9 Popular Weight Loss Diets Reviewed by Science

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Many studies have found that ketogenic diets lead to more than twice the weight loss of a low-fat, calorie-restricted diet 35 , 37 , 38 , Low-carb diets tend to reduce your appetite and make you feel less hungry, leading to an automatic reduction in calorie intake 40 , Furthermore, low-carb diets may benefit many major disease risk factors, such as blood triglycerides, cholesterol levels, blood sugar levels, insulin levels and blood pressure 34 , 42 , 43 , 44 , Low-carb diets do not suit everyone.

Some may feel great on them, while others will feel miserable. Some people may experience an increase in LDL, the "bad" cholesterol In extremely rare cases, very low-carb diets can cause a serious condition called ketoacidosis.

This condition seems to be more common in lactating women and can be fatal if left untreated 47 , 48 , 49 , The Dukan diet is a high-protein, low-carb weight loss diet. It's a low-calorie diet and can be split into four phases — two weight loss phases and two maintenance phases. How long you stay in each phase depends on how much weight you need to lose. Each phase has its own dietary pattern. The weight loss phases are primarily based on eating unlimited high-protein foods and mandatory oat bran.

The other phases involve adding non-starchy vegetables at first, then some carbs and fat. Later on, there will be fewer and fewer "pure protein days" to maintain your new weight. One study showed that women following the Dukan diet ate about 1, calories and grams of protein per day and lost an average of 33 lbs 15 kg in 8—10 weeks Also, many other studies have shown that high-protein, low-carb diets can have major weight loss benefits 52 , 53 , 54 , There are no recorded benefits of the Dukan diet in scientific literature.

There is very little quality research available on the Dukan diet. The Dukan diet limits both fat and carbs — a strategy not based on science. On the contrary, consuming fat as part of a high-protein diet seems to increase metabolic rate, compared with both low-carb and low-fat diets Also, fast weight loss achieved by severe calorie restriction tends to cause significant muscle loss along with the fat loss The loss of muscle mass and severe calorie restriction may also cause the body to conserve energy, making it very easy to regain the weight after losing it 62 , 63 , 64 , The diet is mostly plant-based and has a limited intake of animal products Studies have shown that ultra low-fat diets can improve several risk factors for heart disease, including high blood pressure, high cholesterol and markers of inflammation 69 , 70 , 71 , 72 , 73 , Surprisingly, this high-carb, low-fat diet can also lead to significant improvements in type 2 diabetics 75 , 76 , 77 , Furthermore, it may slow the progression of multiple sclerosis, an autoimmune disease that affects the brain, spinal cord and optic nerves in the eyes 79 , The fat restriction may cause problems in the long-term, as fat has many important roles in the body.

These include helping build cell membranes and hormones and helping the body absorb fat-soluble vitamins. Moreover, an ultra low-fat diet limits the intake of many healthy foods, lacks variety and is extremely hard to stick to. The Atkins diet is the most well-known low-carb weight loss diet. Its proponents state that you can lose weight by eating as much protein and fat as you like, as long as you avoid carbs.

The main reason why low-carb diets are so effective for weight loss is that they reduce your appetite. This causes you to eat fewer calories without having to think about it 32 , The Atkins diet is split into four phases. It starts with an induction phase, during which you eat under 20 grams of carbs per day for two weeks. The other phases involve slowly reintroducing healthy carbs back into your diet as you approach your goal weight. Other studies have shown that low-carb diets are very helpful with weight loss.

They are especially successful in reducing belly fat, the most dangerous fat that lodges itself in the abdominal cavity 30 , 31 , 32 , 33 , 34 , 35 , Numerous studies show low-carb diets, like the Atkins diet, may reduce many risk factors for disease, including blood triglycerides, cholesterol, blood sugar, insulin and blood pressure 34 , 42 , 43 , 44 , Compared to other weight loss diets, low-carb diets also show greater improvements for blood sugar, HDL cholesterol, triglycerides and other health markers 52 , Same as with other very low-carb diets see chapter 3 , the Atkins diet is safe and healthy for most people but may cause problems in rare cases.

The HCG diet is an extreme weight loss diet claiming to cause very fast weight loss of up to 1—2 lbs 0. Its proponents claim it will boost metabolism and help you lose large amounts of fat, all without ever being hungry 82 , HCG human chorionic gonadotropin is a hormone that's present at high levels during early pregnancy.

It tells a woman's body it's pregnant and maintains the production of hormones that are important for fetal development. It has also been used to treat fertility issues The diet is split into three phases. The first phase lasts two days. This is when you begin taking HCG supplements.

The second phase is the weight loss phase, during which you follow an ultra low-calorie diet of only calories per day, along with HCG supplement drops, pellets, injections or sprays. The weight loss phase is prescribed for 3—6 weeks at a time. The HCG diet does cause weight loss, but multiple studies have concluded that the weight loss is due to the ultra low-calorie diet alone — not the HCG hormone 82 , 85 , 86 , Aside from weight loss, there are no documented benefits of the HCG diet.

Like most other ultra low-calorie diets, the HCG diet may cause muscle loss, which results in a reduced ability to burn calories Such severe calorie restriction further reduces the number of calories the body burns.

This is because the body thinks it's starving and therefore attempts to preserve energy Only injections are able to raise blood levels of the hormone. Moreover, the diet has many side effects, including headaches, fatigue and depression.

There is also one report of a woman developing blood clots, most likely caused by the diet The FDA does not approve this diet, labeling it dangerous, illegal and fraudulent The glycemic load GL of a food is an estimate of how much a food will raise your blood glucose levels after eating it. It takes into account how many carbs are in the food and how much that amount will raise your blood glucose levels.

The Zone diet was initially developed to reduce diet-induced inflammation, cause weight loss and reduce the risk of developing chronic diseases The Zone diet recommends balancing each meal with one-third protein, two-thirds colorful fruits and veggies and a dash of fat, namely monounsaturated oil such as olive oil, avocado or almonds.

Studies on the effects of a low-glycemic load diet on weight loss are rather inconsistent. Some studies say the diet promotes weight loss and reduces appetite, while others only show a small weight loss, compared to other weight loss diets 90 , 91 , 92 , The greatest benefit of this diet is a reduction in risk factors for heart disease, such as reduced cholesterol and triglycerides 92 , 94 , 95 , 96 , One study also showed that the Zone diet may improve blood sugar control, reduce waist circumference and reduce systematic inflammation in overweight or obese individuals with type 2 diabetes There are not many issues with this diet.

The only thing to criticize is that it limits the consumption of some healthy carb sources, such as bananas and potatoes. Select one… Between 0 -3 months Between months Between months. What is your biggest weight loss challenge?

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