There’s no one right answer, says registered dietitian Andrea Dunn, RD. “The best diet is the one you’re going to follow,” she says. “And I don’t say that tongue in cheek! There’s no one diet that will fit everybody’s needs, personalities, lifestyles or food preferences.”
Fad diets have been around forever, and most come and go for a reason: They don’t work long-term. If you’re looking to lose weight — and keep it off — Dunn recommends starting with an eating plan backed by solid science.
Here are her top 3 picks:
Technically, the Mediterranean diet isn’t a diet, Dunn says. “It’s more of a lifestyle.” Based on typical eating habits from the Mediterranean area, this plan is heavy on plant-based foods.
The basics: Load up on veggies, beans, and other legumes. Eat fish and seafood a couple of times a week in place of red meat. Eat fruit for a sweet treat or nuts for a snack. Use olive oil as your main fat.
Moderate Protein Plan
Dunn often recommends a diet she calls a moderate protein plan — but it could also be described as a moderate carbohydrate plan. This plan still emphasizes whole grains and produce and limits processed foods and added sugar. But it allows for more animal proteins for that carnivores-at-heart.
The benefits: For many people, a higher-protein diet decreases hunger, making it easier to stick to the plan.
Short for Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension, the DASH diet started as a research diet plan to curb high blood pressure. “This style of eating can also help with lowering cholesterol and weight loss,” Dunn says.
The basics: The DASH plan breaks out the number of servings you should eat from each food group.
The benefits: Studies have found that while DASH does help lower blood pressure, it’s even better at lowering cholesterol.
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