Best diet weight loss

Contents

10 tips for successful weight loss

People can lose weight and maintain this loss by taking several achievable steps. These include the following:

1. Eat varied, colorful, nutritionally dense foods

Share on PinterestEat a varied, nutritious diet.

Healthful meals and snacks should form the foundation of the human diet. A simple way to create a meal plan is to make sure that each meal consists of 50 percent fruit and vegetables, 25 percent whole grains, and 25 percent protein. Total fiber intake should be 25–30 grams (g) daily.

Eliminate trans fats from the diet, and minimize the intake of saturated fats, which has a strong link with the incidence of coronary heart disease.

Instead, people can consume monounsaturated fatty acids (MUFA) or polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFA), which are types of unsaturated fat.

The following foods are healthful and often rich in nutrients:

  • fresh fruits and vegetables
  • fish
  • legumes
  • nuts
  • seeds
  • whole grains, such as brown rice and oatmeal

Foods to avoid eating include:

  • foods with added oils, butter, and sugar
  • fatty red or processed meats
  • baked goods
  • bagels
  • white bread
  • processed foods

In some cases, removing certain foods from the diet might cause a person to become deficient in some necessary vitamins and minerals. A nutritionist, dietitian, or another healthcare professional can advise a person how to get enough nutrients while they are following a weight loss program.

2. Keep a food and weight diary

Self-monitoring is a critical factor in successfully losing weight. People can use a paper diary, mobile app, or dedicated website to record every item of food that they consume each day. They can also measure their progress by recording their weight on a weekly basis.

Those who can track their success in small increments and identify physical changes are much more likely to stick to a weight loss regimen.

People can also keep track of their body mass index (BMI) using a BMI calculator.

3. Engage in regular physical activity and exercise

Share on PinterestRegular physical activity can help a person lose weight.

Regular exercise is vital for both physical and mental health. Increasing the frequency of physical activity in a disciplined and purposeful way is often crucial for successful weight loss.

One hour of moderate-intensity activity per day, such as brisk walking, is ideal. If one hour per day is not possible, the Mayo Clinic suggests that a person should aim for a minimum of 150 minutes every week.

People who are not usually physically active should slowly increase the amount of exercise that they do and gradually increase its intensity. This approach is the most sustainable way to ensure that regular exercise becomes a part of their lifestyle.

In the same way that recording meals can psychologically help with weight loss, people may also benefit from keeping track of their physical activity. Many free mobile apps are available that track a person’s calorie balance after they log their food intake and exercise.

If the thought of a full workout seems intimidating to someone who is new to exercise, they can begin by doing the following activities to increase their exercise levels:

  • taking the stairs
  • raking leaves
  • walking a dog
  • gardening
  • dancing
  • playing outdoor games
  • parking farther away from a building entrance

Individuals who have a low risk of coronary heart disease are unlikely to require medical assessment ahead of starting an exercise regimen.

However, prior medical evaluation may be advisable for some people, including those with diabetes. Anyone who is unsure about safe levels of exercise should speak to a healthcare professional.

4. Eliminate liquid calories

It is possible to consume hundreds of calories a day by drinking sugar-sweetened soda, tea, juice, or alcohol. These are known as “empty calories” because they provide extra energy content without offering any nutritional benefits.

Unless a person is consuming a smoothie to replace a meal, they should aim to stick to water or unsweetened tea and coffee. Adding a splash of fresh lemon or orange to water can provide flavor.

Avoid mistaking dehydration for hunger. An individual can often satisfy feelings of hunger between scheduled meal times with a drink of water.

5. Measure servings and control portions

Eating too much of any food, even low-calorie vegetables, can result in weight gain.

Therefore, people should avoid estimating a serving size or eating food directly from the packet. It is better to use measuring cups and serving size guides. Guessing leads to overestimating and the likelihood of eating a larger-than-necessary portion.

The following size comparisons can be useful for monitoring food intake when dining out:

  • three-fourths of a cup is a golf ball
  • one-half of a cup is a tennis ball
  • 1 cup is a baseball
  • 1 ounce (oz) of nuts is a loose handful
  • 1 teaspoon is 1 playing die
  • 1 tablespoon is a thumb tip
  • 3 oz of meat is a deck of cards
  • 1 slice is a DVD

These sizes are not exact, but they can help a person moderate their food intake when the correct tools are not available.

6. Eat mindfully

Many people benefit from mindful eating, which involves being fully aware of why, how, when, where, and what they eat.

Making more healthful food choices is a direct outcome of becoming more in tune with the body.

People who practice mindful eating also try to eat more slowly and savor their food, concentrating on the taste. Making a meal last for 20 minutes allows the body to register all of the signals for satiety.

It is important to focus on being satisfied after a meal rather than full and to bear in mind that many “all natural” or low-fat foods are not necessarily a healthful choice.

People can also consider the following questions regarding their meal choice:

  • Is it good “value” for the calorie cost?
  • Will it provide satiety?
  • Are the ingredients healthful?
  • If it has a label, how much fat and sodium does it contain?

7. Stimulus and cue control

Many social and environmental cues might encourage unnecessary eating. For example, some people are more likely to overeat while watching television. Others have trouble passing a bowl of candy to someone else without taking a piece.

By being aware of what may trigger the desire to snack on empty calories, people can think of ways to adjust their routine to limit these triggers.

8. Plan ahead

Stocking a kitchen with diet-friendly foods and creating structured meal plans will result in more significant weight loss.

People looking to lose weight or keep it off should clear their kitchen of processed or junk foods and ensure that they have the ingredients on hand to make simple, healthful meals. Doing this can prevent quick, unplanned, and careless eating.

Planning food choices before getting to social events or restaurants might also make the process easier.

9. Seek social support

Share on PinterestHaving social support is a great way to stay motivated.

Embracing the support of loved ones is an integral part of a successful weight loss journey.

Some people may wish to invite friends or family members to join them, while others might prefer to use social media to share their progress.

Other avenues of support may include:

  • a positive social network
  • group or individual counseling
  • exercise clubs or partners
  • employee-assistance programs at work

10. Stay positive

Weight loss is a gradual process, and a person may feel discouraged if the pounds do not drop off at quite the rate that they had anticipated.

Some days will be harder than others when sticking to a weight loss or maintenance program. A successful weight-loss program requires the individual to persevere and not give up when self-change seems too difficult.

Some people might need to reset their goals, potentially by adjusting the total number of calories they are aiming to eat or changing their exercise patterns.

The important thing is to keep a positive outlook and be persistent in working toward overcoming the barriers to successful weight loss.

source Flickr/Flying Kiwi Tours

  • Sustained weight loss can be a struggle, but there are practical tips that can help.
  • Successful strategies include cutting back on foods and drinks that have been strongly tied to weight gain and increasing your intake of more nutrient-dense foods.
  • Other approaches focus on ways you can set yourself up for long-term healthy eating in subtle, gradual steps.

In a country that eats dessert for breakfast, sustained weight loss can feel like an uphill battle.

Aside from avoiding obvious minefields like stacks of syrup-drenched pancakes and huge muffins, there are several practical guidelines to follow if you’re looking to slim down. These tips can be helpful whether you’re struggling to lose weight or simply aiming to reboot your eating plan with some healthier basics.

Still, if you’re aiming to make big changes to your diet and to your health, it’s always helpful to get help from a trained medical professional like a physician, registered dietitian, or family doctor. They’ll be able to go over any questions you have about the suggestions you find here.

Start eating more vegetables — especially greens.

source Ruslan Mitin/

Author Michael Pollan may have condensed all the best nutrition wisdom into one line when he wrote: “Eat food, not too much, mostly plants.”

Dozens of scientific studies have tied diets high in vegetables – especially greens – to better health outcomes, including weight loss and a decreased risk of a handful of chronic diseases. Veggies like watercress, spinach, chives, and collard greens all rank highly on the Center for Disease Control and Prevention’s list of “powerhouse foods,” so find a few you like, and start adding them to your plate.

But don’t worry: Most of the research does not suggest a need to slash meat, dairy, or fish from your diet. In fact, the best results typically appear to come from diets that combine high amounts of vegetables with healthy sources of protein, which can include seafood, eggs, and meat. Eating plans like these include the popular Mediterranean diet and MIND diet.

Replace soda or sweet tea with sugar-free drinks.

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Sweetened beverages like soda and juice can make up a surprising portion of the calories you consume each day, yet they don’t fill you up the same way solid food does.

As part of an eight-year study that included nearly 50,000 women, Harvard researchers tracked what happened when people either slashed their intake of sweetened drinks or started consuming more of them. Not surprisingly, the participants who raised their sugary-drink intake gained weight and increased their risk of developing Type 2 diabetes. In fact, the more people’s sweet-drink intake increased, the more weight they gained and the more their disease risk went up.

Those who curbed their intake did not see those negative results.

So the next time you’re looking for something other than water to drink, try seltzer or unsweetened tea. Even diet soda is probably a better choice. Every time you pick one of these over a sweetened beverage, you’ll also be cutting anywhere from 150 to 400 calories.

Swap the white bread and rice in your meals for whole grains.

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One of the least healthy components of most American diets appears to be refined carbohydrates, a category that includes white bread and white rice. Refined carbs can also be found in lots of other processed foods – they appear on nutrition labels as “refined flour” or just “flour.”

A 2012 study published in the journal Food and Nutrition Research found strong links between diets high in refined carbohydrates and weight gain. One reason for this may be that refined grains are processed quickly and turned into sugar in the body.

Whole grains, on the other hand, get digested slowly and fill you up for hours. The key difference is that whole grains still have their nutritious, fiber-rich outer shells, such as the germ and bran. Those parts get stripped off of refined carbs in a factory before you eat them.

Roxanne B. Sukol, medical director of the Cleveland Clinic’s Wellness Enterprise, said people should think of refined carbohydrates simply as “stripped carbs” and avoid them whenever possible.

Cut back on carbs where you can.

source Pinterest / Hannah Hossack-Lodge / Domestic Gothess

Even if you’re eating whole grains instead of refined ones, you should keep in mind that some researchers believe they all end up getting processed the same way. That means cutting back on any kind of carbohydrate is likely a smart move. Try swapping flour-based noodles with spiralized carrot or zucchini noodles, for example.

Several studies suggest that curbing your carb intake is an easy way to help stabilize blood-sugar levels as well. And having steady blood-sugar levels – aka tight glycemic control – has been linked with beneficial health outcomes including weight loss, better energy levels throughout the day, and a reduced risk of chronic disease.

