Scientists claim that these diet programs provide ample reason to conclude that they are the best in terms of working in the long term for weight loss & to fulfill your 2021's resolutions.
It is also a sign that it is time for a fresh start to turn the calendar page to a new year, and that has never felt more weicome than in 2021. Many of us are looking forward to getting involved, getting safe, and taking off all those quarantine pounds in the next 12 months after nearly a year spent sitting home, stressed out, and comfort-bingeing baked goods and Netflix. "Eating a diet rich in nutrients can make us feel better and more energized, and it lets us know that we are taking steps toward a healthier life," says Houston Methodist Wellness Services dietitian Amanda Beaver, RDN. "After a year that has been totally out of our control, it is something we can actually take action on," she says.
But your mind can start spinning with all the various "miracle" diets out there when you start studying the best ways to lose weight, keto! Hey, Paleo! FASTING 5-2! And of course, each of these has an army of true believers who post about how amazing they feel about giving up carbs/sugar/meat/dinner all over Instagram. It can be hard to decide which one to try out. "When following a new diet, the most important thing to do is to ask yourself these questions: Is it sustainable? Does it prohibit those foods, your favourites included? When socializing with your family and going to restaurants, will you continue on this diet? "Beaver said.
We asked an expert panel to sort out some of the most buzzed-about diets and discuss the healthy, the poor, and the hungry. Here are their top 8 tips to try, and 4 to forget about.
1. Mediterranean Diet
Based on the healthy lifestyle of Greece, Italy, Spain and Portugal, Mediterranean-style diets include healthy fats such as avocados, olive oil, nuts and fish at least twice a week, plenty of beans, fruit, leafy greens and whole grains, and even a daily glass of red wine. You can eat cheese in moderation, but limit the amount of red meat to once or twice a week.
How it works for weight loss: although this diet has many health benefits—it can lower your risk of both chronic disease and cognitive decline—it can also lead to weight loss if you reduce your calorie intake to 1,500 per day or less. Studies have shown that either a traditional Mediterranean diet or a low-carb version of it can result in a weight loss of about 5-10 percent of body weight over 12 months. And that weight stays off—a recent British study found that for people who had lost large amounts of weight, those who had eaten a Mediterranean-style diet were twice as likely to keep it off. "This diet is easy to maintain, because the food is delicious!" Beaver says.
2. DASH Diet
Low-sodium Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension (DASH) Diet was designed to help people control their blood pressure without taking drugs, although a few books used it as a basis for weight-loss diets. DASH focuses on fruit, vegetables, whole grains and low-fat or non-fat milk and limits saturated fat and dietary cholesterol.
How it works for weight loss: you're sure to improve your health with this diet, and if you restrict calories while following DASH's heart-healthy rules, you can lose weight and lower your blood pressure. A recent study of obese older adults found that those who followed the DASH diet lost weight and decreased body fat, along with many other health benefits. "DASH is one of my favorite diets," says Meridan Zerner, R.D., a dietitian at the Dallas Cooper Clinic. "You're getting the anti-inflammatory, high fiber, heart-healthy benefits, and if you use a personalized, calorie-limited plan, you can absolutely lose weight."
3. WW (Formerly 'Weight Watchers') Diet
Formerly known as Weight Watchers, this diet company has been around for so long that your grandma probably tried it when she tried to take off the baby's weight. With the newest version, myWW+, you get sorted into a color-coded program that assigns you a number of points per day (foods are given points based on calories, saturated fat, sugar, and protein)—you can eat whatever you want within that range. You can also eat an unlimited amount of 0-point food (most fruits and veggies and lean proteins such as fish, tofu, beans, eggs, and chicken breast fall into this category). Membership starts at $3.22 a week for a point-tracking app and digital support; $12.69 a week gives you unlimited access to meetings and a personal coach.
