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The 12 Best Diets for Weight Loss

Losing weight can sometimes feel like a tough nut to crack, can’t it?

I’ve been there myself – staring down at the scales and wondering why the numbers aren’t shifting, despite my best efforts. 

But here’s the thing: losing weight doesn’t have to be an uphill battle. With the right approach, it can be simpler and more achievable than you might think.

In this guide, I’m going to share with you the dieting wisdom that’s worked wonders for me and countless others I’ve advised

We’re not just talking about shedding a few pounds here; we’re talking about a transformative journey that will not only help you lose weight but also feel fantastic in your own skin.

Imagine looking in the mirror and genuinely loving the reflection that stares back at you – that’s the goal.

And it’s not just about looking better naked (although, let’s be honest, that’s a pretty great perk). It’s about improving your overall health.

A good diet can boost your energy levels, improve your mood, and reduce your risk of various health issues.

So, if you’re ready to make a change, you’re in the right place. Let’s embark on this journey together.

I promise, by the end of this guide, you’ll be armed with practical, effective strategies that will make your weight loss journey not just successful but enjoyable too.

Read our Medical Disclaimer before starting any diets.

Popular Weight Loss Diets

Diet plan, top diets and time to detox written on post-it notes with a tape measure around the outside.

When it comes to weight loss, there’s a smorgasbord of diets out there, each claiming to be the magic bullet.

I’ve seen them all, tried a fair few, and let me tell you – while there’s no one-size-fits-all solution, understanding popular diets can be a great starting point.

1. Low-Carb Diets (like the Keto Diet)

This one’s been a bit of a sensation, hasn’t it?

The idea is to slash your carb intake and get the majority of your calories from fat and protein. From my experience, it can be effective, especially in the short term.

You might feel a bit foggy-headed initially (they don’t call it ‘keto flu’ for nothing), but many find it levels out after a while.

2. Intermittent Fasting

This isn’t so much about what you eat but when you eat.

The 16/8 method, where you fast for 16 hours and eat during an 8-hour window, is quite popular.

I’ve found it can be a game-changer for some, helping to control calorie intake without feeling too restricted.

3. Plant-Based Diets

Whether it’s going vegan or just reducing meat intake, plant-based diets are on the rise. They’re not just good for the planet – they can be great for your waistline too.

Packed with fibre, these diets can keep you feeling fuller for longer.

4. Mediterranean Diet

This one’s more of a lifestyle than a strict diet. It’s all about whole grains, fruits, vegetables, seafood, and healthy fats.

Personally, I love this approach. It’s balanced, sustainable, and – let’s not forget – delicious!

5. Paleo Diet

Going back to our roots, the Paleo diet focuses on what our hunter-gatherer ancestors supposedly ate.

Think meat, fish, nuts, and berries.

It’s restrictive, cutting out dairy, grains, and processed foods, but some swear by it for weight loss.

6. Low-Fat Diets

The opposite of Keto, this diet suggests low fat intake and higher carbs.

It’s not as trendy these days, but I’ve seen people have success with it, especially when they focus on healthy, unprocessed carbs.

7. Carnivore Diet

As extreme as it sounds, the Carnivore Diet involves eating almost exclusively meat and animal products. It’s a step beyond Keto, cutting out all plant-based foods.

I’ve known a few hardy souls who’ve tried it, reporting quick weight loss, but it’s a diet that requires careful consideration due to its restrictive nature.

8. 5:2 Diet

This is a form of intermittent fasting that’s caught quite a bit of attention.

The principle is straightforward: eat normally for five days of the week, then restrict calories significantly on the other two days.

It’s a flexible approach that some find easier to integrate into a busy lifestyle.

9. Atkins Diet

Ah, the Atkins – it’s been around for a while, and many swear by it. It’s similar to Keto, focusing on low-carb intake, but it has different phases and slightly more emphasis on protein.

I’ve seen it work well, especially in the initial ‘induction’ phase, where weight loss can be quite rapid.

10. Military Diet

This one’s a bit of a quick fix, promising significant weight loss in a very short time. It’s a highly structured, low-calorie diet that lasts for about a week.

While some people find it effective for short-term goals, it’s not something I’d recommend for long-term health due to its restrictiveness and potential nutritional imbalance.

