Carrying too much weight for your body size can have harmful implications for your health. Some of the more common health effects of obesity include hypertension, coronary heart disease, and type 2 diabetes.
Among the leading causes of obesity is poor diet. If you are looking to shed the extra weight, one of the most important steps you will take is to adopt a healthier diet. Even more helpful is to follow a weight-loss diet.
Here are the top five weight-loss diets you should consider:
Weight Watchers Diet
The Weight Watchers diet emphasizes making healthier choices and behavioral changes that lead to healthier living over merely eating less. If you follow this diet to the letter, it is said you should lose two pounds per week.
The Weight Watchers Beyond the Scale Program was launched in 2015. It helps people to make better eating choices and encourages physical exercise as a way of maintaining a healthy body.
In other words, the Weight Watchers Diet is a behavioral weight management technique. Under this dieting plan, every food you eat is given a smart point value based on its nutritional value. Healthier foods are given lower values over those that cause weight gain. For example, processed foods carry high points.
You can eat whatever you want until you reach your smart points target for the day. Fresh fruits and most vegetables carry zero points so you can eat them in any quantities.
A study published in the Lancet journal in 2011 revealed that the Weight Watchers diet is more effective than any other standard weight loss diet plan.
The basic principle behind the Volumetrics Diet is that people tend to eat the same volume of food every day irrespective of what its content is. You can expect to lose 1-2 pounds of weight per week on average if you follow this dieting plan.
Among the foods you eat, some are high energy-dense while others are low-energy-dense. So the Volumetric Diet supposes that by eating low energy foods you will load up fewer calories but still feel satiated and full, leading to weight loss. Fruits and vegetables are the more ideal choices.
The Volumetric Diet divides food into 4 categories:
Category 1 - very low-density foods, like non-starchy fruits, vegetables, and non-fat milk.
Category 2 - low-density foods like starchy fruits and veggies, grains, breakfast cereal, low-fat meat, legumes, and low-fat mixed dishes like chili and spaghetti.
Category 3 - medium density foods like meat, cheese, pizza, french fries, salad dressing, bread, pretzels, ice cream, and cake.
Category 4 - high-density foods like crackers, chips, chocolate candies, cookies, nuts, butter, and oil.
Category 1 and 2 foods can be consumed in excess. Category 3 foods should be consumed in moderation, while and category 4 foods are to be avoided.
A study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition in 2007, found that people who were put on a low-energy-dense, low-fat diet of fruits and vegetables lost more weight than those put on a low-fat diet. The researchers concluded that low-energy-dense diets are an effective way to lose weight.
3. Jenny Craig Diet
This structured commercial diet plan aims to reduce calories, fats, and portion sizes. It also promotes healthy eating, maintaining an active lifestyle, and behavioral modification as ways of shedding weight.
People who sign up for this diet plan receive personalized meal plans, exercise advice, and counseling from a Jenny Craig Diet consultant. They get pre-packaged meals specific to their personal weight loss goals.
Each person’s diet is designed on the basis of their weight, fitness habits, and levels of motivation. There are two programs that members can choose to follow. The first is the standard program and the second, called the Jenny Craig for Type 2 is designed for people with type 2 diabetes.
A 2017 study published in the Applied Physiology, Nutrition and Metabolism journal revealed that Jenny Craig participants lost nearly 12 pounds on average over 12 weeks. This was slightly more than the other three plans (Curves, Weight Watchers, Nutrisystem) studied.
The study participants were 133 sedentary, overweight women who were randomly assigned to follow any of the four weight loss programs.
4. Vegan Diet
As well as weight loss, the Vegan Diet helps to improve heart health as well to prevent and control diabetes. It also protects against chronic illnesses.
The Vegan Diet discourages the consumption of all animal products, including meat, eggs, and dairy. Instead, you are urged to pack your diet with fresh fruits and vegetables. Whole grains, nuts, seeds, and legumes are permitted under the vegan diet.
The Vegan Diet is not to be confused with the vegetarian diet, which only discourages meat consumption and not all meat products.
A structured diet plan, the Vegan Diet is in accordance with recommendations by the American Dietetic Association. Actress Alicia Silverstone, a celebrity advocate for the diet, explained the potential benefits of the vegan diet in her book "The Kind Diet."
According to a study published in the Nutrition journal in 2014, researchers found that individuals who were on a vegan diet achieved significant weight loss than those who followed a vegetarian and semi-vegetarian diets.
The researchers concluded that vegan dieters were focusing on high-fiber foods, which help you feel full for longer, are low in fat, and likely had fewer calories.
5. Flexitarian Diet:
The Flexitarian Diet aims to reduce weight and ensure optimal health while helping achieve environmental sustainability. People who follow the Flexitarian diet are at a reduced risk of developing heart disease and cancer. They tend to live longer, too.
‘Flexitarian’ is a combination of the words ‘flexible’ and ‘vegetarian’. This term was coined by a 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."
Jackson Blatner believes you don’t have to completely eliminate meat from your diet to lose weight and live healthily. She contends you can be vegetarian most of the time but still occasionally enjoy some meat.
The Flexitarian diet encourages adding new healthier foods to your diet as opposed to eliminating any. Instead of abstaining from meat, the diet champions incorporating alternative protein sources.
According to Nutrition Review, vegetarians are 15% lighter than non-vegetarians. The prevalence of obesity in vegetarians is also low at about 0-6%.
Which weight-loss dieting plan will you try first?