How it works for weight loss: research has consistently shown that WW is effective in taking off pounds safely. A 2013 study found that dieters assigned to WW were more than eight times more likely to lose 10% of their body weight over 6 months than those trying to diet on their own. "There is a lot of evidence that using a tracking app can help you lose weight," says Zerner. She adds that even if you stop tracking every meal, it's easy to maintain weight loss once you internalize which healthy foods are low or 0 points.
4. Vegan Diet
Going a step further than the traditional vegetarian diet, vegans shun all animal products, including milk, eggs and honey. While many choose this lifestyle for ethical or environmental reasons, some people also look at the vegan diet for weight loss. And with the new era of plant-based meat, going vegan is easier than ever before.
How it works for weight loss: just going vegan isn't going to help you lose weight. After all, candy, pasta and potato chips can all come under the vegan label without being particularly healthy or low-cal. "If you eat high-quality vegan food, like leafy greens and plant-based proteins, you can lose more weight than either vegetarians or omnivores," says Beaver; studies confirm that those on a plant-based diet have a lower average BMI than those who eat animal products. A 2020 Australian study came to the interesting conclusion that vegetarians and vegans are more likely to remain on a long-term diet than on plans such as paleo, because they are motivated by ethical and moral beliefs rather than just weight loss.
5. Flexitarian Diet
Whereas the vegan diet goes one step beyond vegetarianism, the Flexitarian diet takes one step back, says Dawn Jackson Blatner, R.D., nutritionist and author of The Flexitarian Diet. "This is a very pro-plant diet, but it gives you the flexibility to have a hot dog at a ballpark, or to eat some turkey at Thanksgiving," she says. There are no strict calorie limitations, though Blatner's book provides a 5-week plan that provides about 1,500 calories a day.
How it works for weight loss: by filling your plate with more vegetables, fruit, whole grains and plant proteins, and sticking to the low-calm plan, you can lose weight and improve your health. A recent review found that people who followed flexitar diet had lower BMIs and lower metabolic syndrome rates than people who regularly ate meat.
6. IF (Intermittent Fasting) Diet
There are a few different ways to make an intermittent fasting plan: some people eat whatever they want 5 days a week, then consume a very low calorie diet (usually around 500 calories) for the next 2 days, while others consume an 8-hour window every day. Say, eat unlimited food between 8 a.m. And four o'clock and fasting for the next sixteen hours.
How it works for weight loss: By limiting your overall calorie consumption, you'll take off your pounds, says Zerner, who points out that there is some evidence that this diet can also increase your metabolism and have other positive health effects. A 2015 meta-study found that people who had intermittent fasting lost about the same amount of weight as those who had a regular calorie-restricted diet.
7. Volumetrics Diet
Consistently rated as one of the best diets in the U.S. News & World Report, Volumetrics was produced by Barbara Rolls, Ph.D., Professor of Nutrition at Penn State University. The strategy here is simple: to fill in the food that provides the most nutrition for the least amount of calories. Foods are divided into four categories, from the least energy-dense (fruits, non-starchy vegetables, broth-based soups) to the most energy-dense (crackers, cookies, chocolate, nuts, and butter); dieters plan their meals to include as many low-density foods as possible.
How it works for weight loss: the math here is simple—the fewer calories you consume, the more weight you're going to lose. A 2016 study found a significant association between low-energy diets and weight loss.
8. Plant-based Diet
Similar to the Flexitarian diet, a plant-based diet does not have any super-strict rules: you just focus on eating whole foods derived from plants most of the time, with wiggle room for an occasional piece of chicken or scrambled egg. You're basically taking the standard American diet—which features a large hunk of meat in the center of the plate, with a few vegetables scattered on the side—and flipping it around, so vegetables, fruit, beans, nuts, and whole grains are the stars of the show, and beef, poultry, fish, eggs, and milk only make small, cameo appearances when you're really eager.
How it works for weight loss: plant-based foods tend to be higher in fiber and lower in fat than animal products, keeping you packed for less calories. According to one major study, overweight and obese adults who followed a plant-based diet for six months lost an average of 26 pounds.