Best and Worst Diet Plans for Weight Loss, Heart Health, and More (2024)

Popular Diet Plans Backed by Some Scientific Evidence

Ketogenic Diet (Keto)

This high-fat, adequate-protein, low-carb fad diet sends the body into a state of ketosis, in which the body uses stored fat for energy instead of carbohydrates. Past research suggests the ketogenic, or “keto,” diet can be an effective weight loss method, but to be successful, you must follow the plan consistently with no cheat days — otherwise, you’re just eating a high-fat diet that may be high in unhealthy fats for no reason.

(A pro tip? If you're planning on doing the diet, check out a complete keto food list and read up on the healthiest fats for keto diet followers.)

Although the keto diet is popular among people with type 2 diabetes, you should avoid this diet if you have type 1 diabetes or other specific metabolic disorders.

No matter what your current state of health, you should speak with your physician before beginning the ketogenic diet, advises the Cleveland Clinic.

One of this diet's biggest hurdles? Saying goodbye to bread and other carbs. “It can be challenging to make sure to hit the low levels recommended for carbohydrates,” says Hultin. “This diet likely means a lot of planning ahead and bringing food with you to parties and events.”

You'll also want to be prepared for some of the plan's notable side effects, like keto-related diarrhea and constipation, fatigue, mood swings, headaches, and bad breath. These symptoms are a common part of the so-called keto flu, which happens as your body adjusts to burning fat rather than carbs for fuel, experts say.

Learn More About the Keto Diet

Paleo Diet

“A lot of people think the foundation of a paleo diet is high-fat meat, but I suggest that it’s vegetables,” says Hultin. The concept is to eat only foods — including meat, fish, poultry, eggs, fruits, and vegetables — that would have been available to our Paleolithic ancestors. This means grains, dairy, legumes, added sugar, and salt are all no-nos.

With this eating style, you’re looking at a lot of menu planning and preparation.

Onesystematic review and meta-analysis suggested the diet could lead to weight loss, but the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics warns the plan could leave you low on carbs, plus it doesn’t allow for nutrient-dense foods like whole grains, legumes, and dairy. You’re also at risk of missing vitamins and minerals like calcium, vitamin D, and B vitamins, per the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health.

This also means that not getting enough of bone-fortifying nutrients like calcium can put you at risk for osteoporosis, notes UC Davis Health.

Learn More About the Paleo Diet Here

Atkins Diet

This low-carb, high-protein diet has been around for decades. In fact, some say the keto diet is the new Atkins, though these popular low-carb plans are markedly different.

According to the Atkins website, the plan works in phases, with a very low daily net carb allowance of about 20, 40, or 100 grams (g) in the first phase, meaning the diet may send you into ketosis. How many net carbs you need to stay under depends on the plan you opt for. (You can calculate net carbs by subtracting fiber and sugar alcohols from total carbs. This value, though an unofficial nutritional term, can give you an estimate of how much a food might affect blood sugar levels.) Unlike the keto diet, you’re allowed more carbs as the phases continue.

In onepast review, researchers found that the Atkins diet can yield modest long-term weight loss, similar to that of the WW eating plan.

Because the diet is low in carbs, it may not be appropriate for someone who is on insulin or has diabetes — and because it’s high in protein, you’d want to avoid it if you have kidney disease, according to Mayo Clinic.

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“This is a great way of eating that I highly recommend to many clients, and I even model in my own life,” says Elizabeth Shaw, RDN, who is in private practice in San Diego and is the coauthor of Fertility Foods Cookbook. “Since the premise of the diet is designed to help people who have high blood pressure, low-sodium foods are recommended. But considering that most Americans exceed their daily sodium levels anyway, it’s not surprising that dietitians recommend this style of eating for treating many different conditions, such as heart disease and obesity.”

The DASH diet, or Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension, is mainly focused on reducing sodium intake and increasing consumption of fruits and vegetables, according to Mayo Clinic.

In onemeta-analysis, people with or without hypertension who followed the DASH diet saw an improvement in blood pressure compared with a control group who did not follow the DASH diet.

U.S. News & World Report has also consistently listed the DASH diet as a top diet in its annual rankings.