11. Zone Diet

This diet aims for a nutritional balance of 40% carbohydrates, 30% fats, and 30% protein in each meal.

It’s designed to control insulin levels, which theoretically leads to weight loss and a reduced risk of chronic disease.

12. Dukan Diet

The Dukan Diet is a high-protein, low-carb weight loss diet split into four phases. It starts with a protein-heavy phase to kickstart weight loss, followed by a gradual reintroduction of foods.

Remember, the best diet is one you can stick to in the long run. It’s not just about losing weight – it’s about finding a diet that fits your lifestyle and makes you feel good.

So, take your pick, give it a go, and see how your body responds. After all, the best diet expert is your own body!

So Which Weight Loss Diet Is The Best?

Here’s the million-dollar question: which weight loss diet is the best? Well, the truth is, there isn’t a one-size-fits-all “best diet.”

The most effective diet is the one that suits you personally – your body, your lifestyle, and your taste preferences.

Take me, for example. I thrive on a diet high in protein and fats. It keeps me full, fuels my workouts, and helps me maintain muscle mass.

But I know plenty of people who love their carbs – bread, pasta, rice – and they’ve found ways to include these in a balanced diet without compromising their weight loss goals.

Speaking of muscle mass, this is a crucial point to consider.

When you’re on a weight loss journey, you don’t just want to lose weight; you want to lose fat and maintain as much muscle as possible. 

That’s where protein comes into play. High protein intake is essential as it helps to preserve muscle mass while you’re shedding fat.

This is not just about looking toned; muscle mass is important for overall health, metabolism, and physical strength.

So, whether you go for a low-carb, high-fat diet like Keto, or a more balanced approach like the Mediterranean diet, make sure you’re getting enough protein.

And remember, the best diet for weight loss is the one that you can stick to in the long term. It should fit into your lifestyle and be something you enjoy. 

After all, what’s the point of a diet if it makes you miserable?

In the end, it’s about finding a balance – a diet that helps you achieve your weight loss goals while also making you feel good, both physically and mentally.

That’s the real secret to sustainable weight loss.

How Do Weight Loss Diets Work?

Understanding how weight loss diets work can be quite eye-opening.

While each diet – be it a fad, a long-standing one, or a new trend – has its unique approach and set of rules, they all fundamentally operate on a common principle: calorie reduction.

At the core of weight loss is a simple concept: you need to consume fewer calories than you burn.

This creates what’s known as a calorie deficit, leading your body to use stored fat for energy, which results in weight loss. How different diets achieve this calorie deficit, however, varies.

Take the Keto diet, for example. It significantly reduces your carbohydrate intake, which is a major source of calories in many people’s diets.

By cutting out a major group of foods, you’re naturally reducing your overall calorie intake, even if that’s not your explicit intention. 

The same goes for other diets like Paleo or Atkins; they restrict certain food groups, indirectly cutting down on calories.

But it’s not just about cutting out food groups. Some diets, like intermittent fasting or the 5:2 diet, focus on when you eat, not just what you eat.

By restricting the time you’re allowed to eat, you’re likely to consume fewer calories over the course of a day or week.

What’s important to remember is that the effectiveness of a diet is not just about the number of calories cut but also about the nutritional value of the foods you’re eating.

A diet that cuts calories but leaves you nutritionally deficient, or feeling constantly hungry and deprived, is not sustainable in the long run.

So, while the method of reducing calories may differ from diet to diet, the underlying principle remains the same. 

The key is to find a method that reduces your calorie intake without sacrificing your nutritional needs or your enjoyment of food.

That’s the sweet spot for a successful and sustainable weight loss diet.

How Many Calories Do I Need To Lose Weight?

A set of scales with a pair of feet standing on them.

To lose weight effectively, you need to know how many calories you should consume each day.

This number is different for everyone and depends on factors like age, gender, weight, height, and activity level

The goal is to create a calorie deficit, but you want to do this in a way that’s sustainable and not too drastic. 

A 15% calorie deficit is a good target as it’s significant enough to see results but not so large that you’ll feel overly hungry or deprived.

Calculating Your Calorie Needs:

Determine Your Basal Metabolic Rate (BMR): BMR is the number of calories your body needs to perform basic functions at rest.

