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5 Popular Weight Loss Alternatives to Keto Diet Reviewed

We put together for you a review of the 5 most popular weight loss methods. Read the reviews and recommendations!
weight-loss

We Reviewed These 5 Popular Diets

 

  1. The Paleo Diet
  2. Weight Watchers Review
  3. Vegetarian and Vegan Diets
  4. The Flexitarian Diet
  5. The Volumetrics Diet


Weight loss is one of the most popular topics around. You’ll find thousands of books on it, tons of diets, and even more differing opinions and advice. 

It should come as no surprise then that in 2018 the weight loss industry hit a new high, bringing in over $72 billion of revenue. That number is only expected to grow, too. 

However, not all diets are created equal. It’s important not to waste your money on things that just don’t work. That’s why we’re reviewing the most popular weight loss methods. 

We’ll tell you what it is, how healthy it is, the science behind it, and if it actually works.

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Most Popular Weight Loss Methods

The Weight Loss Industry

As we mentioned above, the weight loss industry reported over $72 billion dollars in revenue in 2018.

This isn’t because they worked perfectly. Rather, it’s because most of them sell the promise of a dream that isn’t realistic.

Also, what works for one person doesn’t always work for another. 

Even if they do help you lose weight, are they healthy? 

Is the diet or weight loss method sustainable for the long-term?

Yo-Yo Dieting

Many of the most popular weight loss methods seek quick results without long-term consideration. 

This leads to what is referred to as “yo-yo dieting”. 

For example, you try a diet that restricts a lot of calories, carbs, and sugar or eliminates a certain food group. 

You may lose a lot of weight in a relatively short amount of time. 

However, because the diet is not sustainable, at some point you stop doing it. Then, you gain the lost weight back and likely more. 

Finally, you go on another diet to lose weight again and the cycle continues.

How To Choose the Right Diet?

This is why choosing the right diet is incredibly important. 

It’s hard to find honest reviews of common weight loss methods out there. 

Even if someone does report success, they often don’t follow up to report a failure in the system. 

That’s why here we’re going to review the most popular weight loss methods for you. Find honest, real, and true answers to if the diets really work.

The Paleo Diet Review

The Story of The Paleo Diet

The Paleo Diet is probably one of the most popular weight loss methods around right now. 

It is very similar to the Atkins Diet, popular in the early 2000s and still today. 

This diet is focused around eating only food that would be found in the, also called the Old Stone Age, which is an enormous time span that began near 2.5 million years ago. 

This includes fish, fruit, vegetables, lean meat, seeds, and nuts. Basically, anything hunters and gathers would have collected during prehistoric times. 

Any food that was developed after this time, such as dairy, grains, and legumes, is restricted.

The idea behind this diet is that the human body hasn’t evolved to keep up with modern farming techniques. 

Therefore, it is believed that things such as grains and dairy, staples in the modern human diet, are contributing to the epidemic of obesity, heart disease, and diabetes. 

However, science has since poked holes in this theory since wild grains have been discovered as far back as 33,000 years ago, well before any modern farming came into play.

What You Eat on a Paleo Diet:

  • Fruits
  • Vegetables
  • Lean meats
  • Fish
  • Nuts
  • Seeds
  • Fruit and nut oils (such as olive oil or walnut oil).

What is Not Allowed on a Paleo Diet:

  • Grains
  • Legumes
  • Dairy
  • Salt
  • Sugar
  • Any high processed foods
  • Potatoes

Does the Paleo Diet Work?

Paleo Diet Studies

There have been many studies showing the Paleo Diet can help you lose weight, lower your blood pressure, fasting blood sugar, cholesterol, and triglycerides. 

Other studies have shown it also helps lower many risk factors for cardiovascular disease. 

The problem with these studies is that they are limited and don’t factor in potential long-term health problems or sustainability.

Researchers against the diet have argued that the science behind it is flawed and the human diet has evolved many times since the Paleolithic era. 

Plus, decades of research have also shown that diets high in red meats contribute to high cholesterol and heart disease. 

In spite of all this, the main argument against the Paleo Diet is the fact that it eliminates many important staples in the human diet. 

This includes whole grains and legumes which are a great source of vitamins, fiber, and other minerals. 

Not to mention eliminating all dairy products which contain essential nutrients like calcium, protein, and sometimes vitamin D.

While the Paleo Diet make work in the short term for weight loss, the science is still out on the long-term effects. 

