Popular Diet Plans Reviews

popular diet plans

There are so many popular diet plans for weight loss that it is almost impossible to list them all. However, many have features in common, such as high protein levels or avoidance of certain food groups. Because of this, diet plans can be assessed based on the way that they advocate eating:

Types of Popular Diet Plans

  • High protein
  • Low carbohydrate
  • High fat
  • Gluten free
  • Intermittent fasting
  • Vegetarian/Vegan
  • Calorie tracking
  • Small, frequent meals
  • Large, infrequent meals

There are many more things that can be considered when assessing a diet plan, but these are some of the common ways that popular diet plans advocate eating. Other methods of eating are chosen by evaluating things that are less directly related to weight loss, such as personality type or emotions. There are many types of prepared meal plans available as well, but the composition of these foods and the way that they are intended to be eaten vary widely. This means that prepared food can be part of almost any type of diet plan. [1]

Popular Diet Plans to Lose Weight Fast

There are many popular diet plans to lose weight fast. The question is, do any of them work? If they do work, are they safe? Is the weight loss sustainable, or only effective in the short-term?

Plans intended to help people lose weight fast often severely restrict calories. They may include other features that are supposed to increase weight loss or cleanse the body, but the effects that are seen are largely, or entirely, from the extreme calorie restriction.

Evidence shows that in most cases, extreme weight loss achieved in this manner is not sustainable. Even medically-supervised very low-calorie diets have a high failure rate when it comes to keeping the weight off. To lose weight to become eligible for weightloss surgery, for example, these diets may be effective. For long-term weight loss, they are not.

The safety of weight loss through extreme calorie restriction is also an important question. For most healthy people, a short period of extreme calorie restriction is unlikely to be acutely harmful, especially if the food that is consumed has sufficient protein. However, these diets can be harmful to people who already have a medical condition, or if they are continued for any length of time. [2]

Another side effect of extreme low-calorie diets is the ‘yo-yo dieting’ problem. Weight cycling, which is the proper term for yo-yo dieting, involves gaining and losing weight repeatedly. It has been proven to be bad for your health, and each cycle may make losing weight harder. So, from this perspective, it may be easier for a person to lose a hundred pounds if they have never been on a diet than if they have repeatedly been gaining and losing weight. [3]

Weight cycling also results in about one in three dieters ending up heavier at the end of each cycle than they were before, which is entirely counterproductive. Because dieters lose both muscle and fat when dieting but tend only to put fat back on, there is an overall increase in the percentage of body fat when weight cycling. This leads to a greater risk of all the diseases that are more common in people with higher body fat: diabetes, fatty liver disorders, heart conditions and more.

The reason that extreme low-calorie diets are more likely to cause weight cycling is that they are ultimately unsustainable. Even when they work exactly like they are supposed to, people cannot stay on them forever. Therefore, this type of diet comes to an end, after which people have to figure out healthy lifestyle choices to maintain their weight loss. It may be easier on both the metabolism and the person to simply choose to make the healthy lifestyle changes from the beginning.

Popular Fad Diets

Some diets that are popular right now fall into the category of fad diets. These are diets that advocate extreme eating in one way or another. Some of the common ones involve restricting entire food groups or only eating at certain times or in certain ways. However, most research shows that the things that fad diets focus on are almost never important. Instead, it is the fact that these popular diet plans result in a lower calorie intake thanks to their restrictions that cause weight loss.

Some examples include going gluten-free or vegan. While both of these diet types can be healthy for certain individuals, they typically cause weight loss through restriction of foods that people ate before going on the plan. Unless a person has been diagnosed with a gluten intolerance or Celiac disease, there is no evidence that eliminating it from their diet will improve their health. In some cases, it can be detrimental because dieters may choose processed foods such as gluten-free cookies over healthy foods such as whole grain crackers. [4]

Many people eat healthily on a vegetarian or vegan diet. On the other hand, many people eat poorly on a vegetarian or vegan diet. Many processed, high-sugar, high-fat foods are vegetarian or vegan. Whether these products have meat in them or not, they remain bad for you. The weight loss that people see when they switch to a vegetarian or vegan diet usually results from either eating less because there are fewer foods that they find desirable or eating more whole grains and vegetables, which can be done without eliminating meat. [5] [6]

Popular Diet Plans 2017

The most popular diet plans 2017 has to offer include programs that touch on nearly all of the major ways to lose weight. So which one is best? It might depend on your needs and preferences. There are some things to consider about you when choosing a diet plan:

  • What foods can you not live without?
  • What foods do you not care about?
  • Do you need to pack meals every day? Or eat in the car?
  • Can you take time to make food every day?
  • Do you want a strict plan with firm rules or a more flexible program?
  • Is social support important to you?

