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7 Diet Plans for Weight Loss and 7 Supplements for Support

If you want to lose weight fast, there are countless quick weight-loss diet plans, fad diets, and crash diets to choose from. However, if you want to lose weight and keep it off, there are diet plans that spur you to change your lifestyle, as well as what you eat so you can lose unwanted fat.

It is important to realize that diets can be lumped into two groups—fast weight-loss plans and sustainable weight-loss plans. Of course, it is tempting to take the shortest path for the quickest results, but in the long term, these quick weight-loss diets can cause nutritional deficiencies and long-term problems.

If you are overweight, obese, have diabetes (or pre-diabetes), have high blood pressure, or a history of cancer or Alzheimer’s in your family, changing your diet and your lifestyle now is essential. Any diet plan you choose should support and help you to mitigate any underlying health conditions you may have.

Unfortunately, there are no quick fixes—no matter what you hear in the media and from friends. Losing weight takes work, dedication, a healthy diet, and regular exercise. That’s why we’re diving into seven of the most popular diets today. Each has their benefits and drawbacks.

We just want to stress that no single diet is right for every person. As you go through the diet plans below, where applicable, research supporting these diets has been provided. Before making any radical dietary or physical activity change, talk to your doctor.

Dangers of Being Overweight

Today, it is estimated that 31% of men and 35% of women in America are severely overweight. Even more concerning is that 15% of children between 6 and 19 are overweight according to the U.S. Surgeon General.

Before we dive into popular diet plans, let’s look at the long-term health consequences of being overweight or obese.  According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, people who are obese are at an increased risk of serious, potentially life-threatening health conditions including:


Type 2 diabetes

High blood pressure

High LDL cholesterol

Low HDL cholesterol

High triglycerides

Coronary heart disease

Stroke

Gallbladder disease

Osteoarthritis

Sleep apnea

Breast cancer

Colon cancer

Endometrial cancer

Gallbladder cancer

Kidney cancer

Liver cancer

Anxiety

Depression

Chronic pain

Low-quality of life

 

Losing weight can be hard. Choosing the right diet plan is essential.

Just as there isn’t a single diet plan that will work for everyone, there isn’t a single cause of obesity. Many factors play into a person’s weight and BMI. While lifestyle and diet are major contributors, genetics and hormonal factors play a significant role in weight according to Stanford Health Care. But, that doesn’t mean we can’t make changes in lifestyle and diet to affect change—we can.

Diet Plans

Fad diets and crash diets simply don’t provide beneficial, long-lasting weight-loss success. It takes more than just cutting calories and starving yourself. Diets have to be sustainable and take into account any underlying health conditions you may have.

Today, as social media news feeds and traditional media platforms sing the praises of the latest diet trends, it is essential to do your research and try and see which diet plan works best for you. Eating a healthy, nutrient-dense diet takes planning. It takes dedication. And, to see results, it may take longer than you’d like. Regardless of which diet plan you try, recognize that there will be some physical discomfort and some emotional discomfort as you leap into a new healthy lifestyle.

1. Keto

The keto diet is everywhere right now, and we all know that one person that has succeeded in it and can’t stop talking about. This is a diet that is very high in fats and very low in carbohydrates, and while that may seem counterintuitive for weight loss, this is a diet plan that can work.

The chemistry behind the keto diet is simple. When you eat carbohydrates, your body taps into them for fuel. When you severely limit your carbohydrate intake, your body turns to stored fat for energy. This causes the chemical reaction “ketosis.” It takes 48 hours to 96 hours of eating very limited carbohydrates (20 grams to 50 grams a day) to reach ketosis, and once there, your body will start to burn stored fat.

This was a diet developed nearly a century ago for epilepsy patients. And while there is scientific research that shows a keto diet can help reduce seizures, long-term studies on humans outside of epileptics are lacking. One of the concerns with the keto diet is that it severely limits certain nutrient-rich foods like fruits, vegetables, and whole grains, which is why it’s so important to make sure you add in keto-friendly foods of all sorts while on your keto journey.

Make no mistake, you can see weight loss and body composition changes within a couple of weeks of staying on a ketogenic diet as ketosis alters your metabolism. With this diet plan, there is no need to count calories or to feel hungry. Proponents of this diet focus on getting the majority of their calories from healthy fats, with limited calories from carbohydrates and only moderate amounts of protein. 