“Tight glycemic control is necessary to maintain health and to prevent disease,” Ellen Blaak, a professor of fat metabolism and physiology at Maastricht University, wrote in a review of studies published in the journal Obesity Reviews. Her study found links between poorly controlled blood-sugar levels and obesity, Type 2 diabetes, and heart disease.

Aim to lose only about a pound or two a week.

source Lisa Creech Bledsoe / Flickr

For sustainable weight loss, dietitians, exercise scientists, and nutritionists all recommend aiming to lose only one to three pounds a week – at the most.

Slimming down slowly instead of all at once gives you enough time to create healthy new eating and exercise patterns that you can maintain for life,Andy Bellatti, a registered dietitian and the cofounder of Dietitians for Professional Integrity, told Business Insider last year.

“You’ve got to give yourself two, three, four years of consistent behavioral changes. That is hard work. You’re building new habits. And that takes time,” Bellatti said.

Move around more.

source sportpoint / .com

Exercise is not a shortcut to weight loss, for two reasons: First, when we amp up our activity levels, our hunger levels tend to increase as well. Second, it’s far easier to eat hundreds of calories in a single sitting than it is to burn them off in one gym session.

That said, regular movement of any kind is a key component of any healthy lifestyle – and it’s especially important if you’re looking to slim down and keep the weight off for the long haul.

If you normally drive to work, try walking, biking, or taking public transit when possible. If you’re used to taking the elevator, hit the stairs next time. And make regular gym sessions part of your routine – but keep in mind that your appetite may increase a bit.

Pay attention to protein.

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Protein is a key ingredient that helps fuel our muscles and keep us feeling full. It also slows the breakdown of carbs into sugar, thereby acting as a sort of buffer against sharp dips and spikes in insulin levels. For these reasons, it’s a good idea to make sure you’re getting enough protein in every meal.

Many Americans whose diets are based around meat actually get too much protein. But there’s some evidence that people who try to switch to a more plant-based diet have a hard time getting enough.

To make sure your protein intake isn’t slouching, add items like eggs, beans, tofu, lentils, fish, and dairy products to vegetable- and whole-grain-based meals.

Beware of items labeled “low-fat,” “light,” and “reduced fat.”

source Gene Kim

Low-fat products sound great. Reduce your fat intake, get slim, right?

The majority of scientific research suggests it actually doesn’t work this way.

One reason for this is that many products labeled “low fat,” “light,” and “reduced fat” (things like yogurt, ice cream, and peanut butter) are highly processed and engineered to taste like their original full-fat predecessors. To accomplish this, food manufacturers typically add extra sugar – and sugar, unlike fat, has been strongly implicated as a leading factor contributing to obesity and weight gain.

Welcome some healthy fats back into your diet.

source Rob Ludacer

One reason many dieters curb their fat intake – besides the lingering influence of the low-fat dieting trend of the 1990s – is that it’s an easy way to cut calories. Fat is high in calories. Trim the fat, trim the calories.

But research is starting to show that eating fat does not necessarily lead us to put on pounds. Instead, it may help people lose weight, perhaps by making us feel full and curbing our sugar consumption. This appears to be especially true for fats from sources like nuts, olive oil, avocados, and fish.

“There is one thing we know about fats. Fat consumption does not cause weight gain. To the contrary, it might actually help us shed a few pounds,” Aaron Carroll, a professor of pediatrics at the Indiana University School of Medicine, wrote in his book, “The Bad Food Bible: How and Why to Eat Sinfully.”

Here’s what that means for people who are counting their calories: Fatty foods are higher in calories than their low-fat equivalents, so to account for that and cut back on carbs and sugar instead.

Cut back on sugar.

caption BBQ sauce is surprisingly high in sugar. source Yelp/Travis S.

A growing body of evidence suggests that if there is a single villain in our diets when it comes to weight gain, it’s sugar.

The authors of a review of 50 studies on diet and weight gain published in the journal Food and Nutrition Research found that, on average, the more refined carbohydrates (such as sugar) that someone ate, the more weight they tended to gain over the study period.

Similarly, the researchers behind a large review of 68 studies published in the British Medical Journal found that the more sugar someone consumed, the more they weighed.

So cut back on sweets and start paying attention to the sugar content on the labels of processed foods – especially in sauces, salad dressings, and dairy products.

Try working out in the morning.

source /El Nariz

If you choose to incorporate regular workouts into your plan, research suggests that an early-morning workout on an empty stomach helps speed weight loss and boost energy levels by priming the body for an all-day fat burn.

Exercising first thing in the morning may push the body to tap into its fat reserves for fuel instead of simply “burning off” the most recent snack or meal.

Plus, working out early could mean you get more sunlight, which is key to properly setting your body’s internal circadian rhythm. In one study, people who basked in bright sunlight within two hours after waking were thinner and better able to manage their weight than those who didn’t get any natural light, regardless of what they ate throughout the day.

But the best fitness plan is one you can stick to consistently. So if your morning motivation is low, working out after your workday is probably a better choice.

Eliminate trans fats from your diet.

caption Many packaged baked goods can contain trans fat. source jeffreyw/Flickr

Unlike plain old fat, trans fat is created in an industrial process that adds hydrogen to liquid vegetable oils to make them more solid.

Trans fat has been strongly linked to heart disease, since consuming it appears to raise levels of so-called bad cholesterol and lower levels of good cholesterol. According to a statement released by the Food and Drug Administration in 2015, “there is no safe level of consumption of artificial trans fat.”

Trans fats are present in a number of processed foods, including many premade or packaged cakes, cookies, chips, and pastries. Some breads also contain them, along with some of the oils used to fry french fries and other fast foods. To identify trans fat on a nutrition label, look for “partially hydrogenated oils” on the ingredient list.

Know the situations in which you tend to “fall off the wagon” — and prepare ahead of time.

source Nikki Sharp

If you tend to stick to a pretty healthy eating plan most of the time but you’re still having trouble losing weight, it might be worth thinking about the places or events that encourage you to veer away from nutritious choices.

Places like airports, drug stores, and even home-goods stores all sell food, but it’s usually not very healthy. Instead of shopping until you feel famished then buying whatever unhealthy items are available near the checkout stand, plan ahead and pack a nutritious snack. Sliced apples and peanut butter, carrots and hummus, or Greek yogurt and nuts are all inexpensive and convenient options.

If traditional diets haven’t worked for you, consider intermittent fasting.

source Melia Robinson

If you’re looking to lose weight and other diets have failed you, you might want to try an eating plan known as intermittent fasting – after checking in with your doctor, of course.

There are several versions of this diet, but one of the most popular involves fasting for 16 hours and eating for 8. Most people opt for an eating window of 12 p.m. to 8 p.m , meaning that you essentially skip breakfast but eat whatever you want within the eight-hour “feeding” window.

Large studies have found intermittent fasting to be just as reliable for weight loss as traditional diets. And a few studies in animals suggest it could have other benefits too, such as reducing the risk for certain cancers and even prolonging life. But those studies need to be repeated in humans before any real conclusions can be drawn.

If you go out to eat, plan to take up to half of your meal home with you.

source Olive Garden/Facebook

The baseline portion sizes of our snacks and meals have ballooned over the past 40 years. The average size of many of our foods – including fast food, sit-down meals, and even items from the grocery store – has grown by as much as 138% since the 1970s, according to data from the American Journal of Public Health, the Journal of Nutrition, and the Journal of the American Medical Association

Even the plates and cups we serve meals on have gotten noticeably bigger.

So be mindful of portion sizes. If you’re eating out, consider taking anywhere from a third to half of your meal to go.

If getting healthy is one of your top New Year’s resolutions, it may be time to rethink your eating habits. While fad diets will come and go, there are some tried-and true healthy eating plans that can help get you on the right track.

U.S. News & World Report, in collaboration with a panel of health experts, evaluated and ranked 41 diets. To be top-rated, a diet had to “be safe, relatively easy to follow, nutritious and effective for weight loss.” It also had to be proven to help prevent heart disease and diabetes.

  • Diet trends for 2019: What to try, what to skip

Here’s a closer look at the highest-ranking diets overall.

1. Mediterranean diet

The Mediterranean diet got the top ranking in U.S. News’ list. The heart-healthy diet is rich in fruits, vegetables, fish and whole grains, along with healthy fats like olive oil, nuts and avocados.

Research has shown the Mediterranean diet reduces the risk of heart disease and may have numerous other health benefits, including reduction of LDL, or “bad,” cholesterol, as well as a decreased risk of Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease and cancer. In fact, one recent study published in British Journal of Nutrition found adhering to the Mediterranean diet was associated with a 25 percent lower chance of death from any cause.

2. DASH diet

The DASH (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension) diet was designed to help manage blood pressure, but experts say it has many overall health benefits, helping it nab the number 2 spot on the best overall diets list.

The diet emphasizes healthy food sources, including fruits, vegetables, whole grains, skinless poultry and fish, and nuts and legumes. It also limits red meat, salt, and sweets.

In addition to lowering blood pressure, research suggests the DASH diet may help reduce the risk of diabetes and may also help fight depression.

3. Flexitarian diet

Flexitarian is a marriage of the words “flexible” and “vegetarian.” The term was coined by registered dietitian Dawn Jackson Blatner in her book “The Flexitarian Diet: The Mostly Vegetarian Way to Lose Weight, Be Healthier, Prevent Disease and Add Years to Your Life.” U.S. News ranked it high on the list for being nutritionally complete, easy to follow, and providing long-term weight loss as well as heart health benefits.

In the book, Blatner says you don’t have to cut out meat entirely to reap the health benefits of a vegetarian diet. Eating a diet that’s mostly vegetarian while also allowing for an occasional burger or steak to satisfy a craving can help with weight management and improve overall health, Blatner says.

4 (tie). MIND diet

The MIND Diet combines many elements of two other popular nutrition plans which have been proven to benefit heart health: the Mediterranean diet and the DASH diet. (MIND stands for Mediterranean-DASH Intervention for Neurodegenerative Delay.)

Designed by researchers from the Rush University Medical Center in Chicago, the aptly named MIND diet was developed specifically for brain health. In fact, one study found the diet may reduce the risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease by as much as 53 percent. Even those who didn’t stick to the diet perfectly but followed it “moderately well” reduced their risk of Alzheimer’s by about a third, the researchers found.

The MIND diet: 10 foods that fight Alzheimer’s (and 5 to avoid)

The eating plan features a wide variety of options, including fruits and vegetables, whole grains, nuts, poultry, and fish.

4 (tie). WW (Weight Watchers) diet

The Weight Watchers diet tied for fourth place with the MIND diet. Although designed to help people lose weight, experts say its focus on healthier living makes it a smart overall diet to follow.

