Best Diet Plans To Lose Weight

Last updated January 2nd 2015

With so many different diet plans around these days it can be hard to decide which is the best for you. Diet plans come in many forms, varying from simple changes to drastic alterations in your eating habits.

When trying to lose weight, it is widely believed that the main factor in success is the diet. Although it can be tempting to just try to starve yourself, this is not a healthy way to lose weight, and following a structured diet can help you to lose more weight whilst still eating plenty of food and maintaining good health. There is a wide variety of diet plans available; some focus on rapid weight loss, whilst others are aimed at a steady reduction in fat, and some may restrict the types of foods that you can eat, whilst others have no such restrictions. There are simply too many diets advertised to cover them all in this article, but some of the more popular diet plans will be considered.

What are Diet Plans?

Before going any further, it is important that you understand precisely what a diet plan is. In order to lose weight, a diet plan should include healthy foods that provide the body with all the essential nutrients, whilst reducing the overall calorie intake. Most diet plans involve a readily made set of rules that help to regulate your food intake, rather than leaving it to you to decipher what foods are best and how many calories to consume each day. The National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institution recommend that you eat a healthy diet that emphasises vegetables, fruits, whole grains, and low fat dairy products whilst including plenty of protein, such as lean meat and beans, and controlling portion sizes.

In order to lose 1-1.5 pounds per week, they recommend that your daily calorie intake should be reduced by 500 to 750 calories (generally speaking, 1,200-1,500 calories a day for women, and 1,500-1,800 calories a day for men). It is also advised that you do not consume less than 800 calories a day unless you are being monitored by a doctor. Before leaping in to a diet plan because your friend won’t stop talking about their successes, it is important that you research the plan and ensure it is healthy, and the best plan for you. Not every diet will produce miraculous results for everybody, and which plan will suit you best will be dependent on a number of factors; these will be discussed in more detail in sections below.

Why Incorporate a Diet Plan?

Whether you are consuming a weight loss supplement or not, if you are trying to lose weight then it is integral that you make alterations to your diet as well as your lifestyle. In order to lose weight, you need to have higher energy expenditure than energy intake; in other words, you must burn more calories than you consume. The best way to achieve this is by reducing your calorie intake whilst increasing the amount of exercise that you perform, and following a diet plan can make this a much easier process. Many people will find it easier to follow a select set of specific rules than to constantly count calories and monitor all the foods that they eat. Following a diet plan can also mean that you don’t have to cut out all of the foods that you enjoy.

There are so many diet plans available to choose from, it may take you several trials to work out which will be most effective for you. The process can seem daunting, but following a diet plan can have an extremely beneficial effect on your weight loss regime. The diet plan that you choose can be readily made, or you could alter a popular plan to fit in with your lifestyle. The NHS provides a useful review of the top diet plans of 2014; this can be found here .This article should help you to narrow down your choices and work out which type of diet plan may be best suited to you.

Popular Diet Plans

Paleo Diet

This new craze is very loosely based on what our cavemen ancestors would have eaten in the paleolithic era: lots of protein, veg and nuts with little processed carbohydrates such as pasta or bread. It does not include calorie counting, but encourage dieters to get their energy from vegetables while staying away from starchy foods such as potatoes and processed grains. It focuses less on weight loss and more on improving health, as it is low salt and claims to be able to reduce the risk of diabetes.

This diet sounds healthy overall, as it includes lots of vitamins and minerals from the veg and does not include processed foods. There is also evidence from a small study to suggest that it can reduce blood pressure and blood lipid levels. There are some downsides, depending on the extent people follow it to. These can relate to the high protein diet, which can have cardiovascular risks. Furthermore it can be expensive to eat so much meat and organic foods when it may not be necessary.

5:2 Diet

The 5:2 diet, AKA intermittent fasting, seems simple: eat normally for five days a week, while cutting down to a quarter of your calorie intake for the other two days. The diet aims to give steady weight loss of around 1 pound a week. It has been widely promoted in the media and seems to be very popular with many people, likely due to it allowing dieters to eat normally for most of the week making it easier to stick to. There are many different forms of this diet, for example eating only fruit smoothies or veg on the fasting days.

It seems to work for many people as it is simply reducing the energy intake. However the fasting days may be unpleasant, especially for those prone to hypoglycaemic events and so may not be suitable for everyone. Furthermore some may be tempted to overeat on the non-fasting days, which would defeat the object of the fasting days so does require willpower to follow properly. Moreover some say it would be more effective to switch to a lower calorie diet all week rather than constantly switching your diet.

Weight Watchers Diet

The Weight Watchers diet, devised by the popular weight loss group, works on ‘pro-points’, with different foods being given different ‘costs’ depending on how much they fill you up or whether they are just empty calories. There have been many success stories with this diet, as can be found on the Weight Watchers’ website. Weight Watchers also say that dieters can lose around 1-2 pounds a week, which is often the recommended healthy rate of weight loss. The benefits include flexibility, with the availability of normal foods and the fact that it is not too drastic. However it still may include lots of processed foods, and may also be difficult to stick to as it still allows unhealthy eating. Therefore it seems that although it can help to restrict the amount of calories eaten, they may be ‘empty calories’ so may not be nutritious. Some users also find it difficult to stick to. Furthermore there is the cost associated with following the Weight Watcher’s plan, which may be too expensive for may people.

Atkins Diet

The Atkins diet is arguably one of the most famous diets around. Devised in 1972 it enjoyed a lot of popularity until some health issues were discovered more recently. It includes restricting carbohydrate intake, which it says can lead to cardiovascular issues, and increasing the amount of protein and fats eaten, to balance the energy intake to allow effective weight loss while also regulating blood sugar levels.