Learn More About the DASH Diet


The MIND diet, or Mediterranean-DASH Intervention for Neurodegenerative Delay, is a sort of hybrid between the DASH diet and theMediterranean diet. It features foods meant to slow the progression or development of Alzheimer’s disease, the most common form of dementia and an incurable neurodegenerative condition that more than six million Americans are living with, according to the Alzheimer’s Association. Some research backs up this notion, including one study that found a link between following the MIND diet and a reduced risk of dementia, though more research is needed.

Emphasizing vegetables, berries, beans, whole grains, olive oil, fish, and wine, according toMayo Clinic, it also calls for a reduction in saturated fat and trans fat, as Harvard Health Publishing notes.

Because the MIND diet focuses on cutting unhealthy fats and emphasizes eating whole, fresh foods, people who follow this eating pattern may lose weight while doing so.

Learn More About the MIND Diet

Low-Carb Diet

Many diets, including Atkins and the keto diet, fit into this umbrella. A typical low-carb diet limits carbs to less than 57 g daily, but this can vary, according toMayo Clinic. A review observed that people following low-carb diets experienced weight loss, and a reduction in body fat, and they may help improve blood glucose control — yet study authors note that long-term effects of the diet require further research.

Following this type of eating plan can result in certain nutritional deficiencies, and children, as well as pregnant or lactating women, should avoid it. Very low-carb diets can also be dangerous for people with diabetes who are on insulin due to the risk for hypoglycemia. “The low-carb diet is best for individuals who truly enjoy savory diets that involve more animal-based products and less sweet, refined carbohydrates,” notes Kyle.

Learn More About a Low-Carb Diet

South Beach Diet

Created in 2003 by the cardiologist Arthur Agatston, this low-carb diet features three phases. The first phase is the most restrictive, limiting carbs such as potatoes and rice. Each subsequent phase becomes more lenient, and the diet emphasizes lean protein, unsaturated fats, and low-glycemic carbs such as nonstarchy vegetables. South Beach promotes lasting lifestyle changes, according to Mayo Clinic.

In a past study, people with metabolic syndrome who followed the first two phases of the diet noticed significant weight loss — but also experienced some shifts in satiety and hunger hormones, possibly leading to higher levels of hunger during the diet.

Like other low-carb diets, the South Beach Diet isn’t appropriate for pregnant or lactating women, or children.

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Intermittent Fasting

There are many ways to do intermittent fasting — ranging from fasting for a number of hours each day up to an entire 24-hour fasting period one or two times a week. “If you're trying to kick a habit like eating late into the night, then stopping eating earlier in the evening and fasting overnight could be beneficial for you,” says Hultin. “There are many types of intermittent fasting, so ensuring you pick one that works for you and your lifestyle is important.”

The idea is that fasting induces mild stress on the cells in your body, helping them become better at coping with such stress and possibly helping your body grow stronger. The verdict is still out regarding the diet’s long-term effectiveness with weight loss, but 8 to 12 weeks of intermittent fasting has been found to lead to a 3 to 8 percent reduction in body weight, according to a review. Catch is, intermittent fasting performs just as well as other calorie-restricted diets.

“Intermittent fasting can be really challenging if you have an ever-changing schedule,” adds Hultin. “If you're traveling and crossing time zones, it could be very difficult to follow. It might be best for people with more stability in their lives.” Intermittent fasting isn’t safe for people with type 2 diabetes, children, pregnant or lactating women, or anyone with a history of disordered eating.

Learn More About Intermittent Fasting

Dubrow Diet (16:8 Diet)

If you want to kick intermittent fasting up a notch, you may consider the Dubrow diet, popularized by the husband-and-wife duo Terry and Heather Dubrow. On this diet, you'll fast for 16 hours and eat for eight, also called the 16:8 eating plan, a type of intermittent fasting. Over three phases, you will also limit calories, fat, and carbohydrates, which may aid weight loss, say registered dietitians.

A plus of this eating plan is that it takes a whole-foods approach, and calls for avoiding processed and packaged foods, along with sources of refined carbs and desserts in general. One minus is that the plan limits healthy complex carbs.

Learn More About the Dubrow Diet

WW (Formerly Weight Watchers)

In September 2018, Weight Watchers International announced that it would be changing its name to WW, in what many outlets dubbed a rebranding effort. Their goal: to make the eating and lifestyle approach about wellness rather than only weight loss.

With Oprah as one of its most notable proponents, this eating plan has been around for years. Jean Nidetch founded the organization in the early 1960s, according to the WW website. It’s gone through many iterations, its most recent version being WW PersonalPoints. On this plan, you’ll take a personal assessment, which takes several lifestyle factors into account in order to give you a holistic, all-over approach to weight loss and your PersonalPoints.

