Various weight loss Diet approaches exist. Some reduce hunger, while others curb calories, carbs, and fats.
Selecting which diet to pursue can be difficult, as all promise success. However, only some approaches work for everyone. This article examines nine well-known weight-loss regimens and their scientific backing.
1. The Paleo Diet
The paleo diet suggests eating the same foods as your hunter-gatherer ancestors before agriculture was developed.
According to some theories, most modern diseases can be attributed to Western diets and high intake of processed foods, milk, and grains.
Although it needs to be clarified if this diet provides the same food as your ancestors, there are many health benefits.
What it does: This diet focuses on whole foods, lean protein, veg, fruit, nuts, and seeds, avoiding processed items, sugar, dairy, and grains.
Paleo-friendly versions also allow for dairies such as butter and cheese and tubers such as sweet potatoes and potatoes.
Weight loss: Research indicates that a Paleo diet can cause weight loss and a decrease in waist size. It includes lower carb intake, higher protein consumption, and 300-900 fewer calories daily. ( 1, 2, 3).
Additional benefits: The diet appears to reduce risk factors for heart disease, such as cholesterol, blood sugar and triglycerides ( 4, 5, 6).
The downside: A paleo diet excludes whole grains, legumes and dairy. These are all healthy and nutritious.
SUMMARYPaleo emphasizes whole foods but avoids dairy and grains. The many health benefits of the paleo diet include weight loss.
2. The Vegan Diet
The vegan diet prohibits animal products from protecting all users’ environment, health, and ethical well-being.
Veganism can also be associated with animal cruelty and exploitation.
What it does: Veganism, the strictest form of vegetarianism.
It also eliminates meat and eggs.
Weight Loss: The vegan diet may be very effective in helping people lose weight, often without counting calories. It’s low in fat and fiber so you might feel fuller for longer.
A vegan diet is associated with lower body weight and body Mass Index (BMI) than other diets.
A study of vegans over 18 weeks showed that they lost 9.3 pounds (4.2 kilograms) more than people who ate a normal diet. While the vegans were allowed to eat until they felt full, the control group had limited calories (7).
Vegan diets are less effective than other diets in weight loss ( 8 ).
Reduced calorie intake is the main factor in weight loss with vegan diets.
Other benefits: Plant-based diets have been linked to a lower risk of type 2 diabetes and heart disease.
Reducing your intake of processed meats may help reduce your chances of developing Alzheimer’s disease, heart disease, or cancer.
The downside is that vegan diets eliminate animal products so that they can be low in nutrients such as vitamins B12 and D.
SUMMARYVegan diets do not include any animal products. You may lose weight by consuming fewer calories and are less likely to get many diseases.
3. Low-Carb Diets
Low-carb diets are very popular, especially for weight loss.
There are many low-carb diets. However, they all limit carb intake to between 20 and 150 grams daily.
The diet’s primary goal is to make your body use fats instead of carbs as your main energy source.
What it does: Low-carb diets are a way to get unlimited amounts of protein and fat and severely limit your carb intake.
Low carbohydrate intake can cause fatty acids to be absorbed into the bloodstream and transported to your liver, where they are converted into ketones.
Without carbohydrates, your body can use fatty acids or ketones as an alternative energy source.
Weight loss: Numerous studies show low-carb diets can be very helpful, particularly for obese and overweight people. ( 9 )
These products seem extremely effective in reducing dangerous belly fat that can get lodged around your organs. ( 10 )
A state known as ketosis is common for people who eat very low-carb diets. Numerous studies have shown that ketogenic diets result in more weight loss than low-fat, calorie-restricted diets. 11
Other benefits: Low-carb diets can reduce appetite and make you feel fuller. ( 12 )
Low-carb diets can also benefit major disease risk factors such as cholesterol, blood triglycerides and blood sugar.
The downside: Low-carb diets may only be for some. They can make some people feel happy while others may feel miserable.
Some people might experience an increase in “bad” LDL cholesterol. ( 13 )
Low-carb diets can lead to nondiabetic Ketoacidosis, a rare condition. This condition is more common in lactating mothers and can lead to death. ( 14 )
Low-carb diets, however, are safe for most people.
SUMMARYLimiting carb consumption causes the body to use fat as fuel. This diet has numerous benefits, one of which is weight loss.
4. The Dukan Diet
The Dukan Diet is a low-carb, high-protein weight loss diet that can be divided into two phases: maintenance and weight loss.
The amount of weight you want to lose will determine how long you stay in each phase. Each phase has its diet.
How it works Weight loss phases are based primarily on unlimited high-protein food intake and obligatory oat bran.