The WW Freestyle program was launched in 2017 and builds off the company’s signature SmartPoints system, which assigns every food and beverage a point value, based on its nutrition. The new program expands dietary options. The plan also involves in-person meetings or online chats designed to support those in the program and keep them accountable.

Low-ranking diets

A number of popular diets, including the keto diet, Dukan diet, and the Whole30 diet received some of the lowest rankings on U.S. News’ list.

Lack of scientific evidence for health benefits and severe restriction of foods – including certain healthy foods – were listed as reasons for low scores.

Diet trends: Pros and cons of keto, pegan, fasting and more

Grant Cornett for TIME

There’s no such thing as one perfect diet

Like most people, Kevin Hall used to think the reason people get fat is simple.

“Why don’t they just eat less and exercise more?” he remembers thinking. Trained as a physicist, the calories-in-vs.-calories-burned equation for weight loss always made sense to him. But then his own research–and the contestants on a smash reality-TV show–proved him wrong.

Hall, a scientist at the National Institutes of Health (NIH), started watching The Biggest Loser a few years ago on the recommendation of a friend. “I saw these folks stepping on scales, and they lost 20 lb. in a week,” he says. On the one hand, it tracked with widespread beliefs about weight loss: the workouts were punishing and the diets restrictive, so it stood to reason the men and women on the show would slim down. Still, 20 lb. in a week was a lot. To understand how they were doing it, he decided to study 14 of the contestants for a scientific paper.

Hall quickly learned that in reality-TV-land, a week doesn’t always translate into a precise seven days, but no matter: the weight being lost was real, speedy and huge. Over the course of the season, the contestants lost an average of 127 lb. each and about 64% of their body fat. If his study could uncover what was happening in their bodies on a physiological level, he thought, maybe he’d be able to help the staggering 71% of American adults who are overweight.

What he didn’t expect to learn was that even when the conditions for weight loss are TV-perfect–with a tough but motivating trainer, telegenic doctors, strict meal plans and killer workouts–the body will, in the long run, fight like hell to get that fat back. Over time, 13 of the 14 contestants Hall studied gained, on average, 66% of the weight they’d lost on the show, and four were heavier than they were before the competition.

That may be depressing enough to make even the most motivated dieter give up. “There’s this notion of why bother trying,” says Hall. But finding answers to the weight-loss puzzle has never been more critical. The vast majority of American adults are overweight; nearly 40% are clinically obese. And doctors now know that excess body fat dramatically increases the risk of serious health problems, including Type 2 diabetes, heart disease, depression, respiratory problems, major cancers and even fertility problems. A 2017 study found that obesity now drives more early preventable deaths in the U.S. than smoking. This has fueled a weight-loss industry worth $66.3 billion, selling everything from diet pills to meal plans to fancy gym memberships.

It’s also fueled a rise in research. Last year the NIH provided an estimated $931 million in funding for obesity research, including Hall’s, and that research is giving scientists a new understanding of why dieting is so hard, why keeping the weight off over time is even harder and why the prevailing wisdom about weight loss seems to work only sometimes–for some people.

What scientists are uncovering should bring fresh hope to the 155 million Americans who are overweight, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Leading researchers finally agree, for instance, that exercise, while critical to good health, is not an especially reliable way to keep off body fat over the long term. And the overly simplistic arithmetic of calories in vs. calories out has given way to the more nuanced understanding that it’s the composition of a person’s diet–rather than how much of it they can burn off working out–that sustains weight loss.

They also know that the best diet for you is very likely not the best diet for your next-door neighbor. Individual responses to different diets–from low fat and vegan to low carb and paleo–vary enormously. “Some people on a diet program lose 60 lb. and keep it off for two years, and other people follow the same program religiously, and they gain 5 lb.,” says Frank Sacks, a leading weight-loss researcher and professor of cardiovascular disease prevention at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health. “If we can figure out why, the potential to help people will be huge.”

Hall, Sacks and other scientists are showing that the key to weight loss appears to be highly personalized rather than trendy diets. And while weight loss will never be easy for anyone, the evidence is mounting that it’s possible for anyone to reach a healthy weight–people just need to find their best way there.

Dieting has been an American preoccupation since long before the obesity epidemic took off in the 1980s. In the 1830s, Presbyterian minister Sylvester Graham touted a vegetarian diet that excluded spices, condiments and alcohol. At the turn of the 20th century, it was fashionable to chew food until liquefied, sometimes up to 722 times before swallowing, thanks to the advice of a popular nutrition expert named Horace Fletcher. Lore has it that at about the same time, President William Howard Taft adopted a fairly contemporary plan–low fat, low calorie, with a daily food log–after he got stuck in a White House bathtub.

The concept of the calorie as a unit of energy had been studied and shared in scientific circles throughout Europe for some time, but it wasn’t until World War I that calorie counting became de rigueur in the U.S. Amid global food shortages, the American government needed a way to encourage people to cut back on their food intake, so it issued its first ever “scientific diet” for Americans, which had calorie counting at its core.

In the following decades, when being rail-thin became ever more desirable, nearly all dieting advice stressed meals that were low calorie. There was the grapefruit diet of the 1930s (in which people ate half a grapefruit with every meal out of a belief that the fruit contained fat-burning enzymes) and the cabbage-soup diet of the 1950s (a flatulence-inducing plan in which people ate cabbage soup every day for a week alongside low-calorie meals).

The 1960s saw the beginning of the massive commercialization of dieting in the U.S. That’s when a New York housewife named Jean Nidetch began hosting friends at her home to talk about their issues with weight and dieting. Nidetch was a self-proclaimed cookie lover who had struggled for years to slim down. Her weekly meetings helped her so much–she lost 72 lb. in about a year–that she ultimately turned those living-room gatherings into a company called Weight Watchers. When it went public in 1968, she and her co-founders became millionaires overnight. Nearly half a century later, Weight Watchers remains one of the most commercially successful diet companies in the world, with 3.6 million active users and $1.2 billion in revenue in 2016.

What most of these diets had in common was an idea that is still popular today: eat fewer calories and you will lose weight. Even the low-fat craze that kicked off in the late 1970s–which was based on the intuitively appealing but incorrect notion that eating fat will make you fat–depended on the calorie-counting model of weight loss. (Since fatty foods are more calorie-dense than, say, plants, logic suggests that if you eat less of them, you will consume fewer calories overall, and then you’ll lose weight.)

That’s not what happened when people went low fat, though. The diet trend coincided with weight gain. In 1990, adults with obesity made up less than 15% of the U.S. population. By 2010, most states were reporting obesity in 25% or more of their populations. Today that has swelled to 40% of the adult population. For kids and teens, it’s 17%.

Research like Hall’s is beginning to explain why. As demoralizing as his initial findings were, they weren’t altogether surprising: more than 80% of people with obesity who lose weight gain it back. That’s because when you lose weight, your resting metabolism (how much energy your body uses when at rest) slows down–possibly an evolutionary holdover from the days when food scarcity was common.

What Hall discovered, however–and what frankly startled him–was that even when the Biggest Loser contestants gained back some of their weight, their resting metabolism didn’t speed up along with it. Instead, in a cruel twist, it remained low, burning about 700 fewer calories per day than it did before they started losing weight in the first place. “When people see the slowing metabolism numbers,” says Hall, “their eyes bulge like, How is that even possible?”

The contestants lose a massive amount of weight in a relatively short period of time–admittedly not how most doctors recommend you lose weight–but research shows that the same slowing metabolism Hall observed tends to happen to regular Joes too. Most people who lose weight gain back the pounds they lost at a rate of 2 to 4 lb. per year.

For the 2.2 billion people around the world who are overweight, Hall’s findings can seem like a formula for failure–and, at the same time, scientific vindication. They show that it’s indeed biology, not simply a lack of willpower, that makes it so hard to lose weight. The findings also make it seem as if the body itself will sabotage any effort to keep weight off in the long term.

But a slower metabolism is not the full story. Despite the biological odds, there are many people who succeed in losing weight and keeping it off. Hall has seen it happen more times than he can count. The catch is that some people appear to succeed with almost every diet approach–it just varies from person to person.

“You take a bunch of people and randomly assign them to follow a low-carb diet or a low-fat diet,” Hall says. “You follow them for a couple of years, and what you tend to see is that average weight loss is almost no different between the two groups as a whole. But within each group, there are people who are very successful, people who don’t lose any weight and people who gain weight.”

Understanding what it is about a given diet that works for a given person remains the holy grail of weight-loss science. But experts are getting closer.

Grant Cornett for TIME

For the past 23 years, Rena Wing, a professor of psychiatry and human behavior at Brown University, has run the National Weight Control Registry (NWCR) as a way to track people who successfully lose weight and keep it off. “When we started it, the perspective was that almost no one succeeded at losing weight and keeping it off,” says James O. Hill, Wing’s collaborator and an obesity researcher at the University of Colorado. “We didn’t believe that was the case, but we didn’t know for sure because we didn’t have the data.”

To qualify for initial inclusion in the registry, a person must have lost at least 30 lb. and maintained that weight loss for a year or longer. Today the registry includes more than 10,000 people from across the 50 states with an average weight loss of 66 lb. per person. On average, people on the current list have kept off their weight for more than five years.

The most revealing detail about the registry: everyone on the list has lost significant amounts of weight–but in different ways. About 45% of them say they lost weight following various diets on their own, for instance, and 55% say they used a structured weight-loss program. And most of them had to try more than one diet before the weight loss stuck.

The researchers have identified some similarities among them: 98% of the people in the study say they modified their diet in some way, with most cutting back on how much they ate in a given day. Another through line: 94% increased their physical activity, and the most popular form of exercise was walking.

“There’s nothing magical about what they do,” says Wing. “Some people emphasize exercise more than others, some follow low-carb diets, and some follow low-fat diets. The one commonality is that they had to make changes in their everyday behaviors.”

When asked how they’ve been able to keep the weight off, the vast majority of people in the study say they eat breakfast every day, weigh themselves at least once a week, watch fewer than 10 hours of television per week and exercise about an hour a day, on average.

The researchers have also looked at their attitudes and behavior. They found that most of them do not consider themselves Type A, dispelling the idea that only obsessive superplanners can stick to a diet. They learned that many successful dieters were self-described morning people. (Other research supports the anecdotal: for some reason, night owls tend to weigh more than larks.) The researchers also noticed that people with long-term weight loss tended to be motivated by something other than a slimmer waist–like a health scare or the desire to live a longer life, to be able to spend more time with loved ones.

