The best diet to lose weight is one that is both nutritious and sustainable. Here are the 5 best weight loss diet plans
Effective weight loss requires consistent long-term healthy changes in eating, physical activities, and lifestyle.
How to pick the best weight loss diet plan for you
While it’s easy to be duped by clever marketing tactics or anecdotal advice from friends, it’s best to take the following steps before starting a weight loss diet plan:
- Talk to your doctor: Your doctor can suggest a diet plan that suits you while taking into consideration your medical history, medications, and health conditions.
- Choose one that suits your lifestyle: Everyone has different preferences and weight loss goals. Make sure you choose a diet plan that is sustainable, realistic, and aligned with your primary goals.
- Go for the most nutritious option: Your diet should include plenty of nutrients and enough calories to fuel you. Avoid diets that rely heavily on fillers and supplements.
- Supplement your diet with exercise: Every diet plan needs to be supplemented with regular physical activity so that it is effective in the long run.
5 best diets for weight loss
1. Intermittent fasting
Intermittent fasting is a dietary strategy that involves periods of eating and fasting spread throughout the day or week. The most popular methods include the 16/8 method and the 5:2 method:
- 16/8 method: Involves fasting for 16 hours and restricting your eating window to 8 hours a day.
- 5:2 method: Allows you to have only 500-600 calories 2 days a week.
While intermittent fasting can help with weight loss, it’s important to avoid eating too much during the eating periods when you are allowed to eat.
2. Mediterranean diet
For several consecutive years, the Mediterranean diet has won the top honor as the best diet in annual rankings.
This diet emphasizes eating plenty of fresh fruits, vegetables, nuts, whole grains, fish, olive oil, and a small amount of meat, dairy, and wine.
In addition to weight loss, health benefits include:
- Combats inflammation and oxidative stress
- Lowers blood pressure and cholesterol
- Regulates blood sugar levels
- May help with Alzheimer's disease
3. DASH diet
Food options available on the DASH diet focus on whole foods such as fruits and veggies, fat-free or low-fat dairy, whole grains, and lean meat, fish, and poultry. You need to cut back on processed foods such as sugary drinks and packaged snacks and limit red meat.
4. Low-carb diet
The Atkins diet and keto diet are examples of low-carb diets that restrict carb intake in favor of healthy fats and protein. This type of diet suggests that 30%-50% of your daily calories should be from proteins.
Carbs are your body’s main source of fuel. When you are on a low-carb diet, however, your body burns fat for energy instead, a state called ketosis. Ketosis occurs when fats are broken down into ketones, which are byproducts of fat metabolism.
Starting a low-carb diet can cause side effects, especially in the initial stages. Side effects may include:
Ketosis can also cause side effects such as:
Before starting a low-carb diet, consult your doctor. Diets like the Atkins diet may not be suitable for you if you are on medications such as water pills (diuretics) or insulin or have health issues such as chronic kidney disease.
5. Paleo diet
The paleo diet is based on the theory that we should be eating the same foods as our ancestors during the Paleolithic era. This diet is also called:
- Paleolithic diet
- Stone age diet
- Hunter-gatherer diet
- Caveman diet
The paleo diet plan includes meat, fish, fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, and oils such as olive oil or walnut oil.
Some studies suggest that the paleo diet has health benefits including:
- Weight loss
- Improvement in glucose tolerance
- Regulation of blood pressure
- Better appetite management
However, there are no long-term clinical trials providing evidence about the benefits and risks of the paleo diet. And it’s important to remember that there is no one “true” paleo diet because it varies depending on the region.