When you go online and search for what diet is best for weight loss, your head could start spinning with all the hundreds of different diets that promise to give you miracle results. Not only that, each of these diets has followers who would boast about their impressive results on social media. This can further lead to confusion.
To ensure that you are making the right decision when choosing the best diet for weight loss, you must first understand how each of these diets works and decide for yourself if this is something that you can follow for the long term.
To help you in deciding what diet is best for weight loss, here’s what you need to know about some of the most popular weight loss diets of today.
What Diet is Best for Weight Loss?
1. Plant-Based Diet
Unlike most weight loss diets, the plant-based diet will not require you to follow any strict rules. You just focus on eating foods derived from plants.
There are various forms of plant-based diets. Two of the most popular are veganism and vegetarianism. There are also flexible plant-based diets, such as the Flexitarian Diet. This is a type of plant-based diet that allows the consumption of animal-based products in moderation.
The plant-based diet can also be integrated into the keto diet. This is known as the Plant-based version.
If you follow vegetarianism, you have to eliminate meat, poultry, and fish from your diet. Those who opted to follow veganism will have to avoid animal products as well, such as eggs, dairy, gelatin, and honey.
Studies show that plant-based diets can help with weight loss. That’s because the foods that you eat tend to be higher in fiber and lower in fat. These foods are low in calories, yet they keep you feeling full for longer.
2. Paleo Diet
The Paleo Diet is a type of diet that advocates eating the same foods that our ancestors ate during the Paleolithic Age. This diet is based on the theory that modern diseases are a result of the Western Diet.
When following the Paleo Diet, your diet should consist only of fruits, vegetables, lean meats, seeds, and nuts. This diet restricts the consumption of processed foods, sugar, grains, and dairy. There are also less restrictive versions of the diet, which allows the consumption of dairy products, such as cheese.
According to some studies, the Paleo Diet may help with weight loss and prevent belly fat. Some research also suggests that the diet may be more filling compared to other popular diets such as low-fat diets. This could be due to the diet’s high-protein content.
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3. Mediterranean Diet
The traditional Mediterranean Diet requires the consumption of foods that people from Mediterranean countries used to eat. Although this diet was mainly designed to lower the risk of heart diseases, some studies show that this diet can also help with weight loss.
As the diet encourages the consumption of antioxidant-rich foods, the Mediterranean Diet has been found to help fight inflammation.
In a Mediterranean diet, your diet must consist of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, seafood, nuts, and seeds. You can eat dairy products, eggs, and poultry, but only in moderation. Red meats must also be limited. Meanwhile, refined grains, oils, trans-fats, processed meats, and added sugar must be avoided.
Related reading: 6 Damaging Effects Of Sugar On Your Body
4. Low Calorie Diets
Low calorie diets have been used in one form or another for many years. The diet restricts the amount of calories you eat in a day which results in weight loss. Generally the diet is restricted to 1,000 – 1,200 calories a day for women and 1,200 – 1,600 calories a day for men.
This means avoiding refined carbohydrates, high-fat foods, and sweetened drinks. Foods allowed are generally fruits, vegetables, lean proteins, low or no fat dairy products and whole grains.
Related reading: Low Carb vs. Low Calorie Diet for Weight Loss
Doctors sometimes prescribe very low calorie diets prior to bariatric surgery for rapid loss of weight and to reduce liver fat. This consists of 800 calories day or fewer. It is done for a few weeks under strict medical supervision.
Dr Michael Mosley, an English medical doctor turned TV presenter, popularized the Fast 800 blood sugar diet (BSD) for reversing diabetes. This is as the name suggests a diet based on 800 calories a day.
Another version of the diet is the the BSD 5:2: Flexible intermittent fasting. This is based on eating a low carb Mediterranean style diet for 5 days a week and restricting the diet to 800 calories for two days a week which he calls fasting.
Low calorie diets are not easy to follow as they involve the tedious task of counting calories one way or another with the use of kitchen scales or one of the many online or app calorie trackers.
It’s important when following a low calorie diet that you don’t become deficient in nutrients. For this reason low calorie diets often consist of shakes to provide vitamins and minerals that may be deficient on very low calorie diets.
These types of diets don’t usually teach healthy eating and when the people go back onto their original diets they tend to put weight back on again. They can cause nutrient deficiencies in the long term so have to be carefully monitored.
5. Low Carb Diets
When you search the Internet for what diet is best for weight loss, low-carb diets will most likely come up. Indeed, low-carb diets are the most popular weight-loss diets of today. There are many different types of low carb diets, but the most popular of these is the keto diet.
As the name suggests, a low-carb diet is the type of diet that restricts the consumption of carbohydrate foods. The amount of carbs you’re allowed to eat will depend on the type of diet that you followed.
If you will adopt the ketogenic lifestyle, then you are limited to 15 to 30g of net carbs per day. The other types of low carb diets are the Atkins diet and LCHF or the low-carb, high-fat diet.
When following a low-carb diet, most of the foods you eat will come from protein, which helps to curb your appetite, increase metabolism, and build muscle mass. Several studies have shown that low-carb diets can help with weight loss and may be more effective compared to conventional low-fat diets.
5. Keto Diet
Of all the low carb diets, it is the keto diet that is the most popular. With the keto diet, you must significantly reduce your carb consumption in favor of fats. 75% of your total calorie intake in keto should come from healthy fats, while 10 to 30% from proteins.
Related reading: Do You Need to Count Calories on a Keto Diet?
By restricting your intake of carbs, your body will be forced to use fats for energy instead of glucose.
Although fats are often avoided due to their high-calorie content, research shows that keto diets are more effective at weight loss compared to low-fat diets. In addition, keto diets increase satiety and reduce hunger, which further aids in weight loss.
Related reading: Ketogenic Mediterranean Diet: Better than Keto for Fat Loss?
There are quite a few diets that can help you lose weight, but only a few of them are backed by scientific research. All the weight loss diets presented above have been well-researched, especially the low carb diets like keto.
Studies show that reducing your carb consumption can lead to reduced appetite and hunger, allowing you to easily sustain the diet. There is nothing worse than feeling hungry all the time while dieting.
While the other diets are also effective for weight loss, you should choose the diet based on your lifestyle and food preferences, so you will be able to stick to it for the long run. Yo-yo dieting is harmful in the long run and the majority of people end up putting on more weight.
The best thing about the keto diet is that you are allowed to eat lots of delicious foods, so you will not feel very restricted. It is a sustainable low carb eating plan that allows you to eat delicious foods and still lose a significant amount of weight.
Of course, deciding what diet is best for weight loss is a personal choice. But regardless of the type of diet that you choose, keep in mind that successful weight loss requires long-term lifestyle changes, not only to your eating habits, but also your physical activity.
Combining a healthy diet with more activity is the best way to lose weight and improve your health.