Diet List: 9 of the best weight loss Diets are reviewed
There are many weight-loss diets out there.
Some focus on reducing your appetite, while others restrict calories, carbs, or fat.
Because all of them claim to be superior, it would be difficult 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 examines the 9 most popular weight-loss diets and the science behind them.
Join us on the Diet List
- The Paleo Diet
The paleo diet claims that you should eat the same foods as their hunter-gatherer ancestors ate before farming developed.
The theory is that most modern diseases can be linked to the Western diet and consumption of cereals, dairy products, and processed foods.
While it’s debatable whether this diet really provides the same foods your ancestors ate, it is linked to several impressive health benefits.
How it works: The paleo diet emphasizes whole foods, lean protein, vegetables, fruits, nuts, and seeds, while discouraging processed foods, sugar, dairy, and grains.
Some more flexible versions of the paleo diet also allow dairy products such as cheese and butter and tubers like potatoes and sweet potatoes.
Weight loss: Several studies have shown that the paleo diet can lead to significant weight loss and reduced waist size (1Trusted Source, 2Trusted Source, 3Trusted Source, 4Trusted Source).
In studies, paleo dieters automatically eat much fewer carbs, more protein, and 300–900 fewer calories per day (1Trusted Source, 2Trusted Source, 3Trusted Source, 4Trusted Source).
Other benefits: The diet seems effective at reducing risk factors for heart disease, such as cholesterol, blood sugar, blood triglycerides, and blood pressure (5Trusted Source, 6Trusted Source, 7Trusted Source).
The downside: the paleo diet eliminates whole grains, legumes, and dairy products, which are healthy and nutritious.
SUMMARY The paleo diet emphasizes whole foods but bans grains and dairy. Its multiple health benefits include weight loss.
- The Vegan Diet
The vegetarian diet restricts all animal products for ethical, environmental or health reasons.
Veganism is also associated with resistance to animal exploitation and cruelty.
How it works: Veganism is the strictest form of vegetarianism.
In addition to eliminating meat, it eliminates dairy, eggs, and animal-derived products, such as gelatin, honey, albumin, whey, casein, and some forms of vitamin D3.
Weight loss: A vegetarian diet seems to be very effective in helping people lose weight – often without counting calories – because it is very low in fat and high in fiber.
Vegan diets are consistently linked to lower body weight and body mass index (BMI) compared to other diets (8Trusted Source, 9Trusted Source, 10Trusted Source, 11Trusted Source, 12Trusted Source).
One 18-week study showed that people on a vegan diet lost 9.3 pounds (4.2 kg) more than those on a control diet. The vegan group was allowed to eat until fullness, but the control group had to restrict calories (13Trusted Source).
However, calorie for calorie, vegan diets are not more effective for weight loss than other diets (14Trusted Source).
Weight loss in vegetarian diets is primarily associated with reduced calorie consumption.
Other benefits: Plant-based diets are linked to a reduced risk of heart disease, type 2 diabetes, and premature death (15Trusted Source, 16Trusted Source, 17Trusted Source, 18Trusted Source, 19Trusted Source).
Limiting processed meat may also reduce your risk of Alzheimer’s disease and dying from heart disease or cancer (20Trusted Source, 21Trusted Source, 22Trusted Source, 23Trusted Source, 24Trusted Source).
The downside: Because vegan diets eliminate animal foods completely, they may be low in several nutrients, including vitamin B12, vitamin D, iodine, iron, calcium, zinc, and omega-3 fatty acids (25Trusted Source, 26Trusted Source, 27Trusted Source, 28Trusted Source, 29Trusted Source).
SUMMARY Vegan diets exclude all animal products. They may cause weight loss due to lower calorie intake while reducing your risk of several diseases.
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- Low-Carb Diets
Diets low in carbohydrates have been popular for decades – especially for weight loss.
There are several types of low-carb diets, but all involve limiting carb intake to 20–150 grams per day.
The primary aim of the diet is to force your body to use more fats for fuel instead of using carbs as a main source of energy.
How it works: Low-carb diets emphasize unlimited amounts of protein and fat while severely limiting your carb intake.
When carb intake is very low, fatty acids are moved into your blood and transported to your liver, where some of them are turned into ketones.
Your body can then use fatty acids and ketones in the absence of carbs as its primary energy source.
Weight loss: Numerous studies indicate that low-carb diets are extremely helpful for weight loss, especially in overweight and obese individuals (30Trusted Source, 31Trusted Source, 32Trusted Source, 33Trusted Source, 34Trusted Source).
They seem to be very effective at reducing dangerous belly fat, which can become lodged around your organs (35Trusted Source, 36Trusted Source).