When you first start eating keto, it is relatively common to experience the keto flu. This may include the aches and pains associated with the flu, accompanied by digestive distress, including diarrhea. If you experience keto flu, it is wise to add some more healthy fats and to adjust the number of carbohydrates you are eating. You can also add in some keto supportive supplements such as MCT oil and BHB oil to counteract the effects of the keto flu. Also, you may need to limit your exercise to allow your body to adapt to the ketogenic lifestyle.

As with any dramatic diet change, you’ll experience fewer side effects if you start slowly. To ease yourself into a ketogenic lifestyle, begin by limiting carbohydrates to 30 to 50 net grams a day. Once your body has adapted, you can go lower, but do it slowly. Under a strict plan, some people go all the way down to 20 grams of net carbs a day. This may or may not be ideal for you. Listen to your body!

As for protein, it is still essential to get enough protein to support your body and activity level. Generally speaking, you should be eating 1 gram to 1.5 grams of protein for every kilogram of ideal body weight. If you don’t consume enough protein, and you exercise regularly or are pregnant, you could start to lose muscle. Remember, protein is essential for repairing muscle tissue and other vital functions in the body. 

Here is a quick and easy calculation for protein to use when you are trying to lose weight on a keto diet:

Ideal weight in pounds/2.2 = ideal weight in kilograms

Multiply ideal weight in kilograms by 1 or 1.5 for ideal protein consumption

For example, if your ideal weight is 175 pounds, you should be aiming for between 80 grams and 120 grams of protein a day while on the keto diet. It is vital to understand that when you hear “macros” and numbers, that is not grams of protein, fats, and carbohydrates. Macros are determined based on percentages of total caloric intake. While we could get into the math here to figure all of that out, there are a number of online programs and apps that can do a better job of calculating macros for a ketogenic lifestyle.

A strict keto diet breakdown:

Fats: 70% to 80% of your calories

Protein: 15% to 20% of your calories

Carbohydrates: 5% of your calories

Foods to Enjoy on a Keto Diet

  • Healthy fats: especially omega-3 fatty acids, MCT oil, grass-fed butter, ghee, lard, and duck fat.
  • Grass-fed meats including beef, buffalo, lamb, goat.
  • Wild game like venison, elk, boar.
  • Free-range poultry and eggs.
  • Wild poultry including duck, pheasant, goose, and quail.
  • Wild-caught fish including salmon, trout, tuna, flounder, mackerel, sardines.
  • Vegetables: leafy greens, cruciferous vegetables, celery, cucumber, zucchini, leeks, asparagus, bell peppers, sugar snap peas, radishes, jicama, green beans.
  • Fruits: avocado, berries, rhubarb.

Research

Harvard Medical School says that a ketogenic diet reduces seizures in children,  sometimes as effectively as medication. For weight loss, there is limited evidence of faster weight loss when compared to a low-fat diet or the Mediterranean diet. However, over time, the results equalize. A 2014 review of the ketogenic diet’s effect on obesity on weight loss determined that it may reduce body weight by helping to curb appetite and hunger and improving fat metabolism.

2. Mediterranean Diet

For thousands of years, people in Mediterranean countries such as Italy, Greece, and Spain have consumed a heart-healthy diet featuring olive oil, nuts, seafood, meat, whole grains, fruits, and vegetables. With some of the best longevity numbers on the planet, researchers started exploring aspects of the Mediterranean diet that may contribute to weight loss and greater lifespan.

What researchers found was promising. The foods included in the diet can help people lose weight and maintain a healthy weight. The Mediterranean diet is also associated with lower levels of LDL cholesterol, a reduced incidence of certain types of cancer, as well as a decrease in Alzheimer’s disease and Parkinson’s disease.

According to the Mayo Clinic, women who eat a Mediterranean diet supplemented with extra-virgin olive oil and nuts have a significant reduction in breast cancer risk. This diet plan is very different from the keto diet discussed above and the Paleo diet we address below. The Mediterranean diet includes whole grains, fruits, and vegetables that are not included on the other two diets, and it limits fats.

