Diet Doc’s Mainstream Diet Plan Comparison Guide

Mainstream-DietYou have a huge amount of choices available when choosing a new weight loss program. It’s important to do your homework when picking the right diet plan, but spending hours reading weight loss program comparison studies is time-consuming and tedious. We’ve researched the differences between several of the most popular weight loss programs, and created a short diet plan comparison for you to help you gain a better understanding of the pros and cons of different choices.

The South Beach Diet

Dr. Arthur Agatston designed the South Beach diet in the mid–1990s in response to the American Heart Association’s guidelines, which the doctor believed failed to provide long-term results.

The first phase of the diet requires two weeks, and focuses on eliminating carbohydrates, sugar, and alcohol from each meal. Some of the foods avoided in the first phase are reintroduced after those initial two weeks. The third phase requires the dieter to stick to the eating plans formed during the first two phases. This diet should ideally continue for the rest of the person’s life, creating a fundamental change in that person’s lifestyle.


  • Incorporates a gradual process that is intended to allow the dieter to make life-long adjustments to eating habits
  • Allows for eating a variety of foods in comparison to more restrictive diets
  • No counting calories or calculating the amount of carbohydrates consumed


  • Some find the food list too restrictive in comparison to other diets
  • Elimination and reintroduction of fats and carbohydrates can create health concerns
  • Some elements of the diet do not fit into the American Diabetes Association’s dietary recommendations

The Zone Diet

The Zone diet works to strike a perfect balance with a diet that is 40 percent protein, 30 percent carbohydrates, and 30 percent fat. The overall goal is to manage the amount of insulin the body produces, naturally adjusting the amount of the hormone to promote weight loss.

In stark comparison to restrictive diet plans, most food options are allowed in this diet. However, dieters must plan each meal around the 40–30–30 ratio, which can require serious effort. Each food item is broken down into blocks slotted into the appropriate zone of the ratio. A normal protein portion is considered palm-sized. The addition of olive oil is often recommended.


  • Does not require elimination of all carbohydrate-heavy foods
  • Diets that promote insulin production, such as this one, create the feeling of fullness, which limits diet cheating
  • Some athletes consider the diet a benefit to performance


  • Can be confusing to some dieters in comparison to more straightforward weight loss plans
  • While no calorie counting is involved, a person must track the grams of proteins, carbohydrates, and fats in each meal
  • No independent research validates that the 40–30–30 ratio normalizes insulin levels
  • Benefit to athletic performance is not proven

The Stillman Diet

No carbohydrates, no fats. Those are the basic restrictions behind the Stillman diet, created by Doctor Irwin Maxwell Stillman. Adopting the Stillman diet means eating with a focus on proteins, although it does allow a selection of dairy products. Comparison to other weight loss programs shows that the Stillman Diet can work for some, but only if they’re willing to follow the diet restrictions faithfully.


  • Does not limit the amount of food you eat. Instead, this diet limits the food choices to a select list, including lean meat such as veal, lamb, and beef. Chicken and turkey are also allowed, as is seafood. Butter, oil, and margarine are all prohibited. Coffee, tea, and clear carbonated drinks are allowed.
  • Known for quick weight loss
  • Favored by people who do not wish to give up items such as meat or coffee
  • Favored by people who dislike fruits and vegetables


  • Restrictive; disallows the fruits and vegetables that other diets consider beneficial
  • Some believe the diet is too high in proteins, which raises health concerns for the heart and other organs
  • Can lead to constipation and dehydration

Ketogenic Diets

A diet high in fat, with just the right amount of protein and with low amounts of carbohydrates, can unlock weight loss for many people. This is known as a ketogenic diet, which often performs best when supervised by a medical professional.

The main goal of the ketogenic diet is to change the way the body uses energy from food. During this diet, the liver converts fat into fatty acids and a substance known ketone bodies. While the presence of ketone bodies can be an indication of someone who is losing weight, it can also be a warning that a person has other serious problems such as diabetes. As a result, medically-supervised weight loss plans are ideal for ketogenic diets, so that doctors can monitor patients for not only successful diet results, but also signs of other health problems.

During a typical doctor-supervised diet, a patient requires between one and two weeks before the body adapts to the high-fat, moderate-protein, and low-fat diet. Some physicians might add vitamin B12, as well as other supplements, to prevent negative symptoms such as headaches and muscle cramping patients may experience as they go through keto-adaption.


  • Effective results
  • Relatively easy to follow in comparison to more complicated diets


  • Sometimes causes negative side effects such as headaches and muscle cramping

How is Diet Doc different?

Our doctors craft a medically-supervised diet plan that meets your specific needs as an individual. We counsel and guide you every step of the way during your time with our program to ensure your safety, maximize your results, prevent plateaus, and manage long-term success. And in comparison to other diet plans, our programs don’t eliminate every food you like to eat – Diet Doc programs are designed around the foods you already eat, reducing the endless struggle of dietary restriction. Learn more about our medical weight loss programs here, or read about our safe and effective medications. Call us today to talk to us to learn more about comparison of popular diets, and schedule your free, no-obligation consultation with one of our doctors. We’ll walk you through the process and help you reach the success you’ve been searching for.



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