Compare Diet Programs

Are you interested in improving your health? Find out how diet programs work and how popular diets compare to each other.

If you struggle with your weight, you are not alone. Worldwide, approximately one billion people are considered obese. In the U.S., 2020 data indicates 16 states have obesity rates of 35 percent or more. Even if you are only slightly overweight or simply wish to maintain healthier habits, doing so on your own may seem impossible. A diet program might help you meet those goals.

Before you consider any diet program, you can try some simple weight loss or weight maintenance measures. For instance, you can change the portion sizes of the meals you eat. You can also substitute healthy foods like fresh fruit for unhealthy snacks. However, your body may need more than a few small changes to meet the goals you have. Here are some important considerations to help you choose a diet that is effective and healthy for your body.

What is a Diet?

A diet is a controlled meal plan. It often involves eating or drinking certain foods and beverages. Although, a diet can also rely on calorie counting with less attention paid to inclusion or exclusion of specific foods. Some diets are also heavily based on certain aspects of nutrition, especially diets designed for athletes. For example, track and field participants often go on diets that are high in carbohydrates. Similarly, bodybuilders typically prefer high protein diets.

What Are Common Reasons to Diet?

Weight loss is by far the most common reason to diet. Although, the reasons for the desired weight loss vary widely. Some dieters only need to shed a few pounds, while others go on extreme weight loss journeys. Diets can also be tailored to individual needs and have completely different physical, mental, or financial goals, such as: 

  • Gaining Weight

  • Building Muscle

  • Increasing Energy or Stamina

  • Saving Money by Avoiding Fast Food and Junk Food

  • Limiting Risk Factors for Certain Diseases (Diabetes, Heart Disease Etc.)

  • Improving Digestion

  • Improving the Appearance of the Skin

  • Becoming a Role Model for Family Members or Friends

What Are Some Top Diet Programs?

One of the most popular diets is the Keto diet. Its dietary restrictions limit carbohydrate intake severely. That limitation causes the body to stop using carbohydrates (sugars) as a fuel source. Instead, fat is burned more efficiently. Another popular option is the apple cider vinegar (ACV) diet. Vinegar has been used for centuries due to its healing qualities. Consuming one or two tablespoons of ACV before eating is said to increase metabolism and reduce fat storage within the body. Other top diet programs include the following:

  • The Mediterranean Diet minimizes red meats and sweets. Instead, it focuses on plants-based foods, spices, and occasional poultry or seafood. It is popular for its heart-healthy approach to dieting. In fact, it was first popularized when studies showed residents in Mediterranean countries like Italy had lower heart disease rates.

  • Weight Watchers (WW) has been the gold standard of weight loss diets for decades. The WW program is based on a points system. No foods are banned. Although, sugary and high-fat foods have much higher point values than other foods. Participants must stay within certain point amounts weekly and daily. The WW diet is also known for its many zero point foods, such as popcorn and fruits.

  • The Mayo Clinic Diet is somewhat unique because it is a two-phase diet plan. The first phase focuses on creating some immediate weight loss. The second phase focuses on making long-term lifestyle changes to promote permanent healthy eating habits. The exact goals and restrictions are calculated based on gender and weight. The diet also emphasizes limitless fruit and vegetable consumption.

  • The Volumetrics Diet is based on the energy density of foods. It teaches participants how to eat foods with lower energy densities more often. Such foods help satiate hunger for longer periods. The lasting feeling of fullness reduces between meal snacking.

  • The DASH Diet is designed specifically to limit sodium (salt) intake. Therefore, it is an excellent choice for participants seeking to reduce heart disease and high blood pressure risks. It can also assist with weight loss due to its emphasis on fruit and vegetable consumption, as well as calorie counting.

What Are Some Top Dieting and Workout Apps? 

In this age of technology, there are also many apps available to help you diet and work out. Some are part of popular diet plans. For instance, WW has its own app. Others are solo apps that can help you with all aspects of fitness. Here are some to consider:

  • Fitbit is an app that helps you with free workout plans and fitness tracking. It also allows you to share information with friends who use Fitbit to facilitate friendly competitiveness and accountability.

  • MyNetDiary is a calorie tracking app you can use in conjunction with most diet plans. It also includes an ever-expanding database of nutritional information about various foods. 

  • Noom is an app that uses a traffic light-like system of food ratings (green, yellow, and red) to help you identify good and bad eating choices. It also includes various diet and nutrition-related educational materials.

  • NuMi is the official tracking app for the Nutrisystem diet plan. It includes access to hundreds of healthy recipes and diet-related articles. NuMi also has numerous other features, such as the SmartAdapt system that alters your diet plan based on your progress.

  • Fooducate is an app with a barcode scanner included. When you scan the barcode on a food you want to purchase or have purchased, the app automatically displays nutritional information for that food. The app uses that data to rate the healthiness of the food.

How Much Do Diet Programs Typically Cost?

One of the biggest considerations regarding diet plans is cost. If your budget is low, consider one of the many free plans available. You might also consider investing a small amount in an inexpensive plan. For example, WW starts at $10 per month. However, some plans can become quite costly, especially if the plans require you to purchase prepared program-specific meals, supplements, or shakes.

What Are The Easiest Diets to Follow?

The easiest diets to follow are typically diets that allow you to make gradual changes to your meal plans. Diets that have few or no restrictions on the types of foods you can eat are also often simple to start. Such diets are more focused on portion control. They do not deprive you completely of your favorite foods. However, only you can determine the easiest diet for you, which may also depend on factors like your willpower level, schedule, budget, and health concerns.