The Traffic Light Diet relies on what may probably be the best-known color code around to teach the user which foods should be avoided and which should be consumed in greater proportions.
This diet focuses on cutting down the amount of calories contained in the daily food, instead of carbohydrates. Nothing new here, for that matter; a lot of diets are based on low-calorie foods. The cabbage soup diet, the Cambridge diet or the Ann Collins 14-day Diet come to mind when discussing this issue.
According to the Traffic Light principle, the foods are split into three categories. Red Light foods are high-calorie foods which contain few nutrients and should be avoided. Yellow Light foods are high in calories, but also high in nutrients, which makes them good to have around in moderate quantities. Green Light foods, of course, have plenty of nutrients for only a low amount of calories. (See our color chart of fruits and vegetables)
The basic idea is to eat as much Green Light food as you like, eat some Yellow Light foods and only touch Red Light foods once in a while, when the urge becomes unbearable. The less Red Light foods you eat, the more successful your weight loss process is going to be. We all know that sticking to a diet is hard, but if you really want to lose weight, then there are ways of motivating yourself and going through the whole diet. Not to mention that Red Light foods are not banned outright, but accepted in small amounts. This means that, yes, it's OK to have some cake once in a while.
The list of Green Light foods includes vegetables, fruits, fish (white meat only), seafood, yogurt and low-fat milk. Yellow Light foods are potatoes, cheese (the low-fat version), oily fish, lean meat, bread and cereals (high-fiber), pasta, rice, seeds, nuts, beans and poultry. Red Light foods are everything else. Buying the book describing the diet will get you some helpful 7-day eating plans grouped according to lifestyles and information on portion sizes for many of the foods listed in the three categories. There's also a large section of answers to frequent questions, recipes and exercising advice.
The best thing about this diet is the fact that it's easy to understand and also easy to follow.
It's not based on any kind of complex reasoning that requires the help of a trained professional every step of the way and it's not based on foods that no store from your neighborhood has ever thought to market.
If you manage to stick to the diet's principles you can expect to lose at least 1 pound a week, which means that you will probably shed the actual fat and not the water stored in your body. Don't overdo it, though, because trying for 2 pounds a week can prove to be a major health risk.