From celebrity-endorsed to science-backed, finding the best diet for your body and lifestyle can be an exercise in frustration—definitely not the kind of exercise you need right now! To make your search easier, we've pulled together the 10 most popular diets based on which ones have consistently ranked highest on the annual U.S. News & World Report rankings, WebMD, and other current diet lists. Just know this: It's not about finding out which diet is the most popular overall but which one fits your goals and lifestyle the best. After all, the best diet for you is the one you can stick with (and enjoy)!
Some popular beliefs attached to weight loss have been shown to either have less effect on weight loss as commonly believed or are actively unhealthy. According to Harvard Health, the idea of metabolism being the "key to weight" is "part truth and part myth" as while metabolism does affect weight loss, external forces such as diet and exercise have an equal effect. They also commented that the idea of changing one's rate of metabolism is under debate. Diet plans in fitness magazines are also often believed to be effective, but may actually be harmful by limiting the daily intake of important calories and nutrients which can be detrimental depending on the person and are even capable of driving individuals away from weight loss.
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Eat More Produce. Eating lots of low-calorie, high-volume fruits and vegetables crowds out other foods that are higher in fat and calories. Move the meat off the center of your plate and pile on the vegetables. Or try starting lunch or dinner with a vegetable salad or bowl of broth-based soup, suggests Barbara Rolls, PhD, author of The Volumetrics Eating Plan. The U.S. government's 2005 Dietary Guidelines suggest that adults get 7-13 cups of produce daily. Ward says that's not really so difficult: "Stock your kitchen with plenty of fruits and vegetables and at every meal and snack, include a few servings," she says. "Your diet will be enriched with vitamins, minerals, phytonutrients, fiber, and if you fill up on super-nutritious produce, you won't be reaching for the cookie jar."
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.
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How it works: The IIFYM diet lets you eat anything you want and you’ll lose weight as long as you meet your prescribed daily set of macronutrients (carbs, proteins and fats). Calculate your personal macros by figuring out your total daily expenditure, then how many calories you should eat per day to lose weight. From there, you’ll divide the calories into the percentage of calories that should come from fat (20 percent), protein (40 percent) and carbohydrates (40 percent).
See a pattern? Now, I'm not saying these doctors were wrong, exactly. I did need to lose weight. But oddly enough, when I weighed less, the doctors were much more adamant that I lose weight than they are now. When I was actually becoming straight-up obese, it was more of an afterthought. They couldn't ignore my complaints and just say "there's nothing wrong with you," so they added a quick "lose weight."
When you’re trying to lose weight, it’s easy to see all the food opportunities that pop up around you—like those donuts or cookies at work. When those cookies show up, tell yourself you hold the power and you’re making a choice. Say, “I’m choosing not to have those because I’m choosing something I enjoy more,” Cederquist recommends. This is where the promise of your treat meal comes in—when you focus on that, you can ignore the so-so food opportunities coming your way.
The MIND diet, or Mediterranean-DASH Intervention for Neurodegenerative Delay, is a sort of hybrid between the DASH diet and the Mediterranean diet. It features foods meant to slow the progression or development of Alzheimer’s disease, the most common form of dementia and an incurable neurodegenerative condition that more than 5 million Americans are living with, according to the Alzheimer’s Association. (12) Some research backs up this notion, including a study published in September 2016 in Alzheimer’s Dementia that found a link between following the MIND Diet and a reduced risk of the disease. (13)
Whether you’re addicted to your local juice bar or pick up a bottle or two at the grocery store, you should know that even the most natural juices are loaded with sugar. A glass of 100 percent grape juice has nine teaspoons of sugar, a glass of 100 percent orange juice has six teaspoons, and a glass of 100 percent apple juice has seven teaspoons. (Actually, sugar can crop up in a lot of unexpected places. Check out the 10 kid’s meals that have more sugar than a can of Pepsi.)