The Mediterranean Diet Plan Guidelines 

  • Replace butter and oils with extra-virgin olive oil.
  • Focus on plant-based foods: legumes, whole grains, fruits, and vegetables.
  • Limit red meat consumption to once a week.
  • Eat fish twice a week.
  • Eat 2-3 servings (1/2 cup) of whole grains daily.
  • Eat 7-10 servings of vegetables and fruits daily.
  • Eat 1 serving a day of nuts.
  • Limit dairy to 1 serving a day.
  • Eat poultry two times a week.
  • Enjoy eggs a couple times a week.
  • Eat legumes four to six times a week.
  • Drink red wine in moderation.
  • Exercise regularly.

Research

A Mediterranean diet with olive oil and nuts is associated with a lower incidence of major cardiovascular events and mortality. And, according to research, for people over 50, the Mediterranean diet can help you lose weight and keep it off.

3. MIND Diet

The MIND diet is a hybrid of the Mediterranean Diet and the DASH (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension) diet. It is designed not only to help you lose unwanted weight but also to help prevent cognitive decline. Separately, both of these diets have been proven to reduce the risk of cardiovascular conditions like heart attack, hypertension, and stroke, as well as diabetes.

But when adapted the MIND diet can decrease brain aging according to Psychology Today. In a 900-person study followed for 10 years, participants had the cognitive function of someone 7.5 years younger. The MIND diet focuses on 10 major food groups:

  1. Green leafy vegetables
  2. Other vegetables
  3. Nuts
  4. Berries
  5. Beans
  6. Whole Grains
  7. Fish
  8. Poultry
  9. Olive Oil
  10. Wine

What to Eat in the MIND Diet

  • Whole grains: at least 3 servings (1/2 cup) a day.
  • Green leafy vegetables: at least 6 servings a week.
  • Other veg: at least 1 serving a day.
  • Berries: at least 2 servings a week.
  • Fish: at least 1 serving a week.
  • Poultry: at least 2 servings a week.
  • Beans: more than 3 servings a week.
  • Nuts: at least 5 servings a week.
  • Olive oil: use as the primary fat.
  • Alcohol: red wine 1 serving a day.
  • Butter: less than 1 1/2 teaspoons a day.
  • Cheese: less than 1 ounce a week.
  • Pastries/sweets: less than 5 servings a week.
  • Fast food/fried foods: less than 1 serving a week.
  • Red meat: less than 4 servings a week.

Research

In a 4.5-year observational study based in senior living centers in Chicago, individuals that closely adhered to the MIND diet had a 53% decreased risk of Alzheimer’s disease, and for those that had a moderate adherence to the diet, a 35% decreased risk in Alzheimer’s disease was noted.

In an additional study, people who followed the MIND diet for 10 years showed a 7.5 year decrease in cognitive aging according to a study published in the journal Psychology Today. 

Losing weight can be hard. Choosing the right diet plan is essential.

4. Paleo Diet

The Paleo diet is based on the premise that the diet of our ancient ancestors is healthier than our modern diet. The Paleolithic era spanned 2.5 million years ago to approximately 10,000 years ago before farming. These diets were hunter-gatherer—what they found, they ate. This presumably didn’t include grains, dairy, or refined sugars.

There is no doubt that farming changed what, how much, and when humans ate—and the amount of energy that was expended to eat. Before the advent of agriculture, the diet focused on wild game, fish and seafood, fruits, vegetables, nuts, and seeds. It should be noted that people in different geographic locations consumed different foods food combinations. 

Today, the Paleo diet strictly limits grains, legumes, dairy products, sugar, potatoes, peanuts, vegetable oil, and all processed foods. Like the keto diet, macronutrients are generally counted but are broken into different ratios. 

