When it comes to the "best" diet for most people, this one consistently ranks at the top of every list. If you can't afford a cruise to the Mediterranean (yet!), at least you can eat like the beautiful, long-living, and famously healthy people from the region. The Mediterranean diet teaches you to eat like a Sardinian, one of the "blue zones" identified by researchers as having a high number of people living past 100—by eating more fish, olive oil, healthy fats, and fresh vegetables. The point is to have not just a longer life but also a healthier and happier one, whether you're trying to lose weight or not. (Really—research shows that you can reap the benefits of the Mediterranean diet without cutting calories.)
Whether your reason for going vegetarian is ethical, environmental, or for health, one thing's for sure: weight loss can be a nice bonus. In fact, in that same study that evaluated vegan, vegetarian, and omnivorous diets, vegetarian diets were almost as effective as vegan—helping people lose 6.3 percent of their body weight compared to 7.5 percent in the vegan group in a half year. Bonus: perfection isn't necessary. Even if you fall off the wagon and break your diet (hey, it happens!) another study found that dieting vegetarians still lost more weight than dieting meat eaters.
Switch to Lighter Alternatives. Whenever you can, use the low-fat versions of salad dressings, mayonnaise, dairy products, and other products. "You can trim calories effortlessly if you use low-fat and lighter products, and if the product is mixed in with other ingredients, no one will ever notice," says Magee. More smart substitutions: Use salsa or hummus as a dip; spread sandwiches with mustard instead of mayo; eat plain roasted sweet potatoes instead of loaded white potatoes; use skim milk instead of cream in your coffee; hold the cheese on sandwiches; and use a little vinaigrette on your salad instead of piling on the creamy dressing.
Not much of a coffee drinker? Tea is also a natural diuretic, and types of herbal tea such as dandelion or fennel root can also lend a hand. In fact: When a recent study compared the metabolic effect of green tea (in extract) with that of a placebo, researchers found that the green-tea drinkers burned about 70 additional calories in a 24-hour period.
Many diets, including Atkins and the keto diet, fit into this umbrella. A typical low-carb diet limits carbs to less than 60 g daily, but this can vary, according to the Mayo Clinic. (15) In a September 2015 review published in PLOS One, people following low-carb diets saw modest weight loss — although study authors note that long-term effects of the diet require further research. (16)
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Talk about heart ache: high blood pressure stresses arteries, and can make you more susceptible to heart disease. To eat to lower your blood pressure, you just need to focus on heart-healthy bites. The American Heart Association recommends loading up on fruits, veggies, whole grains, low- or non-fat dairy, beans, lean meats, and fish. Bonus: no one's ever gotten fat eating more kale and beans.