"When going out for fast food, I used to get the large-size value meal. Now, I satisfy a craving by ordering just one item: a small order of fries or a six-piece box of chicken nuggets. So far, I've shaved off 16 pounds in seven weeks, and I'm on track to being thinner than my high school self for my 10-year reunion later this year." —Miranda Jarrell, Birmingham, AL

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.)

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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.

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Some diet plans, such as the MIND diet and the DASH diet, are meant to focus on certain areas of health — and weight loss may be a bonus. Others are created with weight loss as a primary goal. “It is important to remember that we are all very unique individuals,” says Kyle. “We all have different states of health and different lifestyles, which could affect what diet plan is best for us. That means that you should not be considering what is working for your friends or family members — and instead should pay attention to what works for you individually.”
But when you cut through the headlines, marketing campaigns and studies, he says, you’ll find that most experts agree on a few fundamentals of nutrition: that vegetables, fruits, whole grains, beans, lentils, nuts, seeds and plain water should make up the majority of what people eat and drink. If there is such a thing as a “best” diet, he says, that’s it.
Founded by coffee guru Ben Weiss in his Princeton basement, Bai5, a new line of all-natural fruity drinks with exotic flavors, is forecast to rack up $125 million in sales this year. We can see why: Their Bubbles line—with flavors like Guatemala Guava, Jamaica Blood Orange and Bolivia Black Cherry—are the definitive Drink This on this list of Not That!s. Sweetened with fruit juice, erythritol and stevia (not aspartame) and powered by 45 mg of caffeine, thanks to the tea and coffeefruit, they’re delicious enjoyed straight-up or as a mixer. Interestingly, rather that beat Bai5, one soda titan joined them: the Dr. Pepper Snapple Group, who once only distributed the product, bought a stake in the company this past April. Meet the Best Diet Soda in America! And to blast even more fat, don’t miss these 30 Skinny Secrets from the World’s Sexiest Women!
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“Anytime you’re stressed, you probably go for food,” Dr. Seltzer says. (Have we met?!) That’s because cortisol, the stress hormone, stokes your appetite for sugary, fatty foods. No wonder it’s associated with higher body weight, according to a 2007 Obesity study that quantified chronic stress exposure by looking at cortisol concentrations in more than 2,000 adults’ hair.


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.
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.
Every drop of this iconic pineapple detox water is packed with vivacious charm. The recipe is astonishingly simple, but it yields an incredible source of hydration. The heavenly elixir only requires 2 sticks of sugar cane, approximately 5 pineapple chunks and 2 liters of water. All H2O should be filtered, and spring water is the best choice. Upon combining the ingredients, this brew can be consumed immediately; however, every minute of stewing increases the fun for the tongue. The deliciousness is special enough to make every sip a divinely uplifting experience. Meditative properties are enhanced by pineapples ability to expel toxins.
Similar to the CICO diet, the Body Reset has gained popularity via social media, and there isn’t any definitive research that suggests the approach is safe and effective. Celebrity trainer Harley Pasternak created the plan, which is essentially a three-phase liquid diet comprised of smoothies and moderate exercise. While U.S. News notes you may lose weight on the diet, it may be tough to stick with, and isn’t safe for people with diabetes and heart disease. (38)
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.
Obviously, if you’re trying to lose weight, you’re better off getting your calories from actual food rather than drinks. They’ll help you feel full longer, she says. But you’re also a human and drinking water 24/7 isn’t super thrilling at 4 p.m. From your first cup of coffee in the morning to that afternoon iced tea, here is a list of the drinks you should avoid—or at least drink in moderation.
If possible, get your snack in early in the evening. Then, close the kitchen at 8 p.m. “Restrict eating to 12 hours per day, with your biggest meal at lunch,” says Dr. Peeke, as it works with your body’s natural metabolic rhythms. Think of the hours you’re not eating as “rejuvenation,” when your cells are doing the housekeeping needed to drop body fat.
Like protein, fiber slows the rate at which your body plows through carb calories so you feel full for longer and maintain steadier blood sugar levels, one reason why research consistently links fiber intake to weight loss. That means fibrous whole grain bread tends to be a better choice than white bread and also explains why fruits, which contain fiber and valuable vitamins in addition to sugar, beat straight-up candy every time.
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The study began with 609 relatively healthy overweight and obese people, and 481 completed the whole year. For the first month, everyone did what they usually did. Then, for the next eight weeks, the low-fat group reduced their total fat intake to 20 grams per day, and the low-carb group reduced their total carbohydrate intake to 20 grams per day. These are incredibly restricted amounts, considering that there are 26 grams of carbs in the yogurt drink I’m enjoying as I write this, and 21 grams of fat in my half of the dark chocolate bar my husband and I split for dessert last night.


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.
Timing out your meals can be a useful strategy to maintain and lose weight, suggests a study in The Journal of Nutrition. The researchers found that eating less frequently was helpful in reducing intake, and they recommended eating breakfast and lunch five to six hours apart. That’s relatively easy to do if you have breakfast at 7 a.m. and lunch at noon, but it’s an important reminder that timing matters.

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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.
While juice is definitely a better choice than a soda, since 100 percent juice should only contain naturally-occurring sugars and a little fiber, you still have to limit yourself to a one-cup serving per day, she says. To limit the blood sugar spike, chase it with a handful of protein-rich nuts. Also worth noting: You need to avoid any kind of juice cocktail that contains added sugar (or sweeteners) in the ingredients, she says.
The latest dieting trend has reached a new level of evolution with this insanely flavorful watermelon detox water. There are plenty of antioxidants stored within the juicy melons, and its nutrient contents are through the roof. One of its key compounds is the phytonutrient known as lycopene. This generous ingredient is an extraordinarily strong antioxidant, and it also is known to foster anti-inflammatory effects. Amino acids are also provided to aid in blood flow and cardiovascular well-being. This is great for anyone with a rigid fitness routine. Seedless watermelons are preferred for this blend, and the final product is a ruby red wonder!

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