To prep his patients for success, Dr. Seltzer tells them to plan around a large evening meal by eating a lighter breakfast and lunch—NBD since most people who eat a meal before bed tend to wake up feeling relatively full, he says. Research suggests balanced bedtime meals may also promote steady next-day blood sugar levels, which also helps with appetite regulation.

U.S. News evaluated and ranked the 40 diets below with input from a panel of health experts. To be top-rated, a diet had to be relatively easy to follow, nutritious, safe, effective for weight loss and protective against diabetes and heart disease. The government-endorsed DASH diet, which stands for Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension, tied with the Mediterranean diet for the top spot.


Oolong, a Chinese name for “black dragon,” is a light, floral tea that, like green tea, is also packed with catechins, which help to promote weight loss by boosting your body’s ability to metabolise lipids (fat). A study in the Chinese Journal of Integrative Medicine found that participants who regularly sipped oolong tea lost six pounds over the course of the six-week time period. That’s a pound a week!

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The concept behind this diet is pretty simple: ditch all processed foods for bites that come just as nature made them. Proponents of the plan dig in to foods like wild salmon, fresh veggies, local eggs and, of course, chocolate (because what is life without chocolate?). Abel James is the creator of these nutrition guidelines, and he promises that if you avoid artificial ingredients you'll be able to "feast all day, yet stay lean and healthy."

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.


Life without bacon and cheese sounds harsh, but your hips will thank you. Vegan diets beat out semi-vegetarian, pescatarian (fish), and omnivorous (meat and plant foods) diets, according to recent research. In fact, after six months, dieters lost more than twice the weight compared to the other groups. But you can't nix all animal products and call it a day—quality matters. "I see it a lot: two vegans, one is really healthy and the other is really unhealthy," says Pamela Salzman, an LA-based cooking instructor and holistic health counselor. "You can eat potato chips all day and that's a vegan diet," she says. If you're going vegan, focus on those complex carbs, produce, healthy fats, and whole soy foods; skip processed junk, even if it's vegan.

Fasting is part of several religious holidays, Peake notes, and so the word can often have that connection. "It can also feel draconian, with visions of gnashing and grinding of teeth as you force yourself not to eat," she says. "Forget all of that." Instead, this is about giving your body ample time to regenerate and restore (without all that tiresome digestion getting in the way).
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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