Best Weight-Loss Diets
The best diet for losing weight is Weight Watchers, according to the experts who rated the diets below for U.S. News. Biggest Loser, Jenny Craig, and the raw food diet came in close behind. Other diets performed as well or better in enabling fast weight loss, but long-term weight loss is more important for your health.
Flat Belly was among the lower third of the plans, with ratings somewhat below the 25-diet average in both short-term and long-term weight loss. The plan’s claim that you can drop up to 15 pounds in 32 days are “somewhat exaggerated,” said one expert. Small, short studies are the only evidence backing up any claims of weight loss.
Medifast also landed in the bottom one-third for overall weight loss. While dieters will likely drop pounds quickly, most experts felt they will regain the weight. The diet’s relatively low ratings for long-term weight loss pulled it down in the rankings.
Like almost every other diet program, Nutrisystem scored better in short-term than long-term weight loss, but its ratings were a notch below average in both categories. And without long-term data, experts were skeptical that dieters could keep the weight off once they graduate from packaged meals and move back to their own cooking.
Don’t expect to lose weight and keep it off on the Abs diet. Experts gave it a moderate 3 stars in the short-term category but only 2 stars long-term, indicating that they considered it minimally effective. Its strict eating schedule makes adherence difficult, and more research is needed to validate its claims, agreed experts.
The Anti-Inflammatory diet is not designed as a weight-loss plan, and its dismal scores reflect that. It pulled in 2.6 out of 5 stars, and isn’t an ideal choice for losing weight quickly—or for keeping it off over the long haul.
Experts weren’t convinced that the Zone Diet helps keep weight off over the short or long term. While it “provides a dose of dietary discipline,” one panelist said, portions are small, and the diet requires a lot of work, which can make adhering to it difficult.
This diet is among the lowest scorers in the weight-loss category. Dieters are fairly likely to drop pounds fast, but the experts were dubious about the likelihood that the weight will stay off because of a plethora of rules and restrictions. One panelist described it as a “monstrosity” that’s “clearly unsuitable for children and families.”
There’s not much potential as a weight-loss diet, according to experts. Its premise of favoring “good” carbs over “bad” hasn’t been scientifically validated, and dieters won’t have enough guidance to drop the pounds and keep them off.
If weight loss is the goal, the Paleo diet will likely disappoint, in the judgment of our panel of experts. While they gave it slightly higher scores for short-term weight loss than for long-term, on the whole it was by far the least effective diet for weight loss of all 25 reviewed.