WeightStarting a new diet plan can be a challenge; after all there are numerous diet plans on the market that claim to be the best, most effective, and easiest to incorporate.  The reason that many adults, and now children, are flocking to diets is to cut back on body weight and improve overall health.  Obesity has skyrocketed over the past few decades and because of this, adults are looking to cut the weight to feel great.

Over the past few decades, the overall levels of obesity have grown immensely.  Current estimates suggest that close to 1.9 billion adults of at least 18 years of age are overweight and another 650 million are obese, worldwide.  This staggering number is exactly as it seems; it is staggering and it continues to rise each year.  These numbers equate to 40 percent of all adults in the entire world being overweight and another 13 percent as obese, to give another perspective.

While recent decades have shown that the typical adult is growing in size on average, much of the increased body weight throughout the world is attributed to the countries that are most populated.  With that said, dieting has become a major part of a healthy lifestyle.  Listed ahead is a complete guide on what dieting is, some of the most popular diet plans around, and what to look for when making a decision on a diet plan.

Obesity Defined

Before jumping into the dieting topic, it is important to have an understanding of what overweight and obesity are.  Both of these conditions are defined as an excessive amount of fat on the body, but there are some differences to be aware of between the two.

Overweight

The typical way to measure one’s body weight is with the body mass index, or BMI.  The BMI is a measure of your height compared to your body mass and this generates a value when divided together.  Overweight, in terms of the BMI, is a value of 25-29.9 kg/m2.  Rather than doing the calculation yourself, consider finding a common online calculator to provide you with your value.  Consider using this online calculator here.

Obesity  

In comparison to being overweight, obesity is defined as a BMI above 30 kg/m2.  There are a few differing categories for obesity.  Obesity I is a BMI between 30-34.9 kg/m2, obesity II is a BMI between 35-39.9 kg/m2, and lastly, morbid obesity is a BMI value above 40 kg/m2.  Generally speaking, any of the obesity levels are associated with poor health; however, morbid obesity has the most implication on your health and typically is associated with worse health.

Dieting 101

Now that you have a bit of information on the differing categories with body weight, now is the time to take a closer look at dieting.  Obviously, the human body needs to consume calories as a way to refuel the body’s cells.  However, too many calories can be damaging to health.  Let’s take a look at the primary nutrients your body needs to survive.

Fats  

Fats have long been considered a negative component in diets in recent decades.  With a growing number of heart disease taking lives each year, fats have strongly been associated with fast weight gain, cardiovascular disease, increased cancer risk, as well as type II diabetes.  Fat contains the largest amount of calories per gram, making it more than two times as calorically dense as the other nutrients.  One gram of fat contains nine calories and this nutrient should be consumed sparingly.

Carbohydrates  

Many people who flock to diets end up on plans that incorporate low amounts of carbohydrates.  Carbohydrates contain only four calories per gram, but the big issue with this nutrient is that it is very easy to overconsume.  With that said, carbohydrates, or carbs, are found in virtually every food aside from dedicated fatty options.  In addition, carbs contain fiber, whole grains, and nutrients the body needs to remain healthy, so skipping on this nutrient category can have its implications.

Protein. 

next nutrient the body needs is protein.  Protein is found in animal products and this nutrient is needed for proper muscle growth, cellular regeneration, as well as for keeping you full after your meal.  Studies have shown that diets higher in protein can lead to improvements in appetite control, body weight, as well as decreasing overall cardiovascular health risk.  With this in mind, newer diet plans have shifted how much protein is coming from the program as a way to curb appetite so that you eat fewer calories.

Alcohol  

This is not necessarily a nutrient the body needs, but it is a common source of calories in the usual adult diet.  Alcohol has two areas where it can harm body weight; one gram of alcohol has about seven calories.  In addition, alcohol promotes an increase in fat generation and storage, even if you do not have a high fat diet, which suggests that alcohol leads to more fat on the body.  It is usually always advised that adults decrease alcohol consumption when aiming to lose weight because of this.

Caloric Needs

One of the most fundamental aspects for any diet is the caloric needs of the individual.  The standard recommendation for adults is around 1,800 to 2,000 calories each day, with some variation expected due to level of physical activity, body size, as well as gender.  Listed below is a breakdown of calories that are needed for both women and men, with variations included with physical activity.