The researchers at the NWCR say it’s unlikely that the people they study are somehow genetically endowed or blessed with a personality that makes weight loss easy for them. After all, most people in the study say they had failed several times before when they had tried to lose weight. Instead they were highly motivated, and they kept trying different things until they found something that worked for them.

“Losing weight and keeping it off is hard, and if anyone tells you it’s easy, run the other way,” says Hill. “But it is absolutely possible, and when people do it, their lives are changed for the better.” (Hill came under fire in 2015 for his role as president of an obesity think tank funded by Coca-Cola. During his tenure there, the NWCR published one paper with partial funding from Coca-Cola, but the researchers say their study, which Hill was involved in, was not influenced by the soda giant’s financial support.)

Hill, Wing and their colleagues agree that perhaps the most encouraging lesson to be gleaned from their registry is the simplest: in a group of 10,000 real-life biggest losers, no two people lost the weight in quite the same way.

The Bariatric Medical Institute in Ottawa is founded on that thinking. When people enroll in its weight-loss program, they all start on the same six-month diet and exercise plan–but they are encouraged to diverge from the program, with the help of a physician, whenever they want, in order to figure out what works best for them. The program takes a whole-person approach to weight loss, which means that behavior, psychology and budget–not just biology–inform each person’s plan.

“We have a plan that involves getting enough calories and protein and so forth, but we are not married to it,” says Dr. Yoni Freedhoff, an obesity expert and the medical director of the clinic. “We try to understand where people are struggling, and then we adjust. Everyone here is doing things slightly differently.”

In most cases, people try a few different plans before they get it right. Jody Jeans, 52, an IT project manager in Ottawa, had been overweight since she was a child. When she came to the clinic in 2007, she was 5 ft. 4 in. tall and weighed 240 lb. Though she had lost weight in her 20s doing Weight Watchers, she gained it back after she lost a job and the stress led her to overeat. Jeans would wake up on a Monday and decide she was starting a diet, or never eating dessert again, only to scrap the plan a couple of days, if not hours, later. “Unless you’ve had a lot of weight to lose, you don’t understand what it’s like,” she says. “It’s overwhelming, and people look at you like it’s your fault.”

A March 2017 study found that people who internalize weight stigma have a harder time maintaining weight loss. That’s why most experts argue that pushing people toward health goals rather than a number on the scale can yield better results. “When you solely focus on weight, you may give up on changes in your life that would have positive benefits,” says the NIH’s Hall.

It took Jeans five years to lose 75 lb. while on a program at Freedhoff’s institute, but by paying attention to portion sizes, writing down all her meals and eating more frequent, smaller meals throughout the day, she’s kept the weight off for an additional five years. She credits the slow, steady pace for her success. Though she’s never been especially motivated to exercise, she found it helpful to track her food each day, as well as make sure she ate enough filling protein and fiber–without having to rely on bland diet staples like grilled chicken over greens (hold the dressing). “I’m a foodie,” Jeans says. “If you told me I had to eat the same things every day, it would be torture.”

Natalie Casagrande, 31, was on the same program that Jeans was on, but Freedhoff and his colleagues used a different approach with her. Casagrande’s weight had fluctuated throughout her life, and she had attempted dangerous diets like starving herself and exercising constantly for quick weight loss. One time, she even dropped from a size 14 to a size 0 in just a few months. When she signed up for the program, Casagrande weighed 173 lb. At 4 ft. 11 in., that meant she was clinically obese, which means having a body mass index of 30 or more.

Once she started working with the team at the Bariatric Medical Institute, Casagrande also tracked her food, but unlike Jeans, she never enjoyed the process. What she did love was exercise. She found her workouts easy to fit into her schedule, and she found them motivating. By meeting with the clinic’s psychologist, she also learned that she had generalized anxiety, which helped explain her bouts of emotional eating.

It took Casagrande three tries over three years before she finally lost substantial weight. During one of her relapse periods, she gained 10 lb. She tweaked her plan to focus more on cooking and managing her mental health and then tried again. Today she weighs 116 lb. and has maintained that weight for about a year. “It takes a lot of trial and error to figure out what works,” she says. “Not every day is going to be perfect, but I’m here because I pushed through the bad days.”

Freedhoff says learning what variables are most important for each person–be they psychological, logistical, food-based–matters more to him than identifying one diet that works for everyone. “So long as we continue to pigeonhole people into certain diets without considering the individuals, the more likely we are to run into problems,” he says. That’s why a significant portion of his meetings with patients is spent talking about the person’s daily responsibilities, their socioeconomic status, their mental health, their comfort in the kitchen.

“Unfortunately,” he says, “that’s not the norm. The amount of effort needed to understand your patients is more than many doctors put in.”

In an August op-ed published in the journal the Lancet, Freedhoff and Hall jointly called on the scientific community to spend more time figuring out how doctors can help people sustain healthy lifestyles and less on what diet is best for weight loss. “Crowning a diet king because it delivers a clinically meaningless difference in body weight fuels diet hype, not diet help,” they write. “It’s high time we start helping.”

Exactly why weight loss can vary so much for people on the same diet plan still eludes scientists. “It’s the biggest open question in the field,” says the NIH’s Hall. “I wish I knew the answer.”

Some speculate it’s people’s genetics. Over the past several years, researchers have identified nearly 100 genetic markers that appear to be linked to being obese or being overweight, and there’s no doubt genes play an important role in how some people break down calories and store fat. But experts estimate that obesity-related genes account for just 3% of the differences between people’s sizes–and those same genes that predispose people to weight gain existed 30 years ago, and 100 years ago, suggesting that genes alone cannot explain the rapid rise in obesity.

What’s more, a recent study of 9,000 people found that whether a person carried a gene variation associated with weight gain had no influence on his or her ability to lose weight. “We think this is good news,” says study author John Mathers, a professor of human nutrition at Newcastle University. “Carrying the high-risk form of the gene makes you more likely to be a bit heavier, but it shouldn’t prevent you from losing weight.”

Another area that has some scientists excited is the question of how weight gain is linked to chemicals we are exposed to every day–things like the bisphenol A (BPA) found in linings of canned-food containers and cash-register receipts, the flame retardants in sofas and mattresses, the pesticide residues on our food and the phthalates found in plastics and cosmetics. What these chemicals have in common is their ability to mimic human hormones, and some scientists worry they may be wreaking havoc on the delicate endocrine system, driving fat storage.

“The old paradigm was that poor diet and lack of exercise are underpinning obesity, but now we understand that chemical exposures are an important third factor in the origin of the obesity epidemic,” says Dr. Leonardo Trasande, an associate professor of pediatrics, environmental medicine and population health at New York University’s School of Medicine. “Chemicals can disrupt hormones and metabolism, which can contribute to disease and disability.”

Another frontier scientists are exploring is how the microbiome–the trillions of bacteria that live inside and on the surface of the human body–may be influencing how the body metabolizes certain foods. Dr. Eran Elinav and Eran Segal, researchers for the Personalized Nutrition Project at the Weizmann Institute of Science in Israel, believe the variation in diet success may lie in the way people’s microbiomes react to different foods.

In a 2015 study, Segal and Elinav gave 800 men and women devices that measured their blood-sugar levels every five minutes for a one-week period. They filled out questionnaires about their health, provided blood and stool samples and had their microbiomes sequenced. They also used a mobile app to record their food intake, sleep and exercise.

They found that blood-sugar levels varied widely among people after they ate, even when they ate the exact same meal. This suggests that umbrella recommendations for how to eat could be meaningless. “It was a major surprise to us,” says Segal.

The researchers developed an algorithm for each person in the trial using the data they gathered and found that they could accurately predict a person’s blood-sugar response to a given food on the basis of their microbiome. That’s why Elinav and Segal believe the next frontier in weight-loss science lies in the gut; they believe their algorithm could ultimately help doctors prescribe highly specific diets for people according to how they respond to different foods.

Unsurprisingly, there are enterprising businesses trying to cash in on this idea. Online supplement companies already hawk personalized probiotic pills, with testimonials from customers claiming they lost weight taking them.

So far, research to support the probiotic-pill approach to weight loss is scant. Ditto the genetic tests that claim to be able to tell you whether you’re better off on a low-carb diet or a vegan one.

But as science continues to point toward personalization, there’s potential for new weight-loss products to flood the zone, some with more evidence than others.

When people are asked to envision their perfect size, many cite a dream weight loss up to three times as great as what a doctor might recommend. Given how difficult that can be to pull off, it’s no surprise so many people give up trying to lose weight altogether. It’s telling, if a bit of a downer, that in 2017, when Americans have never been heavier, fewer people than ever say they’re trying to lose weight.

But most people do not need to lose quite so much weight to improve their health. Research shows that with just a 10% loss of weight, people will experience noticeable changes in their blood pressure and blood sugar control, lowering their risk for heart disease and Type 2 diabetes–two of the costliest diseases in terms of health care dollars and human life.

For Ottawa’s Jody Jeans, recalibrating her expectations is what helped her finally lose weight in a healthy–and sustainable–way. People may look at her and see someone who could still afford to lose a few pounds, she says, but she’s proud of her current weight, and she is well within the range of what a good doctor would call healthy.

“You have to accept that you’re never going to be a willowy model,” she says. “But I am at a very good weight that I can manage.”

New Year Resolutions 2018: Lose weight Fast in 2018!

These are the Top 5 Best Weight-Loss Programs this year, according to U.S. Health News. Their health-expert panelists evaluated 38 different diet and exercise programs, before presenting their annual Diet Awards in August. I’ve selected the Top 5 weight-loss diets based on normal foods you can buy in any store, and including high- and low-exercise plans. So if you’re ready to lose weight, it’s time to pick a winner!

Best snacks for weight loss

Try The 3 Week Diet Plan – One of The Most Effective Diet Program For Both Men And Women!

‘Best Weight-Loss Diet’ Award – Weight Watchers

Weight Watchers won in these three categories:

  • No. 1 Best Weight-Loss Diet
  • No. 1 Easiest Diets to Follow
  • No. 3 Best Fast Weight-Loss Diet

The goal: Lose up to 2 lbs. per week

What You Eat

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Grilled Salmon with Mustard-Herb Crust

Weight-Watchers works by offering a flexible eating plan and no food groups are ‘off-limits’. The aim is to encourage dieters to choose filling, protein-rich foods that are full of healthy nutritional value. The eating plan is higher in protein and lower in saturated fat and sugar, so fewer calories are consumed. This is the most expensive diet plan and local support group, and the most successful.

Exercise: All forms of physical activity are rewarded in this system, so you don’t need to do gym work-outs to succeed.

