12 Popular Diets That Work Effectively For Weight Loss

Medically Reviewed by Merlin Annie Raj, RD (Registered Dietitian)
Written by Charushila Biswas, MSc (Biotechnology), ISSA Certified Fitness Nutritionist

Weight loss can be an effective process and be well maintained only when choosing a sustainable diet. However, the many fads around may only leave you confused, and you might end up with the wrong diet. But fret not – we have included the best weight-loss diets that work. While fad diets may give you results initially, they may eventually make you feel weak and hungry, and you may give up on them in no time. Hence, you also must consider your eating patterns and habits, medical conditions, weight loss goals, and any surgeries before choosing a diet. Continue reading to learn more about the 12 best weight loss diets that consider all these factors.

1. GM Diet

GM diet plan for weight loss
How It Works

GM diet (or General Motors diet) was created by General Motors and the FDA to help the employees of General Motors lose weight. It is a 7-day diet plan that is quite restrictive. But the dieters get amazing results at the end of it and feel more energetic, which, in turn, improves their productivity. It mainly involves consuming vegetables and fruits and staying hydrated. You can also do some light exercises to stay active. To know about the GM diet plan in detail, click here. 

Weight Loss

10-17 pounds in a week.

Who Should Follow

Overweight individuals who want to lose weight quickly.

Who Should Not Follow
  • New mothers and heart patients.
  • People who binge as they will not be able to sustain it.
Advantages

You will

  • Lose weight quickly.
  • Gain more energy and confidence.
  • Be happy with the outcome.
Disadvantages
  • Not sustainable.
  • Can be dangerous if done for more than a week.
  • May make you feel weak and fatigued.

2. Ketogenic Diet

Keto diet food pyramid for weight loss

Shutterstock

How It Works

Ketogenic diet is a high-fat (75%), medium-protein (20%), and low-carb (5%) diet that prompts your body to form ketone bodies (known as ketosis) and use fat as a source of fuel instead of carbs (glucose or sugar) or protein (converted into sugar through a process called gluconeogenesis) (1). This diet is mainly recommended for Alzheimer’s, cancer, epilepsy, and diabetes patients (2), (3 ), (4), (5). The ketogenic diet has gained popularity in recent times as it helps dieters shed pounds of flab without going hungry or feeling starved. To know more about the diet, click here.

Weight Loss

Anywhere between 2-6 pounds per week – depending on your current weight and how strictly you follow the diet.

Who Should Follow
  • Obese individuals who need to shed a few pounds quickly.
  • Diabetic patients who need to lose weight to protect their body from diabetes-related health complications.
  • Anyone who can follow and maintain an extreme diet that’s high in fat.
Who Should Not Follow
  • Anyone who can lose weight just by tweaking their diet a bit and exercising regularly.
  • Anyone who cannot sustain the diet.
Advantages
  • Quick weight loss.
  • Health benefits for those suffering from diabetes, Alzheimer’s, epilepsy, and cancer.
Disadvantages
  • Non-sustainable.
  • May backfire if not followed properly.
  • There is not enough research on the long-term effects of the keto diet on weight loss.

3. Mediterranean Diet

Mediterranean diet for weight loss

Shutterstock

How It Works

The Mediterranean diet, as the name suggests, is the diet followed in the Mediterranean region. It is a balanced and sustainable diet that also helps the local economy grow. You will consume a good amount of protein, fruits, veggies, grains, legumes, yogurt, cheese, olive oil, and nuts in this diet. It excludes processed meats, high-sugar and high-sodium foods, and foods loaded with trans fat (6). In fact, this diet will change your attitude toward food and help you make healthier decisions. To know more about the Mediterranean diet plan, click here.

Weight Loss

You can lose about 1-2 pounds per week depending on your body weight, the foods you choose to consume, and the intensity of the exercises you do.

Who Should Follow
  • If you do not want to try a drastic diet.
  • If you want to lose weight slowly and steadily.
  • If you want to follow a healthy diet and be happy with the food you eat.
Who Should Not Follow
  • If you want to lose a lot of weight quickly.
  • If your weight loss has plateaued. 
Advantages
  • You can lose weight without feeling famished or uncomfortable.
  • Sustainable weight loss.
  • You feel better and energetic.
  • Free of all processed and artificial foods and ingredients.
  • Good for patients with heart problems, high blood sugar, and high cholesterol. 
Disadvantages
  • Slow weight loss.

