Best and Worst Diets For Weight Loss & Health 2023
There are too many diet plans to choose from. The best diet plans can help you get on track of your weight loss journey and maintain good health by preventing nutrient deficiency.
For this reason we have discussed;
- “Best, Worst Diet Plans For Weight Loss”
- “Why Do People Diet?”
- “What Are The Best & Worst Diet Plans For Weight Loss?”
- “Other Tips For Weight Loss Diet”
- “How To Choose A Weight Loss Diet?”
The Best and Worst Diets for Sustained Weight Loss
There are 9 diets that we have discussed which include:
- Mediterranean Diet
- Weight Watchers
- Eat Well Plate
- Mayo Clinic Diet
- Intermittent Fasting
- Ketogenic Diet
- Extreme Low-Calorie Diet
- Acid Alkaline Diet
- Baby Food Diet
Why Do People Diet?
People generally diet to lose weight or maintain a healthy lifestyle. Some diet to look and feel stronger. Others diet just to catch the latest trends, following their favorite celebrities or social circle.
What Are The Best & Worst Diet Plans for Weight Loss
We have highlighted 9 different diet types in order from best to worst.
In my opinion, The Mediterranean diet is the best possible diet to lose weight if desired and overall health. Heart disease is much lower in mediterranean countries, this clearly correlates with the types of foods that the population consumes.
The reason for this is most likely that the foods that are moderate in calories, fibrous, and satiating. This can play a role in blunting insulin and binding to cholesterol for optimal heart and blood health. Furthermore, the diet may cause you to eat less calories throughout the day to promote weight loss or prevent weight gain.
The foods types in the mediterranean diet involves eating nutrient dense foods like:
- Whole grains (whole grain bread, barley, corn etc.)
- Lean protein (chicken breast, fish, lean meat etc.)
- Healthy fats (nuts, olive oils, seeds etc.)
- Vegetables (carrots, peas, green beans etc.)
- Fruit (apples, bananas, grapes etc.)
The weight watchers diet encourages not to eat processed foods, but nothing is off limits. Weight watchers work on a point system where each food represents a certain amount of points depending on the number calories that it contains. The higher the caloric value of a food, the higher the points it represents.
Each individual has a select number of points that they must reach per day depending on their goals i.e, 1kg of weight loss per week.
This point system is essentially a simple way to track calories, which allows one to consume fewer calories than their maintenance. Therefore driving a caloric deficit. A deficit in calories can follow weight loss, as there are 3500 calories in 1lb of fat mass.
The eat well plate is not really intended to be a low calorie diet, but more of a guide towards putting together a way of “healthy eating”. Subsequently, this could help manage weight from controlling the amount of food you consume per day.
The eat well plate recommends at least 5 portions of fruit and veg per day, which makes up ⅓ of the plate. This can ensure that you are taking in the necessary micronutrients and fiber. Consuming sufficient micronutrients would ensure an effective immune system. As mentioned, fiber is important for heart and blood health, as well as digestive health.
Another ⅓ of the plate comes from starchy carbohydrates, like potatoes, wholemeal bread, basmati rice, wholegrain pasta etc. Carbohydrates are important for providing energy for daily activities and exercise. Once carbohydrates are ingested they are stored as glycogen within the muscles, liver and brain to be drawn to make ATP/energy.
The next 12% of the eat well plate comes from lean protein. We are typically looking at 2 daily portions of protein foods (2 x 140g) like fish, chicken, lean cuts of beef etc. Protein provides the essential amino acids for growth and repair of muscle.
A small 8% of dairy foods like cheese, milk, yogurts etc. Amongst many nutrients, dairy are high in calcium and vitamin D which are crucial in maintaining healthy bones and teeth with sufficient bone mineral density.
The smallest part of the plate (1%) belongs to oils and spreads. Oils and spreads are used to cook certain products and offer some healthy fats, which are important in maintaining hormonal balance.
Mayo Clinic Diet
This diet is similar to the eat well plate, but uses a pyramid of hierarchy, highlighting the most important foods at the largest part of the pyramid, which gets smaller and smaller based on the importance of the food group.
The largest part of the pyramid includes fruit, vegetables and daily activity of ~30 minutes per day. Activity can help burn calories and maintain a healthy cardiovascular system. We have already covered why fruit and vegetables are so important.
Moving up the pyramid, the second largest part includes carbohydrates like rice and pastas. These are stored as energy.
Lean proteins and dairy are the next part of the pyramid, which are crucial for growth and repair of muscles and bones.
The next macronutrient in order of importance is dietary fat like nuts and oils. These are vital for maintaining hormonal balance.
Last and least, are sweets. Sweets may only offer a boost psychologically as they are not really nutrient dense or help with weight loss.
Intermittent fasting is not intended to be a healthy diet, but more of an eating mode. Typically, an individual refrained from consuming foods for a period of time and then only included a small eating window. For example, fasting hours could be 6 pm -1 pm the following day. Such an eating pattern would only give you a 5-hour eating.
So how could this help lose weight? For the most part it can help drive a caloric deficit from not being able to consume enough food in the short eating window. However, this also poses a risk to certain nutrient deficiencies, especially if you are not being observed by a healthcare professional.
I would not follow the keto diet myself and I will tell you why. Essentially, keto is a high fat and low carb diet. The diet consists of ~80% dietary fats, 15% protein and 5% carbs. Vegetables contain carbs and you would consume some vegetables for their fiber content.
Within ~2 weeks keto, your body will make a transition in energy substrates and begin to use fatty acids as energy. In the meantime you could expect to become more tired and low on energy, this is definitely not desired in my opinion.
Note that this does not mean that you will start to lose more body fat unless you are able to drive a caloric deficit.
