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Sure, there's your one friend who swears by the Taco Cleanse. And that other friend who ate nothing but broccoli soup for a month and dropped 20 pounds, found the love of her life, and got promoted at work. But before you start blending 80 stalks of broccoli into a cup or crunching your way through a crate of tacos, check out which diets are backed by science. Because don't you want to try one that will do the trick for you?
We pulled the top 14 of the best commercial diets (marketed to the public for profit) and the top 12 of the best diets overall. We also threw five of the most popular diet apps into the mix. Since these are largely tracking devices that don’t espouse unique eating habits, they don’t appear to meet US News’ definition of diet, but are still potentially effective weight loss tools.
It has been shown that a greater resting metabolic rate (RMR) at baseline, increased dietary restraint, and low frequency of dieting, are associated with weight regain. A meta-analysis in 2001, revealed that using a very low energy diet (VLED) for weight loss or losing more than 20 kg are two predictors of weight maintenance, however, one study that assessed the method of weight loss, declared that patients on VLED gain more weight after the end of the weight loss period, but a self-directed approach was more successful in this regard. Low intake of takeaway and fast foods, reduction of food consumption, adherence to a low-fat diet, and lower sugar-sweetened beverage consumption are some of the behaviors of maintaining the weight loss. Adopting these behaviors as a habit needs supportive strategies by virtue of phone or email.
Having actual caloric measurements can also assist in weight loss, since tangible calorie goals can be set, rather than simply trying to eat less. Also, although this is not necessarily directly related to calorie counting, studies have shown that portion control by simply eating from a smaller plate can help reduce calorie intake, since people tend to fill their plates and eat everything on their plates. Many people do not realize that they are overeating, since they have become accustomed to restaurant-sized portions being the norm, when said portions can be up to three or more times larger than necessary for a typical meal.
Both Weight Watchers and Noom provide lots of guidance. If you’re more of a self-starter — someone who just needs to be pointed in the right direction — The Mayo Clinic Diet provides pure resources. Picking up the entertaining, densely informative book is the only associated cost. You can also get the app for about half the cost of WW Mobile, but we didn’t find it as useful.
“The one trick I use now, which I should have been using all along, is the make dinner a no-carb meal. I’ll do a vegan protein and vegetables, and no bread. I think carbs are important and good energy, but when I don’t eat them at night, I wake up and I feel like my belly’s flat first thing in the morning.” — Carrie Underwood, who lost 30 pounds of baby weight in less than a year
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Loads of research demonstrates people who log everything they eat — especially those who log while they're eating — are more likely to lose weight and keep it off for the long-haul. Start tracking on an app like MyFitnessPal when the pounds start sneaking up on you. It'll help you stay accountable for what you've eaten. Plus, you can easily identify some other areas of your daily eats that could use a little improvement when it's written out in front of you.
We all might like the idea of a magic bullet, yet most experts agree with Hyman that healthy, sustainable weight loss doesn’t come from extreme measures or single-faceted diets. Nor does it come from relying on low-fat or low-carb foods and “diet” drinks — which, in fact, have been shown to hinder weight-loss efforts by messing up metabolism, contributing to cravings, and undermining energy levels.
If you factored exercise into the equation when you used the calculator, then you should not eat more if you exercise. Your daily calorie goal (the calculator result) has already accounted for the additional physical activity. But if you did not factor in exercise when you used the calculator, and you added a workout session to your day, then the calories burned during exercise will increase your calorie deficit. If you don't eat back your exercise calories, the increased deficit will help you to lose weight faster. If you do eat back the same number of calories that you burned, then you will lose weight at the same rate as indicated in your calorie calculator result. Be careful, however, it's very easy to eat more calories than you burn after exercise. This causes weight gain, not weight loss.
Skimp on fluids, and your body will release an antidiuretic hormone that leads to water retention that could affect the scale, Dr. Setlzer says. While this sneaky effect is one reason why the scale is a poor measure of body mass loss, you can outsmart it by drinking more—particularly if you fill your glass with water or non-calorie alternatives like unsweetened coffee and tea.