Discover the top diets of 2023 for safe and sustainable weight loss, recommended by experts, along with tips for successful long-term adherence.
Best Diets For Weight Loss In 2023, According To Experts
If you're on a quest for the most effective diet to shed those extra pounds, you've likely encountered a plethora of options promising rapid and effortless results. However, many of these diets are not only unsustainable but can also pose potential health risks. To steer you in the right direction and help you discover eating plans that offer safe and sustainable weight loss, we sought advice from a panel of eight nutrition experts. In this article, we'll share their top picks for diets and dietary patterns tailored for weight loss in 2023. Remember, it's always advisable to consult with your healthcare provider before embarking on any new diet or weight loss program.
1. WW (Weight Watchers)
Image via WW (Weight Watchers)
WW, formerly known as Weight Watchers, secures the top spot on our list of recommended diets for weight loss. This program distinguishes itself from others by eliminating the labels of "good" and "bad" foods. Instead, WW promotes moderation and portion control by assigning a "points budget" to users. This budget allows individuals to "spend" points on various foods based on their preferences, with each food being assigned a point value according to its nutritional content.
Toby Amidor, a registered dietitian describes WW as inclusive of all food groups, emphasizing wholesome options like fruits, vegetables, and whole grains. "For those who like to track their points and food," she notes, "it's a potentially healthful program."
- "ZeroPoint Foods" don't require measurement and don't affect your points budget
- Offers robust tracking tools and a community network
- Requires a financial commitment as a commercial diet program
- Slightly pricey for one-month plans, though costs decrease for longer commitments
2. Mediterranean Diet
The Mediterranean diet stands out as an excellent choice for those seeking flexibility without the need for a paid membership or subscription. It emphasizes foods popular in the Mediterranean region, including fruits, vegetables, whole grains, olive oil, and moderate portions of fish and poultry. This dietary approach also restricts highly processed foods, saturated fats, and refined carbohydrates.
Dr. Melina Jampolis, a physician nutrition specialist, notes that while the Mediterranean diet may require a bit more effort to make truly delicious, it is worth it for those who value long-term enjoyment of food.
- No need for calorie counting or food tracking
- No subscription or membership fees
- Fresh foods may be more expensive
- Preparing fresh meals could be time-consuming
3. DASH Diet
Initially designed to support heart health, the DASH diet has gained recognition for its effectiveness in weight loss. Like the Mediterranean diet, the DASH diet offers flexibility by avoiding the need for calorie counting or food tracking. It encourages the consumption of vegetables, fruits, and whole grains while permitting low-fat dairy products, poultry, and fish. Foods like saturated fats, full-fat dairy, and tropical oils are limited on this diet.
Dr. Melina Jampolis describes the DASH diet as a safe and healthy choice that promotes heart and overall health.
- No need for calorie counting or food tracking
- No subscription or membership fees
- May be too broad for individuals seeking more specific guidance
- Fresh foods could be pricier
Image via Noom
For those in search of a diet that provides structured guidance on calorie consumption, Noom is a favored option among our panel of experts. This weight loss program is grounded in psychology and behavioral science and includes a personalized plan, typically spanning around 16 weeks. It offers a recommended daily calorie range, daily lessons, and access to a personal coach.
According to Dr. Melina Jampolis, Noom is not merely a diet but a lifestyle change, making it more sustainable. The program delves into behavior change, a crucial component of successful and long-lasting weight loss.
- Provides psychological and behavioral information to promote sustainable results
- Flexible and not restrictive
- Relatively expensive compared to other options on this ranking
5. MIND Diet
While primarily renowned for its benefits to brain health, the MIND diet, which stands for Mediterranean-DASH Diet Intervention for Neurodegenerative Delay, also ranks well for weight loss among our panelists. It emphasizes plant-based foods, including whole grains, leafy greens, nuts, beans, and berries while limiting foods high in saturated and trans fats.
- Includes serving suggestions per day for more detailed guidance
- Flexible, with no need for calorie counting or food tracking
- Fresh foods like berries may increase your grocery expenses
- May pose challenges for those who don't cook or dine out frequently
What Makes a Diet Effective for Weight Loss?
Not all diets are created equal when it comes to weight loss. In addition to fitting into your individual needs and lifestyle, the most effective diet plans should also be sustainable and easy to follow, according to Su-Nui Escobar, a Miami-based registered dietitian and former spokesperson for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.
"A great diet plan balances all the essential nutrients like proteins, complex carbohydrates, and healthy fats," says Escobar. She explains that the exact amounts of specific nutrients can vary for different eating patterns (such as low-carb or paleo diets), but emphasizes that all food groups should be included.
Certain diet plans have also been studied more extensively for weight loss. According to one review, plant-based diets may prevent overweight and obesity while also promoting weight loss. What’s more, another study linked a greater adherence to the Mediterranean diet with a two-fold increased likelihood of maintaining weight loss long-term.
Regardless of which plan you choose, it’s also important to create a calorie deficit for weight loss, meaning you’re burning more calories than you’re consuming each day. For example, if your goal is to lose 1 to 2 pounds per week, you should aim to reduce your food intake by 500 to 1,000 calories less than the amount of calories you need to maintain your current weight. However, it’s also important to not reduce your calorie intake too much; it’s recommended to consume at least 1,500 calories per day for men and 1,200 calories per day for women.
Dr. Escobar also notes that an effective diet for weight loss should always come with an exit strategy for once you reach your goals to help you ease back into the swing of things. "It is easy to lose weight, but difficult to maintain," she says.
How to Determine the Best Weight Loss Diet for You
Before starting a new weight loss diet, there are a few factors you should consider. For starters, Dr. Escobar recommends determining whether or not it's realistic for your lifestyle, goals, and preferences.
For example, plans that require you to prepare all your meals at home might not be the best choice if you have trouble fitting meal prep into your weekly routine or are regularly on the road. Similarly, switching to a vegan diet may not be realistic if meat is a mainstay in your meal plan.
Dr. Escobar also points out that people with certain health conditions should talk to a doctor before switching up their diet. If you’re taking medications, it’s also a good idea to check with your doctor and make sure your diet is a good fit.
Tips on Sticking to a Diet for Weight Loss
Just as important as finding a weight loss diet that works for you is sticking to it long-term. Here are some expert-backed tips that can encourage success:
- Create a consistent morning routine: Dr. Escobar recommends setting a morning routine that works for you, which can help incorporate more healthy habits into your daily schedule to promote weight loss and overall health. Eating a balanced breakfast, meditating, or squeezing in a quick workout are a few ideas to get your day going on the right foot.
- Practice self-compassion: Learning strategies to recover after a slip-up and being compassionate with yourself is essential for staying on track and maintaining a healthy mindset.
- Monitor non-scale achievements: The number on the scale is just one metric of weight loss. Dr. Escobar recommends keeping a journal to track other milestones in your weight loss journey, like improved eating habits, decreased stress, or increased energy levels.
- Get plenty of sleep: "Sleeping helps balance the hormones that regulate hunger and control sugar and junk food cravings," says Dr. Escobar. Seven to nine hours per night is the sweet spot for most adults, according to the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute.
- Reward yourself: Using non-food rewards to celebrate your achievements can help you stay motivated. Try practicing self-care or treating yourself to a few of your favorite activities.