Popular Weight Loss Diets Reviewed
There are many weight loss diets out there.
Some focus on reducing your appetite, while others restrict calories, carbs, or fat.
Since all of them claim to be superior, it can be hard to know which ones are worth trying.
The truth is that no one diet is best for everyone and what works for you may not work for someone else.
This article reviews the 9 most popular weight loss diets and the science behind them.
Foods To Consume In Smaller Amounts For Weight Loss
The foods in this section can be part of a healthy weight loss approach. How much from each category to include if any at all will depend on the type of diet you eat, along with your preferences and goals.
Fruit is low in protein but high in water and fiber. So, you can eat a large amount of fruit for relatively few calories. Even fatty fruits like avocado and olives often grouped with vegetables because theyre not sweet have fairly low calorie densities due to their fiber and water content.
Most sweet fruits, aside from berries, are high in carbs. Eating a few fruits per day is fine if you follow a high-protein, Mediterranean, plant-based, or liberal low-carb diet. But aim for a maximum of one to two servings of low-carb fruits daily on a keto or very low-carb diet. Thats about one cup of berries, 20 large olives, half a medium avocado, or 3 tablespoons of shredded unsweetened coconut.
Protein percentage range
Measure Your Progress Wisely
Tracking successful weight loss is sometimes trickier than youd think. Focusing primarily on weight and stepping on the scale every day might be misleading, cause unnecessary anxiety, and undermine your motivation for no good reason.
The scale is not necessarily your friend. You may want to lose fat but the scale measures muscles, bone and internal organs as well. Gaining muscle is a good thing. Thus weight or BMI are imperfect ways to measure your progress. This is especially true if youre just coming off a long period of semi-starvation , as your body may want to restore lost muscle. Starting weight training and gaining muscle can also hide your fat loss.
Losing fat and gaining muscle means great progress, but you may miss this if you only measure your weight. Thus its best to quantify body composition as you lose weight. You can do this with a DEXA scan, hydrostatic weights, plethysmography scales and others. But if these are not available, it is smart to also track the disappearance of your belly fat, by measuring your waist circumference.
Heres how to do it:
I recommend aiming for good but its not always realistic. Young people can usually achieve this, but for some middle-aged or older people, it may be a major victory to get all the way to decent.25
- Blood pressure
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Low Carb Eggplant Pizza
Eating more non-starchy vegetables like eggplant, often helps people lose weight. Eggplant is low in calories but high in fiber.
Using it in place of pizza crust is a great way to enjoy the flavors of pizza without consuming too many refined carbs at lunch.
Good plant-based, low carb options can be hard to find, as low carb eating often includes animal products another great reason to keep this recipe on hand.
If you work from home or have a little time for lunch meal prep, give this easy recipe for low carb eggplant pizza a try. The recipe provides options to add more protein if youd like.
Apple Cider Vinegar Diet
Proponents of this increasingly popular diet approach believe that consuming apple cider vinegar essentially fermented apple cider will help with both weight loss and blood sugar control.
Although there are studies showing benefits of adding apple cider vinegar to your diet, theres not enough evidence to show that consuming it on a daily basis promotes weight loss, says Asche. It is also highly acidic, which could cause irritation in some people, especially if consumed without being diluted or in large amounts.
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Walk Your Way To Health
Many people believe they must adopt a rigorous exercise routine to jumpstart weight loss.
While different types of activity are important when youre attempting to get in shape, walking is an excellent and easy way to burn calories.
In fact, just 30 minutes of walking per day has been shown to aid in weight loss .
Plus, its an enjoyable activity that you can do both indoors and outside at any time of day.
With A Squeeze Of Lemon
While we’re on the subject of water, why not throw a few lemon slices into the hydrating and satiating beverage? In addition to adding a pop of color and flavor to a tall glass of H2O, lemon can also help encourage weight loss. Just one of the bright citrus fruits contains an entire day’s worth of vitamin C, a nutrient that has the power to reduce levels of a stress hormone called cortisol that triggers hunger and fat storage. Additionally, lemons also contain polyphenols, which researchers say may ward off fat accumulation and weight gain.
Believe it or not, even the peel is beneficial because it is a potent source of pectinâa soluble fiber that’s been proven to help people feel fuller, longer. According to a study published in the Journal of the American College of Nutrition, participants who ate just 5 grams of pectin experienced more satiety.
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Quinoa And Black Bean Stuffed Sweet Potatoes
Sweet potatoes make a great base for plant-based lunches. They provide energizing carbs, plenty of fiber, and the pigment beta carotene, which can help you meet your needs for vitamin A to help support your immune system .
Plus, stuffed sweet potatoes can be packed up to enjoy at the office or put together quickly if you work from home. Bake the sweet potatoes and prep the filling in advance, then store them in containers in the fridge. Assemble the potatoes and reheat them when youre ready to eat.
This recipe for stuffed sweet potatoes uses Southwest seasonings and offers tips for vegan topping alternatives if needed.
