By Corey Lewis, CPT, CSCS
Does the best diet to lose weight exist? A quick Google search for the best diet and you’re faced with millions of results. From Atkins and keto, to the Mediterranean diet, to intermittent fasting to fasting-mimicking diets, there are a ton of weight-loss diets out there—and it can be difficult to wade through it all. So what is the best diet to lose weight?
To achieve healthy and sustainable weight loss, you need to stick with your lifestyle changes for the long haul. Keep in mind that weight loss is a personal journey; one diet may work for one person, but not be ideal for another.
So, you might be asking yourself: how many calories should I eat to lose weight? While some diets work to reduce your appetite, others control calorie intake or carbs. The truth is that there isn’t one miracle diet that works for everyone. Each type of diet has its benefits and helps you to achieve weight loss in slightly different ways. It’s all about finding the one that works for your body and lifestyle that is sustainable in the long run. Here are some of the most popular weight-loss diets out there right now.
The 16:8 diet is a popular intermittent fasting method. Rather than restricting the food you eat, you restrict your eating window. This can be seen as more of an eating pattern rather than an eating diet. Intermittent fasting (IF) is often used for weight loss as it leads to relatively easy calorie restriction. Intermittent fasting has been found to cause weight loss of 3-8% over 3-24 weeks. It’s also been found to cause less muscle loss than a standard calorie-restricting diet and may even increase your metabolic rate in the short term by up to 14%.
The Atkins diet was a big name in the industry not so long ago but it’s had a makeover and come back as the New Atkins. The new version is a more varied diet that still retains the original watch-the-carbs thinking, but now it gradually increases the good carbs back into your diet in phases. You can eat veggies from the start with a focus on healthy fats and limited protein.
Low-carb diets have been around for decades and are just as popular now, especially for weight loss. There are a number of different low-carb diets, like the keto diet or low-carb Mediterranean diet. The majority of low-carb diets involve limiting your carb intake to 20–150 grams per day, while some diets cut out carbs altogether. The aim is to adjust your macronutrients in a way that forces your body to use fat for fuel instead of using carbs. Countless studies show that low-carb diets are extremely useful in weight loss, particularly for overweight or obese individuals.
The paleo diet involves eating the same foods that your hunter-gatherer ancestors would’ve eaten. The diet emphasizes whole foods, veggies, fruit, lean protein, nuts, and seeds while avoiding processed foods, sugar, grains, and dairy. Several studies have found that the paleo diet can lead to significant weight loss and a reduced waistline. The downside: you’re eliminating whole grains, legumes, and dairy, which can be healthy and full of nutritious content.
There are numerous weight-loss diets and programs out there to help you achieve your goals. However, these programs often lack diversity in diet. While you may be losing unwanted weight, you might also not be giving your body the full nutrition it needs to thrive and keep off the weight. By adding high-quality multivitamins to your diet, you can continue to lose weight while maintaining your overall health.
B vitamins are essential for a well-functioning metabolism. One of the main functions of B vitamins is to help your body metabolize proteins, carbs, and fats and to use the energy that’s in food. If your metabolism isn’t working at its best, it can make it more difficult to lose weight.
This mineral plays a huge role in helping your body to create energy from nutrients. Iron deficiency is one of the most common deficiencies in the world, affecting 25% of the population. Low iron levels can lead to fatigue, weakness and low energy levels, therefore affecting your physical endurance and athletic performance.
Magnesium is essential for energy production and involved in over 300 enzyme systems in the body. These systems include keeping your bones and teeth healthy, regulating blood pressure, and controlling blood glucose. Despite being an essential mineral, it’s thought that up to 50% of the U.S. population isn’t getting enough magnesium in their diet.
Vitamin D is vital to a healthy immune system. You can get all the vitamin D you need from the sun, but between spending time indoors and living in different climates, this can be tricky. One study found that obese and overweight adults who took a vitamin D and calcium supplement lost significantly more stomach fat than people not taking any supplements. Keep in mind that eggs are a good source of vitamin D, and other vitamins.
Calcium does more than just keep your bones and teeth strong; it helps to keep your heart and muscles healthy and may reduce the risk of developing high blood pressure. Your body doesn’t produce calcium, so you need to get it from other sources, whether that’s through your diet or supplements. The body also needs vitamin D to absorb calcium. When you don’t absorb calcium, your body takes calcium from its stores in the skeleton, which can weaken bones and prevent the formation of new bones.
The landscape of weight-loss diets can be vast and confusing. Often, we don’t know why we’re not losing weight. There is no miracle cure for weight loss; to lose weight and keep it off, you need to make long-term healthy lifestyle changes. No matter how you choose to kickstart your weight loss journey, make sure you’re getting all your essential minerals and vitamins so that your body can thrive.