Meetings: The Weight-Watchers Diet offers a local support-group system that can be very helpful in keeping you motivated.

‘Best Overall Diet’ Award – Biggest Loser Diet

The goal: Disease prevention and weight-loss through cutting calorie intake and taking regular ‘work-out’ exercise over a 6-week period.

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Enchilada Chicken from ‘Biggest Loser Family Cookbook’

You eat 4-servings of fruit and/or vegetables a day, 3-servings of protein and two-servings of whole grains. In addition, you can eat 200 more calories as dessert or extras. Your daily food intake should be – 45% of calories from carbs, 30% from protein, 25% from fat. You eat 5 – 6 small meals a day of lean protein, low-fat dairy or soy, fruit, vegetables, whole grains, beans and nuts.

This prevents the dips in blood-sugar that cause hunger pangs, and protein with low-cal/high fiber plant-foods helps you feel full longer. Avoid caffeine from coffee, green tea and ‘energy’ sodas, and drink 6 – 8 glasses of water a day. The Biggest Loser books teach how to choose food that provides healthy nutrition, instead of calorie-rich food with no nutritional value.

Limitations: Although you can eat from all food groups, some of the meal plans go below 1,200 calories per day. So you may need to take mineral and vitamin supplements to meet your nutritional needs.

Exercise: This diet requires you to exercise a lot during the 6-week weight-loss period. So you need to dedicate time and effort to reaching your goal, but you’ll also have learned a lot about reading food labels and healthy eating for life!

In-person meetings: None, but there are hundreds of ‘Biggest Loser’ recipes online and various BL Cookery Books to buy.

Try The 3 Week Diet Plan – Most Effective Diet Program For Both Men And Women!

‘Best Commercial Diet Plan’ Award – Mayo Clinic Diet

The Goal: To lose 6 – 10 lbs. in two weeks. Then continue losing 1 – 2 lbs. each week until you reach your weight-loss goal. Disease prevention and good health.

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Pineapple Chicken Stir-Fry from Mayo Clinic Diets online

The world-famous Mayo Clinic sells the Mayo Clinic Diet book, which explains food groups and nutrition. The underlying principle is to change poor eating choices to healthy nutritious foods, without omitting any food groups, or counting calories. You can eat as much fruit or vegetables as you want.

The guide takes you through two weeks of the ‘Lose it!’ plan, after which you move on to the ‘Live it!’ section. You’ll learn how many calories you need to lose weight, and then maintain a healthy body for life.

Exercise is encouraged and you’ll understand why as you learn how food is converted into fuel for the body. There are plenty of Mayo Clinic Diet recipes online and independent online communities exist for general help and mutual support.

‘Best Plant-Based Diet’ Award – Mediterranean Diet

This is a well-known diet, traditionally eaten by Europeans living around the Mediterranean Sea. Those who eat this diet suffer fewer diseases and tend to live longer.

The goal: Long-term weight loss, improving your heart and brain health. Prevention of cancer and diabetes.

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Mediterranean Diet Sardines

The Mediterranean Diet includes fairly small quantities of red-meat, saturated fat and sugar. The emphasis is on healthy plant-foods, with salads or vegetable soup eaten as a first-course before lunch and dinner. This means you aren’t so hungry as you eat your main meals and fresh fruit is used for desserts and snacks.

The diet includes plenty of fish, moderate quantities of eggs, cheese and yogurt and a variety of nuts. And red wine is consumed with meals in moderation. You can find details and recipes for this popular diet online in many places.

Exercise: To work, the Mediterranean Diet requires you to maintain an active life-style with regular, but general, physical activity.

‘Best Plant-Based Diet’ Runner-Up – Flexitarian Diet

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The goal: Weight-loss and good health from a diet based on vegetables and fruits, plus fish and occasional meat dishes. Flexitarians weigh less than meat-eaters, and have lower rates of cancer, diabetes and heart disease.

Background: The dietitian, Dawn Blatner introduced this diet in her book, The Flexitarian Diet (2009), which is worth buying. There are also lots of independent flexitarian support sites and tasty recipes online.

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The idea is to concentrate on eating a meat-free diet, which cuts out a ton of calories, but you can still eat meat occasionally. Protein comes from tofu, lentils, dried beans, peas, nuts, seeds, eggs and dairy. Fiber and protein also come from vegetables and fruit. Whole grains are also a Flexitarian Food Group, along with Sugar & Spices.

No foods are banned, but your goal is to cut-back on meat and increase plant foods. The Flexitarian Diet (2009) is an excellent guide, which suggests you start by planning two meat-free days a week. This cuts a significant amount of calories off your weekly calorie intake instantly. Advanced flexitarians have 3 – 4 meat-free days a week and ‘experts’ eat vegetarian meals on five-plus day a week.

Exercise: You are encouraged to take walking exercise for 30 minutes on five days a week.

Plus: Healthy smoothie recipes for weight loss

Try The 3 Week Diet Plan – The Most Effective Diet Program For Both Men And Women!

These popular, healthy diet plans really work and teach how to control your weight for life. So good luck and I’d love to hear how you get on!

The 9 Best Diets for Fast Weight Loss

Quick and dirty

Does bikini season sneak up on you each summer? Is your soon-to-be worn wedding dress still just a touch too tight? Were your holiday outfits uncomfortably snug? Did a last-minute invite for a beach getaway come your way? You’re a lucky dog — and a panicked one too because you want to drop pounds, and fast. These nine diets are likely to help you lose significant weight within a year, according to a panel of experts who reviewed 35 plans for the U.S. News Best Diets rankings. Just remember: Short-term weight loss is markedly different from long-term weight loss, which is more important for your health.

No. 1 HMR Program

The HMR Program (Health Management Resources Program) uses meal replacements — think low-calorie shakes, meals, nutrition bars and hot cereal — in phases, coaching from experts, physical activity and an emphasis on fruits and vegetables to help dieters shed pounds fast. For the second straight year, the diet has the No. 1 ranking to itself. “This diet makes it easy to lose weight fast and would likely be effective for someone who wants to lose weight for a specific event,” one expert said. “However, as far as long-term healthy-habit-forming, this diet falls short” in part because dieters don’t learn to make their own healthy food choices.

No. 2 Optavia Diet

Optavia, a brand from the team behind Medifast, is bound to lead to weight loss in most adults. After all, you’ll likely be limited to 1,000 calories a day coming from one daily meal and five 100-calorie “Fuelings,” whether shakes, bars, eggs, oatmeal, pancakes, pudding, soup, brownies or even cheese puffs. But don’t expect to stay on this plan longer-term: One U.S. News expert called the products “unpalatable” and, on the whole, Optavia ranked less-than-optimally on metrics like safety and nutrition.

No. 3 (tie) Atkins Diet

A large part of the appeal of the Atkins Diet, which aims to burn fat by limiting carbs and packing in fat and protein, is its claim of quick weight loss — as much as 15 pounds in two weeks, according to the company. Our experts agreed that’s a legitimate pitch, but note that much of the initial weight loss is water, due to the diet’s diuretic effect. “That means that the short-term weight loss looks much better than it really is, and when you stop the program, all the water comes back on,” one expert pointed out.

No. 3 (tie) Jenny Craig Diet

Jenny Craig‘s prepackaged meals and recipes help participants lose weight — up to 2 pounds a week, it says — through restricting calories, fat and portions. One 2015 review of studies suggests it works: It found that participants lost more weight in a year on the plan than on other commercial weight-loss programs, including WW (Weight Watchers), Nutrisystem and Medifast. Experts deemed Jenny Craig “very effective” for short-term weight loss, some praising its focus on teaching proper portion sizes and helping dieters learn to eat when they’re hungry, rather than when they’re bored or emotional.

No. 3 (tie) Keto Diet

Butter, bacon, burgers, oh my! Meals consisting of high-fat foods like these are hallmarks of the keto diet, an extremely low-carb, high-fat plan that aims to send you into ketosis, a state in which your body is forced to burn fat, not sugar, for energy. Though quick weight loss is indeed likely on the keto diet, experts don’t recommend it for most people since it lacks nutritional variety and is unsustainable long term. As one expert puts it: “It is a rigid diet, it is not environmentally friendly and we don’t have epidemiological evidence of populations eating this way.” In other words: Follow at your own risk.

No. 3 (tie) WW (Weight Watchers) Diet

WW (Weight Watchers) — a plan that uses a point system to encourage followers to choose healthy, filling foods — claims you can shed up to 2 pounds a week. Our experts back its ability to deliver quick results. Better yet? Those results are likely to last, thanks to the program’s emphasis on a balanced diet with no restrictions, as well as its built-in support system. “This is a tried-and-true plan with a proven track record, plus tools and support to help people succeed,” one expert concluded. Why not prepare for next bikini season as well?

No. 7 (tie) Biggest Loser Diet

If you ever saw the TV show, you get the idea: Six weeks of healthy food and regular exercise is celebrated as a great start to a weight-loss journey — as well as a way to prevent or reverse various diseases. Fair enough. Experts determined that the Biggest Loser Diet is very likely to help you shed pounds, thanks to calorie restriction and exercise. But a 2016 study suggested the diet can lead to a permanent dip in metabolism, and experts also worry that the exercise guidance — as much as three hours a day — is excessive and a lot harder for average Joes than for TV stars-in-the-making.

No. 7 (tie) SlimFast

SlimFast is designed to make cutting calories simple and fast weight loss likely, with products like shakes, smoothies and meal bars replacing two meals a day and snacks. “Meal replacements are supported in studies to help promote weight loss and weight maintenance,” one U.S. News expert said. But as with most diets that do well in the fast weight-loss category, SlimFast lacked in other departments, like heart health and sustainability. If you’re aiming to lose more than 20 pounds (which should take about 10 weeks on this plan), SlimFast may not be your best bet.

No. 7 (tie) Volumetrics Diet

By filling up on bulky foods with few calories (think carrot sticks rather than cashews), as the Volumetrics Diet dictates, you’re likely to lose significant weight during the first year, experts said (1 to 2 pounds per week to be exact, according to the company). The plan is praised for teaching dieters portion control and how to choose foods that are low in calories but keep you feeling fuller longer. It’s also a “different and effective approach that is uncomplicated and flexible — what most people need to stay with any eating plan,” one pro said.

Best Fast Weight-Loss Diets

— HMR Program.

— Optavia Diet.

— Atkins Diet.

— Jenny Craig Diet.

— Keto Diet.

— WW (Weight Watchers) Diet.

— Biggest Loser Diet.

— SlimFast.