Women

In general, women tend to have lower caloric needs than men but adult women of at least 18 years of age should aim for about 2,000 calories each day depending on body needs.  In addition, women who are physically active should consider more calories in order to meet the energy needs of the working body.  Moderately active women should aim for up to 2,200 calories each day and very active women could go as high as 2,400 calories.  While the caloric needs should depend on overall lifestyle, the type of activity the individual performs, as well as the amount of sitting time throughout the day, finding a good range may take a bit of time to find.

Men  

In comparison to women, men typically have an increased caloric need.  Men aged at least 18 years of age should aim for about 2,400 calories each day, which is about 20 percent higher than women.  In addition, moderately active men should aim for up to 2,800 calories and very active men can consume around 3,000 calories.  These recommendations will depend greatly on your lifestyle and the exact numbers could change depending on your body’s needs.

Why Start on a Diet Plan?

Starting on a diet plan is essential for your health and wellness.  For starters, a healthy and balanced diet can be a great way to manage your weight; however, a diet plan that is designed for weight loss should be directed specifically for weight loss.  With that said, finding the right diet plan should be geared 100 percent towards your end-goal results.  What this means is that if you desire slow and steady weight loss then you should search for a diet plan that allows for this.  Moreover, if a fast weight loss diet plan is the only thing you want then you need to find a diet that has a caloric restriction and allows for proper nutrient timing for your training.  Once your diet is capable of keeping up with your goals, your lifestyle will appear as though it is right on track for success.

What are the Best Diet Plans for Weight Loss?

When making a decision on some of the best diets out there, it is important to have a thorough understanding of what each diet has to offer.  For starters, not all diets are good for weight loss and some tend to be geared towards clean eating.  However, the listing below is the overall blend of healthy eating, moderate caloric intake, and nutrient density.  Consider the best diet plans listed below.

Mediterranean Diet

The first diet plan on this list is one that is gaining popularity for a number of reasons.  It incorporates healthy fats in the diet as a way to promote better health.  In addition, this diet plan incorporates plenty of fruits vegetables, as well as nuts and legumes.  When everything is said and done, this diet provides a great deal of healthy fats, fiber, as well as nutrients.

Health Benefits

The Mediterranean diet is a widely popular plan that allows for the introduction of fresh fish, nuts, seeds, and plenty of fiber.  In terms of weight loss, the Mediterranean diet is worthwhile considering it promotes healthy eating rather than caloric restriction.  Expect to consume lean protein options such as salmon, halibut, chicken, as well as nuts and seeds.  Not to mention, most of the foods involved in the Mediterranean diet are prepared using whole olive oil, which is one of the best for adding omega 3 fatty acids.

Restrictions 

One of the biggest rewards of the Mediterranean diet is that there are no food restrictions.  Many other eating plans promote a decreased consumption of a certain food or nutrient; however, this particular diet plan is just the opposite.  The Mediterranean diet promotes whole grain carbohydrates as a way to improve heart health and to add to the fiber consumption.  The addition of whole grains is important in any weight loss because it promotes optimal health, in addition to better weight management.

Overall Conclusions

Anyone who is looking to find a sound diet plan should consider the Mediterranean diet.  Especially in the setting of weight loss, the Mediterranean diet can promote steady weight loss with the inclusion of whole grains, heathy fats, as well as avoiding food restrictions.

DASH Diet

This next diet was first introduced to adults as a way to reduce the amount of sodium in the diet.  The DASH diet, which is short for Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension, is widely considered a good source for anyone with cardiac issues and for those who need to stop eating salt.  Let’s take a closer look at some of the factors involved with the healthy DASH diet.

Health Benefits

When first thinking about the DASH diet, it is important to understand that this diet plan is used for adults who have some heart issues.  Reducing the amount of sodium in the diet helps to reduce the amount of fluid buildup in your body and it allows for less strain on the heart.  Many foods that are high in sodium tend to be worse off for your weight and health, so reducing the amount of sodium is good from the start.  In addition, the Dash diet plan incorporates fresh fruits and vegetables as a way to reduce caloric burden, increase the amount of nutrients in the body, and to increase the amount of fiber.