Many people find that a low carb or keto diet helps them lose weight. This style of eating involves limiting high carb foods and increasing your intake of fats and proteins.
Some research backs the potential role of low carb eating to help you lose weight, suggesting that limiting your carb intake may improve your blood sugar regulation in a way that promotes weight loss .
That said, these diets may also lead to weight regain when discontinued. Also, high carb, fiber-containing whole grains may help keep you feeling fuller for longer, so a lack of carbs at lunch may cause you to feel unsatisfied soon after meals.
Best Superfoods For Weight Loss
Superfoods is a word often used for nutrient-rich ingredients that confer major health benefits.
Besides promoting overall health, many superfoods contain specific compounds, antioxidants, and micronutrients that may enhance weight loss.
Here are 20 of the best superfoods for weight loss, all backed by science.
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Healthy Snacks That Can Help You Lose Weight
Snacking refers to the intake of foods during the day other than your main meals. Snacks typically consist of smaller food portions distributed between meals.
While research on whether snacking aids weight loss is mixed, some evidence suggests that increasing your meal frequency through snacking may help manage hunger and improve blood sugar regulation .
Additionally, snacking can help you increase your intake of nutrient-rich foods like fruits and vegetables and most people are not eating enough produce .
Aim for snacks that include protein, fiber, and healthy fats, which help keep you full throughout the day and make healthy choices at your next meal .
While no one snack will lead to weight loss, these snacks may help promote weight loss as part of an overall healthy eating pattern.
Here are 29 healthy, weight-loss-friendly snacks to add to your diet.
Potatoes And Other Root Vegetables
White potatoes seem to have fallen out of favor possibly, at least in part, due to the rise of lower carb diets.
For what its worth, potatoes and other root vegetables have several properties that make them wonderful foods for weight loss and optimal health.
They contain an incredibly diverse range of nutrients a little bit of almost everything you need.
Theyre particularly high in potassium, a nutrient that most people dont get enough of. Potassium plays an important role in blood pressure management .
On a scale called the Satiety Index, which measures how filling different foods are, boiled white potatoes scored the highest of all the foods tested .
What this means is that by eating boiled white or sweet potatoes, youre more likely to naturally feel full. Youll also be providing your body with essential nutrients.
If you allow potatoes to cool for a while after boiling, they will form high amounts of resistant starch, a fiber-like substance that has been shown to have various health benefits, including weight loss (
If youre eating tuna canned, choose varieties canned in water if youre aiming to eat fewer calories. Tuna packed in oil ups the calories, fat, and sodium, but could be more filling. It depends on what your needs are that day .
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Avocado Toast With Cottage Cheese And Tomatoes
A diabetes-friendly lunch resembles a balanced plate, containing fiber from non-starchy vegetables and complex carbs, protein, and healthy fat.
Pairing carbs with these other macronutrients is key to preventing your blood sugar from spiking, helping maintain good blood sugar and energy levels throughout the day .
Avocado toast on whole grain bread can be a great base for this type of lunch. This diabetes-friendly version features protein-packed cottage cheese and fresh tomatoes to complete the meal.
Cherry Tomatoes With Mozzarella
Tomatoes and mozzarella cheese are a nutritious and yummy way to add more veggies to your diet.
Mix tomatoes with mozzarella, balsamic vinegar, and a drizzle of olive oil for a snack with protein, fiber, and healthy fats.
This tasty and fresh snack can also double as a side salad for your next meal.
Although they dont have much flavor, chia seeds take on a jelly-like consistency when soaked in liquid, making them a great ingredient for puddings.
Try this simple recipe for a healthy snack to enjoy at home or on the go:
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Cucumber Slices With Hummus
Cucumbers fresh flavor and crunchy texture go very well with the rich creaminess of hummus.
Hummus is typically made from chickpeas, tahini, olive oil, and garlic. Thus, it provides a mix of plant-based protein, fiber, and heart-healthy fats .
Enjoying 1 cup of sliced cucumbers dipped in 2 tablespoons of hummus will help keep you full for under 100 calories .
You can also pair them with some whole grain crackers or pretzel sticks for a heartier snack.
Healthy snacks dont need to be complicated. Just a single piece of fruit can be incredibly satisfying.
Portable, easy-to-eat fruits include bananas, apples, pears, grapes, grapefruit, and oranges. Fruit contains fiber and minerals and makes a great small snack. To make it more satisfying, pair your fruit with nuts or yogurt.
The Biggest Loser Diet
The basics: 4 servings of fruits and vegetables, 3 servings of lean protein, 2 servings of grains, 200 calories of extras. Plus an intensive workout schedule.
Positives: Effective for weight loss. Emphasizes nutrient-rich foods. Encourages regular exercise.
Drawbacks and concerns: Low-calorie counts plus intense exercise may cause fatigue.
Worth noting: A New York Times article that followed up with contestants from The Biggest Loser showed that most gained much of the weight back. A new version of the show has a different diet emphasis and trainer Bob Harper has a new diet plan.
