HCG, or Human Chorionic Gonadotropin, is a hormone produced during pregnancy by the placenta after implantation, and doctors sometimes prescribe it for fertility issues. But this hormone has also gained popularity as a weight-loss supplement — and using it as such can be dangerous. In fact, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) warns against purchasing over-the-counter hCG, as these supplement products are illegal. (34)

Forget about the consequences of lemonade forever, and just enjoy the treat with this sugar-free version. With a perky infusion of strawberries and raspberries, hot summer days have never been better. If the ingredients sit in a chilled environment for two days, you will be greeted with pink lemonade that is out of this world. The lemons are always good for the stomach, but their healing properties have previously been counteracted by artificial sweeteners. Now, dieters can receive all the tasty benefits without enduring unnecessary bodily ramifications. Weight loss and enjoyment can co-exist, so feel free to drink up and have another!
3. (tie) The Mayo Clinic diet, Mediterranean diet, and Weight Watchers (3.9 stars): Mayo is cited for its good nutrition and safety, as well as being ''a tool against diabetes." The Mediterranean Diet is called sensible. Weight Watchers ''surpassed other commercial diet plans in multiple areas," the experts say, ''including short- and long-term weight loss and how easy it is to follow."
Loads of research demonstrates people who log everything they eat — especially those who log while they're eating — are more likely to lose weight and keep it off for the long-haul. Start tracking on an app like MyFitnessPal when the pounds start sneaking up on you. It'll help you stay accountable for what you've eaten. Plus, you can easily identify some other areas of your daily eats that could use a little improvement when it's written out in front of you.
Life without bacon and cheese sounds harsh, but your hips will thank you. Vegan diets beat out semi-vegetarian, pescatarian (fish), and omnivorous (meat and plant foods) diets, according to recent research. In fact, after six months, dieters lost more than twice the weight compared to the other groups. But you can't nix all animal products and call it a day—quality matters. "I see it a lot: two vegans, one is really healthy and the other is really unhealthy," says Pamela Salzman, an LA-based cooking instructor and holistic health counselor. "You can eat potato chips all day and that's a vegan diet," she says. If you're going vegan, focus on those complex carbs, produce, healthy fats, and whole soy foods; skip processed junk, even if it's vegan.
The French and Italians have something right: fruits and veggies, whole grains, nuts, fish, and lots of olive oil is a tasty—and slimming—way of noshing. Oh, and wine. Did we forget to mention wine? In a meta-analysis on 16 studies, researchers realized the plan helped dieters lose an average of 8.5 pounds. But it's not magic—you have to cut calories, exercise, and stick with it for more than six months for the best results, the research found. So if you're going to go for it, put away the entire bottle of vino and pour yourself a sensible glass instead.
Be choosy about carbs. You can decide which ones you eat, and how much. Look for those that are low on the glycemic index (for instance, asparagus is lower on the glycemic index than a potato) or lower in carbs per serving than others. Whole grains are better choices than processed items, because processing removes key nutrients such as fiber, iron, and B vitamins. They may be added back, such as in “enriched” bread.
It's a diet that's been long heralded and has churned out many a success story. The focus is on SmartPoints—or points assigned to foods based on calories, saturated fat, protein, and sugar—which you add up to reach your daily allotment (fruits and veggies are free). And you know what: it works! One study analyzed the effectiveness of a variety of diets, and declared Weight Watchers to be such a great option for keeping weight off long-term that docs should prescribe it to their patients. And the U.S. News & World Report deemed it the best weight-loss diet. The secret sauce to their success? The support of Weight Watchers meetings and accountability at weigh-ins, keeping you motivated to reach your goals.
Though Katz also says it isn’t nearly enough. "That doesn't help you pick the most nutritious bread, or the best pasta sauce. A member of the foodie elite might say you shouldn't eat anything from a bag, box, bottle, jar, or can." That's admittedly impractical. "We do need to look at all the details that populate the space between where we are and where we want to be."

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