— Volumetrics Diet.

More from U.S. News

The 9 Best Diets for Fast Weight Loss originally appeared on usnews.com

Update 01/02/20: This story has been updated to reflect the 2020 U.S. News Best Diets rankings.

Also on the committee is the executive system, which deals with planning and decision-making. “This is the area of the brain that you tend to think of as your secret weapon for weight loss,” Aamodt said. “Your secret weapon for weight loss takes a lot of vacations.” Willpower is very taxing for people—studies show that any task that you do that requires discipline and self-control makes it harder for you to resist urges later. The executive system doesn’t function as well when people are lonely, or stressed. “And guess what? It’s impaired when you’re hungry,” Aamodt said. “The basic answer to why people have so much trouble with dieting is they’re trying to use a system that tires easily to fight against brain systems that are always working, never take a day off.”

Also at the Aspen Ideas Festival, Kevin Hall, a senior investigator at the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (and an author on the Biggest Loser study) described another problem: When people go on a diet and begin to lose weight, their appetite increases substantially. And so people end up eating more calories without realizing it. “If you ask people if they’re doing anything different, they’ll say no,” Hall said. They feel like they’re exerting the same amount of effort toward their diet, because their appetite is so high that they’re still hungry even if they eat a little more. And it continues—“there’s an exponential decay of diet adherence,” Hall said.

Meanwhile, metabolism slows down, and the weight comes back, with some dieters eventually weighing more than they did before the diet. This happens over the long-term, months or years later, which means that in the short-term diets still seem appealing. “When I say diets don’t work, I mean they don’t work five years later, Aamodt said. “Two months later, they work great.”

Diets can permanently mess up not just your weight, but the way you eat. One study that followed thousands of girls and boys for two years found that dieters were more likely to binge-eat. (Female frequent dieters were 12 times as likely to binge eat, male frequent dieters were 7 times as likely to do so.)

“That’s probably just a biological response to repeated starvation,” Aamodt said.

None of this is encouraging. What are people supposed to do, just stop trying to lose weight? Well, yeah, maybe. Unless you want to diet for the rest of your life (while probably still feeling hungry a lot of the time). That’s what people do, who manage to successfully keep weight off. “They commit to counting calories forever, they exercise every day,” Aamodt said. “A large number of them are fitness professionals. That’s the level of commitment that it requires.”

But you don’t have to lose weight to improve your health and lower your risk of dying. One study of people of a range of BMIs, from normal to overweight to obese, found that the more healthy habits they adopted, the less likely they were to die during the course of the study. Those habits were regular exercise, not smoking, moderate drinking, and eating at least five fruits and vegetables every day. The higher someone’s BMI, the greater the benefit they saw from the habits, and by the time all four were adopted, there was almost no difference in the mortality risk for all BMIs.

Chances are you’re eating a diet full of CRAP — an acronym for “calorie-rich and processed” foods — that’s making weight loss impossible and health problems worse.

Dr. Michael Greger wants people to know there’s a better way.

The physician, who specializes in clinical nutrition, hates diet books, so he’s titled his new volume “How Not to Diet: The Groundbreaking Science of Healthy, Permanent Weight Loss.” It’s a follow-up to his previous bestseller, “How Not to Die,” about foods that can help prevent and reverse disease.

Greger’s prescription for healthy weight loss is simple: Eat a whole-food, plant-based diet. It’s naturally high in fiber and low in calorie density, allowing people to eat as much as they want — no calorie counting or portion control required.

“It’s a diet that minimizes the intake of meat, eggs, dairy and processed junk, and maximizes the intake of fruits, vegetables, legumes like beans, whole grains, nuts and seeds, mushrooms — basically, real food that grows out of the ground. Those are our healthiest choices,” Greger told TODAY.

“The strategy is to improve the quality of food rather than restricting the quantity of food, so it doesn’t leave you hungry. That’s a diet you can stick with. You get a boost of energy, better digestion, better sleep.”

Will exercise labels on food help people lose weight?

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Greger, who’s been eating a plant-based diet since 1990, said it doesn’t matter what people eat on their birthday, the holidays or other special occasions. It’s the day-to-day decisions that really add up, so it’s important to eat as many these whole plant foods as possible consistently.

He listed these eight “weight-loss boosters” to make slimming down easier:

1. Front-load calories earlier in the day

Weight loss may be easier if you eat more in the morning than in the evening. That’s because food can have a different impact based on the body’s circadian rhythms.

“The fact that 2,000 calories eaten in the morning is less fattening than eating the exact same 2,000 calories — same amount of food, same foods — at night, that’s just mind-blowing to me,” Greger said.

Making breakfast the main meal of the day is optimal, but many people don’t wake up hungry, he noted. The second-best option is to make lunch the main meal of the day, a pattern that many Mediterranean cultures follow.

2. Fast after 7 p.m.

The one type of intermittent fasting that really seems to work is time-restricted feeding, Greger said — or squeezing a person’s daily food intake into a certain time window, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., for example.

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Make it early time-restricted feeding: “If anything, skip supper and have breakfast. Unfortunately, people do it the other way around,” he noted.

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3. Pre-load with water and “negative calorie” foods before meals

Greger advised drinking two cups of cold unflavored water before each meal. It’ll fill up the stomach, making a person feel more satiated. Plus, drinking cold water on an empty stomach may ramp up metabolism for the next few hours.

“We start burning body fat. But it only works with cold water. It does not work with fruit juice or tea,” he said.

Meanwhile, eating an apple, salad or soup — foods that contain less than 100 calories per cup — before a big meal can cause people to feel fuller and eat less overall, Greger noted.

So a 50-calorie apple eaten before dinner can lead to a person consuming 200 fewer calories during that dinner, saving 150 calories. That’s why certain fruits, vegetables and soups are called “negative calorie” foods.

4. Become a fan of vinegar

Consume two teaspoons of vinegar with each meal — it ramps up an enzyme that tells your body you’re low on energy, so you burn more fat to “recharge your batteries,” Greger said. It has to be vinegar — acetic acid — not lemon juice or any other acid.

Never drink vinegar straight to avoid damage to your esophagus and tooth enamel, he warned. Instead, dilute it in water or drizzle it on a salad. Any kind of vinegar will do, though Greger prefers apple cider or balsamic because it has other beneficial nutrients in it.

5. Let fiber work for you

It’s not what you eat, it’s what you absorb. Fiber, which is indigestible by the body, can trap sugars and block fat and starch as it moves through your system.

“Fiber… can trap calories and flush them out the other end. A calorie may still be a calorie circling your toilet bowl, but it’s not going to end up on your hips,” Greger said.

People who eat a lot of fiber weigh less, a recent study found.

Jenna and Hoda weigh themselves before trying intermittent fasting

Nov. 18, 201904:51

6. Feel full with water-rich foods

It seems counterintuitive, but foods that naturally contain a lot of water — cucumbers, tomatoes, strawberries, grapes and so on — are more satiating than other options even though they have fewer calories. These “higher-volume” options take longer to eat, which seems to signal the brain that you’re filling up.

7. Put away the soda

“If you could only make one dietary change, getting rid of sugary beverages would be a good choice,” Greger writes in his book. That means soda, sports and energy drinks. It’s a simple way to cut down on added sugar.

Drinking 240 calories of a soft drink takes just a minute, while eating 240 calories of carrots would take more than two hours of constant chewing, he noted.

8. Weigh yourself twice a day

The scale is an important feedback tool and studies keep showing that regular and frequent self-weighing is linked with successful weight loss and maintenance, Greger writes in his book.

His twice-a-day recommendation — stepping on the scale after waking and before going to bed — is based on one study that found this habit was superior to checking it once a day.

What about people becoming obsessed with that number?

“There’s legitimate concern that it can have negative psychological consequences for people with eating disorders,” Greger said.

“But it turns out that with the exception of normal weight adolescent women and those with a history of eating disorders, having people weigh themselves every day actually has positive psychological benefits.”

You want to lose a few pounds — and this time, you’re determined to make your healthy habits last. So, where do you start? Should you ditch carbs, or embrace whole grains? Cut out meat, or go high-protein?

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There’s no one right answer, says registered dietitian Andrea Dunn, RD. “The best diet is the one you’re going to follow,” she says. “And I don’t say that tongue in cheek! There’s no one diet that will fit everybody’s needs, personalities, lifestyles or food preferences.”

Science-backed diets

Fad diets have been around forever, and most come and go for a reason: They don’t work long-term. If you’re looking to lose weight — and keep it off — Dunn recommends starting with an eating plan backed by solid science.

Here are her top 3 picks:

Mediterranean diet

Technically, the Mediterranean diet isn’t a diet, Dunn says. “It’s more of a lifestyle.” Based on typical eating habits from the Mediterranean area, this plan is heavy on plant-based foods.

The basics: Load up on veggies, beans and other legumes. Eat fish and seafood a couple times a week in place of red meat. Eat fruit for a sweet treat or nuts for a snack. Use olive oil as your main fat.

The benefits: Studies show the Mediterranean diet reduces the risk of heart attack and stroke and helps with weight loss, too.

Who it’s good for: The Mediterranean diet is a great choice if you aren’t a huge meat eater and dig veggies, fruits, legumes and whole grains.

Moderate protein plan

Dunn often recommends a diet she calls a moderate protein plan — but it could also be described as a moderate carbohydrate plan. This plan still emphasizes whole grains and produce and limits processed foods and added sugar. But it allows for more animal proteins for those carnivores-at-heart.

The basics: With this diet, aim to get:

  • 30 percent of your daily calories from protein.
  • 30 percent from fat.
  • 40 percent from carbohydrates.

The benefits: For many people, a higher-protein diet decreases hunger, making it easier to stick to the plan.

Who it’s good for: This diet is a great choice for people who get excited about making spreadsheets or using an app that lets them track everything they eat. “If you love numbers, this is the plan for you,” Dunn says.

DASH diet

Short for Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension, the DASH diet started as a research diet plan to curb high blood pressure. “This style of eating can also help with lowering cholesterol and weight loss,” Dunn says.

The basics: The DASH plan breaks out the number of servings you should eat from each food group.

The benefits: Studies have found that while DASH does help lower blood pressure, it’s even better at lowering cholesterol.

Who it’s for: This diet is perfect for the person who plans meals around the food groups and does not want to track for calories.

Find your best diet

Some people find other diets work well for them. Some love the high-fat, low-carb keto diet. Others swear by intermittent fasting, in which you restrict eating during certain days of the week or hours of the day.

Dunn recommends steering clear of plans that forbid entire food groups. Likewise, skip diets that promise rapid weight loss of more than 1 or 2 pounds a week. “If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is,” she says.