There are several formulas to calculate this, but the Mifflin-St Jeor Equation is widely regarded as one of the most accurate. 

The formula is:

  • For men: BMR = 10 × weight in kg + 6.25 × height in cm – 5 × age in years + 5
  • For women: BMR = 10 × weight in kg + 6.25 × height in cm – 5 × age in years – 161

Adjust for Activity Level: Multiply your BMR by an activity factor to estimate your daily calorie needs:

  • Sedentary (little or no exercise): BMR × 1.2
  • Lightly active (light exercise/sports 1-3 days/week): BMR × 1.375
  • Moderately active (moderate exercise/sports 3-5 days/week): BMR × 1.55
  • Very active (hard exercise/sports 6-7 days a week): BMR × 1.725
  • Extra active (very hard exercise/sports & a physical job): BMR × 1.9

Apply the 15% Deficit: Subtract 15% from this number to create a calorie deficit.


For a Man: A 30-year-old man, 80 kg, 180 cm tall, moderately active:

  • BMR = (10 × 80) + (6.25 × 180) – (5 × 30) + 5 = 1,755 calories
  • Daily needs (moderately active) = 1,755 × 1.55 = 2,720 calories
  • 15% deficit = 2,720 – (15% of 2,720) ≈ 2,312 calories/day

For a Woman: A 28-year-old woman, 65 kg, 165 cm tall, lightly active:

  • BMR = (10 × 65) + (6.25 × 165) – (5 × 28) – 161 = 1,377 calories
  • Daily needs (lightly active) = 1,377 × 1.375 = 1,894 calories
  • 15% deficit = 1,894 – (15% of 1,894) ≈ 1,610 calories/day

Protein and Fibre:

Protein: Aim for 1.6g to 2g of protein per kg of body weight. High protein intake helps preserve muscle mass during weight loss and keeps you feeling full.

For a 70 kg person, this would be 112g to 140g of protein per day.

Fibre: Don’t forget about fibre. High-fibre foods not only provide essential nutrients but also help you feel full and satisfied, which can prevent overeating.

Foods like vegetables, fruits, whole grains, and legumes are great sources.

By following these guidelines, you can create a calorie deficit for weight loss without feeling starved or sacrificing your health.

Remember, the quality of your calories is just as important as the quantity.

Choose nutrient-dense foods and balance your diet to support your overall health and well-being.

Our interactive calorie counter

If you’re looking to work out your individual calorie needs, try our online calorie counter.

It’s worth noting that this is only a guide and you should consult with a trained specialist before carrying out any actions based on these results.

Your results will need tweaking as you go and these should only be used as a starting point.

Working out while maintaining a calorie deficit will enhance your results.

High Protein Foods For Weight Loss

Incorporating high-protein foods into your diet can be a game-changer for weight loss.

Protein not only helps in muscle building and repair but also plays a crucial role in keeping you full and satisfied, which can aid in reducing overall calorie intake. 

Here’s a list of high-protein foods that can be a great addition to your weight-loss diet:


Lean meats are an excellent source of protein.

Options like chicken breast, turkey, lean beef, and pork tenderloin are popular choices.


Eggs in a box

A staple in high-protein diets, eggs are versatile and can be cooked in various ways.

They’re not just high in protein but also rich in essential nutrients.


Two tins of Mackerel fillets in tomato sauce

Fish is not only high in protein but also contains healthy fats like omega-3 fatty acids.

Salmon, tuna, mackerel, and sardines are great options.


Two pots of cottage cheese

Cottage cheese is particularly high in protein while being low in fat and calories.

It’s a great choice for a high-protein snack or meal addition.

High Protein Yogurts

Lidl Protein Yoghurts in a row

Greek yoghurt and Skyr are thicker, creamier, and higher in protein compared to regular yoghurt.

They can be a great part of breakfast or a healthy snack.

Whey Protein

Bulk Pure Whey Protein

This is a popular supplement among athletes and bodybuilders.

It’s a complete protein, containing all nine essential amino acids and is easily digestible.

If you’re looking for a good protein product then check out our review of Pure Whey Protein from Bulk.

Casein Protein

Unlike whey, casein digests slowly, making it ideal as a pre-bedtime snack to keep the muscles fed with amino acids throughout the night.

