In a study of over 120,000 healthy women and men spanning 20 years, researchers determined that weight change was most strongly associated with the intake of potato chips, potatoes, sugar-sweetened beverages, and both processed and unprocessed red meats. The researchers concluded that consumption of processed foods higher in starches, refined grains, fats, and sugars can increase weight gain.
“There are many diet plans on the market today that promote good health,” says Emily Kyle, RDN, who is in private practice in Rochester, New York. “The key is finding one that does not cause you stress or agony.” Ask yourself questions such as: Would the diet guidelines make you happy? Anxious? Stressed? Are you able to follow them long term? “Factors such as enjoyment, flexibility, and longevity should be strongly considered,” adds Kyle.
If you've got baby making on the mind, this may be the diet for you. Its basis comes from a 2009 book by Harvard docs, in which they make their recommendations from the Nurses' Health Study that concluded that what you eat impacts egg quality, ovulation, and your chances of getting pregnant. So you'll skip Standard American Diet stuff—red meat, processed foods with trans fats—and eat more veggie protein, nuts, and whole fat dairy. U.S. News & World Report gave The Fertility Diet one of the top overall diet honors thanks to the balanced approach; plus, it comes with the added perks of helping protect your heart and prevent diabetes.
The high-fat, low-carb ketogenic diet isn't just touted as a way to help you lose weight; research has also shown that it may be an effective tool for keeping your mental health in check. Laboratory rats fed ketogenic diets — which consist of lots of fish, natural fats, plenty of vegetables, and very few starchy, high-carbohydrate foods — showed improvements in their depression, anxiety, and ADHD.
This fizzy, pleasantly puckery fermented beverage is made by adding a probiotic-rich bacteria to lightly sweetened tea. More and more research is looking into gut health and how it relates to obesity and weight, finding that the millions of bacteria that live in our guts may play a large role by altering the way we store fat, how we balance blood sugar and how we respond to the hormones that make us feel hungry and full. Fueling our gut with beverages and foods that stimulate good bacteria may make losing weight easier than we ever thought possible. Kombucha is readily available in most supermarkets and comes loaded with probiotics — just be sure to look for brands with less than 5 grams sugar per serving.
The best low-cal diet plan isn't a diet so much as it is a method. CICO stands for "calories in, calories out" and is based on the mathematically sensible principle that as long as you're burning more calories than you're eating, you'll lose weight. All you need to get started is a way to track your calories—there are plenty of apps on the market although a pen and paper works great too—and a food scale to keep you honest about your portion sizes. (Also read this guide on how to safely cut calories to lose weight.) People love the simplicity and straightforwardness of the plan. And while it may not be the fastest way to lose weight, you're guaranteed to have success long term. (Just know that some weight-loss experts actually don't recommend calorie counting.)