Top Weight Loss Diets of 2018 Doctors Actually Recommend

Can’t lose weight, no matter how hard you try? You might simply be following the wrong diet plan.

Many popular weight loss diets are developed only to last a short time, are expensive, and don’t actually help you keep off the weight you lose while following them. Doctors generally don’t recommend those. But there are plenty they’d sign off on in a heartbeat.

These diets aren’t just ideal for long-term weight loss. They also offer major benefits to your heart, brain, and overall disease risk. Here are the evidence-based plans doctors say you should try first if you want to lose weight.

5. The MIND diet

Raw salmon fillet

Raw salmon fillet | OlenaMykhaylova/iStock/Getty Images

The Mediterranean-DASH Intervention for Neurodegenerative Delay (MIND) diet is a combination of several diet plans proven to promote long-term heart and brain health. Studies have shown the diet has the potential to reduce your risk of Alzheimer’s disease.

Following this diet involves consuming a variety of plant-based foods and lean protein sources, including green leafy vegetables, whole grains, nuts, and fish. Experts also recommend consuming moderate amounts of red wine.

Foods to avoid on the MIND diet include fried foods, red meat, cheese, and sweets.

4. Weight Watchers

This program has been around for decades — and there’s a reason it’s successful for so many people. Weight Watchers continues to update its plans and information to make it accessible and simple for everyone to follow.

The diet program encourages eating a variety of foods spread across meals, snacks, and even desserts. Using a point system to reward healthy eating, it allows dieters to eat what they want, when they want.

But when it comes down to it, it’s still about eating more fresh and minimally processed foods, consuming fewer foods high in sodium and sugar, and engaging in physical activities you enjoy.

3. Flexitarian diet

It’s sort of like going vegetarian, but not totally committing. The flexitarian diet encourages people to reduce their consumption of meat and other animal proteins without cutting them out completely, which can help promote weight loss along with other benefits.

While you limit how much beef, pork, chicken, and eggs you consume on this diet, you’re to replace those calories with plant-based sources. For example, you might eat a burger made of chickpeas instead of a traditional hamburger. A rice dish might include tofu and vegetables instead of pork.

On this diet, you also have to limit your consumption of processed foods and added sugars.

2. Mediterranean diet

Pasta dish

Pasta dish | Anna_Shepulova/iStock/Getty Images

People who follow the Mediterranean diet tend to be able to maintain a healthy weight over time. They’re also more likely to live longer and less likely to develop diseases such as dementia and heart disease.

On the Mediterranean¬†diet, you tend to eat mostly plant-based foods such as whole grains, fruits, vegetables, and a variety of nuts. Fish and olive oil provide additional omega-3 fatty acids — even wine makes the cut. The diet also puts a unique emphasis on exercise, including specific recommendations in its plan.

Experts recommend cutting processed foods mostly out of your meal plan to follow this diet properly.

1. The DASH diet

The¬†Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension diet has held the No. 1 spot on the U.S. News and World Report’s list of top diets multiple years in a row. In 2018, the DASH and Mediterranean diets shared the top spot.

As its name suggests, DASH was originally developed to help people lower their blood pressure and decrease their risk of heart disease. Following the diet involves consuming a variety of heart-healthy foods, including a variety of whole grains, fruits and vegetables, nuts, and seeds.

Foods to eat less of on the DASH diet include foods high in saturated fat, such as sweets.

If you’ve tried a few of those trending, popular “lose weight fast” diets and haven’t found success, take the advice of experts who have your best interest in mind. These diets work. They’re all based around similar concepts, but each highlights different health benefits that might appeal to you.

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