Evidence suggests that WW’s plans promote long-lasting, sustainable changes, and in 2024 U.S. News & World Report ranked it the best diet for weight loss. Undoubtedly a bounty of research backs this up. In fact, one past study showed that people following then– Weight Watchers were close to 9 times more likely to lose 10 percent of their body weight, compared with people following a self-help diet plan.

WW might also be a good option for you if you like the idea of community support. Connect is a members-only social community for people following a WW approach, and many people find that this support is key to their success. In fact, past research suggests that participants in an online weight loss plan who were highly involved with the online community aspect of the program lost more weight over six months than participants who did not engage in this type of social networking. (While the exact online weight loss plan was not specified, the community aspect is very similar to WW’s approach.)

What’s more, per U.S. News, in 2023 WW began offering access to weight loss medications such as GLP-1 receptor agonists for eligible users through its WeightWatchers GLP-1 Program.

Learn More About WW

Plant-Based Diet

Plant-based eating can take many forms, from vegan to vegetarian to pescatarian and flexitarian, which contains some meat. (Read about specific plant-based diets below.) All plant-based diets focus on eating whole, fresh foods such as vegetables, fruits, whole grains, nuts, seeds, and legumes. Research suggests in general, plant-based diets are associated with a reduced risk of various chronic diseases including obesity, heart disease, and type 2 diabetes.

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Vegan and Vegetarian Diets

“A vegan or vegetarian diet is best for individuals who do not like to consume animal products, whether for health reasons, environmental reasons, or animal welfare reasons,” says Kyle. “There are many health benefits of consuming more plant-based foods, such as a reduction in chronic disease.”

There’s a large spectrum of where people can fall on a vegetarian diet: For example, vegans consume no animal products, whereas ovo-lacto vegetarians eat both dairy and eggs. The eating style may help with weight loss, suggests a systematic review. That said, a variety of plant-based diets have been shown to support weight loss, the authors note, though they warn that eliminating meat does not automatically make it healthier — it is possible to become deficient in nutrients, depending on the food you’re eating.

Learn More About Vegetarian Diets

Learn More About Vegan Diets

Raw Vegan Diet

The raw vegan diet is a more extreme version of the traditional vegan diet. In addition to eating no animal products (that means no cheese or dairy too), raw vegans do not eat any foods cooked above 118 degrees F, the idea being that nutrients may be lost during the normal cooking process, per a past article. While this diet can be difficult to stick with because it's so restrictive, it does offer the same health benefits of a vegan diet.

Learn More About the Raw Vegan Diet

Pescatarian Diet

Pescatarians are vegetarians or vegans who also eat fish. Prioritizing fish as your main protein can provide a bounty of health benefits, such as a lower risk of stroke and heart disease, per an advisory published in Circulation.

Learn More About the Pescatarian Diet

Flexitarian Diet

You can think of the flexitarian diet as a plan for part-time vegetarians. With this approach, plant proteins, whole grains, nuts, seeds, and fruits and veggies will be staples, with the occasional meat dish thrown in.

Because the diet isn’t as restrictive as a traditional vegan or vegetarian diet, it may be simpler to stick with — hence its No. 2 ranking in U.S. News & World Report’s Easiest Diets to Follow category. Because you’ll be eating meat some of the time, you may also be at a lower risk of the aforementioned nutrient deficiencies that vegetarians and vegans may face.

While there isn’t a wealth of research on this eating approach, U.S. News points out that, because of the focus on plants, those who follow the Flexitarian Diet tend to weigh less than meat eaters, and have a lower risk of certain conditions, such as heart disease and diabetes.

Learn More About the Flexitarian Diet

Mediterranean Diet

“Diets such as the Mediterranean diet are sustainable, have been shown to improve health, and aren’t restrictive or short term,” says Asche.

The Mediterranean diet is meant to reflect the eating pattern of people living in the Mediterranean. So think plenty of vegetables, fruits, olive oil, fish, nuts, beans, legumes — and only a moderate amount of red wine and dairy.

The diet can be helpful for weight loss, as well as decreasing risk of developing conditions such as diabetes, heart disease, and Alzheimer’s disease, perresearch and Mayo Clinic. It has been consistently ranked as a top diet in the U.S. News annual rankings.