4. 1200-Calorie Diet

1200 calorie diet for weight loss

Shutterstock

How It Works

The 1200-calorie diet is a low-cal diet that helps you shed a lot of fat in just a few months. It is designed to include healthy foods and exclude unhealthy lifestyle habits (7). You will also incorporate exercises into your daily routine to mobilize the fat, rev up your metabolism, and get a slim and svelte figure. To know about the 1200-calorie diet in detail, click here.

Weight Loss

20 pounds in 90 days. 

Who Should Follow
  • Overweight individuals.
  • If you have a special occasion coming up in a few months.
  • If you want to lower your calorie intake but continue to consume healthy foods. 
Who Should Not Follow
  • If you exercise regularly and require more than 1200 calories per day to stay healthy and strong.
  • If you play sports regularly.
  • If you are preparing for bodybuilding competitions. 
Advantages
  • Quick weight loss.
  • Helps reduce the risk of obesity-related health complications. 
Disadvantages
  • Will take at least a month to show results.
  • Not meant for people who exercise rigorously. 

5. Vegan Diet

Vegan diet for weight loss

Shutterstock

How It Works

A vegan diet is more of a lifestyle than a diet. People who follow a vegan diet do it either to fight for the rights of animals or help prevent environmental deterioration. If you are on a vegan diet, you can consume only plant-based foods like fruits, vegetables, grains, beans, lentils, starch, herbs, spices, nuts, and oils. No animal products (like meat, milk, cheese, and yogurt) are allowed (8). You gain numerous health benefits by completely eliminating animal products from your diet – weight loss being one of them. However, do not confuse the vegan diet with a vegetarian diet. To know the difference, click here.

Weight Loss

2-3 pounds per month.

Who Should Follow
  • If you want to boycott all animal products.
  • If you are passionate about fighting for the environment.
  • If you want to take a break from high-animal protein foods.
Who Should Not Follow
  • If you are not completely convinced yet about going vegan.
  • If you want to lose weight quickly for a special occasion.
Advantages
  • Sustainable weight loss.
  • Consuming all natural and fresh produce.
  • No processed foods.
  • Better immunity.
  • Keeps your gut healthy.
  • Helps reduce toxin build-up.
Disadvantages
  • Slow weight loss.
  • May not be sustainable for regular animal product consumers.
  • May not be feasible to get vegan food everywhere.
  • May cause muscle loss due to lack of adequate protein and different types of amino acids that we get from animal products.

6. Paleo Diet

Paleo diet for weight loss

Shutterstock

How It Works

The Paleo diet is a combination of the vegan and Mediterranean diets. You can consume natural and fresh produce and also grass-fed meat, free-range eggs, and organic dairy products (9). You cannot consume any junk and processed foods. This is the trick that has helped many dieters lose weight without going on a crazy diet. Like the vegan diet, the Paleo diet is a lifestyle. You will look and feel great once you start following a Paleo lifestyle. To know more about this diet plan, click here.

Weight Loss

2-3 pounds per month. 

Who Should Follow
  • If you want to lose weight.
  • If you want to sustain your weight loss.
  • If you want to start eating clean. 
Who Should Not Follow
  • If you want to lose weight quickly for an upcoming occasion or a surgery.
Advantages
  • Aids weight loss.
  • Lowers cholesterol and boosts immunity.
  • Helps build lean muscle mass. 
Disadvantages
  • The ingredients may be expensive.

7. Detox Diet

Detox diet for weight loss

Shutterstock

How It Works

The detox diet can be followed for 3 or 7 days. It works by flushing out all the toxins accumulated in your body. An unhealthy lifestyle causes all the gunk to get stored in your body and increase stress levels. Signs that indicate that you need to detox include constipation, skin problems, hair loss, and accumulation of fat in your belly region. The foods you can consume on a detox diet include fresh vegetables, fruits, and plant-based protein sources (10).