People with very low carbohydrate diets often reach a state called ketosis. Many studies note that ketogenic diets lead to more than twice the weight loss than a low-fat, calorie-restricted diet (35Trusted Source, 37Trusted Source, 38Trusted Source, 39Trusted Source).
Other benefits: Low-carb diets tend to reduce your appetite and make you feel less hungry, leading to an automatic reduction in calorie intake (40Trusted Source, 41Trusted Source).
Furthermore, low-carb diets may benefit many major disease risk factors, such as blood triglycerides, cholesterol levels, blood sugar levels, insulin levels, and blood pressure (34Trusted Source, 42Trusted Source, 43, 44Trusted Source, 45Trusted Source).
The downside: Low-carb diets do not suit everyone. Some feel great on them while others feel miserable.
Some people may experience an increase in “bad” LDL cholesterol (46Trusted Source).
In extremely rare cases, very low-carb diets can cause a serious condition called ketoacidosis. This condition seems to be more common in lactating women and can be fatal if left untreated (47Trusted Source, 48Trusted Source, 49Trusted Source, 50Trusted Source).
However, low-carb diets are safe for the majority of people.
SUMMARY Low-carb diets severely limit carb intake and push your body to use fat for fuel. They help weight loss and are linked to many other health benefits.
- The Dukan Diet
Another diet list is the Dukan diet. Dukan diet is a high protein, low carbohydrate diet weight loss divided into four phases – two phases of weight loss and maintenance two phases.
The time spent in each phase depends on the amount of weight you need to lose. Each phase has its own dietary pattern.
How It Works: The weight loss phases are mainly based on the unlimited consumption of foods rich in protein and binding oat bran.
The other phases involve adding non-starchy vegetables followed by some carbs and fat. Later, there will be fewer and fewer days of pure protein to maintain your new weight.
Weight loss: In one study, women following the Dukan diet ate about 1,000 calories and 100 grams of protein per day and lost an average of 33 pounds (15 kg) in 8–10 weeks (51Trusted Source).
Also, many other studies show that high-protein, low-carb diets may have major weight loss benefits (52Trusted Source, 53Trusted Source, 54Trusted Source, 55Trusted Source).
These include a higher metabolic rate, a decrease in the hunger hormone ghrelin and an increase in several fullness hormones (56Trusted Source, 57Trusted Source, 58Trusted Source, 59Trusted Source).
Other benefits: In addition to weight loss, no registered Dukan diet benefits in scientific literature.
The downside: There is very little quality research on the Dukan diet.
The Dukan diet limits fat and carbohydrates – a strategy not based on science. On the contrary, consuming fat as part of a high-protein diet seems to increase metabolic rate compared to both low-carb and low-fat diets (60Trusted Source).
What’s more, fast weight loss achieved by severe calorie restriction tends to cause significant muscle loss (61Trusted Source).
The loss of muscle mass and severe calorie restriction may also cause your body to conserve energy, making it very easy to regain the weight after losing it (62Trusted Source, 63Trusted Source, 64Trusted Source, 65Trusted Source).
SUMMARY The Dukan diet has not been tested in quality human studies. Diet can cause weight loss, but can also slow down your metabolism and cause you to lose muscle mass along with the fat mass.
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- The Ultra-Low-Fat Diet
Another diet list is the Ultra-Low-Fat Diet. An ultra-low-fat diet limit your fat intake to less than 10% of daily calories.
In general, a diet low in fat provides about 30% of their calories as fat.
Studies reveal that this diet is ineffective for weight loss in the long term.
Proponents of the ultra-low-fat diet claims that the traditional low-fat diet is not enough low-fat and fat intake needs to remain below 10% of total calories to produce health benefits and weight loss.
How it works: An ultra-low-fat diet containing 10% or less of calories from fat. The diet is mostly plant-based and has a limited intake of animal products (66Trusted Source).
Therefore, it’s generally very high in carbs — around 80% of calories — and low in protein — at 10% of calories.
Weight Loss: This diet has proven to be very effective for weight loss in obese individuals. In one study, obese individuals lost an average of 140 pounds (63 kg) on an ultra-low-fat diet (67Trusted Source).
Another 8-week study with a diet containing 7–14% fat showed an average weight loss of 14.8 pounds (6.7 kg) (68Trusted Source).
Other benefits: Studies suggest that ultra-low-fat diets can improve several risk factors for heart disease, including high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and markers of inflammation (69Trusted Source, 70Trusted Source, 71, 72Trusted Source, 73Trusted Source, 74Trusted Source).