These are just some of the questions that you might want to ask yourself before choosing a diet plan.

Popular Diet Plans Compared

For people who have a hard time sticking to a diet, the 5:2 diet, or intermittent fasting, is popular. A variety of forms of this diet exist, but basically, dieters eat how they like five days a week and fast or eat very few calories the other two days of the week.

Because it does not ban any foods and the deprivation aspect of the diet is only in effect for two days of the week, it is easier for many people to stick with. It may cause side effects during fasting days, and some people are prone to overeating on other days to make up for the loss of calories. There is not a lot of scientific evidence on this diet.

The Paleo diet appeals to people who want to eat in a less processed, more natural way. Again, there are a variety of forms, but this diet involves eating like cave dwellers were purported to have eaten. The only food that can be hunted or gathered can be eaten, which eliminates grains, dairy and all processed foods.

The South Beach diet is a good plan for people who want advice on how to eat a balanced, healthy diet that does not rely on severe restrictions. The first two weeks of the diet involve eating lean protein, unsaturated fat, and vegetables, but after that, it broadens into a diet plan that incorporates low glycemic-index carbohydrates, fruits, vegetables, healthy fats, and lean protein.

There is the potential for side effects during the initial phase of restricted eating, and it does not offer a simple list of prescribed and prohibited foods like some diets do, but it meets the criteria for healthy eating based on scientific evidence.

Slim-Fast makes a line of prepared foods and shakes that make it extremely simple for dieters who want this kind of structure. In the beginning, dieters are advised to eat only Slim-Fast products, which provide all essential nutrients. After a while, the plan broadens into eating a meal replacement shake, two Slim-Fast snacks and two healthy meals a day.

This kind of diet requires that the dieter enjoy the Slim-Fast products, or they are unlikely to be able to stick with it. In addition, careful planning is required to meet the recommended allowance of fruits and vegetables every day while on this plan.

Weight Watchers offers a support system for dieters as well as the diet plan itself, which can be appealing to some people. Meetings help keep dieters accountable and may increase motivation to stick with the diet.

Weight Watchers revolves around a point system, where dieters are given a certain amount of points to spend each day, plus a safety net of a certain amount more points for the week. Every food is given a point value based on calories, fat, fiber and protein content. Fruit and vegetables are unrestricted, and no foods are off limits. However, learning the points system can be tedious, and the program may not teach dieters very much about the principles behind healthy eating.

The New Atkins Diet maintains many of the familiar features of the previous form of the diet. Dieters are started on an extremely low-carbohydrate allowance of 20-25 grams per day. Fat and protein are unrestricted, and dieters may eat any fat and protein that they like.

After the initial period, carbohydrates are added back in until dieters reach their ideal carbohydrate balance for weight loss and maintenance. Unfortunately, while a low-carbohydrate diet may not be a bad thing, a diet that does not emphasize the role of healthy fat, fruits and vegetables run counter to current knowledge about healthy eating.

Proponents of the Alkaline diet believe that certain foods make the body too acidic, which causes fat retention and eating differently can cure this problem. The diet itself advocates cutting back on foods such as meat, grains, processed carbohydrates, dairy and alcohol, in favor of fruits and vegetables.

The theory of how this diet works has very little evidence behind it and the body is known to self-regulate its acid-alkaline balance. However, the diet itself contains mostly healthy foods and sticking to it can induce weight loss by switching out high-calorie foods for lower-calorie ones such as vegetables. [7]

Popular Detox Diet Plans

Detox diets are aimed at the idea that ridding the body of certain toxins will improve overall health and cause weight loss. However, which toxins are the targets of these treatments and the method of action through which they work is unclear, at best. Some popular detox diet plans are harmless or even helpful interventions that generally advocate for a healthier lifestyle, while others are extreme and make similarly extreme claims that cannot be supported.

