What Is a Good Diet Plan?
Studies that compare different types of diets have not yet found a single “best” weight loss diet plan that works for everyone. Most established diet plans can help with weight loss if you stick to it, but diets that are unhealthy or too restrictive are difficult to follow long-term and most people gain weight back as soon as they stop following the diet.
A good diet plan involves healthy eating that provides nutrients the body needs while staying within a daily calorie goal for weight loss. It is also one that a person can stick to long-term.
- Women should aim for a diet plan that contains 1,200–1,500 calories daily to help lose weight safely
- Men, women who weigh more, or women who exercise regularly should aim for a diet plan that contains 1,500–1,800 calories daily to help lose weight safely
- Diets of fewer than 800 calories daily should not be used except under a doctor’s supervision
Other factors to consider:
- Older people have a slower metabolism than young people, and will lose weight more slowly
- Men have more muscle mass than women, which uses more energy, so men usually lose more weight than women of similar height and weight when dieting
- People who are obese lose weight more quickly than those who are only moderately overweight
What Are Some Common, Effective Diets for Weight Loss?
There countless diet plans available. Some popular diet plans include:
- Involves consuming pre-packaged foods, like frozen low-calorie meals or meal-replacement drinks or bars to equal daily calorie goals
- Involves counting fat grams.
- For example, for a 1,500-calorie diet, people on a low-fat diet should aim for 45 g or fewer of fat per day
- Increase the amount of healthy carbohydrates such as whole grains, fruits, and vegetables into the diet
- Examples include the Atkins diet, South Beach diet, or the ketogenic diet (“keto”)
- People generally aim for between 60 and 130 grams of carbohydrates per day, or between 0 and 60 grams of carbohydrates per day for very low carbs (compared to a standard diet that typically contains 200 to 300 grams of carbohydrates)
- Low carbohydrate diets can cause quick weight loss but some allow for high amounts of saturated fats (such as in butter and red meat), which can increase cholesterol levels and increase the risk of heart disease
“Mediterranean diet” is not a specific plan but a way of eating based on the diets eaten in olive-growing regions around the Mediterranean Sea
Most Mediterranean diets include:
- A lot of monounsaturated fats (such as olive or canola oil, walnuts, pecans, almonds) and low amounts of saturated fats (such as from butter)
- Plenty of vegetables, fruits, legumes, and grains
- A moderate amount of fat-free or low-fat dairy products, mostly in the form of cheese
- Low amount of red meat and meat products; fish or poultry are acceptable
- A modest amount of red wine (up to one 4-ounce glass per day for women and up to two glasses per day for men) is permitted protect against cardiovascular disease
Whole food plant-based
- Based on consumption of whole, unrefined, plant-based foods
- Focus on foods that are minimally processed including whole grains, fruits, vegetables, and legumes
- A type of vegan diet
“Fad” diets – AVOID
- These types of diets usually promise quick weight loss
- Usually have no scientific evidence they are safe or effective
- Can cost a lot of money in pills, special foods, books, seminars
- Remember: diets that sound too good to be true usually are