Other phases include adding non-starchy veggies followed by some carbs or fat. You will find fewer days with pure protein to help you maintain your weight.
Weight Loss: One study found that women who followed the Dukan diet lost, on average, 33 pounds (15kg) over 8-10 weeks ( 15 ).
Many other studies also show that high-protein, low-carb diets can lead to significant weight loss ( 16 ), ( 17 ).
Metabolism speeds up, Ghrelin (hunger hormone) decreases, and many satiety hormones increase with the Dukan diet, though there are no other proven advantages besides weight loss.
The downside: Very little quality research is available about the Dukan diet.
The Dukan diet limits carbs and fat, which science does not back. Surprisingly, high-protein diets with fat burn faster than those low in either nutrient. ( 18 ).
Furthermore, rapid weight loss caused by severe calorie restriction can cause significant muscle loss ( 19 ).
Loss of muscle mass, severe calorie restriction, and other factors may cause your body to conserve energy. This makes it easy to regain weight after losing it. ( 20 )
SUMMARYThe Dukan diet can induce weight loss but has yet to be scientifically studied. It may also result in a slower metabolism and reduced muscle mass.
5. Ultra-Low Fat Diet
An ultra-low-fat diet limits your daily intake of fat to less than 10%
A low-fat diet, typically with 30% of calories from fat, is ineffective in maintaining long-term weight loss.
The ultra-low-fat diet advocates that traditional low-fat diets do not have enough fat. Must keep Fat intake below 10% of total calories.
What it is: An ultra-low-fat diet comprises 10% or less fat, mostly derived from plants, with minimal animal products. ( 21 ).
It’s high in carbohydrates — about 80% of calories — and low in protein — 10% of calories.
Weight Loss: This diet is very effective in weight loss for obese people. One study found that obese people lost an average of 140 pounds (63kg) using a low-fat diet ( 22 ).
A further 8-week study using a 7-14% fat diet showed an average weight loss (23) of 14.8 pounds (6.7kg).
Other benefits: Studies show that ultra-low fat diets may reduce the risk of heart disease.
Surprisingly, this high-carbohydrate, low-fat diet can significantly improve type II diabetes ( 24 and 25 ).
It may also slow the progression of multiple sclerosis, an autoimmune disease affecting the brain, spinal cord and optic nerves. ( 26 ).
The downside: Fat restriction can cause long-term health problems. However, fat plays many vital roles in your body. These include building cell membranes and hormones and helping absorb fat-soluble vitamins.
Adhering to a low-fat regimen is difficult since it restricts the consumption of nutritious items and requires more diversity.
SUMMARYUltra-low-fat diets contain less than 10% calories from fat. This diet can result in significant weight loss and impressive benefits for multiple sclerosis, type 2 diabetes, heart disease, and other conditions.
6. The Atkins Diet
The Atkins diet, one of the most popular low-carb weight loss methods, is well-known.
Proponents of this diet claim that you can lose weight simply by eating as much protein and fats as you want, provided you don’t eat carbs.
Low-carb diets work well for weight loss because they curb your appetite.
This allows you to consume fewer calories and not think about it ( 27 ).
What it is: There are four phases to the Atkins diet. The Induction Phase is where you consume less than 20 grams of carbohydrates per day for two weeks.
As you reach your goal weight, the next phase involves slowly introducing healthy carbs into your diet.
Weight Loss: It has been extensively studied and shown to be more effective than low-fat diets ( 28 ).
Studies have shown that low-carb diets can be very effective in weight loss. They are particularly effective in reducing belly fat, the most harmful fat in your abdomen.
Other benefits: Numerous studies have shown that low-carb diets like Atkins can reduce risk factors such as blood triglycerides and cholesterol.
Low-carb diets are more effective than other weight loss methods. They also improve blood sugar, HDL cholesterol, and other health markers ( 29).
The downside: Although the Atkins diet is healthy and safe for most people, it can cause some problems in rare instances.
SUMMARYAtkins is a low-carb diet for weight loss. This diet is not only effective in weight loss, but it also offers benefits for other risk factors.
7. The HCG Diet
The HCG diet can be extreme and cause weight loss of as much as 1-2 pounds per day (0.45-1kg).
Proponents of this supplement claim it increases metabolism and fat loss without causing hunger ( 30 ).
HCG (human chorionic gonadotropin), a hormone that is present in high levels in early pregnancy, is known to be very effective.
It informs a woman that she is pregnant and keeps her body producing hormones necessary for the baby’s development. It can also use to treat fertility problems (31).
What it is: There are three phases to the diet. The first phase is when you start taking HCG supplements.