And think about whether your new diet is truly something you can stick with for the long haul. Dunn notes, “It’s about matching your lifestyle with the foods you enjoy and what will work best for you long-term, without feeling deprived or ripped off.”

How to lose weight

  1. In recent years, researchers have found that chronic calorie restriction and dieting often fail to achieve sustainable weight loss:

    Perspectives on Psychological Science 2017: Reducing calorie intake may not help you lose body weight

    Repeated dieting attempts may actually lead to gaining more weight over time:

    Obesity Reviews 2015: Pathways from dieting to weight regain, to obesity and to the metabolic syndrome: an overview ↩

  2. Results from studies in obese people with high insulin levels (hyperinsulinemia) suggest that lowering insulin may promote weight loss and improved insulin sensitivity:

    Endocrinology 2017: A causal role for hyperinsulinemia in obesity

    The Journal of Medical Practice Management 2016: Ketogenic weight loss: the lowering of insulin levels is the sleeping giant in patient care
    ↩

  3. Obesity Reviews 2016: Impact of low-carbohydrate diet on body composition: meta-analysis of randomized controlled studies

    The British Journal of Nutrition 2016: Effects of low-carbohydrate diets v. low-fat diets on body weight and cardiovascular risk factors: a meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials
    ↩

  4. This has been shown in meta-analyses of randomized controlled trials — considered the strongest, most robust type of evidence — comparing low-carb diets to low-fat and other diets:

    PloS One 2015: Dietary intervention for overweight and obese adults: comparison of low-carbohydrate and low-fat diets. A meta-analysis

    The British Journal of Nutrition 2016: Effects of low-carbohydrate diets v. low-fat diets on body weight and cardiovascular risk factors: a meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials

    The British Journal of Nutrition 2013: Very-low-carbohydrate ketogenic diet v. low-fat diet for long-term weight loss: a meta-analysis of randomised controlled trials ↩

  5. Perspectives on Psychological Science 2017: Reducing calorie intake may not help you lose body weight

    ↩

  6. Several studies have reported that calorie intake spontaneously decreases when very few carbs are consumed:

    Nutrition and Metabolism 2008:: The effect of a low-carbohydrate, ketogenic diet versus a low-glycemic index diet on glycemic control in type 2 diabetes mellitus

    The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition 2008: Effects of a high-protein ketogenic diet on hunger, appetite, and weight loss in obese men feeding ad libitum

    The Journal of Medical Internet Research 2017: An online intervention comparing a very low-carbohydrate ketogenic diet and lifestyle recommendations versus a plate method diet in overweight individuals with type 2 diabetes: a randomized controlled trial

    In one small study, 10 obese adults with type 2 diabetes who followed a non-calorie-restricted very-low-carb diet ended up eating about 1,000 calories less, on average — even though they were permitted unrestricted intake of fat and protein foods:

    Annals of Internal Medicine 2005: Effect of a low-carbohydrate diet on appetite, blood glucose levels, and insulin resistance in obese patients with type 2 diabetes ↩

  7. Obesity Reviews 2014: Do ketogenic diets really suppress appetite? A systematic review and meta-analysis ↩

  8. Journal of the American Medical Association 2012: Effects of dietary composition during weight loss maintenance: a controlled feeding study ↩

  9. British Medical Journal 2018: Effects of a low carbohydrate diet on energy expenditure during weight loss maintenance: randomized trial

    Learn more ↩

  10. Obesity Reviews 2016: Impact of low-carbohydrate diet on body composition: meta-analysis of randomized controlled studies

    The British Journal of Nutrition 2016: Effects of low-carbohydrate diets v. low-fat diets on body weight and cardiovascular risk factors: a meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials
    ↩

  11. Several studies have shown that lowering carbs reduces insulin levels in people who are overweight and have type 2 diabetes or metabolic syndrome:

    Metabolism 2015: Comparison of a carbohydrate-free diet vs. fasting on plasma glucose, insulin and glucagon in type 2 diabetes

    PloS One 2013: A randomized cross-over trial of the postprandial effects of three different diets in patients with type 2 diabetes

    Lipids 2009: Carbohydrate restriction has a more favorable impact on the metabolic syndrome than a low fat diet ↩

  12. A review of multiple high-quality studies has confirmed that following a very-low-carb, high-fat ketogenic diet can significantly decrease appetite and promote natural weight loss:

    Obesity Reviews 2015: Do ketogenic diets really suppress appetite? A systematic review and meta-analysis ↩

  13. Although some controversy remains, several recent systematic reviews of randomized controlled trials and large observational studies have failed to show a connection between saturated fat consumption and increased heart disease risk:

    Open Heart 2016: Evidence from randomised controlled trials does not support current dietary fat guidelines: a systematic review and meta-analysis

    Nutrition Journal 2017: The effect of replacing saturated fat with mostly n-6 polyunsaturated fat on coronary heart disease: a meta-analyses of randomised controlled trials

    Annals of Nutrition & Metabolism 2009: Dietary fat and coronary heart disease: summary of evidence from prospective cohort and randomized controlled trials

    Annals of Internal Medicine 2014: Association of dietary, circulating, and supplement fatty acids with coronary risk: A systematic review and meta-analysis
    ↩

  14. Low-carb Mediterranean diets have been found to be highly effective for weight loss, as well as for reducing heart disease risk factors and helping to resolve metabolic syndrome:

    Diabetes, Obesity and Metabolism 2010: A low carbohydrate Mediterranean diet improves cardiovascular risk factors and diabetes control among overweight patients with type 2 diabetes mellitus: a 1-year prospective randomized intervention study

    Journal of Medicinal Food 2011: A pilot study of the Spanish ketogenic Mediterranean diet: an effective therapy for the metabolic syndrome ↩

  15. Diabetalogia 2014: Eating two larger meals a day (breakfast and lunch) is more effective than six smaller meals in a reduced-energy regimen for patients with type 2 diabetes: a randomised crossover study

    PloS One 2012: Effects of meal frequency on metabolic profiles and substrate partitioning in lean healthy males ↩

  16. Annual Review of Nutrition 2010: Evolutionary adaptations to dietary changes ↩

  17. By far the most common sugar alcohol used in low-carb chocolate and candy is maltitol. Studies confirm that it has a high glycemic and insulin index and that a large portion is absorbed into the bloodstream:

    Nutrition Research Reviews 2003: Health potential of polyols as sugar replacers, with emphasis on low glycaemic properties

    European Journal of Clinical Nutrition 1994: Digestion and absorption of sorbitol, maltitol and isomalt from the small bowel: a study in ileostomy subjects

    Gastroentérologie Clinique et Biologique 1991: Clinical tolerance, intestinal absorption, and energy value of four sugar alcohols taken on an empty stomach ↩

  18. The Yale Journal of Biology and Medicine 2010: Gain weight by “going diet?” Artificial sweeteners and the neurobiology of sugar cravings ↩

  19. Some research shows an association between eating a wide variety of different foods and abdominal weight gain, as well as greater diabetes risk:

    PloS One 2015: Everything in moderation – dietary diversity and quality, central obesity and risk of diabetes ↩

  20. Eating less often may be more beneficial when it comes to weight loss and metabolic health:

    Diabetalogia 2014: Eating two larger meals a day (breakfast and lunch) is more effective than six smaller meals in a reduced-energy regimen for patients with type 2 diabetes: a randomised crossover study

    PloS One 2012: Effects of meal frequency on metabolic profiles and substrate partitioning in lean healthy males ↩

  21. Medical Hypothesis 2009: The salted food addiction hypothesis may explain overeating and the obesity epidemic
    ↩

  22. It’s often claimed that eating breakfast is good for weight control. That appears to be false:

    British Medical Journal 2019: Effect of breakfast on weight and energy intake: systematic review and meta-analysis of randomised controlled trials

    The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition 2009: The effectiveness of breakfast recommendations on weight loss: a randomized controlled trial ↩

  23. A review of multiple high-quality studies has confirmed that following a very-low-carb, high-fat ketogenic diet can significantly decrease appetite and promote natural weight loss:

    Obesity Reviews 2015: Do ketogenic diets really suppress appetite? A systematic review and meta-analysis ↩

  24. Evidence-Based Physical Diagnosis (Fourth Edition) 2018: Chapter 13: Obesity ↩

  25. Nutrition Reviews 2019: Effects of carbohydrate-restricted diets on low-density lipoprotein cholesterol levels in overweight and obese adults: a systematic review and meta-analysis

    Diabetes Research and Clinical Practice 2018: Effect of dietary carbohydrate restriction on glycemic control in adults with diabetes: a systematic review and meta-analysis

    Obesity Reviews 2012: Systematic review and meta-analysis of clinical trials of the effects of low carbohydrate diets on cardiovascular risk factors ↩

  26. Obesity Reviews 2015: Pathways from dieting to weight regain, to obesity and to the metabolic syndrome: an overview
    ↩

  27. How much weight do people lose on low carb? ↩

  28. This is based on clinical experience. ↩

  29. This is based on clinical experience. ↩

  30. Diabetes & Metabolic Syndrome 2017: Induced and controlled dietary ketosis as a regulator of obesity and metabolic syndrome pathologies ↩

  31. This is based on clinical experience. ↩

  32. This is based on clinical experience. ↩

  33. This depends to some extent on the type of fruit; for instance, berries are much lower in sugar than oranges, pineapple, bananas, and most other fruits. ↩

  34. In addition to glucose, which raises blood sugar and insulin levels, fruit is high in fructose, which has been linked to obesity, diabetes and other diseases when consumed in excess:

    Nutrients 2017: Fructose consumption, lipogenesis, and non-alcoholic fatty liver disease ↩

  35. Although study results are inconsistent, frequent beer intake has been linked to excess abdominal fat, at least in men:

    Nutrition Reviews 2013: Is beer consumption related to measures of abdominal and general obesity? A systematic review and meta-analysis
    ↩

  36. Canadian Medical Association Journal 2017: Nonnutritive sweeteners and cardiometabolic health: a systematic review and meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials and prospective cohort studies

    PLOS Medicine 2017: Artificially sweetened beverages and the response to the global obesity crisis ↩

  37. These sweeteners appear to partially activate the “food reward” pathway responsible for cravings:

    The Yale Journal of Biology and Medicine 2010: Gain weight by “going diet?” Artificial sweeteners and the neurobiology of sugar cravings

    Physiology & Behavior 2016: Recent studies of the effects of sugars on brain systems involved in energy balance and reward; relevance to low calorie sweeteners ↩

  38. In this 12-week study, women assigned to drink only water lost more weight than those who drank diet sodas for 12 weeks – even though both groups followed the same weight-loss plan throughout the study.