Surprisingly, this high-carb, low-fat diet can also lead to significant improvements in type 2 diabetes (75Trusted Source, 76Trusted Source, 77Trusted Source, 78Trusted Source).
Furthermore, it may slow the progression of multiple sclerosis — an autoimmune disease that affects your brain, spinal cord, and optic nerves in the eyes (79Trusted Source, 80Trusted Source).
The downside: The fat restriction may cause long-term problems, as fat plays many important roles in your body. These include helping build cell membranes and hormones, as well as helping your body absorb fat-soluble vitamins.
On the other hand, a diet limits intake ultra low-fat content of many healthy foods, lack variety, and it is extremely difficult to meet.
SUMMARY A diet with very low-fat content contains less than 10% of calories from fat. It can cause significant weight loss and may also have impressive benefits for heart disease, type 2 diabetes, and multiple sclerosis.
- The Atkins Diet
Atkins is the best-known weight loss diet low in carbohydrates.
Its proponents insist that you can lose weight by eating more protein and fat as you want, as long as you avoid carbohydrates.
The main reason that low carb diets are so effective for weight loss is to reduce appetite.
This causes you to eat fewer calories without having to think about it (32Trusted Source, 40Trusted Source).
How it works: The Atkins diet is divided into four phases. It starts with an induction phase, during which less than 20 grams of carbohydrates per day eaten for two weeks.
The other phases involve slowly reintroducing healthy carbohydrates in your diet as you approach your ideal weight.
Weight loss: The Atkins diet has been studied extensively and found to lead to faster weight loss than low-fat diets (52Trusted Source, 81Trusted Source).
Other studies indicate that diets low in carbohydrates are useful for weight loss. They are especially successful in reducing belly fat, the most dangerous fat that lodges itself in your abdominal cavity (30Trusted Source, 31Trusted Source, 32Trusted Source, 33Trusted Source, 34Trusted Source, 35Trusted Source, 36Trusted Source).
Other benefits: Numerous studies show that low-carb diets, like the Atkins diet, may reduce many risk factors for disease, including blood triglycerides, cholesterol, blood sugar, insulin, and blood pressure (34Trusted Source, 42Trusted Source, 43, 44Trusted Source, 45Trusted Source).
Compared to other weight-loss diets, low-carb diets also better improve blood sugar, “good” HDL cholesterol, triglycerides, and other health markers (52Trusted Source, 81Trusted Source).
The downside: As do other very low-carb diets, the Atkins diet is safe and healthy for most people but may cause problems in rare cases.
SUMMARY The Atkins diet is a diet weight loss low carb. It’s effective for weight loss but also has benefits for many other disease risk factors.
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- The HCG Diet
Another diet list is the HCG Diet. The HCG diet is an extreme diet meant to cause very fast weight loss of up to 1–2 pounds (0.45–1 kg) per day.
Its proponents claim that it boosts metabolism and fat loss without inducing hunger (82Trusted Source, 83Trusted Source).
HCG (human chorionic gonadotropin) is a hormone present at high levels during early pregnancy.
It tells a woman’s body it’s pregnant and maintains the production of hormones that are important for fetal development. It has also been used to treat fertility issues (84Trusted Source).
How it works: The diet is divided into three phases. During the first phase, you begin taking HCG supplements.
During the second phase, you follow an ultra-low-calorie diet of only 500 calories per day, along with HCG supplement drops, pellets, injections, or sprays. The weight loss phase is prescribed simultaneously for 3-6 weeks.
In the third phase, you stop taking HCG and slowly increase your food intake.
Weight loss: The HCG diet does cause weight loss, but multiple studies conclude that the weight loss is due to the ultra-low-calorie diet alone — not the HCG hormone (82Trusted Source, 85Trusted Source, 86Trusted Source, 87Trusted Source).
Furthermore, HCG was not found to reduce hunger.
Other benefits: Aside from weight loss, there are no documented benefits of the HCG diet.
The downside: Like most other ultra-low-calorie diets, the HCG diet may cause muscle loss, which results in a reduced ability to burn calories (61Trusted Source).
Such severe calorie restriction further reduces the number of calories your body burns. This is because your body thinks it’s starving and therefore attempts to preserve energy (63Trusted Source).
In addition, most HCG products on the market are scams and don’t contain any HCG. Only injections are able to raise blood levels of this hormone.
In addition, the diet has many side effects, including headache, fatigue, and depression. There is also one report of a woman developing blood clots, most likely caused by the diet (83Trusted Source).
The FDA disapproves of this diet, labeling it dangerous, illegal, and fraudulent (88Trusted Source).