Whole30 Diet

This popular diet program is fairly restrictive — and for the first 30 days, dieters must cut out grains, legumes, most dairy, added sugar, and alcohol without any slip-ups, according to the Whole30 website. The aim is to “reset” your body and to adopt dietary habits resulting in weight loss. Cutting out added sugar and alcohol has merit, but all the restrictions prove challenging and could lead to nutrient deficiencies and disordered eating.

“The Whole30 diet does not allow for any whole grains or legumes, which are extremely beneficial to your health,” says Asche. “Whole grains are rich in fiber and micronutrients and are linked to helping to lower your risk of heart disease. The fact that the diet eliminates nutritious foods is a big red flag for me.”

Learn More About the Whole30 Program

Mayo Clinic Diet

This diet is a scientifically sound way to lose weight and lead a healthier lifestyle.

Mayo Clinic created a healthy food pyramid to go along with the diet to help participants learn which foods to eat more of and which ones to limit, per its website. The pyramid emphasizes fruits and vegetables, whole grains, lean proteins, plus healthy fats in smaller amounts.

In the initial two-week “Lose It” phase, participants can drop 6 to 10 pounds. In fact, in the diet’s pilot program, 53 Mayo Clinic employees with obesity lost an average of 8 pounds during the initial phase.

Learn More About the Mayo Clinic Diet

Anti-Inflammatory Diet

Though not always followed for weight loss per se, an anti-inflammatory diet is rich in whole foods (including fresh fruits and veggies), and low in packaged, processed ones (like french fries and pastries), so there is a chance you will still shed pounds with this approach. But usually, folks follow this diet to help prevent or treat chronic diseases, such as heart disease, diabetes, arthritis, depression, Alzheimer’s, and cancer. And that’s smart, considering there’s a bounty of research to support this notion, according to Harvard Health Publishing.

Adopting this diet is relatively simple. It isn’t focused on counting calories or carbs, or following any sort of specific protocol. Instead of constantly thinking about the quantity of food you are eating, an anti-inflammatory is all about prioritizing the quality of what is on your plate. “The anti-inflammatory diet focuses on foods with nutrients that can calm systemic inflammation in the body such as herbs, spices, tea, and cocoa. Another benefit of this diet is that it can be very flavorful because of the focus on seasonings,” adds Hultin, who also wrote Anti-Inflammatory Diet Meal Prep.

Learn More About the Anti-Inflammatory Diet


Designed for people with irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), the low-FODMAP diet limits certain types of carbohydrates called fermentable oligosaccharides, disaccharides, monosaccharides, and polyols, or FODMAPs for short. These are essentially short-chain carbs that the gut has a hard time absorbing, thereby stimulating IBS symptoms, according to Monash University, which developed the low-FODMAP diet and conducted the research.

Learn More About the Low-FODMAP Diet

Intuitive Eating

Unlike commercial diet plans, intuitive eating doesn't require you to buy packaged food from a specific brand. And unlike fad diets, it doesn't ask you to count macronutrients or calories. Instead, this approach asks you to eat what you want but check in regularly with your body, so you know when you're full and need to stop eating. It sounds simple, but it can be a sustainable way to approach healthy eating, for weight loss or otherwise, say Evelyn Tribole, RDN, a private practitioner in Newport Beach, California, and Elyse Resch, RDN, who coined the term “intuitive eating” in 1995. Tribole and Resch coauthored the groundbreaking book Intuitive Eating: A Revolutionary Program That Works and their more recent book, The Intuitive Eating Workbook: Ten Principles for Nourishing a Healthy Relationship With Food.

Learn More About Intuitive Eating

Satiating Diet

Similar to intuitive eating, the satiating diet isn't strict — the main thing it calls for is eating whole foods, like apples, oatmeal, peppers, and salad. The idea is these fiber-, protein-, and fat-rich foods promote a feeling of fullness, so you're less likely to overeat. There's legit science behind prioritizing these foods over packaged ones. For instance, in a past randomized controlled trial, men with obesity assigned to follow the satiating diet instead of a higher-carb diet lost more fat and weight, and had more success sticking to the eating plan.