There is currently no evidence that any particular diet helps detoxify the body. Most detox diet plans make no specific claims but instead couch their product in vague terms that promise things like ‘rejuvenation.’ It is important to note that some detox diets can be harmful, so dieters planning on undertaking one of these should do their research and speak to their doctor. [8]

Popular Diet and Exercise Plans

It is well understood at this point that diet plans need to come with exercise or they are unlikely to be sustainable. An overview of research done on the subject shows that people on a diet and exercise program lose an average of 20 percent more weight than those on a diet plan only. This difference is sustained after a year, as well. Exercise is a key component of both successful initial weight loss and long-term weight maintenance. [9]

Interestingly, exercise-induced weight loss causes greater fat loss than diet-induced weight loss. This means that people who only diet are not getting as much of a benefit out of their new lifestyle as they could. Exercise is known to have some benefits for overall health, including improving insulin resistance, which is a common issue in overweight or obese people. Combining diet and exercise appears to have the best results when it comes to losing fat, although the same amount of weight can be lost through diet alone. [10]

Popular diet and exercise plans vary quite a bit, from those that emphasize diet to those that emphasize exercise and everything in between. Most diet plans touch on exercise, although there are a few for which the allure is that they do not recommend any particular amount of activity. However, because health guidelines now advocate that everyone gets a minimum amount of exercise per week, these popular diet plans cannot be considered healthy. [11]

Popular Diet Plans Pros and Cons

Popular diet plans pros and cons range from very serious (the plan is dangerous) to very minor and subjective (the plan is complicated). It is important to understand the difference between these pros and cons and how to assess a diet plan for safety and personal preference. There are some things to consider when choosing a diet plan:

  • Scientific evidence
  • Physician advice
  • Balance of nutrients
  • Emphasis on exercise
  • Personal appeal

If a diet plan sounds too good to be true, it probably is. There is no magic bullet for weight loss, and extreme calorie restriction should only be undertaken with a doctor’s assistance. However, there are near as many popular diet plans as there are ways to eat in the world, which means that there are a wide variety of choices that fit into the requirements of safe, healthy, and effective. This just leaves personal preference, which is important because no diet will help you lose weight if you cannot stick with it.

Top Diet Plans for Weight Loss

Popular diet plans to lose weight all run into the same hurdle: compliance. People who do not stick with their diet do not continue to lose weight, and in fact, many regain it all and more. Short-term diets that come to an end usually fail to keep people from regaining weight because they rely on deprivation and do not provide a long-term solution. Popular diet plans that severely restrict foods may leave dieters with unbearable cravings.

So, how do the top diet plans for weight loss beat this issue? They don’t. You do. The best diet, according to research, is the one that you can stick with. It must, of course, meet all of your basic nutritional needs, but once that hurdle is overcome, the best diet for you is the one that you will stay on.

The bottom line for dieters is to aim for sustainable lifestyle changes rather than diets with end dates. Make these changes small enough that you can accomplish them so that you don’t lose motivation. If you want to follow a particular diet plan, choose one that meets certain criteria:

  • Includes all food groups
  • Allows for a bit of indulgence here and there
  • Emphasizes fruits and vegetables
  • Reduces consumption of processed foods
  • Teaches the principles behind healthy eating
  • Encourages exercise and physical activity
  • Deals with mental and emotional eating issues

It sometimes seems like there are almost more popular diet plans to lose weight than there are people to follow them. However, the diet that you choose is ultimately unimportant if it meets the requirements of healthy eating and promotes long-term lifestyle changes. When researchers looked at four different popular diet plans compared, they found that all caused about the same amount of weight loss. Don’t be fooled by promises that only a particular diet can make you thin overnight because no diet can do that healthily and sustainably. Weight loss should be a gradual process that leaves you with the skills to understand how to eat and why nutrition is important. [12] [13]