Popular Diet Plans – Popular Weight Loss Diets Reviewed
There are various weight-loss diets available.
Some diets concentrate on weight loss, while others limit calories, carbohydrates, or fat.
It isn’t easy to know which ones are worth trying because they all claim to be superior.
The fact is that there is no one-size-fits-all diet, and what works for you does not work for anyone else.
This article examines the science behind the nine most common weight-loss diets.
The Paleo Diet is a low-carb, high-protein diet
According to the paleo diet, you should consume the same foods your hunter-gatherer forefathers consumed before agriculture.
According to the theory, most modern diseases are related to the Western diet, which includes grains, dairy, and refined foods.
Though it’s debatable if this diet contains the same ingredients as your forefathers, it has been connected to a slew of impressive health benefits.
How it works: The paleo diet favors whole foods, lean protein, vegetables, fruits, nuts, and seeds over refined foods, sugar, dairy, and grains.
Dairy like cheese and butter and tubers like potatoes and sweet potatoes are allowed on some more versatile paleo diets.
Weight loss: Some studies have shown that eating a paleo diet will help you lose weight and shrink your waistline (1Trusted Source, 2Trusted Source, 3Trusted Source, 4Trusted Source).
Paleo dieters automatically consume fewer sugars, more protein, and 300–900 fewer calories per day, according to reports (1Trusted Source, 2Trusted Source, 3Trusted Source, 4Trusted Source).
Other advantages: The diet tends to decrease heart disease risk factors such as cholesterol, blood sugar, blood triglycerides, and blood pressure (5Trusted Source, 6Trusted Source, 7Trusted Source).
The downside: The disadvantage is that the paleo diet excludes whole grains, legumes, and dairy products, all of which are balanced and nutritious.
Whole foods are prioritized in the paleo diet, which excludes grains and dairy. Weight loss is one of the many health benefits.
Dietary Recommendations for Vegans
For legal, environmental, or health purposes, the vegan diet eliminates all animal products.
Veganism is also linked to the anti-cruelty and anti-exploitation of animals.
How it works: Veganism is the most stringent type of vegetarianism.
It excludes beef, dairy, poultry, and animal-derived products such as gelatin, honey, albumin, whey, casein, and certain types of vitamin D3 in addition to meat.
Weight loss: Because of its low fat and high fiber quality, a vegan diet seems to be very good at helping people lose weight — even without counting calories — because it makes you feel fuller for longer.
Vegan diets are consistently associated with lower body weight and BMI than other diets (8Trusted Source, 9Trusted Source, 10Trusted Source, 11Trusted Source, 12Trusted Source).
Vegans lost 9.3 pounds (4.2 kg) more than anyone on a control diet throughout an 18-week trial. The vegan group was able to eat until they were satisfied, while the control group had to limit their calorie intake (13Trusted Source).
On the other hand, vegan diets are not more effective for weight loss than other diets calorie for calorie (14Trusted Source).
Weight loss on a vegan diet is mainly due to calorie restriction.
Other advantages: include a lower risk of heart disease, type 2 diabetes, and premature mortality while eating a plant-based diet (15Trusted Source, 16Trusted Source, 17Trusted Source, 18Trusted Source, 19Trusted Source).
Limiting processed meat can also lower the risk of Alzheimer’s disease, heart disease, cancer death (20Trusted Source, 21Trusted Source, 22Trusted Source, 23Trusted Source, 24Trusted Source).
The disadvantage: Vegan diets can be deficient in many nutrients, including vitamin B12, vitamin D, iodine, iron, calcium, zinc, and omega-3 fatty acids, since they remove all animal products (25Trusted Source, 26Trusted Source, 27Trusted Source, 28Trusted Source, 29Trusted Source).
Vegan diets do not include any animal products. They can help you lose weight by lowering your calorie intake while also reducing your risk of several diseases.
For decades, low-carb diets have been typical, especially for weight loss.
Low-carb diets come in various flavors, but they all restrict carb consumption to 20–150 grams per day.
The diet’s primary goal is to push your body to burn more fats for fuel rather than carbs as a primary source of energy.
How it works: Low-carb diets focus on eating as much protein and fat as you like while severely restricting your carb intake.
When you eat a low-carb diet, fatty acids enter your bloodstream and are transferred to your liver, where some of them are converted to ketones.
In the absence of carbohydrates, your body will depend on fatty acids and ketones for energy.
Weight loss: Numerous studies show that low-carb diets can help people lose weight, significantly overweight or obese (30Trusted Source, 31Trusted Source, 32Trusted Source, 33Trusted Source, 34Trusted Source).