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Weight Loss For Vegetarians And Vegans
When looking to lose weight, vegetarians and vegans should include whole foods and limit refined carbohydrates and processed foods. People should pay particular attention to packaging labels when purchasing meat alternatives, as many of these products contain added sugar and fat.
People who eat a plant-based diet will also need to ensure that their meals contain enough protein. Some good sources of plant protein include:
National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute , to lose weight successfully and safely, people should aim to lose 1-2 pounds per week for 6 months. A person can achieve this level of weight loss by reducing their calorie intake by 500-1000 calories per day.
However, the body can also make hormonal adaptations when a person cuts down their calories, and their weight loss may plateau as a result.
Many low-calorie diets restrict fats, but fats help a person feel full. As such, some people may not be able to sustain a low-fat diet.
People should also consider that calorie reduction alone may not be sufficient for maintaining weight loss. This is because foods with the same amount of calories can have different effects on a persons metabolism.
For example, high GI foods could have detrimental effects on a persons weight loss goals. According to a randomized controlled trial published in the
Give Kids A Good Start
Its almost never too early to lay the foundation for good health, and there is good evidence that a childs early years, and even time during pregnancy, can have an important impact on their weight later in life.
Together with the help of their healthcare providers, women of childbearing age, pregnant women, and new mothers can take steps that could help improve their own health as well as the health of their children.
- Try to start pregnancy at a healthy weight.
- Dont smoke during pregnancy.
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Whole Wheat Toast With Canned Fish
Canned fish, such as canned salmon, sardines, and tuna, may not be the first food that comes to mind when you think of snacks, but its a fantastic option that requires no refrigeration.
Plus, salmon and sardines are incredibly high in omega-3 fatty acids, which decrease your risk of heart disease, inflammation, and other health problems (
Baby Carrots With Blue Cheese Dressing
Baby carrots with blue cheese dressing are the perfect snack for when you crave something savory.
In addition, its a good idea to pair carrots with a creamy salad dressing or dip, as aside from keeping you fuller for longer, fat increases your absorption of carrots fat-soluble micronutrients, such as carotenoids .
While blue cheese dressing on its own isnt nutrient-rich, it may help you eat more carrots .
A 3.5-ounce serving of baby carrots with 2 tablespoons of blue cheese dressing serves as a light snack containing about 180 calories .
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Diets Followed For Medical Reasons
People’s dietary choices are sometimes affected by intolerance or allergy to certain types of food. There are also dietary patterns that might be recommended, prescribed or administered by medical professionals for people with specific medical needs.
- DASH diet : A recommendation that those with high blood pressure consume large quantities of fruits, vegetables, whole-grains and low fat dairy foods as part of their diet, and avoid sugar sweetened foods, red meat and fats. Promoted by the US Department of Health and Human Services, a United States government organisation.
- Diabetic diet: An umbrella term for diets recommended to people with diabetes. There is considerable disagreement in the scientific community as to what sort of diet is best for people with diabetes.
- Elemental diet: A medical, liquid-only diet, in which liquid nutrients are consumed for ease of ingestion.
- Elimination diet: A method of identifying foods which cause a person adverse effects, by process of elimination.
- Gluten-free diet: A diet which avoids the protein gluten, which is found in barley, rye and wheat. It is a medical treatment for gluten-related disorders, which include coeliac disease, non-celiac gluten sensitivity, gluten ataxia, dermatitis herpetiformis and wheat allergy.
- Gluten-free, casein-free diet: A gluten-free diet which also avoids casein, a protein commonly found in milk and cheese. This diet has been researched for efficacy in treatment of autism spectrum disorder.
Lift Heavier To Get Lighter
Although aerobic exercise like brisk walking, running and biking is excellent for weight loss, many people tend to focus solely on cardio and dont add strength training to their routines.
Adding weight lifting to your gym routine can help you build more muscle and tone your entire body.
Whats more, studies have shown that weight lifting gives your metabolism a small boost, helping you burn more calories throughout the day, even when you are at rest .
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Eating For Weight Loss 101
When it comes to seeing the number on the scale drop, it does not actually matter what you eat as long as you pay attention to how much you eat. In other words, eating fewer calories than you burn every day is the most effective weight loss method, not the style of diet you choose.
Contrary to what youve read on the internet, a single food cannot increase your metabolism, help you burn more fat, or prevent weight gain outside of calorie control.
Nobody has ever gotten fat from eating one donut and nobody has ever gotten a six pack from eating one salad.
However, while you could theoretically lose weight eating dessert for every meal, too much added sugar can negatively impact your blood sugar levels – leading to poor health, increased cravings, and lack of energy.
Plus, cutting back on heavily processed foods and having a little more balance and good nutrition in your diet might do a little more than just help you shed pounds. Nutritious, healthy foods support better moods, energy levels, appetite control, and, when coupled with the right fitness routine, can support a better overall body composition – more lean mass and less body fat .