You can either juice them or eat them raw. You will also need to avoid all kinds of junk and unhealthy foods. Regular exercising will help you sweat out the stress. To know how to go about it, click here.

Note: More research is warranted to understand the efficacy and safety of detox diets. Hence, consult your doctor.

Weight Loss

1 pound in 3 days, 3 pounds in 7 days. 

Who Should Follow
  • If you are overweight and suffering from gut problems.
  • If you are stressed out.
  • If you need to kickstart your weight loss.
  • If you ate too much at a wedding/function that you attended recently. 
Who Should Not Follow
  • If your doctor has advised against it. 
Advantages
  • Works wonders for anyone who follows it.
  • Quick weight loss.
  • Improves sleep quality and brain function.
  • Boosts immunity.
  • Makes you feel rejuvenated and light.
Disadvantages
  • May not be doable if you are traveling. 

8. The Dukan Diet

Dukan diet for weight loss

Shutterstock

How It Works

The Dukan diet was created by Dr. Pierre Dukan. If you are a meat lover, this diet is for you. The Dukan diet is a high-protein, low-carb diet that aids rapid weight loss without the risk of gaining the weight back immediately. Proteins take longer to digest, so you will not feel hungry frequently. It works in four phases – the first two phases aid rapid weight loss and the last two help maintain the weight loss (11). To know more about this diet plan, read here.

Weight Loss

You can lose up to 10 pounds in a month.

Who Should Follow
  • If you are a meat lover.
  • If you are looking for an effective high-protein and low-carb diet.
  • If you workout regularly.
  • If you struggle to maintain weight loss.
  • If you are looking to gain lean muscle mass. 
Who Should Not Follow
  • If you are a vegan.
  • If you are looking for a high-fat diet for quick weight loss.
  • If you want to lose weight for an upcoming event in just a week.
  • If the uric acid levels in your body are high. 
Advantages
  • You will lose weight and also maintain it.
  • It is apt for meat lovers.
  • Does not make you feel famished. 
Disadvantages
  • May not be suitable for people who do not consume meat.
  • Not for people with gout, kidney problems, and high uric acid.  

9. Atkins Diet

Atkins diet for weight loss

Shutterstock

How It Works

The Atkins diet is a low-carb diet. It was created by Dr. Robert C. Atkins, a cardiologist, to help his patients lose weight just by cutting down sugar and other carb-rich foods. Basically, you can consume as much protein and fat as you want but must limit the amount of carbs. By doing so, the level of bad cholesterol in your body will come down, and you will not feel hungry frequently (12). Like the Dukan diet, this diet also has four phases that help you lose weight and maintain the weight loss. Click here to know more about how to lose weight with Atkins diet.

Weight Loss

You can lose up to 2 pounds per week. 

Who Should Follow
  • If you have high cholesterol levels.
  • If you are overweight but want to lose weight safely.
  • If you can sustain a high-protein and high-fat diet.
Who Should Not Follow
  • If you are a vegan.
  • If you want to lose weight quickly.
Advantages
  • Aids weight loss and helps maintain it.
  • Helps build lean muscle mass.
Disadvantages
  • Not suitable for those who want quick weight loss.

10. The 3-Day Diet

3-day diet for weight loss

Shutterstock

How It Works

The 3-day diet is a low-calorie diet that helps you get rid of water weight and kickstarts fat mobilization. You consume about 800-1200 calories per day while you are on this diet to slash your weight. You can consume healthy foods so that your immunity and health are not compromised.

Weight Loss

You can lose up to 2 pounds in three days.

Who Should Follow

If you want quick weight loss, this is the diet plan for you.

Who Should Not Follow
  • If you have a long-term weight loss plan, this is not the diet for you.
  • New mothers should not follow this diet.
Advantages
  • Quick weight loss.
  • Acts as a detox for overweight individuals.
Disadvantages
  • Not sustainable.
  • Not recommended for everyone.

11. The 8-Hour Diet

8-hour diet for weight loss

Shutterstock

How It Works

The 8-hour diet is an intermittent fasting diet where you are allowed to consume food within a window of 8 hours and fast for the next 16 hours. This diet boosts metabolism and improves the fat burning capability of your body. You can have the 8-hour eating window from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. or 3 p.m. to 11 p.m., as per your convenience (13). You will need to do some simple cardio and resistance training to burn the calories you consumed in the form of energy.

