price, $65 dollars a day. If you are a slave to consistency, this juice cleanse is for you because you get the same types of juices (green, milk, fruit) with some different flavors each day. Like BluePrint, the Cooler Cleanse delivers your juice at your doorstep for just $58 dollars a day. You also get different juices each day — one day you might have pineapple ginger and one day you might have grapefruit mint. Like BluePrint, each day has a fruit juice, a green juice and a milk variety. You can choose to do a 3-day cleanse or a 5-day cleanse.

Doing a juice cleanse is not advisable if you are just trying to lose weight, since you will gain it back as soon as you reintroduce solid food back into your diet. However, these cleanses will give you a better understanding of what you are putting into your body and are great for a “re-start.”

Weight Watchers

Probably the most widely known diet in the country, Weight Watchers is also one of the most successful. This diet relies on the point system, which means every food you eat is associated with a point value. The value is a formula derived from total calories, carbohydrates, fiber and protein. Just recently, they introduced their “Points Plus” program which means most fruits and vegetables contain no points, which was done to encourage people to eat more fruits and vegetables. US News and World Report recently named this diet one of the easiest to follow and the best commercial diet plan. A benefit of Weight Watchers is that you can either follow it online or in person, which allows you to attend meetings. A downfall of Weight Watchers is the cost, which can be up to $100 for three months and the accountability.

Cabbage soup diet

Shape recently rounded up the top 10 diets that were searched on Yahoo the first few days of January and the cabbage soup diet ranked in at #8. This fad diet has been around for years and has almost no redeeming qualities. This diet revolves around eating cabbage soup and a few vegetables for a week. Like many fad diets, you will lose weight quickly, but you will gain it all back as quickly as it came off, since most of the poundage shed will be water weight. Not only is this diet not great for you, it’s incredibly hard to maintain, even for just a week.

The Dukan diet

This diet came in at #7 on Yahoo’s diet search terms, although it isn’t a new diet. What caused this diet to resurge in popularity is the fact that it was rumored that Kate Middleton followed this particular regime to get into pre-wedding shape prior to her highly televised wedding in April. The Dukan diet is a low-carb, protein-based plan and follows four phases, much like Atkins. However, what differentiates the Dukan diet from Atkins is that it requires no carb counting, focuses on low-fat animal proteins and relies on natural foods and carbs. The benefit of this diet is that it’s completely customizable and offers online coaching, plus it allows you to pick and choose what foods you want to eat. The downfall is how strict it is and how hard it is to maintain, especially in the first phases.

The raw food diet

The raw food movement has been around for quite some time but recently became popular again with the introduction of the Paleo diet, which relies on a “cavemen-esque” way of eating with raw vegetables, unprocessed foods and meat, but no dairy. The focus is to cut out the processed junk and unpronounceable ingredients out of diets and go back to a real, natural, organic way of eating. Although it has been revered as a new way to look at eating and dieting, it’s also been highly criticized because of how unattainable and restrictive it is. If you already follow an organic, natural diet, this won’t be hard to follow. However, if you are like many Americans who rely on many processed foods and dairy, you might want to consider another alternative.

As always, before beginning a diet, please consult your doctor or a registered nutritionist to consider which plan is best for you,

More health and diet tips

Healthy food trends for 2012
5 Food products to avoid in 2012
6 Healthy eating myths: De-bunked

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