The 8 Best Diet Plans
One of the best ways to lose weight is by changing your diet.
Yet, the sheer number of available diet plans may make it difficult to get started, as you’re unsure which one is most suitable, sustainable, and effective.
Some diets aim to curb your appetite to reduce your food intake, while others suggest restricting your intake of calories and either carbs or fat.
What’s more, many offer health benefits that go beyond weight loss.
Here are the 8 best diet plans to help you shed weight and improve your overall health.
1. Intermittent fasting
Intermittent fasting is a dietary strategy that cycles between periods of fasting and eating.
Various forms exist, including the 16/8 method, which involves limiting your calorie intake to 8 hours per day, and the 5:2 method, which restricts your daily calorie intake to 500–600 calories twice per week.
How it works: Intermittent fasting restricts the time you’re allowed to eat, which is a simple way to reduce your calorie intake. This can lead to weight loss — unless you compensate by eating too much food during allowed eating periods.
Weight loss: In a review of studies, intermittent fasting was shown to cause 3–8% weight loss over 3–24 weeks, which is a significantly greater percentage than other methods (2Trusted Source).
The same review showed that this way of eating may reduce waist circumference by 4–7%, which is a marker for harmful belly fat (2Trusted Source).
Other studies found that intermittent fasting can increase fat burning while preserving muscle mass, which can improve metabolism (3Trusted Source, 4Trusted Source).
Other benefits: Intermittent fasting has been linked to anti-aging effects, increased insulin sensitivity, improved brain health, reduced inflammation, and many other benefits (5Trusted Source, 6Trusted Source).
Downsides: In general, intermittent fasting is safe for most healthy adults.
That said, those sensitive to drops in their blood sugar levels, such as some people with diabetes, low weight, or an eating disorder, as well as pregnant or breastfeeding women, should talk to a health professional before starting intermittent fasting.
Intermittent fasting cycles between periods of fasting and eating. It has been shown to aid weight loss and is linked to many other health benefits.
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2. Plant-based diets
Plant-based diets may help you lose weight. Vegetarianism and veganism are the most popular versions, which restrict animal products for health, ethical, and environmental reasons.
However, more flexible plant-based diets also exist, such as the flexitarian diet, which is a plant-based diet that allows eating animal products in moderation.
How it works: There are many types of vegetarianism, but most involve eliminating all meat, poultry, and fish. Some vegetarians may likewise avoid eggs and dairy.
The vegan diet takes it a step further by restricting all animal products, as well as animal-derived products like dairy, gelatin, honey, whey, casein, and albumin.
There are no clear-cut rules for the flexitarian diet, as it’s a lifestyle change rather than a diet. It encourages eating mostly fruits, vegetables, legumes, and whole grains but allows for protein and animal products in moderation, making it a popular alternative.
Many of the restricted food groups are high in calories, so limiting them may aid weight loss.
Weight loss: Research shows that plant-based diets are effective for weight loss (7Trusted Source, 8Trusted Source, 9Trusted Source).
A review of 12 studies including 1,151 participants found that people on a plant-based diet lost an average of 4.4 pounds (2 kg) more than those who included animal products (10Trusted Source).
Plus, those following a vegan diet lost an average of 5.5 pounds (2.5 kg) more than people not eating a plant-based diet (10Trusted Source).
Plant-based diets likely aid weight loss because they tend to be rich in fiber, which can help you stay fuller for longer, and low in high-calorie fat (11Trusted Source, 12Trusted Source, 13Trusted Source).
Other benefits: Plant-based diets have been linked to many other benefits, such as a reduced risk of chronic conditions like heart disease, certain cancers,
Low-fat diets restrict your intake of fat, as this macronutrient is higher in calories than protein and carbs. Studies have linked low-fat diets to weight loss and lower risks of heart disease and diabetes.
6. The Mediterranean diet
The Mediterranean diet is based on foods that people in countries like Italy and Greece used to eat.
Though it was designed to lower heart disease risk, numerous studies indicate that it can also aid weight loss (53Trusted Source).
How it works: The Mediterranean diet advocates eating plenty of fruits, vegetab