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Registered Dietitians Answer Your Questions about Restaurant Nutrition

What’s the Best Diet for Weight Loss?


A personalized approach that works with your life is often the best strategy to succeed at weight loss beyond the short term.
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Q: There are so many diets out there that it’s hard to know which to follow. What’s the best diet for weight loss?

It sounds like you’ve picked a popular health goal: to lose weight. Resolving to do it is the easy part; reaching your goals may be a little harder, especially when it comes to deciding on the best diet for weight loss AND your lifestyle.

That’s right. A personalized approach that works with your life is often the best strategy to succeed at weight loss beyond the short term. The best place to start is with a registered dietitian who can help you come up with a starting strategy, design a healthy meal plan and keep you on track over the weeks to come. If you choose to hold off on working with a dietitian, it’s important to do your research and connect with your doctor. Many popular diets offer weight loss and health benefits, and many do not.

You can find the U.S. News & World Report's annual ranking of diets here and here are some of the popular diets and what you should know about them:

Low Carb Diet – This restrictive diet can yield fast results but may be hard to maintain for lasting weight loss. Do focus on cutting the RIGHT carbs, such as refined breads and sweets, and keeping the fiber-rich whole grains, vegetables and fruits, which have been tied to weight loss success.

Low Fat Diet – This diet has been a popular recommendation over the years for weight loss as well as other health concerns. While fat is high in calories, it is essential for many reasons, and as part of a healthy meal, can help satisfy hunger. Research now points to the importance of limiting certain types of fat, such as trans fats, rather than severely limiting total fat.

Mediterranean Diet – This diet has become extremely popular over recent years, thanks to its focus on moderation and a healthy lifestyle. With an emphasis on vegetables, fruit, whole grains, nuts, seeds and lean proteins, this and similar eating plans such as Weight Watchers and the DASH Diet are often top recommendations by health experts.

Paleo Diet – This diet does emphasize many healthful ingredients, but it can be restrictive, hard to maintain and pricey. It also calls for the elimination of many healthy foods, like whole grains, soy foods, legumes/beans, and healthy (in moderation) starchy vegetables, like corn and potatoes.

Gluten-Free Diet – While this diet has become popular for weight loss, it is best avoided unless recommended by a doctor for medical reasons like celiac disease or gluten sensitivity. Keep in mind, the reason that some people lose weight on a gluten-free diet is that they are dramatically reducing calories by eliminating baked goods and breads. Unless there’s a medical reason, there’s no reason to eliminate all gluten-containing products.

Juice Fasts and Cleanses – These extremely restrictive diets can have a variety of negative effects from hunger to nutrient deficiencies to breakdown of muscle tissue. 

Garcinia Cambogia – Not exactly a diet, this supplement is often touted as a quick option for weight loss. The bottom line is that studies on this fruit extract are extremely limited. Skip this option in favor of a well-rounded total diet.

If your goal is to lose weight, how are you planning to succeed? Get support from family, friends or a registered dietitian in your area to achieve your weight loss goals. Don’t forget to take advantage of the many dietitian-recommended menu choices at restaurants. Search for personalized choices near you on HealthyDiningFinder.com
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