Thanks to its flexibility, easy-to-understand system, and group support, Weight Watchers came out way (weigh?) ahead, winning "best weight loss," "best fast weight loss," and "best commercial diet" in the U.S. News & World Report rankings. (Oprah's endorsement probably didn't hurt either!) They recently revamped their signature plan to include "free" foods like chicken breasts and fresh produce so you'll never feel hungry even while dropping pounds. In addition, their app makes tracking your food a piece of cake—which you're totally allowed to have on the program, by the way. (Even better news: Research supports the fact that Weight Watchers is one of the best weight-loss diets.)
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.
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You'd think that a weight loss competition show would push some sort of crazy gimmicky plan that leaves you starving. But this one goes heavy on the fruits, veggies, and lean protein—and exercise. Sounds like it makes sense, right? Exactly—and that's why it works. The U.S. News and World Report rated The Biggest Loser Diet as one of the best for weight loss (particularly when you need to slim down fast). The verdict: go for it, then flaunt your bad self when you're done.
This small company, founded by soda-loving parents who wanted something healthier for their children, distributes a variety of classic flavors, from cola to ginger ale to grape, without using artificial sweeteners or artificial colors. Instead, they’re sweetened with the sugar alcohol Erythritol. “The upside is that sugar alcohols are not as artificial as some of their counterparts in the low/zero calorie sugar industry,” says Smith, “but they can cause gastrointestinal upset like gas a diarrhea when consumed in excess—although some say that erythritol may be better tolerated than other sugar alcohols. The other plus,” she continues, “is that unlike other sweeteners—specifically artificial sweeteners—they are not thousands of times sweeter than sugar, so they may cause less metabolic confusion in terms of sweetness as compared to caloric delivery, although more research still needed.” Brilliantly, this root beer tastes like the real thing—and is clear, because there’s no caramel color. And what about Diet Coke, or your favorite? See where it ranks on this list of 38 Diet Sodas—Ranked!
Protein is kryptonite to belly fat, and the building block of a lean, toned bod. I have to admit, when Kumai began writing for men’s nutrition-and-wellness publications, she wasn’t too keen on their obsession with protein powders. Yet, as she began to research and experience the wonders of vegetarian protein blends, she soon became a fan. Within weeks of testing the post-workout smoothies for my book, Kumai’s body leaned up; and she had just as much muscle tone as she did when she was running half marathons. Here’s a delicious recipe to try; one sip and you won’t believe it’s healthy since it takes just like a vanilla shake.
When it came onto the scene, it was revolutionary and totally rule-breaking. Eat all the meaty goodness you want—as long as you drastically cut carbs. And in a study on young, overweight and obese women, Atkins beat out higher-carb plans, when dieters shed over 10 pounds in a year compared to less than five in other diets And, nope, Atkins didn't clog their arteries either. Of course, while it's effective for weight loss, low carb diets can be unbalanced if you eat too much meat and too few veggies. Think about if it fits your lifestyle—and don't give up on the other components of a healthy diet—before hopping on the carb-cutting bandwagon.
The ultimate point of this diet review, which is framed like a tournament, is that there is no winner. More than that, antagonistic talk in pursuit of marketing a certain diet, emphasizing mutual exclusivity—similar to arguments against bipartisan political rhetoric—is damaging to the entire system and conversation. Exaggerated emphasis on a single nutrient or food is inadvisable. The result, Katz and Meller write, is a mire of perpetual confusion and doubt. Public health could benefit on a grand scale from a unified front in health media: Endorsement of the basic theme of what we do know to be healthful eating and candid acknowledgement of the many details we do not know.
If the diet is a quick fix rather than one that promotes lasting lifestyle changes, this could pose a problem. In particular, extreme diets that promise big weight loss up front aren’t always sustainable — and you may end up overeating or even binge eating if you feel deprived. “Consider if the diet’s habits are ones you can continue throughout your lifetime, not just 21 or 30 days,” says Angie Asche, RD, a sports dietitian in Lincoln, Nebraska.
When people ask me about Bukowski, I usually say, just try reading some. There is no one quite like him. The first time I read him, as a college student in the sixties, I was astonished that anyone so depraved could be so literate. As down-and-out as Jim Thompson, but with more booze and explicit, matter-of-fact sex. But for Bukowski, it's not so much about the sex as about the relationships (mostly unsatisfactory), and about the hard vicissitudes in the life of a marginally celebrated author and poet. Above all, Bukowski is funny.
White tea is dried naturally, often in sunlight, making it the least processed and richest source of antioxidants among teas (as much as three times as many polyphenols as green tea!). A study published in the journal Nutrition and Metabolism showed that white tea can simultaneously boost lipolysis (the breakdown of fat) and block adipogenesis (the formation of fat cells) due to high levels of ingredients thought to be active on human fat cells. If there’s such a thing as diet tea, this is it. And keep your waistline toned and tight—in record time—with these essential 29 Best-Ever Proteins for Rapid Weight Loss.
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.
Hear us out here: Diets can be restrictive, and you’re less likely to stick with one if you feel like you’re depriving yourself. While Cording swears that water is the absolute best thing you can drink for weight loss, she says it’s also helpful to incorporate one non-water beverage into your repertoire a day so you don’t feel like you’re missing out. That might be kombucha, a cocktail, or a latte—it’s your choice. “It seems to be a more manageable approach than saying you should just drink water,” she says.
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Consequently, researchers have widely discredited the hCG diet, which involves using hCG injections, pellets, sprays, or drops, and consuming as few as 500 calories daily. The diet is problematic not only because there’s a lack of research on hCG supplements, but also because the calorie requirement is dangerously low, potentially leading to nutrient deficiencies, fatigue, hormone imbalances, blood clots, and other issues. Thus, most experts agree the hCG Diet is not safe for anyone, the Mayo Clinic notes. (35)
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Close the Kitchen at Night. Establish a time when you will stop eating so you won't give in to the late-night munchies or mindless snacking while watching television. "Have a cup of tea, suck on a piece of hard candy or enjoy a small bowl of light ice cream or frozen yogurt if you want something sweet after dinner, but then brush your teeth so you will be less likely to eat or drink anything else," suggests Elaine Magee, MPH, RD, WebMD's "Recipe Doctor" and the author of Comfort Food Makeovers.
Interested in following a more historical approach to eating? The Primal Blueprint is similar to the Paleo diet, which has roots in how our long-ago ancestors supposedly ate. This plan ditches grain, sugars, and processed foods while focusing on clean eating with plenty of protein (both animal- and plant-based), lots of vegetables, fruits, and healthy fats. The Primal Blueprint acknowledges other health factors too, advocating for lots of low-intensity activity, some high-intensity exercise, strength training, and plenty of sleep.
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."