Diets aren’t simply about losing weight. While altering your food is one of the most effective strategies to lose weight, it may also serve as a springboard for bettering your habits, concentrating on your health, and living a more active lifestyle.
However, the sheer quantity of diet programmes available may make getting started challenging. For various individuals, different diets will be more appropriate, durable, and effective.
Some diets seek to minimize your food consumption by curbing your appetite, while others propose calorie and carbohydrate or fat restriction. Some people would prefer to adjust their eating habits and lifestyle rather than restrict their food intake.
Furthermore, many have health advantages in addition to weight reduction.
The 9 best diet programmes to help you enhance your overall health are listed here.
1. Mediterranean cuisine
The Mediterranean diet has long been regarded as the gold standard for health, illness prevention, and longevity. This is due to its nutritional value and long-term viability.
How does it work?
The Mediterranean diet is based on foods that have been consumed historically in countries such as Italy and Greece. It is abundant in:
- entire grains
- olive oil
Foods like chicken, eggs, and dairy products should be consumed in moderation, while red meat should be consumed in moderation.
Furthermore, the Mediterranean diet restricts:
- refined grains
- trans fats
- processed meats
- added sugar
- other highly processed foods
The emphasis on minimally processed foods and plants in this diet has been linked to a lower risk of multiple chronic diseases and a longer lifespan. According to studies, the Mediterranean diet can help prevent certain cancers.
Even though the diet was made to lower the risk of heart disease, many studies have shown that its plant-based, high unsaturated fat eating plan can also help people lose weight.
A systematic review of five studies found that the Mediterranean diet resulted in greater weight loss after one year when compared to a low-fat diet. It produced similar weight loss results as a low carb diet.
In a 12-month study of more than 500 adults, higher adherence to a Mediterranean diet was linked to twice the likelihood of weight loss maintenance.
Furthermore, the Mediterranean diet encourages the consumption of a variety of antioxidant-rich foods, which may aid in the reduction of inflammation and oxidative stress by neutralising free radicals.
Recent studies have also found a link between the Mediterranean diet and a lower risk of mental disorders like dementia and depression.
Consuming less meat is also linked to a more environmentally friendly diet.
Because the Mediterranean diet does not place a high value on dairy products, it’s critical to ensure you get enough calcium and vitamin D.
The Mediterranean diet emphasizes a diet rich in fruits, vegetables, seafood, and healthy oils while avoiding refined and overly processed foods.
While it isn’t a weight loss diet, research suggests that it may help you lose weight and improve your overall health.
2. The DASH diet plan
DASH (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension) is an eating plan meant to help treat or prevent high blood pressure, often known as hypertension in medical terms.
It promotes the consumption of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and lean meats in large quantities. Salt, red meat, added sugar, and fat are all low in this dish.
Although the DASH diet is not a weight-loss plan, many individuals claim to have lost weight while following it.
How does it work?
The DASH diet suggests particular portions of certain dietary categories. The number of servings you should consume is determined by your daily caloric intake.
On the DASH diet, an average individual would consume approximately:
- five vegetable servings
- five servings of fruit
- 7 servings of whole grains or other nutritious carbohydrates
- two servings of low-fat dairy products
- two lean meat servings or less
Furthermore, nuts and seeds should be consumed two to three times every week.
The DASH diet has been demonstrated to lower blood pressure and other risk factors for heart disease. It may also aid in the prevention of breast and colorectal cancers.
The DASH diet has been shown in studies to aid weight loss. A review of 13 studies indicated that people who followed the DASH diet lost more weight over the course of 8–24 weeks than those who followed a control diet.
People with obesity who took part in a 12-week study showed that the DASH diet helped them lose total body weight, body fat percentage, and absolute fat mass while keeping their muscle strength.
The DASH diet may assist with depression symptoms in addition to weight loss.
Research conducted over eight years indicated that even modest adherence to the DASH diet was linked to a decreased incidence of depression.
While the DASH diet may help people with hypertension lose weight and reduce blood pressure, there is conflicting research on salt intake and blood pressure.
A low sodium diet isn’t suited for everyone, and eating too little salt has been related to increased insulin resistance.
Individuals with hypertension or other health issues that benefit from or need sodium restriction should follow a low sodium diet like the DASH diet.
More study is required to determine how a low salt diet affects insulin resistance in those who do not have hypertension.
Veganism and vegetarianism are plant-based diets that have been shown to minimize the risk of type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, and high cholesterol. They may, however, be restrictive for certain individuals.
The flexitarian diet is a less strict version of a plant-based diet that lets you eat meat and animal products once in a while.
4. The MIND diet plan
The Mediterranean-DASH Intervention for Neurodegenerative Delay (MIND) diet combines parts of both the Mediterranean and DASH diets to make a healthy eating plan for the brain.
How does it work?
The MIND diet, like the flexitarian diet, does not have a rigid meal plan but instead advocates consuming 10 particular foods that are good for your brain.
MIND contains the following meals per week:
- six or more servings of green leafy vegetables
- One non-starchy vegetable serving is
5 nut servings or more
It also recommends the following meals at least once a week:
- olive oil
- whole grains
The MIND diet has been shown to lessen the risk of Alzheimer’s disease, and studies have shown that it is superior to other plant-rich diets for boosting cognition.
