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Easiest Diets to Follow
The easier a diet is to follow, the better the odds of sticking to it. So user-friendliness was one of the factors experts considered in rating the 32 popular programs below. Is the diet filling and tasty? Does it impose stringent requirements such as eating a certain number of times per day? Are unique foods required? The experts put Weight Watchers at the top, viewing it as flexible, tasty and allowing plenty of eating throughout the day.
The panelists weren’t convinced this diet would be easy for most people to follow, likely because the Spark Solution involves very detailed meal plans and dissuades dieters from dining out for the first two weeks. However, one panelist pointed out the program is “well suited” for people who appreciate lots of instruction.
Each meal must contain the precise percentage of carbs, protein, and healthy fat. There’s a strict eating schedule, too: breakfast within an hour of waking up; snacks and meals every five hours. That inflexibility makes Zone somewhat difficult to follow.
Experts had enough reservations to send Eco-Atkins to the bottom third of the easy-to-follow list. While it’s less restrictive than traditional Atkins, most followers eliminate all animal products, making compliance somewhat difficult. And few books, online tips, or other resources are available to guide dieters.
The regimen lacks the structure provided by some commercial plans, making it somewhat difficult to follow. Dieters must figure out what, how much, and when to eat on their own. Plus, a GI ranking, which distinguishes good carbs from bad, isn’t available for every food.
Eat this; don’t eat that. The Acid Alkaline Diet comes with many rules, which means dieters will have a tough time sticking to it over the long haul. And all those complications likely aren’t even necessary. As one expert said, “Isn’t this just ‘eat mostly plants’ wrapped up in a gimmick?”
Research suggests most people have trouble sticking to restrictive diets, and the diet’s limit on fat to 10 percent of daily calories compared with the government’s recommended 20 to 35 percent is certainly restrictive. Those who can’t do without fatty foods like animal products may not be able to stay the course. Experts gave Ornish just under 2 stars, deeming it somewhat difficult to follow.
Look elsewhere if you want simple, the experts agreed. No dairy, eggs, poultry, or red meat allowed—or anything artificial, processed, or with chemical additives. One expert called it a “drastic diet change” and expressed doubt that most Americans could comply.
The premise—that if cavemen didn’t eat it, you shouldn’t, either—means cutting out refined sugar, dairy, legumes, and grains, while subsisting on meat, fish, poultry, fruits, and veggies. Such restrictions make the diet among the more challenging to follow on our list.
With a score nearly a star below average, veganism qualifies as somewhat difficult to follow. It’s very restrictive, and shaping a healthful (and tasty) plan takes work and creativity. Restaurant meals are doable, but options may be limited. And only certain types of alcohol are vegan-friendly.
The plan ranks as one of the most difficult to follow, receiving a paltry 1.6 out of 5 stars. Experts worried that few Americans are willing to follow a low-fat, vegan diet, especially one that’s needlessly restrictive. “It will offer health benefits, but for most people, it will be hard to do,” one expert said. “The basic approach seems to emphasize a tough-guy attitude, and it’s doubtful this plan is well-designed for families. That can be a real barrier to sustainability.”