Weight Loss

20-25 pounds in three weeks. 

Who Should Follow
  • If you want to lose weight quickly, effectively, and safely.
  • If you have a special occasion to attend in less than a month. 
Who Should Not Follow
  • If you are pregnant.
  • If you are a new mommy.
  • If you exercise rigorously.
  • If fasting is not your cup of tea. 
Advantages
  • Sustainable weight loss.
  • Helps detox the body. 
Disadvantages
  • May not be suitable for everyone.
  • May make you irritable and moody. 

12. Grapefruit Diet

Grapefruit diet for weight loss

Shutterstock

How It Works

The conventional grapefruit diet requires you to consume only grapefruit. But wouldn’t that be such a demotivator? So, we have created a better and a dieter-friendly grapefruit diet that requires you to consume grapefruit and grapefruit juice along with other healthy and nutritious foods. It is a balanced diet that helps you lose water weight and melt fat. To know more about the grapefruit diet, click here.

Weight Loss

8 pounds in 10 days. 

Who Should Follow
  • If you want to lose weight quickly for an upcoming event.
  • If you want to give your body a dose of vitamin C and boost your immunity.
  • If you love grapefruit. 
Who Should Not Follow
  • If you need to lose weight in just 3 days. 
Advantages
  • Improves metabolic rate. 
Disadvantages
  • May become too monotonous to continue it on a regular basis. 

Weight loss diets that work, are sustainable, and do not impact the nutritional balance of your body are the need of the hour. The diets listed above are a few proven weight loss-effective diets you can try following. But some of them, like the 3-day diet and detox diet, are only temporary options that offer quick weight loss. Remember, you will be treading a fine line while following any weight loss diet, and any discrepancies can result in nutritional deficiencies, so consult a doctor before getting started.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the #1 diet?

While there are many diet options to choose from as per your body type, needs, and weight requirements, the Mediterranean diet has been deemed the best diet overall that supports a healthy way of eating.

Is keto or WW better?

While both are in trend, WW (weight watchers) is considered a better weight loss diet than keto.

What is dirty keto?

Dirty keto, otherwise known as lazy keto is a less restrictive diet form which allows certain junk and processed foods as well.

Sources

Articles on StyleCraze are backed by verified information from peer-reviewed and academic research papers, reputed organizations, research institutions, and medical associations to ensure accuracy and relevance. Read our editorial policy to learn more.

  1. Ketogenic Diet
    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK499830/#:~:text=A%20ketogenic%20diet%20primarily%20consists
  2. Ketogenic Diet in Alzheimer’s Disease
    https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/31405021/#:~:text=The%20presence%20of%20ketone%20bodies
  3. Ketogenic diet in the treatment of cancer – Where do we stand?
    https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/31399389/#:~:text=The%20ketogenic%20diet%2C%20a%20high
  4. Ketogenic Diet and Epilepsy
    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/labs/pmc/articles/PMC6836058/
  5. Effects of the Ketogenic Diet on Glycemic Control in Diabetic Patients: Meta-Analysis of Clinical Trials
    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/labs/pmc/articles/PMC7641470/#__sec3title
  6. Mediterranean Diet
    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK557733/
  7. Low-calorie diets and sustained weight loss
    https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/11707556/
  8. Health effects of vegan diets
    https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/19279075/
  9. Paleolithic Diet
    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK482457/
  10. Detox diets for toxin elimination and weight management: a critical review of the evidence
    https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/25522674/
  11. Assessment of food intakes for women adopting the high protein Dukan diet
    https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/26024402/
  12. Atkins and other low-carbohydrate diets: hoax or an effective tool for weight loss?
    https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/15351198/
  13. Effects of 8-hour time restricted feeding on body weight and metabolic disease risk factors in obese adults: A pilot study
    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/labs/pmc/articles/PMC6004924/
The following two tabs change content below.

Merlin Annie Raj

(Registered Dietitian Nutritionist)
Merlin Annie Raj is a Registered Dietitian based out of Hyderabad, India. She has vast experience in Clinical Nutrition as... more

LATEST ARTICLES