In worse case instances, it could increase your cholesterol and risk of heart disease and you may become deficient in some essential nutrients. 

Since so many food groups are restricted, the Paleo Diet is thought to not be a good long-term solution for weight loss. 

It is not realistic for most people to never eat grains or dairy again for the rest of their lives.

Breakdown

Main Diet Focus: High fat, low/no carbs or dairy

Ratings

1 being the worst and 5 being the best

 Healthy Food Rating: 2.5

The Paleo Diet encourages a healthy variety of fruits, vegetables, seeds, and nuts which are all good. But it restricts too many food groups to be healthy.

Sustainability: 1.5

The Paleo Diet has consistently been rated low in both long-term weight loss effects, easiness to follow, and sustainability.

Overall Rating: 3

Even though it’s not the best diet out there and the average would technically be a 2, the Paleo Diet isn’t terrible. It’s just not a long-term solution. If used for a short-term period it could be helpful but be advised that once restricted food groups are introduced, most users will start to gain the weight back.

Weight Watchers Review

Weight Watchers was founded in 1963 by a homemaker in Queens, NY, Jean Nidetch. Since then, it has grown massively in popularity. In 2015, Oprah became the spokesperson for the company and it grew even larger, becoming one of the most popular weight loss methods to date. The reason for its popularity isn’t just due to a celebrity spokesperson or a fad. Weight Watchers has survived the test of time because it has helped millions of people lose weight and keep it off.

The Weight Watchers diet plan is based around simplicity. Though the diet encourages whole grains, fruits, and vegetables while discouraging highly processed foods, no food is off-limits. In fact, you can eat whatever you want as long as you stay under your allotted points in the Weight Watchers system.

How Weight Watchers Points Work

Weight Watchers has undergone a few makeovers throughout the years. The most current points system, called the SmartPoints system, was released in 2015. SmartPoints works by assigning a point value to different types of food. The points applied are based on calories, fat, sugar, and protein contents. Then, when a person joins Weight Watchers, they are given a certain number of points they are allowed per day based on their height, weight, age, and other factors.

When on Weight Watchers, you are allowed to eat whatever you want as long as you stay under your allotted SmartPoints. While healthier eating is encouraged, it is not enforced so you don’t feel restricted. This system has also lent itself to some creative recipes in order to allow delicious desserts without using a lot of SmartPoints.

For example, you could have one chocolate chip cookie for 3 SmartPoints or use a simple recipe for a cheesecake that has 0 points!

Does the Weight Watchers Diet Work?

The Weight Watchers Diet has been successful for millions of people across the world. It places emphasis on portion control, food choices, and long-term success. The plan encourages a slower-paced weight loss, with only .5 to 2 pounds a week. There have been many studies as well showing Weight Watchers to be successful. One study showed that people lose twice as much weight using Weight Watchers. While another study showed that people lost 2.6% more weight on Weight Watchers than other types of plans.

Breakdown

Main Diet Focus: Healthier food choices and portion control using the SmartPoints system.

Ratings

1 being the worst and 5 being the best

 Healthy Food Rating: 4

The Weight Watchers Diet encourages all types of healthy food like vegetables, fruits, fish, and nuts. However, some believe the SmartPoints system can be “cheated”. Overall, it is one of the healthiest diets around.

Sustainability: 4.5

The Weight Watchers Diet has been reported by users to be highly sustainable. Once they have been on the plan for a while, they also report making overall healthier choices on their own out of habit.

Overall Rating: 4.5

Overall, the Weight Watchers Diet is a healthy way to lose weight and keep it off. It promotes realistic goals, a nutritious diet, and better food habits.

Vegetarian Diet & Vegan Diet Review

While the other two most popular weight loss methods we have reviewed have been “fad” diets and weight loss systems, the Vegetarian and Vegan Diets are a bit different. If you go looking, you can find plenty of plant-based diets. However, eliminated meat from the diet originated as a form of animal rights activism first before it ever became a health fad.

A Vegetarian Diet revolves around not eating any meat or meat-based products including poultry, fish, and other seafood. While a Vegan Diet follows this same principle, it goes one step further by eliminating all animal byproducts including what’s above as well as milk, eggs, cheese, honey, and more. Therefore, the staples of this diet include all fruits, vegetables, whole grains, leafy greens, nuts, seeds, legumes, and more. Anything that is not made from animals or any animal byproducts (except for Vegetarians who would just avoid food made from animals).