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Volumetrics Diet

The veteran nutrition researcher Barbara J. Rolls, PhD, created Volumetrics, an eating approach that closely resembles the satiating diet. Dr. Rolls, who is currently the director of the Laboratory of Human Ingestive Behavior at Penn State University in University Park, Pennsylvania, argues that prioritizing whole, energy-dense foods including beans, whole grains, lean meats, and fresh fruits and veggies, can help with weight management. There's research to back up this notion. For instance, a past review suggested that considering foods' energy density could aid in weight management.

Learn More About the Volumetrics Diet

Nutrisystem Diet

If you don’t want to commit to counting calories, monitoring macronutrients, or meal planning, the Nutrisystem diet may be a good option for you. While on this eating plan, you’ll sign up to receive premade, low-calorie meals delivered to your home, as outlined on their website. OnAmazon, Nutrisystem foods are also available. Each meal has a fixed amount of calories based on your age, your sex, and any dietary requirements you may have. Generally speaking, the macronutrient composition of your meals will be high carb, and moderate protein and fat.

But the key factor for weight loss on this diet is your calorie deficit: Nutrisystem meals are designed to provide you with 1,200 to 1,500 calories a day, allowing you to lose weight while staying nourished.

There are a couple of things to be aware of before you commit, though: The cost of Nutrisystem meals for one person per month works out at about $300 minimum, and you’ll want to supplement them with fresh fruits and veggies, nutrient-rich carbohydrates, and what the plan calls “extras” or “free foods” (such as condiments or add-ons) to make your plate more palatable.

Also, the bulk of your diet will consist of prepackaged foods, which may not appeal to you if you usually prepare and enjoy fresh foods.

Learn More About the Nutrisystem Diet

SlimFast Diet

As the name implies, the SlimFast diet claims you can lose weight — fast — by limiting your food intake to SlimFast-brand shakes for breakfast and lunch, a low-calorie meal (less than 500 calories) of your choice for dinner, and three 100-calorie snacks per day. (Amazon has SlimFast shakes and bars available for sale.) While that may sound complicated, the weight loss mechanics of this diet are not: Per the SlimFast website, you’ll limit your daily caloric intake to 1,200 calories for women or 1,600 calories for men, which will put you on track to lose a moderate amount of weight initially. Over time, your rate of weight loss will likely slow as your body adjusts to your new routine, and once you’ve hit your goal weight, you can replace one of your daily shakes with a second “sensible” meal of your choice.

The SlimFast diet is also offered in a number of different categories depending on your dietary needs, including SlimFast Keto and Slimfast Diabetic Weight Loss.

While you are likely to lose weight while following the SlimFast diet, the plan’s reliance upon SlimFast shakes may be unappealing or repetitive if packaged drinks like these don’t appeal to you. Plus, the shakes and SlimFast snacks are highly processed — which means you’ll need to balance your diet with healthy whole foods, like fruits, vegetables, and whole grains, to lose weight healthfully on this plan.

Learn More About the SlimFast Diet

Nordic Diet

This diet focuses on the traditional diet of people who live in Nordic countries — Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway, and Sweden. Overall, this eating pattern is whole food–focused, plant-based, and features lots of seafood; it also emphasizes the sustainability of one’s food choices.

The foods included in the Nordic diet are healthy and have been linked to positive health benefits. One systematic review and meta-analysis found that following a Nordic diet is associated with “small, important” reductions in the risk of heart disease, stroke, and type 2 diabetes. That may be in part because the diet can help lower LDL (“bad”) cholesterol. In addition, another review and meta-analysis found that eating a Nordic diet may help with weight loss. The diet requires you to make a lot of your food at home and forgo processed foods, both drastic changes that can be a barrier for some people.

Learn More About the Nordic Diet

Blue Zones Diet

Blue zones are five locations around the world where inhabitants are 10 times more likely than the average American to live to age 100. They are Okinawa, Japan; Sardinia, Italy; Nicoya, Costa Rica; Ikaria, Greece; and Loma Linda, California. The traditional diets enjoyed in these places are a major factor in their effect on longevity. Research shows that their emphasis on plant-based eating and stopping when 80 percent full are two dietary factors that help them eat moderate amounts of nutritious foods. (A decrease in stress and a strong sense of community are other driving factors.)

Research has shown that eating more plant-based foods is associated with a lower risk of heart disease and death from any cause in middle-aged adults. This is a plan that’s focused on eating more nutritious foods, rather than overt weight loss. Depending on what your diet was before, you may lose weight on the plan, particularly if it helps decrease calorie intake.