    American Journal of Clinical Nutrition 2015: Effects on weight loss in adults of replacing diet beverages with water during a hypoenergetic diet: a randomized, 24-wk clinical trial ↩

  39. Diabetes Care 2013: Sucralose affects glycemic and hormonal responses to an oral glucose load

    International Journal of Obesity 2017: Effects of aspartame-, monk fruit-, stevia- and sucrose-sweetened beverages on postprandial glucose, insulin and energy intak
    ↩

  40. Insulin therapy often promotes gain rather than loss, especially among those who are overweight or obese:

    Journal of Diabetes 2017: Prediction of excessive weight gain in insulin treated patients with type 2 diabetes ↩

  41. In several trials, people with type 2 diabetes have been able to discontinue or dramatically reduce their insulin dosage by eating a very-low-carb diet:

    Nutrition & Metabolism 2008: The effect of a low-carbohydrate, ketogenic diet versus a low-glycemic index diet on glycemic control in type 2 diabetes mellitus

    Nutrition 2012: Effect of low-calorie versus low-carbohydrate ketogenic diet in type 2 diabetes

    Diabetes Therapy 2018: Effectiveness and safety of a novel care model for the management of type 2 diabetes at 1 year: an open-label, non-randomized, controlled study ↩

  42. Diabetes Care 2012: Quantifying the effect of metformin treatment and dose on glycemic control ↩

  43. Expert Opinion on Pharmacotherapy 2018: Understanding the impact of commonly utilized, non-insulin, glucose-lowering drugs on body weight in patients with type 2 diabetes
    ↩

  44. Nature Partners Journal Digitial Medicine 2019: Frequent discussion of insomnia and weight gain with glucocorticoid therapy: An analysis of Twitter posts ↩

  45. Journal of Affective Disorders 1984: Weight gain. A side-effect of tricyclic antidepressants. ↩

  46. Note that there is some evidence that long-term use of SSRIs is associated with weight gain, but it’s not known if this is causation or just correlation:

    Translational Psychiatry 2016: Is increased antidepressant exposure a contributory factor to the obesity pandemic?

    BMJ Open 2017: SSRI antidepressant use potentiates weight gain in the context of unhealthy lifestyles: results from a 4-year Australian follow-up study ↩

  47. While the available evidence is not conclusive, studies indicate that progesterone-only birth control might result in a few kilos of weight gain, on average:

    Cochrane Database Systematic Review 2016: Progestin-only contraceptives: effects on weight.

    Combination contraceptives, containing both oestrogen and progesterone, do not appear to have a clear or major effect on body weight:

    Cochrane Database Systematic Review 2014: Combination contraceptives: effects on weight. ↩

  48. Annals of Internal Medicine 2017: Historical perspective on the rise and fall and rise of antibiotics and human weight gain ↩

  49. Physiology & Behavior 2018: Effect of sleep curtailment on dietary behavior and physical activity: a randomized crossover trial

    Obesity (Silver Spring) 2017: Stress, cortisol, and other appetite-related hormones: Prospective prediction of 6-month changes in food cravings and weight ↩

  50. This effect has been shown in studies of both adults and children:

    Nutrients 2019: Increased hunger, food cravings, food reward, and portion size selection after sleep curtailment in women without obesity

    Sleep 2017: Short sleep duration is associated with eating more carbohydrates and less dietary fat in Mexican American children
    ↩

  51. Obesity Reviews 2015: Do ketogenic diets really suppress appetite? A systematic review and meta-analysis ↩

  52. According to a recent review, overweight people have been found to end up taking in more calories overall when they eat nuts – although this doesn’t seem to occur in people of normal weight:

    Critical Reviews in Food Science and Nutrition 2018: Effect of nuts on energy intake, hunger, and fullness; a systematic review and meta-analysis of randomized clinical trial
    ↩

  53. Nutrition Journal 2012: A 12-week double-blind randomized clinical trial of vitamin D3 supplementation on body fat mass in healthy overweight and obese women

    The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition 2012: Calcium and vitamin D supplementation is associated with decreased abdominal visceral adipose tissue in overweight and obese adults

    Clinical Nutrition 2013: Impact of vitamin D supplementation during a resistance training intervention on body composition, muscle function, and glucose tolerance in overweight and obese adults
    ↩

  54. Nutrition Journal 2012: A 12-week double-blind randomized clinical trial of vitamin D3 supplementation on body fat mass in healthy overweight and obese women ↩

  55. International Journal of Obesity 2010: Effects of multivitamin and mineral supplementation on adiposity, energy expenditure and lipid profiles in obese Chinese women ↩

  56. The British Journal of Nutrition 2008: Multivitamin and dietary supplements, body weight and appetite: results from a cross-sectional and a randomised double-blind placebo-controlled study ↩

  57. Several studies support the use of intermittent fasting for losing weight and providing other metabolic benefits, such as improved insulin sensitivity and lower insulin levels:

    Cureus 2018: Intermittent fasting: the choice for a healthier lifestyle

    International Journal of Obesity 2011: The effects of intermittent or continuous energy restriction on weight loss and metabolic disease risk markers: a randomised trial in young overweight women

    Obesity (Silver Spring) 2016: A randomized pilot study comparing zero-calorie alternate-day fasting to daily caloric restriction in adults with obesity ↩

  58. Journal of Translational Medicine 2016: Effects of eight weeks of time-restricted feeding (16/8) on basal metabolism, maximal strength, body composition, inflammation, and cardiovascular risk factors in resistance-trained males
    ↩

  59. Obesity (Silver Spring) 2018: Flipping the metabolic switch: understanding and applying health benefits of fasting ↩

  60. Exercise is likely good for health and wellbeing in many ways. It also has some effect on weight loss – but probably a smaller effect than most people expect:

    The American Journal of Medicine 2011: Isolated aerobic exercise and weight loss: a systematic review and meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials

    Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews 2006: Exercise for overweight or obesity

    Exercise interventions might be a bit more effective for overweight and obese adolescents (10-19 years of age):

    Sports Medicine 2016: Efficacy of exercise intervention for weight loss in overweight and obese adolescents: meta-analysis and implications ↩

  61. Progress in Cardiovascular Diseases 2014: The role of exercise and physical activity in weight loss and maintenance ↩

  62. AJCN 2019: Effect of different doses of supervised exercise on food intake, metabolism, and non-exercise physical activity: The E-MECHANIC randomized controlled trial ↩

  63. Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research 2017: Exercise-induced hormone elevations are related to muscle growth ↩

  64. The Journal of Nutrition 2015: A lower-carbohydrate, higher-fat diet reduces abdominal and intermuscular fat and increases insulin sensitivity in adults at risk of type 2 diabetes

    Annals of Internal Medicine 2005: Effect of a low-carbohydrate diet on appetite, blood glucose levels, and insulin resistance in obese patients with type 2 diabetes ↩

  65. Journal of the American Dietetic Association 2005: Perceived hunger is lower and weight loss is greater in overweight premenopausal women consuming a low-carbohydrate/high-protein vs high-carbohydrate/low-fat diet ↩

  66. Food for thought: Does the brain need carbs? ↩

  67. Current Nutrition Reports 2018: Nutritional ketosis for weight management and reversal of metabolic syndrome ↩

  68. In some cases, it can be sufficient for weight loss, though. In one study, people with type 2 diabetes who maintained light ketosis (just below 0.6 mmol/L) lost 12% of their body weight, on average, over the course of one year:

    Diabetes Therapy 2018: Effectiveness and safety of a novel care model for the management of type 2 diabetes at 1 year: an open-label, non-randomized, controlled study ↩

  69. This is based on the clinical experience and research of low-carb practitioners. ↩

  70. Diet Doctor will not benefit from your purchases. We do not show ads, use any affiliate links, sell products or take money from industry. Instead we’re funded by the people, via our optional membership. Learn more ↩

  71. There’s a lack of clear scientific evidence about exactly what level of protein intake that is most beneficial on a keto diet. Quite likely it depends on your goals.

    Here are some thoughts on individualization of protein intake, and details about the views of different low-carb experts. ↩

  72. Diet Doctor will not benefit from your purchases. We do not show ads, use any affiliate links, sell products or take money from industry. Instead we’re funded by the people, via our optional membership. Learn more ↩

  73. Diet Doctor will not benefit from your purchases. We do not show ads, use any affiliate links, sell products or take money from industry. Instead we’re funded by the people, via our optional membership. Learn more ↩

  74. In hypothyroidism, metabolic rate slows down, which can lead to weight gain of about 11 pounds (5 kg):

    European Thyroid Journal 2012: Thyroid function and obesity ↩

  75. Best Practice & Research, Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism 2013: Pitfalls in the measurement and interpretation of thyroid function tests ↩

  76. Thyroid Research 2018: Management of hypothyroidism with combination thyroxine (T4) and triiodothyronine (T3) hormone replacement in clinical practice: a review of suggested guidance ↩

  77. In a 6-month study, 11 women with PCOS who ate less 20 grams per day lost 11% of their body weight, on average, along with reducing their fasting insulin levels and improving their reproductive hormone balance:

    Nutrition & Metabolism 2005: The effects of a low-carbohydrate, ketogenic diet on the polycystic ovary syndrome: a pilot study

    A more recent study also reported excellent weight loss and other benefits of low-carb in women with PCOS:

    Journal of Obesity & Weight Loss Therapy 2015: Low starch/low dairy diet results in successful treatment of obesity and co-morbidities linked to polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) ↩

  78. Current Pharmaceutical Design 2017: Low testosterone levels and metabolic syndrome in aging male
    ↩

  79. Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research 2017: Exercise-induced hormone elevations are related to muscle growth ↩

  80. Psychoneuroendocrinology 2001: Stress may add bite to appetite in women: a laboratory study of stress-induced cortisol and eating behavior
    ↩

  81. The British Journal of Nutrition 2011: The efficacy of Phaseolus vulgaris as a weight-loss supplement: a systematic review and meta-analysis of randomised clinical trials ↩

  82. JAMA Network 2015: Efficacy of liraglutide for weight loss among patients with type 2 diabetes ↩

  83. The New England Journal of Medicine 2015: A randomized, controlled trial of 3.0 mg of liraglutide in weight management ↩

  84. International Journal of Obesity 2012: Safety, tolerability and sustained weight loss over 2 years with the once-daily human GLP-1 analog, liraglutide ↩

  85. This is based on the clinical experience. ↩

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