SUMMARY The HCG diet is a quick weight loss diet. It is not based on any scientific evidence and may decrease metabolic rate and cause muscle loss, headache, fatigue and depression.
- The Zone Diet
Another diet list is the Zone Diet. The Zone Diet is a low-glycemic-load diet that has you limit carbs to 35–45% of daily calories and protein and fat to 30% each (89Trusted Source).
It recommends eating only carbs with a low glycemic index (GI).
The GI of a food is an estimate of how much it raises your blood glucose levels after consumption.
The Zone Diet was initially developed to reduce diet-induced inflammation, cause weight loss, and reduce your risk of chronic diseases (89Trusted Source).
How it works: The Zone Diet recommends balancing each meal with 1/3 protein, 2/3 colorful fruits and veggies, and a dash of fat — namely monounsaturated oil, such as olive oil, avocado, or almonds.
It also limits high-GI carbs, such as bananas, rice, and potatoes.
Weight loss: Studies on diets low-GI index are quite inconsistent. While some say that the diet promotes weight loss and reduces appetite, others show very little weight loss compared to other diets (90Trusted Source, 91Trusted Source, 92Trusted Source, 93Trusted Source).
Other benefits: The greatest benefit of this diet is a reduction in risk factors for heart disease, such as reduced cholesterol and triglycerides (92Trusted Source, 94Trusted Source, 95Trusted Source, 96Trusted Source, 97Trusted Source).
One study suggests that the Zone Diet may improve blood sugar control, reduce waist circumference, and lower chronic inflammation in overweight or obese individuals with type 2 diabetes (98Trusted Source).
The downside: One of the few drawbacks of this diet is that it limits the consumption of some healthy carb sources, such as bananas and potatoes.
SUMMARY The Zone Diet is a low-GI diet. Studies on its weight loss benefits are inconsistent, but the diet improves many important health markers and reduces your risk of heart disease.
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- Intermittent Fasting
Intermittent fasting cycles your body between periods of fasting and eating.
Rather than restricting the foods you eat, it controls when you eat them. Therefore, it can be seen as more of a diet than a pattern of eating.
The most popular ways to make intermittent fasting are:
The 16/8 method: Involves skipping breakfast and restricting your daily eating period to eight hours, subsequently fasting for the remaining 16 hours of the day.
The eat-stop-eat method: Involves 24-hour fasts once or twice per week on non-consecutive days.
The 5:2 diet: On two non-consecutive days of the week, you restrict your intake to 500–600 calories. You do not restrict intake on the five remaining days.
Warrior Diet: Eat small amounts of raw fruits and vegetables throughout the day and a large meal at night.
How it works: Intermittent fasting is often used to lose weight because it results in relatively easy calorie restriction.
This can make you eat fewer calories in general – as long as you are not offset by eating more during meals.
Weight loss: intermittent fasting is generally very effective for weight loss. It has been shown to cause weight loss of 3–8% over a period of 3–24 weeks, which is a lot compared to most weight-loss diets (99Trusted Source, 100Trusted Source).
In addition to causing less muscle loss than standard calorie restriction, it may increase your metabolic rate by 3.6–14% in the short term (99Trusted Source, 101Trusted Source, 102Trusted Source, 103Trusted Source).
Other benefits: Intermittent fasting may reduce markers of inflammation, cholesterol levels, blood triglycerides, and blood sugar levels (104Trusted Source, 105Trusted Source, 106Trusted Source, 107Trusted Source).
Furthermore, intermittent fasting has been linked to increased levels of human growth hormone (HGH), improved insulin sensitivity, improved cellular repair, and altered gene expressions (108Trusted Source, 109Trusted Source, 110Trusted Source, 111Trusted Source, 112Trusted Source).
Animal studies also suggest that it may help new brain cells grow, lengthen lifespan, and protect against Alzheimer’s disease and cancer (113Trusted Source, 114Trusted Source, 115Trusted Source, 116Trusted Source).
The downside: Although intermittent fasting is provided for healthy, healthy people, it is not suitable for everyone.
Some studies note that it’s not as beneficial for women as it is for men (117Trusted Source, 118Trusted Source).
In addition, some people should avoid fasting, including those sensitive to hypoglycemia, pregnant women, nursing mothers, adolescents, children, and people who are malnourished, underweight, or deficient in nutrients.
SUMMARY Intermittent fasting lets your body cycle between fasting and eating. It is very effective in weight loss and is associated with numerous health benefits.
The Bottom Line
There is no perfect weight loss diet. There is also no complete diet list.
Different diets work for different people, and you should pick one that suits your lifestyle and tastes.
The best diet for you is the one that you can stick to in the long term.