They seem to be very effective at eliminating dangerous belly fat that can encircle the organs (35Trusted Source, 36Trusted Source).
Ketosis is a metabolic state that occurs in people who consume deficient carbohydrate diets. According to several reports, ketogenic diets result in more than double the weight loss as a low-fat, calorie-restricted diet (35Trusted Source, 37Trusted Source, 38Trusted Source, 39Trusted Source).
Other advantages: Low-carb diets aim to suppress your appetite and make you feel less hungry, resulting in an immediate calorie reduction (40Trusted Source, 41Trusted Source).
Low-carb diets can also help with several major disease risk factors, including blood triglycerides, cholesterol, blood sugar, insulin, and blood pressure (34Trusted Source, 42Trusted Source, 43, 44Trusted Source, 45Trusted Source).
The disadvantage: is that low-carb diets are not for all. Some people love them, while others despise them.
A rise in “bad” LDL cholesterol can occur in some people (46Trusted Source).
Very low-carb diets may cause a severe condition called nondiabetic ketoacidosis in sporadic cases. If left untreated, this condition appears to be more common in lactating women and can be fatal (47Trusted Source, 48Trusted Source, 49Trusted Source, 50Trusted Source).
Low-carb diets, on the other hand, are generally healthier for the majority of people.
Low-carb diets heavily restrict carb consumption, forcing the body to rely on fat as a source of energy. They help people lose weight and are related to several other health benefits.
The Dukan Diet
The Dukan diet is a low-carb, high-protein weight-loss strategy with two weight-loss phases and two maintenance phases.
The amount of time you spend in each step is determined by how much weight you need to lose. Each process has its own set of dietary requirements.
The weight loss phases are focused mainly on eating unlimited high-protein foods and consuming mandatory oat bran.
Other steps include the addition of non-starchy vegetables, followed by carbs and fat. There will be fewer and fewer pure protein days as time goes by to maintain your current weight.
Weight loss: In one study, women who followed the Dukan diet consumed about 1,000 calories and 100 grams of protein per day for 8–10 weeks lost an average of 33 pounds (15 kg) (51Trusted Source).
Many other studies have also shown that eating a high-protein, low-carb diet will help you lose weight (52Trusted Source, 53Trusted Source, 54Trusted Source, 55Trusted Source).
A higher metabolic rate, a reduction in the hunger hormone ghrelin, and an increase in other fullness hormones are only a few of the benefits (56Trusted Source, 57Trusted Source, 58Trusted Source, 59Trusted Source).
Other advantages: Aside from weight loss, the Dukan diet has no other reported benefits in scientific literature.
The disadvantage: is that there is very little high-quality research on the Dukan diet.
The Dukan diet restricts both fat and carbohydrates, which is an unscientific technique. In contrast to low-carb and low-fat diets, eating fat as part of a high-protein diet seems to improve metabolic rate (60Trusted Source).
Furthermore, heavy calorie restriction that results in rapid weight loss appears to result in substantial muscle loss (61Trusted Source).
Losing muscle mass and severely restricting calories will cause your body to conserve energy, making it very easy to gain weight after losing it (62Trusted Source, 63Trusted Source, 64Trusted Source, 65Trusted Source).
The Dukan diet has not been subjected to extensive human research. The diet may help you lose weight, but it may also slow your metabolism and cause you to lose muscle mass in addition to fat.
Also read: Vegan keto pantry staples
The Ultra-Low-Fat Diet
Fat intake is limited to less than 10% of daily calories on an ultra-low-fat diet.
In general, fat accounts for about 30% of the calories in a low-fat diet.
According to studies, this diet is unsuccessful for long-term weight loss.
Ultra-low-fat diet proponents argue that conventional low-fat diets aren’t low enough in fat and that fat consumption should be less than 10% of total calories to achieve health benefits and weight loss.
How It works: An ultra-low-fat diet is one in which fat accounts for 10% or less of total calories. The diet is primarily plant-based, with only a tiny amount of animal products consumed (66Trusted Source).
As a result, it’s usually high in carbohydrates (around 80% of calories) and low in protein (approximately 10% of calories).
Weight loss: Obese people have found this diet to be very good at losing weight. Obese people who followed an ultra-low-fat diet lost an average of 140 pounds (63 kg) in one trial (67Trusted Source).
Another 8-week study found that people who ate a 7–14 percent fat diet lost an average of 14.8 pounds (6.7 kg) (68Trusted Source).
Other advantages: Research suggests that ultra-low-fat diets may reduce the risk of heart disease by lowering blood pressure, cholesterol, and inflammation markers (69Trusted Source, 70Trusted Source, 71, 72Trusted Source, 73Trusted Source, 74Trusted Source).
