Best Diet for Weight Loss in 2021
Going on a diet to lose weight can be difficult, especially if it requires extreme restriction of food or reduction of calories. Additionally, maintaining weight loss and continuing to follow a diet can be challenging if the diet is not practical or sustainable. With so many options out there it can be difficult to pick one that’s right for you. Which diet is the most adaptable? Which is most effective? Which will work long-term? Let’s take a look at three popular diets to find out ...
The keto or ketogenic diet (KD) focuses on a high consumption of fats and a low consumption of carbohydrates. There are many studies that have shown that fats and fatty acids help increase satiety levels and manage weight when incorporated into your diet. However, is consuming solely high fat foods effective in weight loss? According to an article by Inan Olmez et. al, three patients following the KD were studied. Within a few months of following the diet, all three patients showed a significant amount of weight gain. Additionally, two of the patients struggled to lose weight and even gained more weight after decreasing their calorie intake. From this experiment, study conductors found that “following the KD [ketogenic diet] could result in decreased metabolic rate and unexpected weight gain” (1). Based on this study, we can assume that the ketogenic diet is not the most effective way to manage or lose weight.
Key Takeaway: The keto diet has been shown to cause weight gain rather than weight loss. Following this diet is not an effective method of managing weight.
Low Fat Diet
The low fat diet is the exact opposite of the keto diet. It focuses on a low consumption of fats and a high consumption of carbohydrates. In a study conducted by Joseph McClernon et. al, two groups were given different diets –– one group was given an LCKD (low carbohydrate diet), while the other was given an LFD (low fat diet). Over a course of six months, results showed that participants following the low fat diet were more moody and hungry due to the restrictiveness of their diet. Therefore, results showed only a slight loss of weight. On the other hand, researchers found that participants following the low carbohydrate diet lost more weight and felt better internally. Mclernon et. al stated that “compared with an LFD [low fat diet], an LCKD [low carbohydrate diet] results in specific improvements in mood and decreased hunger” (2). Additionally, many participants who followed the low fat diet gave up even before the experiment was over. Others who were able to follow the low fat diet throughout the entire study did not continue following the diet afterwards. Based on this experiment, it’s clear that the low fat diet is far too restrictive, impractical, and ineffective.
Key Takeaway: The low fat diet has been proven to be a short-term diet that’s hard to adapt. Overall, the diet is not significant in effective weight loss.
The Mediterranean Diet is much different from the keto, low fat, or many other diets. It’s the only diet that includes all food groups and encourages the consumption of all nutrients. It has been shown to be an adaptable, effective, and long-term method of managing weight. Many consider the Mediterannean Diet as a lifestyle, rather than a diet, due to its lack of restrictiveness and weight it places on movement and social communities. In an experiment conducted by A Austel et. al, two groups following different diets were compared. One group followed the Mediterranean diet and participants were given meal plans and food supplies. The second group served as a control group where participants followed their regular diets. Results showed that “[a] five-meal modified Mediterranean-type diet with two daily portion-controlled sweet snacks was effective for weight management in a self-help setting for overweight and grade 1 obese subjects” (3). Participants following the Mediterranean diet showed a significant amount of weight loss and waist circumference reduction. Study conductors found that “[w]ithin 12 weeks of intervention mean change in body weight in completers was −5.15 kg in IG [the independent group following the Mediterranean diet] compared with −0.37 kg in CG [the control group following a normal diet], BMI went down by 1.82 kg/m2 and 0.14 kg/m2, respectively and waist circumference was reduced by 4.7 cm vs 0.88 cm” (3). Additionally, scientists noted that the participants were easily able to follow the Mediterranean diet, and many participants were able to maintain the Mediterranean diet for another 40 weeks. This study confirms that the Mediterranean diet is a very practical and sustainable way to eat and live.
Key Takeaway: The Medierranean diet has been proven to promote weight loss and prevent obesity. Additionally, the diet is maintainable over a long period of time, as it’s not highly restrictive.
The Bottom Line
Amid all the different diets, the Mediterranean diet has been shown to be the most sustainable and effective. Although other diets have shown some significant results in weight loss, none of them are long-term. Following a healthy diet for weight loss requires prioritizing your mental, physical, and emotional health. The Mediterraneaan diet is the best diet for weight management and overall health. To find out different ways you can incorporate the Mediterranean diet into your daily life, check out this article.
Written By Cameron Kao
Reviewed by Kelly Powers, MA, RDN, a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist who takes a holistic approach to nutrition and health. Kelly is a recipe developer with a food blog highlighting whole foods, simple recipes, and her life in San Francisco. She’s the creator of 52 Weeks, a weekly meal plan program that helps users get back in the kitchen and feed themselves well. Kelly is also a co-founder of Olivaio.