Eat Like a Caveman or Try a Low Carb Diet? Four Popular Diets Demystified

With so many dieting programs available, it's easy to get overwhelmed and confused. The low carb diet that has worked so well for your best friend might not be the right choice for you. Today we're going to take a look at four popular dieting programs that have proved effective and well-balanced. Once you get better insight to how each of them are set up, you can be better prepared to choose one that makes sense for your lifestyle.


The focus of this popular diet is to reduce carbohydrates while increasing protein and healthy fats in order to lose weight. The goal is to force your body to burn fat, rather than carbs, while cutting out the need to count calories.

The Atkins Plan is broken into four phases. These are designed to restrict carbs for a period of time and gradually increase healthy carbs levels until a balance is found that is realistic to maintain long term. High-fat, high-protein foods are encouraged as well as low carb vegetables. Over time, fruits and higher carb veggies can be slowly reintroduced.


The Paleo Diet is designed around the eating habits of our Paleolithic ancestors. This may sound a little ridiculous until you consider the fact that although these early humans' genes are identical to ours today, they had no known instances of obesity or other diet related illnesses. With modern advances came processed, modified foods, "quick and easy" meals and, of course, lots and lots of sugar. By going back to our ancestral roots, we can go back to enjoying full healthy meals without the health concerns that we face today.

The guidelines of the Paleo diet are very simple. If it doesn't come from nature and stay in its purest form, don't eat it. Enjoy virtually unlimited meats, eggs and fruits and vegetables but strictly avoid all forms of sugars, grains, dairy and other highly processed foods. Paleo followers range in severity from ultra-strict to moderately flexible. It all depends on how your body reacts to certain foods and how easily you can maintain the limitations long term. It's better to maintain a moderately paleo diet for the rest of your life than a strict one for a week.

Intermittent Fasting

If you are like most, even the sight of the word "fasting" is enough to make your stomach rumble in protest. But intermittent fasting is not nearly as restrictive as it sounds. Although it is often thought of as a diet, intermittent fasting is actually an eating schedule. In fact, most followers of intermittent fasting continue to eat exactly what they have always eaten and still lose weight.

While there are several variations and schedules, intermittent fasting involves eating two meals only during designated times of the day. For example, alternate any 16 hours of fasting with 8 hours of eating. So depending on your lifestyle, a viable schedule could be: skip breakfast, eat a large lunch and dinner any time between noon and 8pm, then stop eating until noon again the next day.

The science behind this focuses on the fact that calories are easier to burn during a window of time approximately 12 hours after you finish a meal. However, most people never go that long between meals, therefore setting themselves up to fight those extra pounds during off-peak times. By widening the window of opportunity, you are allowing your body to shed weight more easily.

Up Day, Down Day

For most would-be dieters, the most difficult part of any program is giving up their favorite foods for long periods of time. When the cravings become unbearable, most people eventually give in to temptation then become frustrated by their "failure" and cease the diet all together. For those caught in this cycle of endless dieting attempts, the Up Day Down Day diet (also known as "JUDDD") might be exactly what you're looking for.

During the Induction period, dieters are asked to restrict themselves to 500 calories for one day (the down day), followed by a day of no restrictions (the up day). Over time, the down day calorie limit can be gradually raised according to how well your metabolism responds. Many have found success on this program because facing calorie restrictions is much easier when you know you can splurge a little the next day. This makes people much more likely to be able to stick with this plan long term, and since the overall calorie count is decreased, weight loss is still obtained.

Stay Focused on Supplements

Whichever diet you choose to explore, don't forget that it's important to get all of your required vitamins, minerals, and more. Netrition offers plenty of supplements through our online store. Feel free to browse around and find the perfect fit for you.