Some benefits of the diet include the possibility of rapid weight loss, allowance for dieters to eat as much food rich in protein as they want, and it has proved itself at being able to give rapid results. Despite this it is restrictive in nature, and can lead to dieters cutting out some important food groups such as fibre. A second, more serious risk is that the body will be unable to make the glycogen it needs to provide energy for muscles leading to fatigue and nausea. It can also lead to ketosis as the body lacks a source of glucose and breaks down fat, leading to bad breath. One review article concludes that the Atkins diet may be beneficial for short term weight loss, but would not be recommended.

Which Diet Plan would be best for you?

Mentioned above is only a small selection of diet plans available; there is a huge number of diet plans and variations on the popular plans available online. Unfortunately there is no one miracle diet plan that will work best for everybody; which diet plan you opt for will be dependent on a number of factors. For example, how willing you are to change your eating habits, how busy your lifestyle is, whether or not you can afford to pay for meal replacement products, and your health. If you are also consuming a weight loss supplement, this should be taken in to consideration too.

If you struggle with sticking to a diet plan, then the 5:2 diet seems to be a popular option; this way you only need to limit your dietary intake for two days of the week. Of course, on these two days you will however have to have strong willpower to ensure that you stick to the limits, or you may not see a difference in your weight. This diet plan has also been linked to a reduction in the chances of contracting a number of diseases, so may be beneficial for your overall health. It does however come with drawbacks, such as the possibility of suffering from dizziness and lack of concentration, which could be a problem if you work in a high pressure environment.

If you wish to follow a relatively relaxed diet plan and are not willing to give up the occasional treat or cut out any main food groups, then you may wish to consider the Slimming World or Weight Watchers plans. Each of these is calorie-controlled to an extent, but do not involve cutting out certain foods. They also come with regular meetings and weigh-ins to keep you motivated. Overall they should allow you to lose weight gradually, but keep you on a straight path to weight loss with plenty of support and motivation.

The Rosemary Conley diet could be the one for you if you find that your downfall is not what you eat, but how much you eat. This diet is largely focussed on portion control, but also involves the consumption of low fat, low GI foods, and regular exercise. On this diet you can either purchase the Rosemary Conley branded products, or follow her recipes. It is also possible to join a local group, where you will gain support and motivation, and teaches you about important factors of dieting such as calorie counting and portion control. This is certainly a full-on weight loss plan, but one that is likely to provide positive results. The combination of eating low fat foods, small portions, performing regular exercise, and attending meetings is likely to be beneficial if you are willing to put the time and effort in to the programme.

If on the other hand you are a busy individual and don’t feel you would have the time to prepare all of your own meals then the Jenny Craig diet could be useful. This plan involves a meal delivery service, and a tailored exercise plan, as well as one-to-one support. This diet is certainly an ‘easy’ one, in that you do not have to worry about working out calorie controlled meals and snacks. Of course, it will however come at a cost, and is probably not a long-term solution. Whilst following the diet it is important that you learn what foods you should and shouldn’t eat, and are able to follow the diet with sensible eating.

Meal replacement plans can also be useful for short term weight loss, an example of which is Slim Fast. This plan involves buying and consuming Slim Fast products which include snacks, meals, and shakes. The idea is that you end up eating a calorie controlled diet without having to do the calorie counting, and to achieve your weight loss goal, you replace one of your daily meals with a shake. This may be a good place to begin your weight loss journey, but again is not a long-term solution, and so it is recommended that you educate yourself on dieting at the same time.

Finally, there are the more extreme diet plans for people who are willing to completely change their eating habits. These include the Paleo Diet and the Atkins Diets, amongst others. These diet plans involve cutting out certain food groups, and limiting yourself to certain foods. They involve commitment, and in order to succeed with them, you have to be willing to miss out on foods that you probably once enjoyed. Getting a large amount of your diet from one or two of the main food groups can also be detrimental to your health, so be sure to research the diet you are considering before getting stuck in, particularly if you have any pre-existing health conditions or vitamin deficiencies.

Diet Plans and Weight Loss Supplements

Weight loss supplements may be beneficial when consumed alongside a diet plan and regular exercise, and could give your body the extra boost to help you to reach your weight loss goal. There are a wide range of different weight loss supplements available on the market, and this can make it difficult to decide which might be best for you. Once you have decided on the type of weight loss supplement you want to opt for, you should adjust your diet accordingly. In terms of weight loss supplements, there are some basic mistakes to avoid. For example, there is no point in taking a carbohydrate blocking supplement if you are following a diet plan that cuts out virtually all carbohydrates.

Choose a diet plan that goes well with your weight loss supplement, or vice versa. For example, you may find an appetite suppressing product useful if you are on an intermittent fasting diet, such as the 5:2 diet; you could even just take the supplement on the fasting days. Metabolism boosting products would in theory be useful with most diets, but are best when combined with plenty of exercise. Fat burning and fat binding diet pills could prove to be most useful with diets that don’t involve cutting out any food groups, and still allow you to eat unhealthy foods every now and then, such as the Slimming World diet. You may also find it beneficial to consume extra vitamins if you opt for a diet such as the Paleo or Atkins plans that involve cutting out the consumption of entire food groups. For more information on the different types of weight loss supplements available and how they work, see our article here.

Conclusion

Diet plans are a very important aspect of weight loss, and so it is important that you choose which plan you would like to follow carefully. Clearly then there are different ways to approach dieting, some being more effective than others, and different diet plans will suit different people. Take in to consideration your health, your willingness to change your diet and cut out foods you enjoy, your lifestyle, the amount of exercise you’re willing to perform, your weight loss goal, and any weight loss supplements you may be consuming before deciding on a diet plan. Remember that just because a diet plan is popular does not mean that it will suit you, and may come with unwanted side effects.

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