Restrictions  

The restrictions of the DASH diet are not plenty. For starters, the DASH diet aims for you to consume no more than 2,300 mg of sodium each day, which most adults easily surpass of a standard diet.  In addition, there is a low-sodium DASH diet for certain individuals with heart conditions and this diet aims for no more than 1,500 mg of sodium daily.  Aside from the strict sodium intake, there are no major restrictions.

Overall Conclusions

The DASH diet is a reasonable option for people looking to lose weight, eat healthier, and for people looking for a solid plan.  The decreased amounts of sodium in this diet plan helps to promote optimal health and to improve heart functioning.  Consider discussing the DASH option with your doctor if you have any heart issues.

Paleo Diet

The paleo diet is perhaps one of the most intriguing of all the diets listed here.  It is primarily based off the premise that we should eat the way in which our cavemen ancestors used to eat.  The reason for this, or the theory of this, is that intestinal and stomach issues never really came into human existence until farming methods were discovered.  What this means is that any foods that occurred once farming methods expanded are not to be consumed on the paleo diet.  Let’s look into this diet plan a bit more.

Health Benefits

There are a number of reasons that adults jump onto the paleo diet, but one of the biggest reasons is for weight loss. Studies have found that the paleo diet may be more effective than a low-fat diet.  A total of 70 women were included in a recent study incorporating a low-fat diet compared to the paleo diet.  The women on the paleo diet lost three times more weight than those on a lower fat diet, suggesting that the paleo diet can help you to lose significantly more weight than a standard low-fat diet.

Restrictions  

This is the one downside to the paleo diet. The foods that you could expect a caveman to hunt and gather are the only foods you are allowed to eat.  While some people modify the diet to make it work with modern times, the traditional diet should not include any grains, dairy, processed foods, sugar, sweeteners, or legumes.  This is quite restrictive when all said and done, but fewer food options may allow adults less opportunity to indulge on many foods.

Overall Conclusion

There are great benefits for jumping on the paleo diet, but there are also restrictions that can deter an adult from this plan.  Besides the restrictions in foods, there are recipes that are paleo friendly and there is more support for this diet plan all around.  The rewards may be enough to outweigh the restrictions if you have the motivation and drive to succeed.

Ketogenic Diet  

The ketogenic diet, or just keto diet, has been gaining popularity for its extreme dietary ingenuity.  For starters, the keto diet promotes very high amounts of fat and very little carbs or sugar.  Typically, carbs are few and can range a low as five grams per day.  Listed ahead are some of the basics about the keto diet.

Health Benefits

There are a few great benefits of the keto diet that drives many to jump on this diet plan. As with many diet plans, the keto diet is a good option for anyone looking to lose weight.  In particular, adults flock to this diet when carbs and sugar is an issue in the diet.  Considering the keto diet is all about consuming fats to cause the body to use fuel in the ketosis process, adults are encouraged to avoid carbs whenever possible.  A second major benefit of the keto diet is that it is highly effective for individuals who suffer from epilepsy.

Restrictions  

For those who really believe in the diet, it is hard to say there are restrictions; however, from a lay person standpoint, there are.  Perhaps the most noticeable area of restriction is in the amount of carbohydrates you can eat; the keto diet encourages about five percent of all calories from carbs.  In addition, 80 percent of the diet is from fat, so this is restrictive in itself.

Overall Conclusion

The biggest thing that adults need to consider when looking to go on the keto diet plan is to decide what the purpose of the diet would be for.  If the answer is for weight loss then consider the lifestyle you would need to have.  In addition, if you have diabetes and you are switching to this diet plan to regulate your sugar intake then this may be a good option for you.  Lastly, if you suffer from epilepsy, this diet could be important for you, but consider talking with your doctor before giving it a shot.

Weight Watchers

The Weight Watchers program is a well-known and established diet plan that helps adults to lose weight.  This program differs from a number of other diet plans out there in that Weight Watchers touts that you can lose weight and feel great while eating anything you want.  With this in mind, listed ahead are the health benefits as well some conclusions on the overall program.

Health Benefits

Perhaps the most important health benefit of the Weight Watchers program is that you can lose about two pounds each week. Two pounds may not seem like much, but health authorities recommend two pounds per week as a way to promote steady and healthy weight loss.  This is made possible with the system’s point-based food program in addition to the weekly meetings and guidance, which is unlike any other program around.