Protein: 19% to 35%

Carbohydrates: 22% to 40%

Fats: 28% to 58%

Paleo Foods to Eat and Avoid

Eat: 

  • Grass-fed meats, wild game
  • Fish/seafood
  • Fresh fruits
  • Fresh vegetables
  • Eggs
  • Nuts and seeds
  • Healthy oils
  • Herbs                                                                 

Avoid:

  • Dairy
  • Legumes
  • Grains
  • Refined sugar
  • Refined vegetable oils
  • Potatoes
  • Salt

Research

According to the Mayo Clinic, various randomized clinical trials comparing the Paleo diet to other plans, including the Mediterranean and diabetes diets, showed that the Paleo diet may provide some benefits including:

  • More weight loss
  • Improved glucose tolerance
  • Better blood pressure control
  • Lower triglycerides
  • Better appetitive management

5. Whole30

Whole30 is the strictest diet plan on this list. It is designed to be a short-term elimination diet, and for many, it can be incredibly difficult to stick with, even for just 30 days. Whole30 entirely eliminates all sugars, grains, dairy, alcohol, and legumes. Any cheating ruins this elimination diet, and you have to start again to reap the reported benefits.

This diet plan may be a good idea for individuals looking to break bad habits, wanting to detox, or wishing to examine foods that may be causing inflammation or other immune system responses. After 30 days, you start to add foods back into your diet, slowly.

The Whole30 diet can help you determine if you have food sensitivities, reset cravings, improve energy levels, and reduce chronic pain. The goal with Whole30 is not weight loss per se, and the originators of the program even command participants not to take measurements or step on the scale until the end of the program.

One of the benefits of the Whole30 is that there is no counting of calories or macros. You simply avoid all foods on the disallowed list. You do eat moderate portions of meat, seafood, and eggs—and lots of vegetables. You can eat fruits, enjoy natural fats, and season with fresh herbs.

Foods to Avoid for 30 Days

All sweeteners, natural and artificial

Alcohol

Tobacco

Grains

Legumes

Corn

Peas

Lima beans

Dairy

Carrageenan

MSG

Sulfites

Junk foods

“Treats” made with approved ingredients


Foods That Are Allowed

Ghee and clarified butter

Coconut oil

Olive oil

Avocado oil

Sesame oil

Lard

Duck fat

Tallow

Grass-fed beef

Free-range poultry

Wild-caught seafood and fish

Pasture/natural pork

Fruit and fruit juice

Green vegetables

Vinegar

Coconut aminos

Nuts

Seeds

Coconut milk (canned)

Herbs and spices


Research

According to Berkeley Wellness of the University of California, there are no independent published studies on the Whole30 diet. A survey conducted by the company in 2011 of participants in the program found that they lost at least 6 pounds in 30 days, which is not surprising considering the strictness of this diet.

Berkeley Wellness points to proof that “restrained eating” is a good predictor of future weight gain.

6. Intermittent Fasting

Along with the Paleo diet and the keto diet, people are talking about the benefits of intermittent fasting. Intermittent fasting doesn’t limit the foods you eat, it limits the time in which you eat food. The thing to bear in mind is that if you continue to eat unhealthy foods, just condensing them into shorter periods of time, your potential for weight loss and health benefits are dramatically diminished. If you eat well during the allotted times, then intermittent fasting might be a good option for you.

Types of Intermittent Fasting

16/8: Fast for 16 hours and limit your food intake into a single 8-hour period each day.

5/2: Eat regularly for five days, and then restrict your calories to 600 a day for two days.

24 hour: Fast for 24 hours, eat regularly for four days, and then fast for 24 hours.

Alternate day: Fast every other day for 24 hours.

Warrior fasting: Condense all calories into a single meal each day.

Taking periodic breaks from eating deprives cells of calories and may help slow the progression of certain age-related diseases. Intermittent fasting can also support your willpower by limiting your eating to specific and regular eating windows. In small, short-term studies, intermittent fasting has been shown to lower blood glucose levels, blood pressure, and bad cholesterol.

However, intermittent fasting also comes with some concerns. Some critics say that it can encourage extreme behavior including bingeing. But when intermittent fasting is combined with healthy diet plans of whole, natural foods, you can experience weight loss and a positive change in body composition.

For example, intermittent fasting when partnered with the keto diet may help you get into ketosis and fat-burning mode quicker. When you don’t eat for 10 to 16 hours, your body then has to turn to fat storage for energy. And, when you are consuming a nutrient-dense diet, you can experience an overall reduction in calories.

Research

The majority of research on intermittent fasting has been done on obese rats, not humans. However, human studies on fasting indicate that it can improve specific biomarkers of disease, reduce oxidative stress, and preserve memory.

