What is the Best Dietary Plan for Teens who struggle with their weight?
Dietary plans are an essential component of living a healthy lifestyle. However, with the numerous dietary plans out there, deciding which one works best may be a challenging task. In this blog, I will present a research that was done to investigate the effectiveness of three different dietary plans on teens who were overweight. The article also examines the shortcomings of each program, including adherence and sustainability. By the end of this blog, you should know which dietary plan is best for your teen and your family!
It is critical to note that while the research article focuses on the diets of teens who are overweight, the findings can be applicable to adults as well. Thus, regardless of your weight, you will still benefit from the insights generated from the study. The article's central thesis is that diets play a vital role in weight management but rather than recommending a specific diet it promotes understanding dietary plans' fundamental philosophies.
The Research Study
The study's goal was to understand how three different dietary plans compared in terms of their effectiveness in producing weight loss and improving hormonal balance and other factors. The 3 most popular dietary plans reviewed were:
- Low carbohydrate dietary plan
- Low glycemic index dietary plan
- Portion control dietary plan
The low carbohydrate dietary plan had a two-week induction phase whereby the participants consumed less than 20 grams of carbohydrates per day. Subsequently, they could eat as much protein and fat as they desired. The participants' carbohydrate intake increased by five to ten grams weekly, with a final target of 60 grams per day.
The low glycemic index dietary plan required participants to avoid foods that cause high glycemic index levels. Foods such as white bread, pure sugary juice, and soda cause rapid sugar spikes and were classified as “red” foods. However, fruits, vegetables, whole grains, un-breaded meat, chicken, and fish were “green” foods. Participants could consume as much “green” food as they wanted, but their “red” food intake was restricted to seven servings per week.
The portion control dietary plan allowed participants to consume any food but in smaller quantities or portion control amounts. Grains, vegetables, fruit, lean proteins, and low-fat dairy products constituted the participant's diet. The participants were expected to consume 55-60% of their calories from carbohydrates, 10-15% from proteins, and 30% from fat. The participants' diet was restricted by 500 calories daily, and they had frequent follow-up visits with a dietician.
The study's sample size comprised of teens and pre-teens aged nine to twelve years old who were overweight. The researchers followed the teens under closed supervision for three months, during which the participants were put on each of the three diets. The researchers noted the participants' body mass index (BMI), waist circumference, body fat percentage, caloric intake, glucose levels, insulin, triglycerides, and cholesterol levels every three months for twelve months.
If you want to learn more about what BMI is and how to figure out how much weight your teen needs to lose to be in a healthy weight, listen to episode 1 of my podcast: www.lifestyleforteens.com/1
The study found that all three dietary plans were effective in producing results.
All the children that participated in the study experienced improvements in their body mass index, and their percent body fat declined significantly.
Furthermore, all the groups had lower waist circumferences after three months and six months. Nonetheless, at the end of the twelve months, the decreased waist circumference was not maintained, and there was no significant difference between the groups.
The study also found that the adherence rate was an essential determinant of a diet's effectiveness. The low-carbohydrate diet had the lowest adherence rate, with less than 25% of the children following the diet for more than three months. On the other hand, the portion control diet and the low glycemic index dietary plan had better adherence rates, with 50% and 80% of the children following the diets' philosophies, respectively, even after 12 months.
The study's main conclusion is that individuals should choose a dietary plan that they prefer and stick to it. If I give your teen a certain diet and ask you to eat certain foods and avoid others, they might stick to it for a week, a month but they will eventually give up if they are not happy with it. This study found that these most popular diets were equally effective in improving BMI, weight loss, and body fat percentage regardless of the dietary plan chosen.
So, choose what sounds easier for you! Choose what goes along your family’s preferences. The study also emphasized the importance of adherence and sustainability, suggesting that individuals are more likely to follow through with dietary plans that speak to them.
If you want to learn more details about this study, you can listen to my podcast episode here.
Take home message
In conclusion, a dietary plan should not only make your teen lose weight but also be sustainable and applicable to your lifestyle.
A healthy diet for teens, in my opinion, should not feel like a diet at all. It should feel like a lifestyle, a way of eating that you can follow for life. Therefore, when you choose a diet for teen, considered factors such as adherence rate, ease of application, and long-term sustainability.
I hope that this blog has given you insights into the importance of choosing the right dietary plan and what to consider when making your decision.
If you are looking for easy and healthy recipes for teens that are high in protein, here is a collection of 30 recipes I put together, which you can crab for free.
Also, if you would like to learn more about my group coaching program (LIFT Program) for teens who struggle with their weight, here is the info: What is the LIFT program
And if you are interested to join the waiting list for the LIFT Program (no commitment), click here: join waiting list
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