Everyone wants a magic way to lose weight quickly and keep it off. There is no easy way, unfortunately. And as we found out, science says diets are better than exercise
if weight loss is the target (and not overall fitness).
The question then is to figure out which diet is right for you. There are plenty of choices, like the ketogenic diet, paleo diet, intermittent fasting, and more. And these resources will make it simpler to choose.
1. Understanding Diets and Weight Loss
Reddit’s /r/LoseIt is a community of people trying to lose weight
. Recognizing the confusion around several diets, they created a massive Wiki to explain everything. This explains each aspect of a diet, from counting calories to what a diet targets.
For example, you will come across low-carbohydrate diets quite often. In one table, Reddit’s wiki explains what you are and aren’t allowed to eat on different low-carb diets like paleo, Atkins, four-hour body, and more. Similarly, it explains why a low-carb diet works.
This should be the starting resource for anyone who needs to know about the various diet options available out there. You’ll get the science behind the diet, success stories from people, and independent views.
2. Quiz: What’s the Right Type of Diet for You?
If you don’t want to read anything and just find the right diet for you, try this quiz from the BBC. It will nudge you in the right direction to choose among three types: high-protein low-carb, intermittent fasting, or low-calorie recipes.
BBC’s quiz asks you a series of questions to determine what type of eater you are. Be honest with yourself while answering, no one is judging you here. Your answers to the 12 questions will determine if you are a “feaster,” a “constant craver,” or an “emotional eater.”
It isn’t a comprehensive quiz and it’s best paired with one of the other resources here. Still, it will set you on the right path, and is an excellent example of the stunning interactive mini-sites BBC makes
3. DASH: The U.S. National Health Institute’s Diet Plan
There is a simple statistic to govern weight loss. You need to consume less calories than what you expend. With that principle in mind, the U.S. National Institute of Health designed a diet to lose weight and improve blood pressure.
DASH (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension) doesn’t have the strict restrictions that other diets enforce. Instead, it tries to help you make smarter nutrition choices, and control your intake. Depending on your gender, age, and lifestyle, it will chart out the best meal plan for you to eat healthy.
I would recommend starting with the six-page PDF on DASH, which covers the basic ideas and includes an eating plan and printable chart. You can follow this up with the DASH mini-site, where you’ll get weekly meal plans, heart-healthy recipes
, and much more.
4. NHS 12-Week Weight Loss Plan
The U.K. has its own National Health Services institution, with its own weight loss plan. Like DASH, this too works on the principle of calorie deficit. However, the NHS plan is much more comprehensive with a 12-week guide.
The plan derives all of its information based on scientific institutions like the British Dietetic Association and the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence. You will first need to calculate your body mass index
(BMI) and then put the guide’s recommendations in action.
The 12-Week Weight Loss Plan can be downloaded and printed as a PDF. There are also plenty of online tools like a calorie checker, a meal planning app, and much more.
5. Diet Detective: A Scientist’s Views on Diets
Charles Platkin, PhD, JD/MPH, is a renowned health expert and columnist. Diet Detective isn’t updated as regularly any more, but it is a resource full of insightful (and verifiable) answers to questions about diet, health, and nutrition.
Platkin’s site includes interviews with other experts, analysis of studies and research papers, and other useful information. For example, he wrote a thorough explainer on the top-searched diets on Google, so you know exactly what each is about and their benefits or risks.
The Diet and Weight Loss section is what you should focus on primarily, but there is plenty of other great advice here, so don’t be shy to explore more. And like Platkin, there are other trustworthy fitness experts on the web
you can check out.
Which Diets Have You Tried?
The effectiveness of a diet is going to be largely subjective. Of course, researchers conduct studies to find those that work best across large groups, so there is some science available. This video sums it up nicely:
Personally, I believe the best diet is the one that you’ll actually stick to. For me, the South Beach diet has worked on multiple occasions, so I can vouch for it.
What about you? Which diet have you tried and seen good results with?