Restrictions  

Technically speaking there are no restrictions on what you should eat and not eat, but the caveat is if you have a poor diet, you will have a ton of points.  The point system with Weight Watchers places more emphasis on quality of foods, meaning processed foods have more points than fresh fruits and vegetables.  The idea here is that you want a low point value each week and if you follow it regularly, you are setting your body up for success.

Overall Conclusions

Considered to be one of the most trusted and effective weight loss programs around, the Weight Watchers diet plan can help you to cut out the bad parts of your diet and promote the good.  This system helps to promote overall weight loss and it has quite a bit of value.  Consider this program if you are serious about weight loss and keeping the weight off for good.

The Whole30 Program

This next diet plan on the list is a clean eating program that is designed to help you be healthier.  The Whole30 program is gaining popularity due to its 30-day, all-in change of your dietary habits.  It is designed to sharpen your dietary habits and it may even help you to make a complete lifestyle change as a result.  Let’s look into the Whole30 in more detail.

Health Benefits

There are quite a few benefits of the Whole30 program.  For starters, people tend to go on this diet plan to lose weight, and this program can help with that for sure.  In addition to weight loss, people who jump on the Whole30 program can experience a decrease in headaches, improved digestive issues, clear skin, increased energy, as well as improvements in workouts (which can bring about all kinds of health improvements).  When you spend the entire 30 days on this program, expect to give it all you got so that you can enjoy the benefits of the Whole30 program.

Restrictions  

While the Whole30 can bring many health benefits, there are also quite a few restrictions for the program.For starters, this program promotes no grains throughout the 30 days.  In addition, the program discourages the consumption of alcohol, beans and legumes, dairy, no additives or sweeteners, as well as soy.  Honestly, the restrictions are very similar to that of the paleo diet, but the rewards are potentially better.

Overall Conclusions

The Whole30 diet program is a rewarding program that only lasts for 30 days.  It requires your full effort and commitment during this time, but the rewards pay off in the end.  There are a plethora of health benefits, with some restrictions on what you cannot eat, so keep this in mind.  Overall, most diets don’t work long term, which is why the Whole30 diet plan works well; it is only designed to be used for 30 days.

The Ornish Diet

The Ornish Diet is a program that was established by a doctor to combat the growing levels of heart disease.  While this diet plan has been around for a couple decades, it continues to get praise for helping those with heart conditions to live a healthier life.  With that said, listed ahead are the benefits, restrictions, and the overall grading of this diet.

Health Benefit

The Ornish Diet promotes as many beans and legumes that you desire each day, which is optimal for adding fiber to your body. Many other diet plans around tend to forgo legumes for various reasons, but this is one of the best perks of the diet.  In addition, the Ornish Diet has no restrictions on dairy; however, it does recommend that your animal sources be as low-fat as possible.  For the low-fat reason, the Ornish Diet is one of the best for anyone looking to boost heart health.

Restrictions  

There are no real major restrictions in this diet.  The overall plan of the Ornish Diet is to limit the amount of fats that you eat and the recommendations is that you aim for about 10 percent of your calories from fat.  For the average adult with a standard 2,000 calorie diet, this means that you can only eat about 22 grams each day.  While it is not restrictive on foods, it is restrictive in how much of a nutrient you get.

Overall Conclusions

The Ornish Diet has pretty good popularity when it comes to helping people lose weight and improve on overall health.  While the diet program encourages sound decisions, it is strict on how much fat you should consume, and this is for a good reason.  Reducing the total amount of fat you eat throughout the day can help you to shred sizeable calories from your diet and it can promote better food choices as a result (most fatty foods contain high amounts of salt and sugar).

Nutrisystem

This next diet plan is a very popular program and it offers a system that is set up for weight loss.  While most other diet plans include making your meal plan and helping you to succeed, Nutrisystem provides kits, online tools, as well as premade and measured meals.  With this in mind, consider what this diet plan has to offer.

Health Benefits

There are virtually endless benefits to jumping on the Nutrisystem plan.  It is a diet program that offers pre-packaged food options and meals that essentially come balanced with the nutrients you need for the day.  The primary health benefit of the Nutrisystem is weight loss, and many who go on the system succeed.

