It’s estimated that nearly half of American adults attempt to lose weight each year. One of the best ways to lose weight is by changing your diet.
Yet, the sheer number of available diet plans may make it difficult to get started, as you’re unsure which one is most suitable, sustainable, and effective.
Some diets aim to curb your appetite to reduce your food intake, while others suggest restricting your intake of calories and either carbs or fat.
What’s more, many offer health benefits that go beyond weight loss. Here are the 8 best diet plans to help you shed weight and improve your overall health.
1. Intermittent fasting
Intermittent fasting is a dietary strategy that cycles between periods of fasting and eating. Various forms exist, including the 16/8 method, which involves limiting your calorie intake to 8 hours per day, and the 5:2 method, which restricts your daily calorie intake to 500–600 calories twice per week.
How it works: Intermittent fasting restricts the time you’re allowed to eat, which is a simple way to reduce your calorie intake. This can lead to weight loss — unless you compensate by eating too much food during allowed eating periods.
Weight loss: In a review of studies, intermittent fasting was shown to cause 3–8% weight loss over 3–24 weeks, which is a significantly greater percentage than other methods.
2. Plant-based diets
Plant-based diets may help you lose weight. Vegetarianism and veganism are the most popular versions, which restrict animal products for health, ethical, and environmental reasons.
However, more flexible plant-based diets also exist, such as the flexitarian diet, which is a plant-based diet that allows eating animal products in moderation.
How it works: There are many types of vegetarianism, but most involve eliminating all meat, poultry, and fish. Some vegetarians may likewise avoid eggs and dairy.
The vegan diet takes it a step further by restricting all animal products, as well as animal-derived products like dairy, gelatin, honey, whey, casein, and albumin.