Keto, Paleo, Vegan, Oh My?? Eight Best Diets for 2020 and Beyond

Keto, Paleo, Vegan,Oh My! Find Out What Works Best For You
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By Sally Rummel

The sheer number of trendy diets out there is enough to confuse even the most committed of healthy eaters. So what is a person to do to lose weight and establish a healthy eating style for life, especially after all of the holiday indulgences? If you’re serious about losing weight and keeping it off for good in 2020, here are eight diets that have been given a “thumbs up” by

Based on the heart-healthy lifestyle of Greece, Italy, Spain and Portugal, a Mediterranean-style diet includes healthy fats such as avocados, olive oil, nuts and fish (at least twice a week),  beans, fruit, leafy greens and whole grains — even a daily glass of red wine. You can eat cheese in moderation, but limit red meat to once or twice a week, experts advise.

Effectiveness for Weight Loss:

  • This diet’s primary appeal is its numerous health benefits, as it can lower your risk of both chronic disease and cognitive decline. It can also lead to weight loss if you limit your calorie intake to 1,500 a day or less.

The low-sodium “Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension (DASH) Diet” was designed to control blood pressure without drugs, but it has also been touted as an effective weight-loss diet. This plan emphasizes fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and low-fat or nonfat dairy, limiting saturated fat and dietary cholesterol.

Effectiveness for Weight Loss:

  • If you restrict calories while following DASH’s heart-healthy guidelines, you can lose weight and lower your blood pressure.

The newest version of WW, now called WW Freestyle, assigns points to foods based on calories, saturated fat, sugar and protein. You can eat whatever you want within a point range selected for you. Most fruits and veggies, and lean proteins such as fish, tofu, beans, eggs and chicken breast are zero points.

Effectiveness for Weight Loss:

  • Research shows that WW is effective at safely taking off the pounds. A 2013 study found that WW dieters were eight times more likely to lose 10 percent of their body weight over six months than dieters on their own.

Vegans are much stricter in their eating choices than vegetarians, shunning all animal products, including dairy, eggs and honey. Some choose this lifestyle for ethical or environmental purposes, while others turn to it for weight loss as well.

Effectiveness for Weight Loss:

  • Just going vegan won’t necessarily help you drop the weight, unless you eat high quality, low-calorie foods like leafy greens and plant-based proteins. With healthy choices, vegans can lose more weight than either vegetarians or meat-eaters, experts say.

While the vegan diet goes one step beyond vegetarianism, the Flexitarian Diet takes it one step back, said Dawn Jackson Blatner, RD, nutritionist and author of “The Flexitarian Diet.” It is a very pro-plant diet, but offers flexibility for occasional meat meals.

Effectiveness for Weight Loss:

  • By filling your plate with more vegetables, fruits, whole grains and plant proteins, and sticking with the low-calorie plan, you can lose weight and improve your health.

This is often a type of “do-it-yourself” weight loss program. Several options include: Eating whatever you want five days a week, then consuming a very low calorie diet (about 500 calories) on the other two days; others restrict their eating to a daily eight-hour window, i.e., eating unlimited food between 8 a.m. and 4 p.m., and fasting for the other 16 hours.

Effectiveness for Weight Loss:

  • By limiting your overall calories, you’ll lose about the same pounds as those who choose a regular calorie-restricted diet.

Consistently rated as one of the best diets by U.S. News & World Report and other researchers, Volumetrics’ strategy is to fill up on foods with the most nutrition for the least amount of calories. Foods are divided into four categories, from least energy-dense (fruits, non-starchy vegetables, broth-based soups) to most energy-dense (crackers, cookies, chocolate, nuts and butter). Dieters plan their meals to include as many of the lower-density foods as possible.

Effectiveness for Weight Loss:

  • A 2016 study found a significant association between low energy-dense diets and weight loss.

Like WW, “Jenny Craig” is a business — you pay to join. And like WW, it provides online and in-person support and focuses on balanced, low-calorie meals. However, Jenny Craig requires dieters to purchase portion-controlled, pre-packaged foods.

Effectiveness for Weight Loss:

  • A 2015 article in the Annals of Internal Medicine found that WW and Jenny Craig were the most-efficient commercially available diets for weight loss. But to keep the weight off, dieters need a transition plan when completing the Jenny Craig program.

Many people rave about how much weight they’ve lost going Paleo or Keto, but diets that eliminate entire categories of healthy food (dairy, legumes and grains on Paleo; whole grains and fruits in Keto) are difficult to sustain over the long-term, experts agree. While some people will swear by these new style diets, others will swear at them.

According to Harvard Medical School, the best diet to follow is the one you can maintain for life. People should aim for high-quality, nutritious whole foods, mostly fruits and vegetables, and avoid flours, sugar, trans fats and processed foods.



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