Crash diets. Detoxes. Fasting. Ask your doc what he or she thinks of this way of dropping weight and you’ll be met with a quick, no. Generally speaking, these diets aren’t healthy and don’t set you up for weight loss within a well-balanced lifestyle – one that consists of nutritious meals, regular exercise and a healthy attitude towards food. Good diets do exist. Here are 10 that doctors approve of and that science says work.
1. Mayo Clinic Diet
Of course doctors recommend the Mayo Clinic Diet, because it was created by the famed and highly credible May Clinic. It starts off with a two-week phase, that has you lose as much as 10 pounds by honing in on healthy lifestyle habits and dropping bad ones, which includes at least 30 minutes of exercise a day. It’s basically an education in making good food choices, acceptable portion sizes and gives you the tools to make you a pro with meal planning. The second phase will still have you dropping weight (about 1 to 2 pounds a week). This part will set you up with success, as you learn to lose weight over the long term with diet and exercise.
2. The DASH Diet
The reason the DASH Diet works for many is because it was created to make people healthier – and losing weight was a byproduct. It has its followers lower their blood pressure (without medication) on a diet loaded with healthy fats, and low in sodium (just 3,300 mg a day). It’s been shown to reduce the risk of cancer, heart disease and diabetes. It’s been ranked by the US News & World Report as the number one diet in 2011, 2012, 2013, and 2014. But since it wasn’t created for weight loss, the diet has been revamped to improve results. The meal plan consists of healthy proteins. fruits and vegetables, low-fat and nonfat dairy, along with nuts, beans and seeds, which has been shown in research to have better health results. You’ll feel fab on this diet, because there are no ups and downs with hunger and cravings.
3. Dr. Bernstein Diet
This is another doc diet. The Dr. Bernstein Diet is actually a health practitioner-supervised program. A nurse or physician will monitor your health and weight-loss progress, to ensure that body weight complications such as blood cholesterol, blood pressure and diabetes are manageable within the diet. A natural well-balanced diet is prescribed, along with nutritional supplements. The goal is to create a sustainable lifestyle while undergoing major diet changes.
4. Mediterranean Diet
Who wouldn’t want to live like the folks live in the Mediterranean? The Mediterranean Diet is one of the most researched diets. It basically flipped the way we used to eat, and focused more on lean protein and veggies than whole grains and dairy. Essentially the diet was based on how the people of Crete and southern Italy in the 1960s, “where adult life expectancy was among the highest in the world and rates of coronary heart disease, certain cancers, and other diet-related chronic diseases were among the lowest.” According to this recent study in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition the diet’s food pyramid is seriously healthy. The main sources of food are plant-based. Even the “treats” are healthy, as dessert is a typical daily dessert. Fats are healthy fats, such as olive oil, cheese and yogurt, and fish and poultry (eggs and red meat are rarely eaten). That makes it low in saturated fats but moderate in fat in total. “The pyramid describes a dietary pattern that is attractive for its famous palatability as well as for its health benefits.”
5. The Biggest Loser Diet
The popular reality show earned its stripe by following up with a solid diet that its fans could use. And like the show, the no-nonsense The Biggest Loser Diet consists of eating meals with fruits, vegetables, lean protein regularly, as well as whole grains. You’ll also get a master class in portion control, food journaling and motivation. There are a bunch of Biggest Loser books, which you can choose from to best suit your needs and goals.
While not exactly a branded diet, a vegetarian diet has always had the reputation of being a healthy lifestyle. By giving up meat and meat products, you should consume less calories and bad fats. It’s been more an altruistic lifestyle, many consider it because of the physical changes it can effect on the physique. A study in the journal Obesity followed subjects on weight-loss diets and vegetarian diets to compare the results. The vegetarian groups stuck with their diet for longer (minimum one year, compared to 1 to 3 months for weight-loss plans). They weren’t bored or limited with their food options. In fact, the researchers suggest that the behaviors of vegetarians should be studied for weight-loss treatment.
7. Glycemic Diet
The Glycemic Diet is often prescribed by doctors for people who need to watch their blood sugar levels. It’s a ranking system of foods based on how quickly the food raises the blood glucose levels. By sticking with moderate- or low-glycemic index foods, you’ll feel even keeled and won’t experience the roller coaster effect that comes with most crash diets. A recent study in Pediactrics analyzed the effects of high GI meals in obese subjects and found that a high GI number induced over eating. Check out the values given to foods you eat.
8. The Doctor’s Diet
It’s all in the title here; but we’ll give you some more info. The Doctors show spin-off The Doctor’s Diet starts off with a “STAT” plan to initiate weight loss with “doctor-approved” meals to change the way you eat. Dr. Travis Stork promises it’s simple to follow and easy to commit to. The long-term plan is also adaptable and works for meat lovers to vegetarians and chefs to non-cooks.
9. The Food Pyramid
The Healthy Eating Pyramid and the Healthy Eating Plate were created by the government as guides to eating healthy and losing weight. This one isn’t just free (!), it’s also common sense, showing you which foods are healthy, proper portion sizes and what a balanced diet and meal looks like. But you’re not done there. There are also exercise recommendations. Harvard University writes that the program makes a lot of sense. It’s energy balance: “Weight change = calories in – calories out.”
10. Flavor-Full Diet
Not all doctor diets feel white-coat serious. Dr. David Katz created the Flavor-Full Diet because “flavor variety stimulates appetite, increasing the calorie count required to achieve fullness (think large family meal and feeling stuffed, then still finding room for dessert).” So this diet allows you to control cravings for salt, sweet and artificial flavors. With a deep understanding of appetite and satiety, the diet manipulates hunger through food – a healthy balanced diet. Sounds sweet to us.