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Whole Foods Diet

Nope, this isn’t a reference to eating all of your food from the grocery chain Whole Foods. Rather, the diet is a call to prioritize whole foods in their least processed form (like fruits, vegetables, legumes, whole grains, lean meats, nuts, and seeds) and avoid ultra-processed ones.

This eating plan is more of a guideline than a diet with set rules. There is no formal definition of a whole foods diet and less data surrounding what it looks like, so it’s open to interpretation for each person doing it — which can be a major plus, as it’s relatively easy to follow. Research shows that consuming ultra-processed foods contributes to excessive calorie intake that causes weight gain. And one randomized controlled trial found that a whole food, plant-based diet lowered body mass index and cholesterol levels in participants (who all were overweight or had obesity) compared with a control group.

That said, not all processed foods are created equal, per Harvard Health Publishing. Lightly processed foods, such as frozen fruit and canned beans, can also be nutritious and convenient and help you stick to a healthier diet. On the whole foods diet, it’s more important to steer clear of ultra-processed foods like frozen dinners, cakes, cookies, sugary drinks, potato chips, and processed meats.

Those who have a history of disordered eating may want to avoid this plan, as it’s possible to dangerously fixate on clean eating.

Learn More About the Whole Foods Diet

Elimination or Exclusion Diet

This is not a weight loss diet, so going on an elimination or exclusion diet should come with no weight-related expectations. Instead, this category of diet helps you identify foods that may be causing food allergies, according to Food Allergy Research and Education.

It’s a two-phase eating plan. In phase one, you’ll stop eating certain foods or food groups for a specific amount of time; in phase two, you’ll slowly reintroduce them into your diet one by one and watch for symptoms to reappear. If you experience symptoms during reintroduction, you have an idea of what types (or portion sizes) of foods trigger your symptoms. Some common foods that may be eliminated include dairy products, wheat, eggs, soy, nuts and seeds, and fish.

Popular elimination or exclusion diets include the low-FODMAP diet, gluten-free diet, lactose-free diet, and more. Doing an elimination diet can be a challenge, and it’s important to connect with a knowledgeable registered dietitian who can help guide you through it.

Learn More About an Elimination or Exclusion Diet

HMR Diet

HMR stands for “Health Management Resources,” and it’s a diet that’s been around for more than three decades.

Ranked as the No. 3 best fast weight loss diet by U.S. News & World Report (but No. 21 in Best Diets Overall), the HMR diet is a low-calorie diet that relies on food replacements via portion-controlled shakes and entrées from HMR, plus fruits and vegetables.

The purpose of the diet is to bring about fast weight loss. After you have lost the weight, you enter the maintenance phase, which helps you slowly move away from meal replacements to cooking and purchasing your own food and meals. There is limited research behind the efficacy of the HMR diet, and you have to take into account the cost of the meal replacements, as well as supplemental fruits and vegetables.

If you have a preexisting medical condition, talk to your doctor before starting a low-calorie diet like the HMR diet.

Learn More About the HMR Diet

Asian Diet

There isn’t an official “Asian diet,” but this eating plan is based on the traditional diets of people living in Asian countries. Overall, this diet focuses on plant-based foods and minimizes dairy and red meat. Specifically, it emphasizes rice, noodles, fruits, vegetables, legumes, soy, nuts, seeds, and tea. You can also consume alcohol occasionally. Making these overarching changes to your diet can help improve your health.

There isn’t a wealth of data available on Asian-style diets, but there is evidence that people in these regions enjoy benefits due to some of the elements of their diets, such as a focus on fish in Japan, research suggests.

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Ornish Diet

The Ornish diet is an eating plan that focuses on sustainable, long-term lifestyle changes. On this plan, you’ll prioritize plant-based foods like fruits, vegetables, legumes, whole grains, and low-fat or nonfat dairy products, per the program’s website. It’s a low-fat diet, meaning fat should make just up 10 percent of your daily calorie consumption; you’ll avoid saturated fats in favor of healthy fats like those found in fatty fish, nuts, and seeds. You’re also encouraged to implement healthy lifestyle changes, like managing stress with meditation or yoga and adding a half-hour of daily exercise to your routine.

U.S. News & World Report consistently lists the Ornish diet among the healthiest eating plans for heart health, and it notes its potential for weight loss, thanks to its focus on whole and plant-based foods.

