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The Best Diets for Losing Weight in 2024

Published on Feb 11, 2023 | 1:55 PM

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As we discussed in “Is Your Resolution to Lose Weight? Read This First,” diet and nutrition are among the most important things to consider when you are looking to lose weight. Alongside regular exercise and running a calorie deficit, a good diet will not only help you shed the pounds but will also make you look and feel better. However, like how there are different types of workouts developed for different goals, there are also different types of diets to choose from. 

What kind of diet is best for losing weight?

There is no one-size-fits-all "best" diet for losing weight because what works for one person may not work for another. The most effective diet for weight loss is one that you can stick with over the long term, as consistency is key and maintained by lifestyle changes versus temporary changes that lead to weight fluctuations. Here are some popular and well-researched diets that have been associated with weight loss success for many individuals:

DASH Diet: The DASH (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension) diet is a dietary plan designed to prevent and manage hypertension. It emphasizes a balanced and heart-healthy approach to eating, focusing on whole, nutrient-dense foods. The DASH diet is rich in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean proteins, and low-fat dairy products while minimizing the intake of sodium, saturated fats, and added sugars. Additionally, it has been effective in helping people lose weight. (1) 

Flexitarian Diet: The flexitarian diet is a primarily plant-based eating approach that encourages flexibility in food choices, allowing for occasional consumption of meat and other animal products. It's characterized by a high intake of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, legumes, and nuts while limiting meat and dairy. The term "flexitarian" is a blend of "flexible" and "vegetarian," reflecting its adaptable nature. (2)

Ketogenic Diet: The ketogenic diet, commonly known as keto, is a low-carbohydrate, high-fat dietary regimen designed to induce a state of ketosis in the body. Ketosis occurs when the consumption of carbohydrates is severely restricted, causing the body to rely primarily on fat for fuel. In this process, fats are broken down into molecules called ketones, which become the body's primary source of energy. The diet typically consists of a minimal intake of carbohydrates, a moderate amount of protein, and a high proportion of dietary fat, often with 70-75% of daily calories coming from fats. (3)

Mediterranean Diet: The Mediterranean diet is a dietary pattern based on the traditional eating habits of countries bordering the Mediterranean Sea, such as Greece, Italy, and Spain. It is characterized by an emphasis on whole, minimally processed foods, particularly fruits, vegetables, whole grains, legumes, nuts, and olive oil. This diet also includes moderate consumption of fish and poultry, occasional red meat, and a daily intake of wine in moderation. (4)

Mayo Diet: The Mayo Clinic Diet, developed by the renowned Mayo Clinic, is a weight loss program that promotes a balanced and sustainable approach to healthy eating and lifestyle. It focuses on making long-term behavioral changes rather than quick fixes. The diet is divided into two phases: "Lose It!" and "Live It!" The "Lose It!" phase is designed for initial weight loss and focuses on setting realistic goals, adopting healthier eating habits, and incorporating physical activity. The "Live It!" phase aims to help individuals maintain their desired weight by continuing these healthy habits. The Mayo Clinic Diet emphasizes the importance of portion control, making nutritious food choices, and regular exercise, making it a holistic approach to achieving and sustaining a healthy weight. It does not require special foods or supplements and instead encourages a balanced diet based on whole foods. (5)

MIND Diet: The MIND diet, short for the Mediterranean-DASH Diet Intervention for Neurodegenerative Delay, is a dietary plan developed to promote brain health and potentially reduce the risk of cognitive decline, including Alzheimer's disease. It combines elements of the Mediterranean diet and the DASH (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension) diet, focusing on specific foods that have shown potential benefits for the brain. The MIND diet encourages the consumption of green leafy vegetables, berries, nuts, whole grains, fish, poultry, and olive oil, while limiting red meat, butter and margarine, cheese, sweets, and fried or fast food. This diet emphasizes nutrient-rich foods and healthy fats, known for their potential to support cognitive function and overall well-being. (6)

Paleo Diet: The paleo diet, short for the Paleolithic diet or "caveman diet," is a dietary approach that seeks to mimic the presumed eating habits of our ancient ancestors during the Paleolithic era. It emphasizes consuming foods that were available to early humans, including lean meats, fish, fruits, vegetables, nuts, and seeds, while excluding processed foods, grains, dairy, legumes, and refined sugars. The diet is based on the belief that our genes have not adapted to the dietary changes that occurred with the advent of agriculture, and therefore, a return to a more primal way of eating can promote better health and well-being. (7)

Volumetrics Diet: The Volumetrics Diet is a weight management approach developed by nutritionist Dr. Barbara Rolls, emphasizing the importance of food volume and satiety in achieving and maintaining a healthy weight. This diet encourages the consumption of foods that are low in calorie density but high in water content, such as fruits, vegetables, and broth-based soups, to help individuals feel full and satisfied without excess calories. It advocates for portion control by prioritizing these lower-calorie foods while still allowing for some higher-calorie options in moderation. 

