Just because an eating plan calls itself a diet doesn't mean it's actually going to help you lose weight (we're still not over what we learned about the Military Diet last year). So to kick off 2017,U.S. News and World Report is breaking down the diets that will help you reach your weight-loss goals—and the ones that are a waste of time.
Taking the number-one spot on the list is: Weight Watchers! This plan utilizes an eating program called Smart Points that helps you track your food intake by allotting users a points goal each day. Foods that are full of saturated fats and empty calories are more points while healthy foods, like non-starchy vegetables, are less points.
The program also includes support and accountability via its 30-minute meetings where members discuss scale and non-scale victories in-person and allows users to chat with a rep 24/7 online.Plus, the report says, it’s easy to follow and at least one study in the American Journal of Public Health suggests that dieters using the program lost significantly more weight than those in the control group.
Taking second place is the Jenny Craig Diet. The recipes and prepackaged meals help dieters closely monitor their portion, calorie, and fat intake, which make it super easy to stay on track—especially if cooking isn't your jam. Also, despite the fact that the plan is based off eating packaged foods, Jenny Craig scored highly as being safe and healthy for dieters.
While you may not have heard of the diet taking bronze on this list, the Volumetrics Diet isn’t as complex as it may sound. The plan is based on the concept that people generally consume the same volume of food each day, despite however many calories are in a particular food. So if you’re going to eat a certain number of pounds of food in a day, it’s best to eat a higher volume of low-density foods—think a cup of carrots instead of a cup of chips (if only carrots tasted like chips...).
Surprisingly, trendy diets like the Whole30 Diet and the Paleo Diet were way at the bottom of the list. We're talking spots 36 and 38 out of 39 diets, respectively. While you might have been toying with the idea of going Paleo or attempting a Whole30 challenge, a big reason these two came up short is because of their restrictiveness.
Obvi, eliminating foods like dairy and bread (we can't quit you, cheese) makes a diet hard to follow and can end in an epic weight-loss fail. Furthermore, these restrictive diets were also flagged as potentially unsafe. That's because if you don’t consistently rely on lean meat, like chicken or fish, on the Paleo plan, you’re at risk of developing heart disease. Also, both these diets could lead to nutrient deficiency.