High Protein Ready Meals

Three high protein ready meals

Products like MyProtein High Protein Meals from Iceland offer convenient and quick options for those with busy lifestyles, ensuring you get enough protein without having to cook.


A great plant-based protein source. They are also high in fibre, which helps in feeling full.

Beans and Peas

Options like black beans, kidney beans, chickpeas, and split peas are good sources of plant-based protein.

However, their protein is less bioavailable compared to animal sources, meaning the body may not absorb it as efficiently.

It’s important to balance these protein sources with a variety of other nutrients to ensure a well-rounded diet.

Also, for individuals who prefer a plant-based diet, combining different sources of plant proteins can ensure you get all the essential amino acids.

Weight Loss Diet FAQ

How Quickly Can I Expect to Lose Weight on a Diet?

The rate of weight loss can vary greatly from person to person. Generally, a safe and sustainable rate is about 1-2 pounds (0.45-0.9 kg) per week.

This pace helps ensure that you’re losing fat rather than muscle and water weight. Remember, rapid weight loss can be unhealthy and is harder to maintain in the long term.

Do I Need to Exercise to Lose Weight?

While exercise is not mandatory for weight loss, it’s highly beneficial.

Exercise helps to burn calories, boost metabolism, and build muscle, which can aid in faster weight loss.

It’s also crucial for overall health, improving cardiovascular health, and enhancing mental well-being. Aim for a mix of cardio and strength training for the best results.

Can I Eat Carbs and Still Lose Weight?

Plate of carbs made up of rice and vegetables

Absolutely! Carbs are not the enemy. It’s more about the type of carbs and the overall calorie intake.

Focus on whole, unprocessed carbs like whole grains, fruits, and vegetables.

These provide essential nutrients and fibre, which can help keep you full and satisfied.

Remember, balance and moderation are key.

How Can I Stay Motivated to Stick to a Diet?

Staying motivated can be challenging, but setting realistic goals is crucial. Celebrate small milestones and focus on the health benefits, not just the scale.

Also, find a support system, whether it’s friends, family, or an online community. Lastly, don’t be too hard on yourself – everyone has setbacks, but what matters is getting back on track.

Best Diet For Weight Loss: Summary

In conclusion, the journey to finding the best diet for weight loss is deeply personal and varies from one individual to another.

There’s no universal “best” diet, but rather, the most effective diet is one that aligns with your lifestyle, dietary preferences, and nutritional needs.

It’s about creating a balanced, sustainable approach that you can maintain in the long term.

The key takeaways from exploring various diets are:

  • Calorie Deficit: Regardless of the diet you choose, the fundamental principle for weight loss remains the same – consuming fewer calories than you burn. A moderate deficit of around 15% is generally effective and sustainable.
  • Protein Intake: High protein diets are beneficial for weight loss, as they help preserve muscle mass and keep you feeling full. See our best-rated protein shakes
  • Flexibility and Balance: Diets that allow for some flexibility and include a variety of foods tend to be more sustainable. This includes getting a balance of macronutrients and enough fibre to keep you satiated.
  • Personalisation: Listen to your body and adjust your diet according to your own experiences and needs. What works well for one person may not be the best for another.
  • Health Focus: Weight loss is not just about looking good; it’s about improving your overall health. Choose a diet that not only helps you lose weight but also boosts your energy levels, improves your mood, and contributes to your long-term health.

Remember, the best diet is the one that you can stick to without feeling deprived or unhappy.

It should be a positive lifestyle change, not a temporary fix. 

Always consider consulting with a healthcare professional or a dietitian before starting any new diet, especially if you have underlying health conditions.

With the right approach, you can achieve your weight loss goals and embark on a healthier, happier lifestyle.

Have you tried any of the diets mentioned in this guide? Did one work better than another. Drop me a comment below and let me know, let’s continue this conversation.

Medical Disclaimer

Medical Disclaimer: The content on this fitness website is provided for general informational purposes only and is not intended as, nor should it be considered a substitute for, professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always consult with a qualified healthcare professional before starting or changing any exercise, diet, or wellness program, particularly if you are pregnant, nursing, have any pre-existing medical conditions, or are taking medications.

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