7. 7-Day Diet Plan-Cabbage Soup Diet

The Cabbage Soup Diet is the only seven-day diet plan on this list. This diet has been around for decades, and rumors had circulated, even before social media, that it was created by cardiologists at one hospital or another. However, this has never been confirmed. The base of this diet is consuming a cabbage-based soup several meals a day for a week.

Proponents of this diet claim you can lose 10 or more pounds in a single week. However, this is just water weight—not fat loss. This diet drastically limits calories and nutrient-dense foods. It is extremely low in complex carbohydrates, protein, minerals, and vitamins. It is not recommended for longer than seven days, ever.

Large amounts of cabbage soup can cause spikes in blood pressure because of sodium levels and flatulence because of the cruciferous vegetables and fiber-rich foods. If you have type 1 or type 2 diabetes, this restrictive diet can be dangerous. If you are looking for a short-term fix, try this diet with caution, knowing the weight will likely come back, and come back fast.

Cabbage Soup Diet 

Day 1: Cabbage soup + fruit, except bananas

Day 2: Cabbage soup + leafy greens (no fruit)

Day 3: Cabbage soup + fruits and vegetables

Day 4: Cabbage soup + bananas and skim milk

Day 5: Cabbage soup + beef or baked chicken and tomatoes

Day 6: Cabbage soup + beef and vegetables

Day 7: Cabbage soup + brown rice, unsweetened fruit juice, and vegetables.

Losing weight can be hard. Choosing the right diet plan is essential.

Research

In a search of the U.S. National Library of Medicine database of the National Institutes of Health, no studies on the Cabbage Soup Diet were found. However, according to the University of Florida’s Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences—it is physically impossible to lose 10 to 15 pounds of fat in a week, and any loss will return in a short time.

Meal Planning

One of the best ways to stay on a diet plan is with meal planning. Yes, this takes a bit of time up front, but, over the course of the week, it can save you time, and save you from eating foods you shouldn’t.

Pick a day of the week to actually plan for the actual number of breakfasts, lunches, and dinners you’ll be eating at home. Next, look at a list of your approved foods, and start to plan meals around the parameters of the meal plan you’ve chosen.

Divvy up proteins first, and then fill the rest of the meal with foods from your list. Make sure you are including a diverse variety, and refrain from eating the same foods day in and day out—this is not sustainable. 

You can, however, enjoy foods in multiple ways. For example, you can purchase and pre-cook ground beef to be used in taco salads, spaghetti sauce, and other favorites. The same with whole grains and complex carbohydrates—cook up a batch of brown rice or bake sweet potatoes and use them as side dishes throughout the week.

If you’ve never planned meals for a week, look for a meal-planning buddy to help get you started. It may also be helpful to shop together, and even do some meal prepping for a few weeks together until you get the hang of it.

Shopping Strategies

Whichever diet plan you choose, being a savvy shopper is key. Meal planning can help you save money, eat real foods, stick to your diet plan, and spend less time each day finding foods. But, changing the way you shop is also vital. Here are some shopping strategies to make it easier. 

  1. Never shop hungry.
  2. Never shop without a list.
  3. Go to the produce section first.
  4. Avoid aisles with processed foods and snacks.
  5. Avoid the deli section.
  6. Avoid the bakery section.
  7. Purchase fresh, organic, and natural foods when possible.
  8. Read food labels.

Exercise

A diet plan is just part of the weight-loss equation. You must exercise not only to lose weight now but also for continued success. Aim for a minimum of 30 minutes of exercise, five days a week. As your fitness level increases, add on to the intensity and the time you exercise.

You do not have to join a gym to get fit. There are a ton of free fitness activities you can do to improve your fitness and lose weight. To help you stay motivated during the day, you can use an activity tracker to make sure you are meeting or exceeding your exercise goals.

Just as having a diverse diet makes it easier to stick with the plan, including different exercises can help you stay on track. Mix up workouts to keep your heart and your mind in play, and to hit all areas of the body. Here are some workout ideas.

1. Try CrossFit

CrossFit is a routine that incorporates a number of different exercises and equipment into a single workout. This activity is often conducted in group classes, shoulder-to-shoulder with others interested in getting, and staying, fit. It is fun, challenging, and burns a ton of calories.

