Year after year, millions of people vow to get fit, take more vitamins and supplements, make healthier choices and lose weight. But with so many diet programs on the market, it can be difficult to know which one is most effective for reaching your goals. So, to help you decide which program is best suited for you, we have assembled some of the most popular diet programs currently available and the pros and cons of each one.
The ketogenic diet, known as keto for short, is a low-carb, high-fat diet. On the keto diet, you aim to get only 10% or less of your daily calories from carbohydrates, which puts your body in a state of ketosis.
On the keto diet, you can expect to eat meat, avocados, fish, dairy and non-starchy vegetables. Followers of the keto diet must avoid bread, starchy vegetables, pasta and potatoes.
Ketosis is a metabolic state in which your body burns fat for energy and turns fat into ketones in the liver, which can supply your brain with energy. Ketosis has been shown to be effective at reducing the symptoms of epilepsy.
- Keto can be effective at reducing symptoms of type 2 diabetes and epilepsy.
- Unlike calorie-restrictive diets, people on the keto diet report feeling full and satisfied.
- Some research suggests that the keto diet can help improve blood sugar control.
- This diet contains very few processed foods.
- Giving up whole grains and many fruits and vegetables can cause constipation.
- It can be tricky to stick to such a restrictive diet, especially when going out to eat.
- Short-term side effects include fatigue, headache, brain fog and a metallic taste in the mouth.
Noom is a mobile health app subscription service that uses a psychology-based approach to help users lose weight. Unlike other diets, Noom doesn’t completely rule out any food groups.
On Noom, you take a quiz that personalizes your results. The Noom diet encourages you to eat plenty of whole grains, vegetables and fruits and advises caution on processed foods and red meat.
- The app deals with the psychology around overeating as well as simply a diet plan.
- The diet focuses on long-term results and lifestyle changes.
- The Noom diet doesn’t cut out entire food groups, so it is easier to maintain, and it takes a personalized approach for each individual.
- The diet can be a huge commitment, with daily weigh-ins and weekly check-ins with a counselor.
- It can be expensive compared to diets that don’t require a subscription plan.
3. Jenny Craig
Jenny Craig is a weight loss program that focuses on low-fat foods that are rich in protein to keep you fuller for longer. No food is ever completely off-limits, but the diet encourages moderation with high-fat, calorie-dense foods.
Clients who enroll in the plan are sent packaged foods to cover meals and snacks, which they supplement with fresh food from the grocery store. There’s also motivation support available through meetings with a consultant.
- The plan is easy to follow and convenient, with meals being sent directly to you.
- The option for face-to-face or telephone support can help users stay accountable.
- The diet is nutritionally dense, including a balanced mix of protein, fat and carbs, which helps users reach their vitamin and mineral goals.
- The Jenny Craig program is expensive, so it may not be accessible for people with lower incomes.
- Many of the pre-packaged meals that come with the program are processed, so it doesn’t focus on whole foods as much as other diets.
4. The Mediterranean Diet
As the name suggests, the Mediterranean diet is based on the traditional foods associated with countries such as Spain, Italy and Greece.
The diet is rich in oily fish, healthy fats, fruits, vegetables and whole grains. The diet limits processed foods, added sugar and refined grains.
- The Mediterranean diet isn’t hugely restrictive, so it is simple to follow and maintain for a long time.
- The diet contains a balance of all food groups, so reaching your nutritional goals is easy.
- Eating a Mediterranean diet is associated with heart health and a lower risk of chronic disease.
- Because the Mediterranean diet focuses on cooking whole foods from scratch, it can be expensive and time-consuming.
- The diet doesn’t contain specific guidelines, so it can be easy to fall off course.
The paleo diet is based on foods that would have been eaten during the Paleolithic era, which took place between 2.5 million and 10,000 years ago.
The paleo diet focuses on whole foods, including lean meat, fish, fruits, vegetables, nuts and seeds — essentially any food that hunter-gatherers could have eaten. The diet restricts dairy products, legumes and grains since these foods only became widespread with the emergence of agriculture.
- The diet cuts out all processed foods, which research shows is beneficial to your health.
- Paleo diets are low in added sugar.
- Because the food on a paleo diet tends not to be calorie-dense, most people lose weight on the diet.
- Because of the restriction involved, the paleo diet can be challenging to maintain over time.
- The diet involves whole foods, so buying and cooking them can be more expensive and time-consuming than processed options.
The Bottom Line
All diet programs have unique pros and cons, but most guarantee at least short-term weight loss. Before starting any of the above diet programs, make sure you consider whether or not it is suitable for your lifestyle and consult a medical professional.