5 Best Diets for Weight Loss

Written by on April 16, 2019 in Diet, Weight Loss, Obesity, Health with 0 Comments

By Sofia Norton

Changing one’s diet is the first step towards successful weight loss. But which diet should you choose to lose weight successfully?

Well, the first thing to keep in mind  is that there is no such thing as a diet that works universally well for everyone. The second thing to keep in mind that the best diet is the one you can maintain for a long time and, ideally, for life. As a growing number of studies shows, diets that can be integrated into your lifestyle are the most effective.

With that said, check out these 5 diets that rank high in terms of weight loss effectiveness and consider following one that resonates most with you.

1) WW (formerly Weight Watchers)

Weight Watchers recently changed its name to WW to reflect its new “wellness that works” philosophy. However, the company’s approach to weight-loss has stayed pretty much the same and is based on the idea that dieting is just one part of a healthy lifestyle. The WW’s approach is quite effective as pointed out in a 2015 systematic review that found that people following WW programs lost 2.6% more weight than controls.

One of WW’s most popular products is its SmartPoints system announced in 2017, which assigns food point values based on nutrition. The SmartPoints system guides dieters towards eating that is low in calories, saturated fat and sugar, and high in protein.


Pros:

  • No foods are off limits. You choose foods based on the point system and find what works best for you.
  • You get nutrition, cooking, and lifestyle tips if you sign up for WW meetings.
  • The WW program has been proven to help people achieve sustained weight loss as pointed out in a large systematic review.

Cons:

  • WW membership can be costly, especially if you have a lot of weight to lose. That’s because you will need lengthy membership to achieve your goals.
  • You will need to count calories with the help of the SmartPoints system, which some find to be tedious and time-consuming.

2) Jenny Craig

Jenny Craig is another popular weight-loss program developed in 1983 by husband and wife duo Jenny and Sidney Craig. This program teaches you how to eat the food you love in small, frequent portions. The program also teaches participants how to increase their activity levels and to live a healthy lifestyle that helps with weight loss maintenance.

The program works primarily through nutritional counseling and by sending participants portion-controlled, pre-packaged frozen foods as well as fresh food and supplemental meals. The popularity of Jenny Craig is partly due to the diet’s effectiveness. The systematic review mentioned earlier found this program led to a 4.6% greater weight loss than controls.

Pros:

  • The program is easy to follow as it doesn’t involve meal planning or even cooking.
  • The meals are tasty, easy to warm up, and Jenny Craig offers a wide-range of meal choices to suit everyone’s tastes.
  • You get plenty of additional support in the form of food tips, exercise motivation, and even a personal cheerleader.

Cons:

  • The program is costly, with a month’s worth of food costing between $500 and $800.
  • Most of its meals are frozen and require reheating in the microwave and oven. Those who work outside the home and travel frequently may find this inconvenient.

3) Low-Carb Diets

Low-carb diets like keto and the Atkins diet have been steadily rising in popularity over the past two decades. These diets will put the body into a metabolic state of enhanced fat burning called ketosis, but only if you eat less than 50g of carbs a day while keeping your protein intake moderate. Studies show that low-carb diets are most effective for people who are prediabetic.

What is really great about using low-carb diets for weight loss is that these diets reduce hunger, making weight loss much, much easier. These diets also allow for loads of fat – up to 80% in some cases. That’s definitely good news if you’re a big fan of butter, bacon, avocados, and other fat-rich foods.

Pros:

  • The diet puts the body in a metabolic state that leads to what some say is seamless fat burning.
  • Most people find that they’re not as hungry on low-carb vs low-fat diets.
  • Low-carb diets help balance blood glucose and insulin levels in addition to supporting weight loss.

Cons:

  • These diets involve lots of meal planning and home cooking, which may be inconvenient for some.
  • Restricting carbs is difficult and can leave dieters wanting more.

4) Plant-Based Diets

If you want to adopt a sustainable diet that also comes with added health and environmental benefits, plant-based is the way to go. Plant-based diets include a eating habits that involve limiting or avoiding some or all animal products. These diets also typically support greater consumption of vegetables, fruits, legumes, nuts, seeds, and whole grains.

Studies show that people on plant-based diets like vegan or vegetarian diets are typically leaner than those following diets heavily based on animal products. However, for plant-based diets to lead to weight-loss, you may need to be eating fewer calories than your body is burning. You can check if you’re in this “calorie deficit” with diet apps like MyFitnessPal.

Pros:

  • Plant-based diets are great for losing weight and maintaining it in the long-term.
  • Higher intake of plant foods is widely supported by nutritionists and health authorities across the world.
  • Chances are many other aspects of your health will improve on a plant-based diet.

Cons:

  • Avoiding or limiting animal products is easier said than done. You may find adjusting to plant-based eating difficult.
  • Meeting daily requirements for protein, iron, B12, and DHA involves lots of nutrition learning and meal planning when you limit animal products.

5) The Mediterranean Diet

If you don’t want to forgo animal products completely but still get the benefits of plant-based diets, then consider switching to a Mediterranean style diet. One meta-analysis found that the Mediterranean diet alone leads to a weight loss of around 4 pounds. The diet’s effectiveness in causing weight-loss is greater if it’s also low in calories.  

The Mediterranean diet involves eating primarily plant-based food like vegetables, fruit, whole grains, and nuts and seeds. Butter is replaced with olive oil on this diet, and fish and poultry are eaten twice a week. The diet is high in antioxidants, heart-healthy monounsaturated fats, and anti-inflammatory omega-3 fatty acids, and is believed to be a major reason behind the health and longevity of people living in the Mediterranean.

Pros:

  • The Mediterranean diet is more an eating pattern than a true diet, which is great for those looking for a long-term solution.
  • The diet is linked to a plethora of health benefits in addition to helping people maintain a healthy weight.
  • It’s incredibly tasty and does into involve limiting any food group but rather sticking to healthy food choices.

Cons:

  • There are no specifically defined parameters to stick to, so some people may find the diet’s rules and principles vague and confusing.

Takeaways

When choosing a diet for weight loss, make sure to check if you can picture yourself sticking to this diet for a longer period of time. Weight loss, after all, doesn’t happen overnight, so a diet you can’t imagine yourself following for months on end will likely lead to failure. And at the end of the day, you want to enjoy the ride while shedding pounds. Luckily, there are plenty of weight-loss diets that can help you do both.  

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