Restrictions

There are a few restrictions to be aware of with the Nutrisystem diet plan.  It is not recommended for pregnant women or for adults with kidney conditions as well.  In addition, children should not go on this diet program.  The Nutrisystem delivers premade meals so your food restrictions are not hefty.  You are not allowed to have alcohol on this diet program and you should avoid eating out at a restaurant as well.

Overall Conclusions

The overall thoughts on the Nutrisystem are that it is a dedicated diet plan designed to allow your body to lose weight.  It is a one-month program, or 28 days, and you get breakfast, lunch, dinner, and dessert options.  Once you receive the pre-packaged foods, it is your duty to eat the food as detailed to make it successful, which means no doubling up on your tasty desserts.  Lastly, this is a great way to add convenience to your lifestyle, but the downside is that it is costly (around $300 per month).

Intermittent Fasting Diet Plan

Perhaps the most popular way to eat in the fitness world is to simply refrain from food for an extended period of time, leaving only a few hours per day to eat.  There are various methods to perform intermittent fasting and most of the methods include only a few hours to allow for eating each day.

Health Benefits

There are various reasons for adults to jump onboard intermittent fasting. This diet plan allows for better blood glucose control as well as fat loss from the body.  Some of the fitness world primarily flocks to this diet as a means of shredding fat, while supplementing weight loss with high intensity interval training workouts.

Restrictions  

Technically, there are no food restrictions with intermittent fasting.  The only restriction, more so a rule is that when on this diet plan, you go many hours without anything to eat.  For some people, the fasting time tends to be a bit much, but overall, those who stick with it tend to do quite well with weight loss.

Overall Conclusions

Intermittent fasting is a very rewarding diet plan that requires a great deal of planning and precision.  The effort of this plan is well worth it, in that fat loss is effective with the plan.  If fat loss is something you are looking for, consider the wide range of intermittent fasting diet plans to see which works best for you.

The Biggest Loser Diet Plan

Another intriguing diet plan listed here is the Biggest Loser diet.  Known for its popularity on TV, the Biggest Loser encourages healthy weight loss with a sound diet as well as plentiful physical activity.  This diet plan uses a pyramid to guide your meals; it encourages 4 servings of fruits and vegetables, 3 servings of protein, 2 servings of whole grains, and 1 servings (or 200 calories) of the foods that don’t fit in the listed categories.

Health Benefits

The most widely known benefits of the Biggest Loser diet is that it strongly encourages weight loss.  The weight loss is typically up to how hard you work, but it does encourage slow and steady loss a result.

Restrictions  

There are no restrictions on what you are allowed to eat when on this diet plan.  It strongly encourages eating how you normally do throughout the day, but the idea is to adhere to the 4-3-2-1 pyramid guide.  In addition, some of the Biggest Loser meal plans can dip as low as 1,200 calories, so this can be restrictive in its own sense.

Overall Conclusions

The Biggest Loser is a diet plan that encourages weight loss.  There are no subscriptions or sign-ups, which means the food you eat comes from the store.  It is a fairly effective program as long as you adhere to it.

The Zone Diet 

The last diet plan on this list is another popular diet plan that fitness enthusiasts have flocked to.  Known for being an efficient program, the Zone encourages eating throughout the day, with a balanced diet throughout every meal.  This sounds pretty simple right?  The Zone breaks down every meal into simple percentages for each macronutrient.  The food proportions should be 30 percent from protein and fat, and 40 percent from carbs.  Let’s take a close look into the Zone and how it works.

Health Benefits

Since the Zone promotes a balanced and streamlined diet proportion, one of the best benefits is fat loss. Fat accumulation occurs most often when one overeats on a single nutrient at any one sitting, which is why the Zone has the percentages.  Each proportion of food is designed to maximize the body’s nutrients so that fat accumulation cannot occur.  With that said, people tend to go on the Zone diet to lose fat weight.

Restrictions  

There are not many restrictions on foods in particular for the Zone diet.  However, with most all diets, it is recommended to avoid the bad fats and processed foods.  Given the Zone is very precise with the amount of macronutrients you eat, the only restrictions involved with this diet plan is that you cannot save more of a single nutrient for one particular meal.  The rules of the program dictate that you follow along with the nutrients with each meal equally.