2. Walk or Hike with Friends

Exercising with friends can make the time go by faster and the effort more enjoyable. And, except for a great pair of shoes, walking and hiking are activities that you can do anywhere, at any time.

3. Jump in a Pool

Swimming is a great cardiovascular exercise that works the entire body. Muscles in your core, shoulders, legs, and arms will alert you the day after swimming laps that while you may not have sweat, you certainly worked hard.

4. Take a Yoga Class

Yoga is a great all-around exercise that equally works the mind and the body. It can help to relieve stress, improve balance and coordination, and burn unwanted fat.

5. Try Pilates

Pilates is an excellent way to build core muscles, improve mobility and balance, and tone muscles. Pilates on the floor versus equipment is vastly different; if you have a Pilates studio in your area try a reformer class—it is more challenging, and more of a total body workout than you may think.

6. Play a Round of Tennis

Tennis is a fun way to work up a sweat, have some fun, and enjoy time with friends. You don’t have to be a great tennis player to benefit from this activity that moves your muscles and joints in every which way.

7. Take a Bike Ride After Dinner

Riding a bike helps to burn calories, build muscles, and improve balance. After dinner, go for a ride around your neighborhood, or on a weekend be adventurous and take a long ride.

8. Go Dancing

Dancing, whether ballroom, salsa, tap, ballet, or Zumba, is a fun way to burn calories and change your body composition. Dancing is great for balance, core strength, coordination, and flexibility. 

7 Nutritional Supplements for Support

It is best to get your vitamins and minerals from natural foods. But when you are on a diet and limiting or eliminating certain foods, it is advisable to take nutritional supplements to make sure you don’t lack essential vitamins and minerals.

1. Multivitamin

When you are on the keto diet or the Paleo diet and limiting whole grains and fruits, you are likely missing a variety of essential vitamins and minerals. Take a high-quality multivitamin supplement made from real-food sources vs. a synthetic multivitamin supplement for best results.

2. Amino Acid Supplement

While following a diet plan and working out regularly, it is imperative that you replenish your body’s amino acid supply. Amino acids help to increase muscle growth while decreasing muscle soreness. They can also help to reduce exercise fatigue and may help boost fat loss. Choose a high-quality blend that includes all the essential amino acids, not just BCAAs.

3. Vitamin D3 Supplement

Vitamin D is an essential vitamin, especially for women and children when they are trying to lose weight. And new research shows that 2000 IU of vitamin D for 12 weeks can improve inflammation, bone turnover, and glycemic markers in postmenopausal women.

4. Probiotics

Probiotics add beneficial bacteria to the gut, and as gut-health is linked to metabolism, taking a high-quality supplement while following a diet plan may help. In fact, in a small placebo-controlled study published in the British Journal of Nutrition, women who took a probiotic supplement along with a calorie-restricted diet lost more fat than women given a placebo.

5. BHB Oil

Beta-hydroxybutrate (BHB) is a ketone produced by the human body when it enters ketosis. BHB is also the most plentiful ketone, and the most efficient at burning stored fat and producing energy. Taking BHB oil capsules may help move your body into ketosis quicker, thereby supporting your weight-loss and fitness goals for accelerated results. This supplement may be used in conjunction with any diet plan, not just a ketogenic diet, as it can help you recover from exercise quicker and may help reduce your appetite.

6. MCT Oil

MCT is the abbreviation for medium-chain triglycerides. These healthy fats are found naturally in coconut oil and palm oil, and then extracted into a highly-concentrated form. According to a clinical study published in the journal Physiology & Behavior, MCT oil is more effective than coconut oil at reducing food intake and promoting satiety. And, adding MCT oil to your diet routine may help you lose weight faster, by accelerating your body’s jump into ketosis.

7. Garcinia Cambogia

G. Cambogia is a fruit from Asia that has been used for generations in culinary applications and for the treatment of digestion issues and parasites. And now, hydroxycitric acid, or HCA, is being extracted from the rind of the garcinia cambogia fruit to support weight loss. Research indicates that garcinia cambogia can help to accelerate fat burning and weight loss through appetite suppression, enhanced physical endurance, and the inhibition of new fat cells.



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