Surprisingly, this high-carbohydrate, low-fat diet may also help people with type 2 diabetes (75Trusted Source, 76Trusted Source, 77Trusted Source, 78Trusted Source).
It can also delay the development of multiple sclerosis, an autoimmune condition that affects the brain, spinal cord, and eye optic nerves (79Trusted Source, 80Trusted Source).
The downside: Since fat plays so many vital roles in your body, a fat restriction can cause long-term problems. Both include assisting in the formation of cell membranes and hormones and assisting in the absorption of fat-soluble vitamins.
Furthermore, an ultra-low-fat diet restricts many nutritious foods, lacks variety, and is difficult to maintain.
Fat accounts for less than 10% of the calories in an ultra-low-fat diet. It may help you lose a lot of weight and help with heart disease, type 2 diabetes, and multiple sclerosis.
The Atkins Diet
The most well-known low-carb weight-loss diet is the Atkins diet.
Its supporters argue that as long as you avoid sugar, you can lose weight by consuming as much protein and fat as you want.
Low-carb diets suppress appetite, which is why they are so effective for weight loss.
As a result, you eat fewer calories without even realizing it (32Trusted Source, 40Trusted Source).
How it works: The Atkins diet is broken down into four stages. It begins with a two-week induction period in which you consume less than 20 grams of carbs per day.
When you get closer to your target weight, the other steps include progressively reintroducing healthy carbs back into your diet.
Weight loss: The Atkins diet has been thoroughly investigated and found to be more effective than low-fat diets in weight loss (52Trusted Source, 81Trusted Source).
Low-carb diets have also been shown to be effective for weight loss in other studies. They are particularly effective at reducing belly fat, which is the most dangerous type of fat that forms in the abdominal cavity (30Trusted Source, 31Trusted Source, 32Trusted Source, 33Trusted Source, 34Trusted Source, 35Trusted Source, 36Trusted Source).
Other advantages: Numerous studies have shown that low-carb diets, such as the Atkins diet, can lower triglycerides, cholesterol, blood sugar, insulin, and blood pressure, among other risk factors for disease (34Trusted Source, 42Trusted Source, 43, 44Trusted Source, 45Trusted Source).
Low-carb diets increase blood sugar, “good” HDL cholesterol, triglycerides, and other health indicators better than other weight-loss diets (52Trusted Source, 81Trusted Source).
The disadvantage: The Atkins diet, like other very low-carb diets, is usually safe and healthy for most people, although it can cause problems in extreme cases.
The Atkins diet is a low-carbohydrate diet that promotes weight loss. It not only helps with weight loss, but it also helps with a variety of other disease risk factors.
The HCG Diet (Human Chorionic Gonadotropin)
The HCG diet is a high-protein, low-carbohydrate diet that can help you lose up to 12 pounds (0.45 kg) per day.
Its supporters argue that it increases metabolism and fat loss without making people hungry (82Trusted Source, 83Trusted Source).
HCG (human chorionic gonadotropin) is a hormone that is abundant during the first trimester of pregnancy.
It reminds a woman’s body that she is pregnant and keeps the output of hormones required for fetal development going. It’s also been used to help with infertility (84Trusted Source).
How it works: There are three stages to the diet. You start taking HCG supplements during the first process.
During the second step, you eat a 500-calorie-per-day ultra-low-calorie diet and take HCG supplement drops, pellets, injections, or sprays. For 3–6 weeks at a time, the weight loss process is recommended.
You avoid taking HCG in the third step and progressively raise your food intake.
Weight loss: While the HCG diet results in weight loss, several studies have concluded that the weight loss is due solely to the ultra-low-calorie diet, not the HCG hormone (82Trusted Source, 85Trusted Source, 86Trusted Source, 87Trusted Source).
HCG was also found to have no effect on hunger.
Other advantages: The HCG diet has no known benefits other than weight loss.
The downside: The HCG diet, like most other ultra-low-calorie diets, can lead to muscle loss, which reduces your ability to burn calories (61Trusted Source).
The amount of calories your body burns is further limited as a result of such extreme calorie restriction. This is because the body believes it is hungry and tries to save resources (63Trusted Source).
Furthermore, the majority of HCG goods on the market are phony and do not contain any HCG. This hormone can only be elevated in the bloodstream by injections.
Moreover, the diet has many side effects, including headaches, fatigue, and depression. One report of a woman developing blood clots is most likely caused by the diet (83Trusted Source).