What are the correct portion sizes to lose weight?

Assuming you are not necessarily focused on building muscle mass, correct portion sizes for weight loss can vary depending on factors such as your individual calorie needs, activity level, and specific dietary preferences. Additionally, the amount of food per serving is subject to change depending on whether a person is on a specific type of diet.  However, for general portion control, nutrients are typically divided into the following:

  • Protein: A typical serving of lean protein (chicken, fish, tofu, legumes) should be about the size of your palm or a deck of cards. This equates to approximately 3-4 ounces (85-115 grams) per meal.
  • Vegetables: Aim to fill half your plate with non-starchy vegetables like broccoli, spinach, or peppers. These are naturally low in calories, so you can have a more generous portion.
  • Whole Grains: A serving of whole grains, such as brown rice or quinoa, should be about the size of your fist or a tennis ball. This is generally equivalent to ½ to 1 cup, depending on your calorie needs.
  • Fruits: A portion of fruit should be similar in size to a tennis ball or a small piece of whole fruit, like an apple or a banana.
  • Healthy Fats: Healthy fats like avocados, nuts, and olive oil are calorie-dense, so it's important to be mindful of portion sizes. A serving is typically 1-2 tablespoons of oil or a small handful (about 1 ounce) of nuts or seeds.
  • Dairy: For dairy products, like yogurt or cheese, one serving is typically the size of a small container of yogurt (6-8 ounces) or a piece of cheese about the size of your thumb.

Can you lose weight with just a diet?

Theoretically, you can, but it all depends on your calorie deficit. A calorie deficit is a state in which you consume fewer calories than your body requires for its daily functions, leading to weight loss as your body taps into stored fat for energy. If you can choose a diet that is nutritious, but lowers calories below your deficit, like many of the diets shown above, losing weight without regular exercise is possible. However, it is recommended that those looking to lose weight get some form of exercise for at least one hour per day. With there being so many exercises to choose from, check out CallonDoc Focus: The Best Exercises for Weight Loss in 2024 to learn more about the exercises you can integrate into your daily routine to help lose weight. 

Need help with weight loss? CallonDoc can help!

Keeping your body at a manageable weight is critical to your health, with dieting and regularly exercising being the best tools for the process. However, they aren’t the only options for those who are overweight, thanks to the weight loss treatment options CallonDoc offers. With both injectable and oral prescriptions for weight loss, Call-On-Doc can help prescribe weight loss medication to help you achieve your weight loss goals

Source:

  1. “The Science Behind the DASH Eating Plan.” NHLBI, 29 December 2021, https://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/education/dash/research.
  2. “What Is the Flexitarian Diet? – Cleveland Clinic.” Cleveland Clinic Health Essentials, 25 May 2021, https://health.clevelandclinic.org/what-is-the-flexitarian-diet/.
  3. Sheikh, Zilpah. “Keto Diet: What is a Ketogenic Diet?” WebMD, 28 August 2023, https://www.webmd.com/diet/ss/slideshow-ketogenic-diet.
  4. “Mediterranean Diet.” Cleveland Clinic, 20 November 2022, https://my.clevelandclinic.org/health/articles/16037-mediterranean-diet.
  5. “The Mayo Clinic Diet: A weight-loss program for life.” Mayo Clinic, https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/weight-loss/in-depth/mayo-clinic-diet/art-20045460.
  6. “MIND Diet | The Nutrition Source | Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health.” Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, https://www.hsph.harvard.edu/nutritionsource/healthy-weight/diet-reviews/mind-diet/.
  7. “Paleo diet: What is it and why is it so popular?” Mayo Clinic, 20 October 2022, https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/nutrition-and-healthy-eating/in-depth/paleo-diet/art-20111182.

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Wayne C. Hahne,

English graduate and Call-On-Doc’s medical resource guide, Wayne C. Hahne is an experienced and passionate medical education content expert. Through diligent research, provider interviews and utilizing the industry's leading resources for wellness information, it is Mr. Hahne’s personal mission to educate the general public on medical conditions with in-depth and easy-to-understand written guides.

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