Diet Plans For Weight Loss - Overview
It’s estimated that nearly half of American adults attempt to lose weight each year (CDC). One of the best ways to lose weight is by changing your diet.
Yet, the sheer number of available diet plans for weight loss 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 for weight loss:
1. Intermittent Fasting
Intermittent fasting is a dietary strategy that cycles between periods of fasting and eating.
Different 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.
The same review showed that this way of eating may reduce waist circumference by 4–7%, which is a marker for harmful stomach fat.
Other studies found that intermittent fasting can increase fat burning while preserving muscle mass, which can improve metabolism.
Other benefits: Intermittent fasting has been linked to anti-aging effects, increased insulin sensitivity, improved brain health, reduced inflammation, and many other benefits.
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.
2. Plant Based Diets
Plant-based diets may help you lose weight. Veganism and Vegetarianism are the most popular versions, which restrict animal products for health, ethical, and environmental reasons.
However, more flexible plant-based diet plans for weight loss 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, 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.
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.
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.
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.
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, and diabetes. They can also be more environmentally sustainable than meat-based diets.
Downsides: Though plant-based diets are healthy, they can restrict important nutrients that are typically found in animal products, such as iron, vitamin B12, vitamin D, calcium, zinc, and omega-3 fatty acids.
A flexitarian approach or proper supplementation can help account for these nutrients.
3. Low Carb Diets
Low-carb diets are among the most popular diets for weight loss. Examples include the Atkins diet, ketogenic (keto) diet, and low-carb, high-fat (LCHF) diet.
Some Types reduce carbs more drastically than others. For instance, very-low-carb diet plans for weight loss like the keto diet restrict this macronutrient to under 10% of total calories, compared with 30% or less for other types.
How it works: Low-carb diets restrict your carb intake in favor of protein and fat.
They’re typically higher in protein than low-fat diets, which is important, as protein can help curb your appetite, raise your metabolism, and conserve muscle mass.
In very-low-carb diets like keto, your body begins using fatty acids rather than carbs for energy by converting them into ketones. This process is called Ketosis (NIH).
Weight loss: Many studies indicate that low-carb diets can aid weight loss and may be more effective than conventional low-fat diets.
For example, a review of 53 studies including 68,128 participants found that low-carb diets resulted in significantly more weight loss than low-fat diets.
What’s more, low-carb diets appear to be quite effective at burning harmful belly fat.
Other benefits: Research suggests that low-carb diets may reduce risk factors for heart disease, including high cholesterol and blood pressure levels. They may also improve blood sugar and insulin levels in people with type 2 diabetes.
Downsides: In some cases, a low-carb diet may raise LDL (bad) cholesterol levels. Very-low-carb diet plans for weight loss can also be difficult to follow and cause digestive upset in some people .
In very rare situations, following a very-low-carb diet may cause a condition known as ketoacidosis, a dangerous metabolic condition that can be fatal if left untreated.
4. The Paleo Diet
The Paleo Diet advocates eating the same foods that your hunter-gatherer ancestors allegedly ate.
It’s based on the theory that modern diseases are linked to the Western diet, as proponents believe that the human body hasn’t evolved to process legumes, grains, and dairy.
How it works: The paleo diet advocates eating whole foods, fruits, vegetables, lean meats, nuts, and seeds. It restricts the consumption of processed foods, grains, sugar, and dairy, though some less restrictive versions allow for some dairy products like cheese.
Weight loss: Numerous studies have shown that the paleo diet can aid weight loss and reduce harmful belly fat.
For example, in one 3-week study, 14 healthy adults following a paleo diet lost an average of 5.1 pounds (2.3 kg) and reduced their waist circumference — a marker for belly fat — by an average of 0.6 inches (1.5 cm).
Research also suggests that the paleo diet may be more filling than popular diets like the Mediterranean diet and low-fat diets. This may be due to its high protein content.
Other benefits: Following the paleo diet may reduce several heart disease risk factors, such as high blood pressure, cholesterol, and triglyceride levels.
Downsides: Though the paleo diet is healthy, it restricts several nutritious food groups, including legumes, whole grains, and dairy.
5. Low Fat Diets
Like low-carb diets, low-fat diet plans for weight loss have been popular for decades.
In general, a low-fat diet involves restricting your fat intake to 30% of your daily calories.
Some very- and ultra-low-fat diets aim to limit fat consumption to under 10% of calories.
How it works: Low-fat diets restrict fat intake because fat provides about twice the number of calories per gram, compared with the other two macronutrients — protein and carbs.
Ultra low-fat diets contain fewer than 10% of calories from fat, with approximately 80% of calories coming from carbs and 10% from protein.
Ultra-low-fat diets are mainly plant-based and limit meat and animal products.
Weight loss: As low-fat diets restrict calorie intake, they can aid weight loss.
An analysis of 33 studies including over 73,500 participants found that following a low-fat diet led to small but relevant changes in weight and waist circumference.
However, while low-fat diet plans for weight loss appear to be as effective as low-carb diets for weight loss in controlled situations, low-carb diets seem to be more effective day to day.
Ultra-low-fat diets have been shown to be successful, especially among people with obesity. For example, an 8-week study in 56 participants found that eating a diet comprising 7–14% fat led to an average weight loss of 14.8 pounds (6.7 kg).
Other benefits: Low-fat diets have been linked to a reduced risk of heart disease and stroke. They may also reduce inflammation and improve markers of diabetes.
Downsides: Restricting fat too much can lead to health problems in the long term, as fat plays a key role in hormone production, nutrient absorption, and cell health. Moreover, very-low-fat diets have been linked to a higher risk of metabolic syndrome
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.
How it works: Mediterranean diet plans for weight loss advocate eating plenty of fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, legumes, tubers, whole grains, fish, seafood, and extra virgin olive oil.
Foods such as poultry, eggs, and dairy products are to be eaten in moderation. Meanwhile, red meats are limited.
Additionally, the Mediterranean diet restricts refined grains, trans fats, refined oils, processed meats, added sugar, and other highly processed foods.
Weight loss: Though it’s not specifically a weight loss diet, many studies show that adopting a Mediterranean-style diet may aid weight loss.
For example, an analysis of 19 studies found that people who combined the Mediterranean diet with exercise or calorie restriction lost an average of 8.8 pounds (4 kg) more than those on a control diet.
Other benefits: Mediterranean diet plans for weight loss encourages eating plenty of antioxidant-rich foods, which may help combat inflammation and oxidative stress by neutralizing free radicals. It has been linked to reduced risks of heart disease and premature death.
Downsides: As the Mediterranean diet is not strictly a weight loss diet, people may not lose weight following it unless they also consume fewer calories.
LKN Weight Loss & Wellness is a Lake Norman Weight Loss Doctor & Wellness Clinic that works with patients to provide customized weight loss programs. LKN Weight Loss & Wellness wants to help you in your weight loss journey to lose weight fast and keep it off! Our Weight loss programs combine diet plans for weight loss and weight loss pills & supplements with workout recommendations to create a healthy lifestyle change. Our Lake Norman Weight Loss Doctor has everything you need to succeed in your weight loss journey! Check out how to “find a weight loss doctor near me” and “what type of doctor should I see for weight loss?” for more relevant information!
Call LKN Weight Loss & Wellness today (704-964-6250) and remember to schedule your appointment today!