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Climatarian Diet

The Climatarian Diet is centered around eating in a way that is sustainable, which means whole, plant-based foods. “In light of all the compelling evidence supporting the environmental benefits of plant-based diets, I strongly advocate embracing a diet like this that’s rich in fruits, vegetables, legumes, nuts, seeds, fish and seafood, and whole grains,” says Hultin. Plant-based eating is associated with weight loss, according to research, as well as improved cardiovascular and metabolic health, other research shows.

Learn More About the Climatarian Diet

Jenny Craig Diet

This weight loss program requires you to purchase food from their meal plan, which are prepared meals, snacks, bars, or shakes. (Packaged Jenny Craig foods are available on Amazon, too.) On this plan you don’t have to worry about calorie counting, and it has been developed as a balanced eating program. There is also research to back up that Jenny Craig can help people lose weight over 12 months. Yet it can be expensive and it doesn’t teach you long-term dietary habits that will help you maintain weight loss once you’re off the diet and on your own.

Learn More About the Jenny Craig Diet

Green Mediterranean Diet

Along with the whole grains, fruits, vegetables, beans, nuts, and olive oil recommended on the Mediterranean Diet, the green version is more restrictive, asking you to avoid red and processed meats entirely, limiting poultry, and promoting consuming a duckweed shake, green tea, and walnuts daily. One study found following a Green Mediterranean Diet to be superior for supporting heart health compared with the traditional Mediterranean Diet or control group. (Both types of Mediterranean Diets promoted a similar weight loss, about 12 to 14 pounds over six months.)

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Longevity Diet

The diet, developed by director of the USC Longevity Institute, Valter Longo, PhD, promotes whole grain carbohydrates and plant-based proteins and fats, as well as limiting eating hours to 12 per day and fasting for longer durations intermittently. “The research conducted by people like Dr. Longo and the Blue Zones project provides compelling evidence for the effectiveness of longevity diets,” says Hultin. She’s on board with the diet’s call to add more plant-based foods into the diet, but encourages talking to a registered dietitian first before fasting.

Learn More About the Longevity Diet

Vegetarian Keto Diet

The keto diet, which is a high-fat, low-carb plan, is known for being pro fatty meats (bacon!), but a vegetarian keto diet turns that on its head. On this diet, you focus on higher fat plant foods, such as chia seeds, avocado, oil, and nuts, as well as cheese and eggs. For people who are vegetarian who rely on a lot of high-carb foods like pasta and crackers, transforming their diet in this way could lead to weight loss, though it can feel very restrictive and put you at risk of nutrient deficiencies.

Learn More About the Vegetarian Keto Diet

Keto and Intermittent Fasting

This spin on the keto diet puts time parameters on when you can and cannot eat. One opinion paper from several U.S. university researchers suggests that keto-IF could be used to treat certain medical conditions, such as obesity, hypertension, inflammatory bowel disease, and neurodegenerative diseases, among others. However, you should talk to your healthcare provider before combining these approaches, especially if you have diabetes and the timing of your mood matters for blood sugar control and medication schedules.

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TLC Diet

TLC stands for therapeutic lifestyle changes and it has good evidence behind it. In fact, the diet was created by the National Institutes of Health with the purpose of improving cholesterol levels in people who have heart disease risk factors. In research, the majority of people who had abnormal blood work at the start of the diet decreased their total and “bad” LDL cholesterol, triglycerides, fasting glucose, and insulin. In addition, the diet was effective for reducing BMI and waist circumference, too, in people who were overweight or had obesity.

Learn More About the TLC Diet

Best and Worst Diet Plans for Weight Loss, Heart Health, and More (2024)


What is the best heart-healthy diet to lose weight? ›

The plan should include plenty of lean protein, vegetables, fruits and whole grains. Limit high-fat foods such as red meat, cheese and baked goods. Also limit foods that are high in sodium such as sandwiches, pizza, soup and processed foods. Cut back on foods and drinks with added sugar too.

What is the number one heart healthy diet? ›

According to a new scientific report by a committee of professors and cardiologists who analyzed the current body of scientific evidence, the DASH, pescatarian and Mediterranean diets are among the best diets for heart health.

Which diet is the most effective in weight loss? ›

Mediterranean diet

This diet emphasizes eating plenty of fresh fruits, vegetables, nuts, whole grains, fish, olive oil, and a small amount of meat, dairy, and wine. In addition to weight loss, health benefits include: Combats inflammation and oxidative stress. Lowers blood pressure and cholesterol.