The second phase involves a very low-calorie diet, with 500 calories daily and HCG supplement drops or pellets. The weight loss phase lasts for between 3-6 weeks.
The third phase is when you stop taking HCG and gradually increase your food intake.
Weight loss: Studies have proven that the HCG hormone does not cause weight loss from the HCG diet.
HCG did not reduce hunger.
Additional benefits: The HCG diet has no documented health benefits besides weight loss.
The downside: HCG, like other ultra-low-calorie diets, can cause muscle loss, decreasing the ability to burn calories.
This severe restriction of calories further reduces your body’s ability to burn calories. Your body believes it is starving and so tries to conserve energy ( 32 ).
HCG products on the market today are often scams, and they don’t contain HCG. Injections can only raise this hormone.
The diet can also cause fatigue, headaches, and depression. One woman also reported developing blood clots due to the diet ( 33 ).
The FDA disapproved of this diet and labeled it illegal, dangerous, and fraudulent ( 34 ).
SUMMARYThe HCG diet, which has no scientific backing, can result in a metabolic decrease, muscle depletion, headaches, exhaustion, and even depression.
8. The Zone Diet
The Zone Diet limits carb intake to 35-45% and 30%, respectively ( 35 ).
It suggests that you eat carbs with a low glycemic (GI) index.
The GI (Gale Index) of a food indicates how much it will raise your blood glucose levels after you consume it.
The original purpose of the Zone Diet was to reduce inflammation and weight loss due to diet ( 36 ).
What it does: The Zone Diet suggests that you balance each meal with 1/3 protein and 2/3 colorful fruits, veggies, and a little bit of fat, such as monounsaturated oils like olive oil, avocado, or almonds. It also restricts high-GI carbs such as potatoes, rice, and bananas.
Weight Loss: The results of low-GI diets could be more consistent. Many assert that the diet leads to weight loss, while others that it decreases the desire for food. However, research indicates a low-GI diet can cause lower weight gain than other diets. ( 37 and 38 ).
Other benefits: This diet has many other benefits, including decreasing heart disease risk factors like reduced cholesterol and triglycerides.
One study shows that the Zone Diet may help with blood sugar control, waist circumference, and chronic inflammation in obese or overweight individuals with type 2 diabetes ( 40 ).
The downside: The disadvantage of this diet is limiting the intake of beneficial carbs like bananas, potatoes, and other veggies.
SUMMARYThe Zone Diet is a low glycemic index diet. Research regarding its efficacy for weight loss has yet to be definitive; they have shown that it improves many key health indicators and lowers your risk for heart disease.
9. Intermittent Fasting
Intermittent Fasting allows you to alternate between eating and fasting.
It controls what foods you eat and when. It can be viewed as a pattern of eating rather than a diet.
These are the most common ways to practice intermittent fasting:
- The 16/8 Method involves skipping breakfast, restricting your daily eating time to eight hours and fasting for 16 hours.
- This is the eat-stop-eat way: It involves 24-hour fasts on the non-consecutive day, once or twice per week.
- The 5/2 diet: You limit your intake to 500-600 calories on two days that are not consecutive. The five remaining days are not subject to calorie restrictions.
- The Warrior Diet Eat small portions of fresh fruits and vegetables throughout the day and one large meal at night.
What it does: Intermittent Fasting is a favored weight loss method due to its ability to reduce calorie intake. To avoid overeating, one must manage meals during the designated eating periods.
Weight Loss: Intermittent Fasting is generally very effective for weight loss. It results in weight loss between 3-8% and 3-24 weeks. This is much more than most weight loss diets ( 41 ).
This may lead to less muscle loss than typical caloric limitation and boost metabolism by 3.6-14% momentarily. ( 42 ).
Other benefits: Intermittent fasting can reduce inflammation markers, blood cholesterol, triglycerides, and blood sugar.
Intermittent fasting has been seen to increase human growth hormone and insulin sensitivity and change gene expression. Animal studies also demonstrate that it could boost brain cell growth, guard against Alzheimer’s and extend life. ( 43, 44 and 45).
The downside: While intermittent fasting can be safe for healthy and well-nourished people, it is not suitable for everyone.
It’s less helpful for women than it is for men, according to some studies (46).
Pregnant women, nursing moms, underweight teens and malnourished kids should not fast.
SUMMARYIntermittent fasting allows your body to alternate between eating and fasting. Intermittent fasting is very effective in weight loss and has many health benefits.
No single diet is ideal for weight loss. Different diets work for different people. Opt for one that suits your lifestyle and preferences. To be successful, find a diet feasible for you in the long term.