The initial weight loss would come from glycogen and water, but then the body will give up body fat if a caloric deficit is achieved.
It is highly likely that you will begin to lose weight from body fat. It would only make sense from eliminating entire food groups and their calories.
Extreme Low Calorie Diets (fast weight loss diet)
In my opinion, this is amongst the worst weight loss diets unless you are extremely overweight and unhealthy. Low-calorie and low-carb diets tend to cause an extreme caloric deficit, which can cause you to lose a lot of muscle mass, thereby hindering health. As we know muscle mass is crucial for mobility and a healthy metabolism.
Not to mention, these types of diets are not sustainable and often rebound when you revert to normal food diets.
Typically, you would limit calories to around 500-600 per day from eating specific powder mixes, bars, cookies depending on the diet provider.
Acid Alkaline Diet
This is amongst many fad diets. This diet has the idea that some foods are acidic and when consumed in high ratios compared to alkaline foods it can be harmful to health. This idea is not very well supported and it does not really help with weight loss. So unfortunately it is one of the worst diets for purpose.
Baby Food Diet
The baby food diet has to be the least appealing idea in my opinion. You are basically just eating baby foods, which are just normal foods that have been broken down and packaged differently.
They may help with weight loss from the lack of food and calories but could cause many nutrient deficiencies i.e., protein. The baby food jars only contain around 20-100 calories and are very low in protein for a fully grown adult who needs around 80-100g per day.
Certainly amongst the worst diets in my opinion.
Other Tips For Weight Loss Diets
Other than the diet itself, there are 3 other variables that influence net caloric intake and weight loss.
The idea of a weight loss diet is to limit the amount of calories you consume. Exercise can burn calories for losing weight. You could lose around 200-800 calories per hour of exercise.
You can try a variety of exercise types like:
- Low-medium intensity cardio (brisk walking, jogging, running, cycling etc.)
- HIIT training (Sprinting, Sprint rowing, sprint cross training, car pushes etc.)
- Resistance training (barbell back squat, barbell deadlift, barbell bench press etc.)
Non Exercise Activity Induced Thermogenesis
Non exercise activity induced thermogenesis, abbreviated as NEAT is all of the non exercise related activities that you do on a daily basis. This can burn hundreds to thousands of additional calories.
NEAT based activities could include:
- Hoovering the house
- Hand washing the dishing
- Mowing the lawn
- Chewing low calorie gum
- Light walking
Thermic Effect Of Food
Each macronutrients uses energy/calories to digest, absorb and metabolize. Protein takes ~30% of its own calories, carbs take ~8% and fat takes ~2-3%. If your diet allows, you could favor higher protein foods to maximize total energy expenditure and weight loss.
How To Choose A Weight Loss Diet
The diet that you choose really depends on personal preference and what suits you. For example, If you enjoy eating carbs then a keto diet is probably not for you, if you do not want to feel tired and drained all the time extremely low-calorie diets are probably not the best pick.
Personally, I go for a Mediterranean-style diet as it allows me to eat a variety of food and get sufficient nutrients.
Diets are typically taken for weight loss and/or health. Some diets are better than others in my opinion. In order we have highlighted 9 of the best to worst diets that you can choose from. The diet you choose will depend on your personal preference.
Remember diet/energy intake is only one variable towards weight loss. We should also consider; Exercise expenditure, NEAT, and TEF.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
I would say diet #1 #3 #4 on our list. These diets are well balanced and may prevent any nutrient deficiencies.
As you are eliminating most of the carbohydrate consumption, your body will deplete glycogen stores and the water that it holds. This can cause 6-7lb of weight loss within a few days.
It is likely that you would not get enough nutrients while observing the baby food diet. The food serving are too small for an adult.
+ 7 sources
MIDSS adheres to strict procurement guidelines and relies on peer-reviewed studies, academic research institutes, and medical associations. We work mainly with peer-reviewed studies to ensure the accuracy of the information. We avoid the use of tertiary references. You can read about how we ensure the accuracy and timeliness of our content in our editorial process.
- Heartuk.org.uk. (2023). The Mediterranean diet. [online] Available at: https://www.heartuk.org.uk/healthy-diets/the-mediterranean-diet [Accessed 21 Feb. 2023].
- Weightwatchers.com. (2023). WWHealth. [online] Available at: https://www.weightwatchers.com/uk/wwhealth [Accessed 21 Feb. 2023].
- NHS Choices (2023). The Eatwell Guide. [online] Available at: https://www.nhs.uk/live-well/eat-well/food-guidelines-and-food-labels/the-eatwell-guide/ [Accessed 21 Feb. 2023].
- Mayo Clinic Diet (2023). Mayo Clinic Diet. [online] Mayo Clinic Diet. Available at: https://diet.mayoclinic.org/us/ [Accessed 21 Feb. 2023].
- Masood, W., Pavan Annamaraju and Uppaluri, K.R. (2022). Ketogenic Diet. [online] Nih.gov. Available at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK499830/ [Accessed 21 Feb. 2023].
- Schwalfenberg, G.K. (2012). The Alkaline Diet: Is There Evidence That an Alkaline pH Diet Benefits Health? Journal of Environmental and Public Health, [online] 2012(727630), pp.1–7. doi:https://doi.org/10.1155/2012/727630.
- Silva, A.M., Júdice, P.B., Carraça, E.V., King, N., Teixeira, P.J. and Sardinha, L.B. (2018). What is the effect of diet and/or exercise interventions on behavioural compensation in non-exercise physical activity and related energy expenditure of free-living adults? A systematic review. British Journal of Nutrition, [online] 119(12), pp.1327–1345. doi:https://doi.org/10.1017/s000711451800096x.