The MIND diet has also been shown to help older people decrease cognitive decline and enhance resilience.
It may also help to postpone the development of Parkinson’s disease, a movement illness.
The MIND diet and weight loss have received minimal investigation. The MIND diet, however, may help you lose weight since it is a blend of two weight-loss regimes.
One way it might aid weight loss is by encouraging you to reduce your intake of items like:
- red meat
- fried food
However, additional study into the MIND diet and weight loss is required.
The MIND diet has a lot to offer and gives more flexibility than stricter diets by combining the best of two diets.
While you may consume more than the recommended ten food groups, the more closely you keep to the diet, the better your results may be.
The MIND diet is a hybrid of the Mediterranean and DASH diets that may lower your risk of Alzheimer’s disease and dementia.
However, further study is needed to determine its efficacy in aiding weight loss.
5. WW (formerly Weight Watchers)
WW, originally known as Weight Watchers, is one of the most well-known weight-loss programmes in the world.
While no food categories are restricted, people on the WW diet must eat within their daily point allowance to achieve their goal weight.
How does it work?
WW is a point-based system that allocates a value to various meals and drinks based on calorie, fat, and fiber levels.
You must stay within your daily point allotment while you progress toward your goal weight.
The WW programme has been shown in several studies to aid weight loss.
According to a 45-research study, people who followed the WW diet lost 2.6 percent more weight than those who received standard counseling.
Furthermore, when compared to other diets, people who follow WW programmes have been shown to be more effective at maintaining weight loss over time.
WW offers flexibility, making it simple to follow. This makes it easier for people with dietary limitations, such as food allergies, to stick to the plan.
WW is flexible, but it might be expensive depending on the subscription plan and the amount of time you expect to use it.
According to studies, meaningful weight loss and therapeutic effects might take up to 52 weeks.
Furthermore, its adaptability might be a disadvantage if dieters pick bad meals.
Weight Watchers, or WW, is a point-based weight loss and good eating programme.
According to studies, it is very versatile and successful for long-term weight reduction.
6. alternate-day fasting
Intermittent fasting is a way of eating in which you eat and don’t eat at different times.
The 16/8 approach, which entails restricting your calorie consumption to 8 hours each day, is one example. The 5:2 approach, which limits your daily calorie intake to 500–600 calories twice a week, is another option.
While intermittent fasting is most often associated with weight loss, it may offer significant health advantages for both your body and mind.
How does it work?
Intermittent fasting limits the amount of time you may eat, making it a straightforward way to cut calories. If you try to make up for it by eating too much food when it’s okay to do so, you might lose weight.
Intermittent fasting has been linked to anti-aging effects, better insulin sensitivity, better brain health, less inflammation, and a number of other benefits.
Studies on both animals and people have shown that intermittent fasting is good for the heart and makes people live longer.
It may also aid in weight loss.
Intermittent fasting was found to promote weight loss of 0.8–13 percent over a period of 2 weeks to 1 year in a review of trials. This is a much higher proportion than many other approaches.
In other studies, it has been shown that intermittent fasting can speed up your metabolism by making you burn more fat while keeping your muscle mass.
While some diets have a lot of restrictions, require numerous visits to the grocery store, and are tough to stick to, intermittent fasting is a more straightforward eating plan.
There are fewer meals to prepare, cook, and clean up after due to the nature of the diet.
Intermittent fasting is generally safe for most healthy people.
Those who are susceptible to blood sugar decreases should see a health practitioner before beginning intermittent fasting. People in these groupings include:
- People suffer with diabetes
- those who are underweight
- who suffer from an eating problem
- who are expecting
- breastfeeding or chestfeeding mothers
Intermittent fasting alternates between fasting and eating intervals.
It has been linked to a variety of health advantages, including weight loss.
Barbara Rolls, a nutrition professor at Penn State University, made the Volumetrics diet not as a strict diet but as a way to change your lifestyle for the long term.
How does it work?
The eating plan encourages you to consume nutrient-dense meals that are low in calories and rich in water to help you lose weight.
Meanwhile, calorie-dense foods such as cookies, sweets, nuts, seeds, and oils are restricted.
The Volumetric diet separates food into four groups depending on calorie density, which Rolls computed using a formula. These are the categories:
- Foods with a low calorie density, such as non-starchy fruits and vegetables, nonfat milk, and broth-based soups, fall under category one.
- Low-calorie meals include starchy fruits and vegetables, grains, morning cereal, low-fat meat, legumes, and low-fat mixed dishes like chili, which fall under category two.
- Foods with a medium calorie density, such as meat, cheese, pizza, bread, and ice cream, fall into category three.
- Foods heavy in calories, such as crackers, chips, chocolate sweets, almonds, butter, and oil, fall under category four.
The volumetric diet’s meals mostly consist of foods from categories one and two, with small quantities of items from categories three and four.
On the Volumetric diet, there are no foods that you must never eat, and you should work out for at least 30–60 minutes every day.