Is the Mayo Clinic diet heart healthy? ›

In general, losing weight by following a healthy, nutritious diet — such as the Mayo Clinic Diet — can reduce your risk of weight-related health problems, such as diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure and sleep apnea.

What is the #1 worst habit for your heart? ›

Top Unhealthy Heart Habits
  1. Smoking. Smoking is one of the most unhealthy heart habits. ...
  2. Alcohol Use. ...
  3. Poor Diet. ...
  4. Stress. ...
  5. Little Physical Activity. ...
  6. Avoiding Physicals and Checkups. ...
  7. High Salt Intake. ...
  8. Inadequate Sleep.

Does oatmeal remove plaque arteries? ›

When blood cells stick to—and cause inflammation of—the artery wall, plaques build up. That accumulation—called atheroscle- rosis—can eventually block the blood vessel. The suppression provided by avenanthramides in oats may prevent this narrow- ing of the passageways through which blood flows.

Which drink is best for the heart? ›

Water is the drink of choice for heart health. If you're thirsty, drink water.

How can I drop 20 pounds fast? ›

Here are the 10 best ways to quickly and safely drop 20 pounds.
  1. Count calories. ...
  2. Drink more water. ...
  3. Increase your protein intake. ...
  4. Reduce your refined carb consumption. ...
  5. Start lifting weights. ...
  6. Eat more fiber. ...
  7. Follow a sleep schedule. ...
  8. Add cardio to your routine.

What is the number one diet to lose belly fat? ›

Studies indicate that a diet rich in high-protein foods, such as eggs, fish, seafood, legumes, nuts, meat, and dairy results in overall less abdominal fat, more satiety, and an increased metabolic function. Adding fiber-rich foods to meals is also key to keeping off belly fat.

What is the best thing to eat every day to lose weight? ›

High protein foods may be especially helpful for weight loss. Lean meat, fish, legumes, and dairy products are great sources of protein. But to lose weight, you also need to make sure you're eating fewer calories than your body burns.

What are the three foods cardiologist will say to avoid? ›

That's not to say you can't enjoy these items occasionally as a treat, but they should not be a part of your regular diet.
  • Red meat (including “the other white meat”) ...
  • Bacon, hot dogs, and other processed meats. ...
  • French fries and other fried foods. ...
  • Sugary drinks and cereals. ...
  • Potato chips and snack foods.
Feb 1, 2023

What diet do cardiologist recommend? ›

Eat more vegetables and fruits

Vegetables and fruits, like other plants or plant-based foods, contain substances that may help prevent heart disease. Eating more fruits and vegetables also may help you eat less higher calorie food. Some examples of high-calorie foods are meat, cheese and snack foods.

What is the number 1 heart healthy diet? ›

Mediterranean Diet

It is a diet low in red meat, sugar, and saturated fat and high in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, beans, nuts, legumes, olive oil, and flavorful herbs and spices. Fish and seafood consumption is encouraged a couple of times a week, with poultry, eggs, cheese, and yogurt in moderation.

What is the #1 best food for your heart says a cardiologist? ›

“A good example of a heart-healthy diet is the DASH diet. The DASH diet promotes eating healthy foods such as whole grains, lean protein, fruits, veggies, and low-fat dairy. While reducing the consumption of sugar-sweetened foods, whole dairy foods, and saturated fats,” explained Dr. Bhusri.

How can I lose weight fast for my heart? ›

Tips for losing weight
  1. Drink 8 to 10 glasses of water a day.
  2. Don't skip meals. Instead, eat smaller portions.
  3. Eat your meals earlier in the day.
  4. Cut out sugary drinks such as soda and fruit juices.
  5. Make your later meals lighter than your earlier meals.

How do heart patients lose belly fat? ›

Reducing belly fat begins with the basic lifestyle factors you would follow for any weight-loss regimen. You need to limit your calories and eat a healthy meal plan that includes vegetables, fruits, whole grains, beans, nuts, lean meats, poultry, and fish. It's also important to get regular exercise.

What is the best exercise for heart and weight loss? ›

Aerobic Exercise

How much: Ideally, at least 30 minutes a day, at least five days a week. Examples: Brisk walking, running, swimming, cycling, playing tennis and jumping rope. Heart-pumping aerobic exercise is the kind that doctors have in mind when they recommend at least 150 minutes per week of moderate activity.

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