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The Mediterranean and plant-based diets come out on top in Healthline’s ranking of the best diets for weight loss. But everyone is different, so we’ve ranked a handful of other safe options.
Every year, millions of adults in the United States
Along with exercise, dieting is one of the most common methods used to promote weight loss.
However, not all diets are created equal, which can make it challenging to find a weight loss program that’s safe, sustainable, and effective.
This article looks at 13 of the best weight loss programs to consider in 2024.
- Best overall (tie): Mediterranean diet, plant-based diet
- Most flexible: WeightWatchers
- Best weight loss app: Noom
- Best for meal planning: PlateJoy
- Best with GLP-1 medication support: Calibrate
- Best for diabetes: Mayo Clinic diet
- Best for PCOS: low carb diet
- Best for heart health: DASH diet
- Best for women: intermittent fasting
- Best for thyroid health: pescatarian diet
- Best for older adults: MIND diet
- Best on a budget: vegetarian diet
The weight loss programs below were chosen based on the following criteria:
- Nutritional quality: Weight loss programs are nutritionally balanced and designed to meet nutritional needs.
- Sustainability: Weight loss programs are not overly restrictive, are easy to stick with, and are designed to support long-term weight loss.
- Effectiveness for weight loss: Weight loss programs have all been studied for their ability to promote weight loss.
- Additional health benefits: In addition to supporting weight loss, some programs may offer health benefits for other conditions.
- Dietitian review: All of the programs below were reviewed by registered dietitians Rachael Ajmera, MS, RD, and Kelli McGrane, MS, RD.
- Vetting: The programs and products on our list have been vetted to ensure that they align with Healthline’s brand integrity standards and approach to well-being. You can read more about our vetting process.
Because some people like structured programs and others prefer more flexibility, our list includes a mix of commercial diets and lifestyle dietary patterns.
Here’s a closer look at how these weight loss programs compare:
|Requires monthly subscription
|whole foods diet based on eating patterns of countries, such as Spain, Italy, and Greece
|emphasizes plant foods and limits meat and animal products
|yes; starts at $23 per month
|app that uses points-based system to promote weight loss
|yes; starts at $70 per month
|digital app designed to promote healthy habits
|yes; starts at $4.99 per month
|meal planning app developed by registered dietitians
|yes; starts at $146 per month
|combines diet and lifestyle strategies with prescription medications
|Mayo Clinic diet
|yes; starts at $19.99 per month
|focuses on habits that are important for managing type 2 diabetes
|Low carb diet
|decreases consumption of foods high in carbohydrates
|limits foods high in added sugar, salt, or fat to support healthy blood pressure levels
|involves cycling between periods of eating and fasting
|plant-based diet that includes fish and seafood
|designed to support and promote brain health
|mostly plant-based diet that eliminates meat, fish, and poultry
There are a number of factors to consider when finding a diet or weight loss program that works for you. Here are a few key considerations:
- Lifestyle and preferences: To improve your chances of losing weight and keeping it off, it’s important to choose a diet that can easily fit your lifestyle and food preferences.
- Realistic approach: Similarly, look for a diet program or pattern that’s realistic and sustainable. Steer clear of diets that are overly restrictive or promise a quick fix for rapid weight loss.
- Effectiveness: Select a program that’s backed by research and has been shown to be effective for weight loss.
- Whole-foods approach: Look for a program that emphasizes eating whole foods and be cautious of those that require you to purchase expensive products or supplements to get results.
- Lifestyle approach: Weight loss is about more than just what you eat. It’s important to choose a program that incorporates other healthy habits, such as regular physical activity and mental wellness practices.
If you have any underlying health conditions or are taking any medications, be sure to consult a trusted healthcare professional before making changes to your diet.
Meal planning and meal delivery services support your weight goals
Often, the hardest part of following a diet is figuring out what to cook. But several meal delivery services are available that can make it easier than ever to stick to the diet pattern you choose.
- 12 of the best healthy meal delivery services
- 8 best Mediterranean diet meal delivery services
- Meal delivery for weight loss: The 12 best services
- The 8 best low sodium meal delivery services
- The 11 best vegan, vegetarian, and plant-based meal delivery services
For a more affordable option, consider downloading a meal planning app instead.
There’s no one-size-fits-all solution for weight loss. Therefore, the most effective weight loss program for you may depend on your goals, needs, and preferences, as well as whether you’re able to follow it in the long term.
In Healthline’s internal review of diets, the Mediterranean diet and the whole foods, plant-based diet scored the highest, with an overall rating of 4.8 and 4.9 out of 5, respectively. In terms of commercial diet programs, Calibrate had the highest rating, receiving a score of 4.2 out of 5.
WeightWatchers uses a simple points-based system to help you learn to make healthier choices. Some research suggests that it may be similarly effective for long-term, sustainable weight loss as other commercial weight loss programs.
The best way to keep weight off long term is to make sustainable changes to your diet and lifestyle. This may include exercising regularly, eating fewer processed foods, or enjoying more healthy homemade meals instead of dining out.
Many factors can make it harder to lose weight, including several medical conditions.
You may want to consider consulting a healthcare professional, such as a doctor or registered dietitian, to determine whether other factors may be involved and develop a plan to help you reach and maintain a moderate weight.
There are many weight loss programs available, so it’s likely you’ll be able to find something that can work for you.
When picking a diet, look for a program that’s realistic, sustainable, and backed by research.
Be sure to incorporate other healthy habits, such as regular physical activity and mindful eating, into your daily routine to maximize weight loss and improve your overall health.