The Volumetric diet promotes nutrient-dense meals that are low in calories but rich in fibre, vitamins, and minerals, which may help you get more of the elements you need while avoiding nutritional deficiencies.
Diets with a low calorie density have also been linked to better diet quality in studies.
It also limits how much processed food you eat, which may lower your risk of some cancers and heart disease.
The Volumetric diet may also aid weight loss.
According to a study of 13 studies involving over 3,000 participants, diets high in low calorie density foods resulted in enhanced weight loss. Similarly, an 8-year study of almost 50,000 women revealed that eating high-calorie-dense meals contributed to weight gain (40Trusted Source, 41Trusted Source).
While the Volumetric diet may be beneficial to one’s health and weight loss, it requires a thorough grasp of Volumetric, which entails knowing about food calorie levels in relation to portion sizes and nutritional content.
Some people may find this easier than others.
The Volumetric are meant to help you lose weight by filling you up with nutrient-dense, low-calorie, and high-water meals.
It might help you lose weight, but you need to know a lot about how much food you eat and how many calories it has.
8. The Mayo Clinic diet
The Mayo Clinic diet was developed by the same-named reputed medical institution.
How does it work?
The Mayo Clinic diet is not a quick fix, but instead focuses on replacing less healthy habits with ones that are more likely to make you live longer and lose weight.
Rather than excluding particular foods, the Mayo Clinic diet employs a pyramid to promote activity and indicate appropriate eating portions.
Fruits, vegetables, and physical exercise form the foundation of the pyramid, which is followed by carbohydrates, protein, and dairy, fats, and ultimately sweets.
There are two stages to the diet. A two-week introductory phase aimed at jump-starting your weight loss by introducing five better behaviors and encouraging you to break five less healthy behaviors.
The second phase emphasizes a long-term lifestyle adjustment that includes instruction about healthy food choices and portion sizes, as well as physical activity.
The health advantages of the Mayo Clinic diet have received little investigation.
However, the Mayo Clinic advises users to anticipate losing roughly 10 pounds in the first two weeks and up to 2 pounds in the second.
Because high-fiber diets enhance satiety by making you feel fuller, the Mayor Clinic diet may help you lose weight. It may also lower your chances of getting type 2 diabetes.
Furthermore, studies suggest that exercising while on a low-calorie diet promotes weight loss more effectively than dieting alone.
However, further study is required to evaluate the Mayo Clinic diet’s weight-loss efficacy.
Meal plans, recipes, a food tracker, virtual group sessions, at-home exercises, and more are included in the digital version of the programme, but it is a monthly subscription.
The Mayo Clinic diet is easy to follow and encourages people to be active and eat a lot of fruits and vegetables.
The diet’s creators say that people will lose about 10 pounds in the first two weeks, but more research is needed to fully understand the health benefits.
9. Low-carbohydrate diets
Low carb diets are one of the most popular weight loss regimens. The Atkins diet, ketogenic (keto) diet, and low carb, high fat (LCHF) diet are all examples.
Some kinds are more carb-reduced than others. For example, extremely low carb diets, such as the ketogenic diet, limit this macronutrient to less than 10% of total calories, compared to 30% or less for other kinds.
How does it work?
Low-carb diets limit carbohydrate consumption in favors of protein and fat.
Protein may help suppress your hunger, improve your metabolism, and preserve muscle mass, so they’re often richer in protein than low-fat diets.
When you follow a low-carb diet like keto, your body starts turning fatty acids into ketones instead of carbohydrates for energy. Ketosis is the name for this process.
Low-carbohydrate diets have been shown to lower risk factors for heart disease, such as high cholesterol and blood pressure. They may also help people with type 2 diabetes control their blood sugar and insulin levels.
Low carb diets have been shown in several trials to promote weight reduction and may be more successful than traditional low-fat diets.
According to a study of 53 researchers with 68,128 individuals, low carb diets, for example, resulted in much higher weight loss than low fat diets.
Furthermore, low-carb diets tend to be quite successful in reducing dangerous belly fat.
Cons A low-carb diet may boost LDL (bad) cholesterol levels in certain people. Low-carb diets may be difficult to stick to and might cause stomach problems in some individuals.
Following an extremely low carb diet may cause ketoacidosis, a serious metabolic disease that can be deadly if not managed.
Low-carb diets limit your carb consumption, encouraging your body to burn fat for energy.
They may assist you in losing weight and provide several additional advantages.
Many diets may assist you in losing weight while also providing various health advantages.
Some of the most popular ways to eat are the Mediterranean diet, WW (Weight Watchers), MIND, DASH, intermittent fasting, plant-based diets, low-carb diets, the Mayo Clinic diet, and the Volumetric diet.
While all of the diets listed above have been demonstrated to help people lose weight, the one you pick should be based on your lifestyle and dietary choices. This increases your chances of sticking to it in the long run.
It’s also a good idea to discuss your personal health history with your doctor before beginning any new diet. They can assist you in determining which plan is ideal for you.
A licensed dietician can also assist you in navigating the new regulations and planning meals that you really want to eat after you’ve chosen to start a new diet.