Overall Conclusions

The Zone is a beneficial diet plan that can help the body to shred body fat.  The creator of the program states that when done correctly for long enough, you can technically burn fat while asleep.  Take this for what you will, but this is a pretty good diet plan to try out if fat loss is something you want to make a priority.

How Much Time Should you Expect for your Diet Plan to Work?

The biggest question and variable when it comes to going on a diet plan.  The amount of time it takes for you to reach your goals depends greatly on how much you are reaching for and what you want to accomplish.  With that said, if you desire only a pound or two of weight loss per week and your diet plan aims for this, give it at least a week with full effort to allow it to start working.  Also, don’t expect to lose weight after day one; this is usually what shuns adults away from a diet plan.

If your end goals are to lose a great deal of weight in a short amount of time then you should expect your results in a fast manner.  If your goals are to lose 10 pounds in a full week then you should reasonably give it 7-14 days to see the full effects of that diet plan.  The idea with your diet plans is that you want to give it time and be patient, but also be on top of the program altogether.

What Makes a Good Diet Plan?

This is a loaded topic and given that will swear by or swear off certain diets, many things need to be considered.  Listed below is a brief description of what needs to be considered in order for it to be a good diet plan.

Results  

Let’s face it the first thing any good diet plan needs is to be effective.  While not every diet program will work for every individual, it is best to have the odds in your favor when jumping on the program.  Consider taking a look at ratings, reviews, and personal stories of those who are willing to share.  In today’s social media era, this should not be challenging to find and usually reviews can be found on the main website of the program.

It Needs to Work with your Schedule

Too often, people find a diet program and soon jump off only because the diet plan required a certain element that did not work in daily life.  Usually when a diet plan interferes with life it means that a work schedule or meetings conflict with something.  With that said it is important to find a diet plan that is easy to be on and does not require too much on your part.  The easier the program is means you are more likely to succeed.

Be Aware of the Restrictions

If you are on the fence about trying a new diet plan and it requires you to stay away from a certain food group then you need to make sure you can do this.  It is easy to cut out something for a day, but when a diet plan requires long-term cutting out of a nutrient then it can be harsh.  Some people do very well with restrictions whereas others do not make the cut.

Affordability  

When everything is considered, the cost of food can be expensive.  Shopping for healthy options at the store is becoming more expensive, not to mention many diet plans require a monthly, weekly, or some sort of subscription for its use.  With that said, finding a diet program that is within your budget is something you need to consider before jumping onboard.  In addition, you should also consider that spending a bit more is an investment on your health and wellness.

How to Shop When on a Diet Plan

Perhaps the most challenging things that come about in a diet plan is the shopping portion.  It is easy to have meals delivered directly to your door and all you need to do is cook, but this is not realistic for everyone.  With that said, your grocery runs should be designed with a specific goal in sight, which is to lose weight or to eat healthier.

Grocery stores are set up in a very strategic ways to maximize how much you purchase.  If you take notice, aisles that have milk and dairy often are nearby cookies and chips.  Sugary cereal options tend to be around fun candies and treats that kids enjoy.  The point here is that your shopping trip will be rigged in such a way that you buy anything that looks appealing to your eye.  For this reason, you should head to the store with a clear direction and only purchase what is required.  Make a grocery list before heading to the local store and only purchase what you have created on your list.  In addition, spend most of your time in the produce and outer sections of the store, as these tend to be the areas of healthiest options.

How Much Weight Should I lose?

Losing weight is a difficult task and when starting out on a weight loss plan, it seems everyone wants to lose as much as possible in a short amount of time.  The one thing to be mindful with weight loss is that you can lose a lot on your first week, only to have it taper off from there.  Many health authorities recommend a steady weight loss plan that encourages small gains.  These small gains of about one to two pounds have been shown to be the most effective in any program and it tends to be the best when looking to keep it off as well.

Quick Advice for New Diet Planners

Perhaps the best piece of advice for those going on a diet plan is to search for smartphone apps that track everything you eat.  These apps are common in the dieting world and can help you to easily track everything you eat, drink, and burn off.  There are a number of apps that you can find to help you to succeed in a weight loss program, but finding the right one for you should require a little searching.

Final Thoughts

Now that you have plenty of insight on some of the best diet plans around, now is the time to make a decision for your next weight loss journey.  Your selection should be an informed decision and consider the information above as a guide to help you on your weight loss and health boosting adventure.