The FDA has ruled this diet to be unhealthy, unlawful, and misleading (88Trusted Source).
The HCG diet is a low-calorie, high-protein weight-loss plan. It is not based on any empirical evidence and may cause muscle weakness, headaches, fatigue, and depression, in addition to lowering metabolic rate.
The Zone Diet
The Zone Diet is a low-glycemic-load diet in which carbs are limited to 35–45 percent of daily calories, while protein and fat are each limited to 30 percent (89Trusted Source).
It implies that you eat only carbs with a low glycemic index (GI).
A food’s GI is a measurement of how high it increases your blood glucose levels after eating it.
The Zone Diet was created to reduce diet-induced inflammation, weight loss, and chronic disease risk (89Trusted Source).
How it works: The Zone Diet recommends combining each meal with 1/3 protein, 2/3 colorful fruits and vegetables, and a splash of fat — specifically monounsaturated oil like olive oil, avocado, or almonds.
It also restricts foods with a high GI, such as bananas, corn, and potatoes.
Weight loss: The outcomes of research on low-GI diets are mixed. While some argue that the diet helps weight loss and suppresses appetite, others claim that the diet produces very little weight loss compared to other diets (90Trusted Source, 91Trusted Source, 92Trusted Source, 93Trusted Source).
Other advantages: The most significant advantage of this diet is a decrease in heart disease risk factors, such as cholesterol and triglycerides (92Trusted Source, 94Trusted Source, 95Trusted Source, 96Trusted Source, 97Trusted Source).
According to one study, the Zone Diet can help overweight or obese people with type 2 diabetes regulate their blood sugar, lose weight, and reduce chronic inflammation (98Trusted Source).
The disadvantages: The diet is that it restricts certain good carbs like bananas and potatoes.
A low-GI diet is the Zone Diet. While research on its weight-loss benefits is mixed, the diet improves several essential health indicators and lowers heart disease risk.
Intermittent fasting alternates cycles of fasting and feeding in your body.
Rather than limiting what you eat, it governs when you consume it. As a result, it’s more of an eating regimen than a diet.
Intermittent fasting is most often done in the following ways:
- The 16/8 approach entails missing breakfast and limiting your daily eating time to eight hours, followed by fasting for the remaining 16 hours.
- The eat-stop-eat process is as follows: Fasts for 24 hours on non-consecutive days once or twice a week.
- The 5:2 diet entails restricting your consumption to 500–600 calories on two non-consecutive days of the week. On the remaining five days, you don’t limit your consumption.
- The Warrior Diet: During the day, consume small quantities of raw fruits and vegetables, and at night, eat one big meal.
How it works: Intermittent fasting is a standard weight-loss method since it allows for simple calorie restriction.
It will help you consume fewer calories overall if you don’t overcompensate by eating a lot more at mealtimes.
Also read: Overview of Food and Nutrition
Weight loss: Intermittent fasting is a compelling way to lose weight. It has been shown to induce weight loss of 3–8% over 3–24 weeks, which is a significant amount compared to other weight-loss diets (99Trusted Source, 100Trusted Source).
It can increase your metabolic rate by 3.6–14 percent in the short term, in addition to causing less muscle loss than regular calorie restriction (99Trusted Source, 101Trusted Source, 102Trusted Source, 103Trusted Source).
Other benefits: Intermittent fasting can reduce inflammatory markers, cholesterol levels, blood triglycerides, and blood sugar levels, among other things (104Trusted Source, 105Trusted Source, 106Trusted Source, 107Trusted Source).
Intermittent fasting has also been linked to higher levels of human growth hormone (HGH), improved insulin sensitivity, better cellular repair, and altered gene expression (108Trusted Source, 109Trusted Source, 110Trusted Source, 111Trusted Source, 112Trusted Source).
According to animal studies, it can also help new brain cells mature, extend lifespan, and protect against Alzheimer’s disease and cancer (113Trusted Source, 114Trusted Source, 115Trusted Source, 116Trusted Source).
The disadvantage: While intermittent fasting is safe for well-nourished and stable people, it is not for everyone.
According to some reports, it is not as helpful to women as men (117Trusted Source, 118Trusted Source).
Those that are vulnerable to blood sugar drops, pregnant women, breastfeeding mothers, teens, infants, and those who are malnourished, underweight, or nutrient deficient should also avoid fasting.
Your body cycles between fasting and feeding while you practice intermittent fasting. It has been related to various health benefits and is very successful for weight loss.
There is no such thing as a perfect weight-loss diet.
Different diets suit different people, so choose one that suits your lifestyle and preferences.
The safest diet for you is one that you can follow for an extended period.