is one of the most common health goals, but it’s also one of the most overwhelming. With so much information out there about the , and diets for losing weight, it’s hard to know where to start or what will work for you.
That said, some people want to have a specific plan to follow that can help them achieve their goals. If you’re exploring different diets or eating styles that may work for you, dietitians Amy Gorin and Dr. Shayna Peter help break down the pros and cons of different diets based on research, and their experiences with clients in their own practices.
We’ve also investigated the pros and cons of paid weight loss programs, but here we are looking at diets that you can follow for free, or for the cost of a book or guide about the diet.
Foundations of a healthy diet for weight loss
When looking for a diet that will work for you, you need to consider various factors, including if it’s realistic for you to follow, if you like the foods involved and if the diet has any potential health benefits or risks you should be aware of.
In general, Gorin and Dr. Peter say you should look for the following when considering a healthy diet plan:
It includes plenty of whole foods and balanced macro groups
“When I counsel people for weight loss or for healthy eating in general, I typically advise eating vegetables or fruit at every meal and adding a lean protein (for instance, tofu, beans, salmon or chicken breast), a healthy fat (such as avocado, olive oil, or olives) and a whole grain like brown rice or quinoa to every meal. This combination of food sticks with you for longer and provides a multitude of nutrients,” Gorin says.
“I like looking at weight loss as making long-lasting small lifestyle changes, versus doing sweeping changes that you might be less likely to stick to,” Gorin says.
Whenever you are considering changing your diet, always consult your doctor and consider consulting with a dietitian or nutritionist before making a drastic change. “Don’t jump on whatever diet plan your friends are doing. Speak with a nutrition professional who can help you identify the eating plan that is most suitable for you. Go with a program that is sustainable, even if the weight loss is slower,” Dr. Peter says.