Does a Vegetarian Diet or Vegan Diet Work?

The short answer is yes. Studies have shown that a vegan and vegetarian diet are both very healthy and can assist in weight loss. In fact, almost all research indicates vegans, in particular, weigh less and have a lower body mass index (BMI) than their meat-eating counterparts. One study in particular compared data from over 90 different research cases on vegetarian and vegan diets. It found that overall vegetarians and vegans have a lower BMI, lower total cholesterol, significantly lower LDL cholesterol (the bad kind), and lower glucose levels than those who ate meat. The same study also linked a vegetarian or vegan diet to lower instances of heart disease and cancer.

While a plant-based diet devoid of any meat can help you lose weight and keep it off, it is not a cure in itself. You can still overeat on bread, sugary cereals, and vegan ice cream, for example. However, choosing a vegetarian or vegan diet still shows promising weight loss results and overall health benefits.

It’s true that a meatless diet may not be for everyone, still, there are ways to help make it work. The best way to start is by cutting down your meat consumption to four nights a week, then three, then two, etc. This can help you learn new vegan recipes you love while still not drastically changing your diet right away. While you still have to be conscious of the other food you eat, adopting a vegetarian or vegan diet has shown to be a very effective method of weight loss. If you’re not keen on giving up animal products completely, check out the next popular diet called the Flexitarian Diet below.

Breakdown

Main Diet Focus: Fruits, vegetables, leafy greens, legumes, and more. Restricts all meat including poultry and fish. If you choose to go the vegan route, it also eliminates all dairy, eggs, honey, and any other animal byproduct.

Ratings

1 being the worst and 5 being the best

Healthy Food Rating: 4

Vegetarian and vegan diets are filled with all-natural, whole, and healthy food. It would get a 5 if it weren’t for certain nutrient deficiencies that can come if you’re not eating the proper diet. You must find alternate sources for protein (peanut butter), calcium (leafy greens), iron (whole wheat grains), vitamin D (sun or supplements), and omega-3 fatty acids (walnuts).

Sustainability: 4

A vegetarian or vegan diet is very sustainable overtime. While it may be difficult to imagine your life without meat or animal byproducts now, easing yourself slowly into the lifestyle helps immensely. There are many popular vegan products out there now like ice cream, chocolate, and milk, so your choices aren’t limited.

Overall Rating: 4

Overall, adopting a vegetarian or vegan diet can be a great way to lose weight and improve your total health. Research has shown that vegetarians and vegans have lower rates of devastating diseases like heart disease and cancer. Overtime you adjust to not eating meat and most people find they feel lighter, fuller, and have more energy.

The Flexitarian Diet Review

The Flexitarian Diet was created by a dietician, Dawn Jackson Blatner, in 2008. While it was initially popular upon its release, it has become even more widespread in the past couple of years. The name of this plan reveals its true focus flexible + vegetarian = Flexitarian. The idea behind this diet is gaining all of the benefits of vegetarianism while still being able to enjoy meat from time to time.

The Flexitarian Diet is different than most. Like the vegetarian and vegan diet above, there is really no set calorie limit to follow nor does it offer any clear “rules”. Because of this, it has gained popularity as a healthy lifestyle change rather than a “diet”. However, don’t let that fool you. Many people have lost weight on the Flexitarian Diet and lowered their risk factors for cardiovascular disease and diabetes while lowering their blood pressure and improving overall metabolic health. Other studies have shown that even a semi-vegetarian diet can lower your chances of cancer, too.

Does the Flexitarian Diet Work?

Most Flexitarian Dieters limit their intake of highly processed, sugary foods, and focus more on healthy plant-based alternatives. Many research studies have shown that plant-based diets contribute to more weight loss than traditional diets. While there needs to be more research done on the Flexitarian Diet or a semi-vegetarian lifestyle, initial research is promising that a Flexitarian Diet can help you lose weight faster, keep it off, and lower your risk for fatal diseases.

If you are unsure about committing to a completely vegetarian or vegan lifestyle, then the Flexitarian Diet might be right for you.

Breakdown

Main Diet Focus: a plant-based lifestyle that promotes the restriction of meat, fish, and poultry. However, it is flexible, suggesting you can still benefit from vegetarianism while still including some meat in your diet.

Ratings

1 being the worst and 5 being the best

 Healthy Food Rating: 4.5

The Flexitarian Diet encourages fruits, vegetables, fresh leafy greens, and more while suggesting that you cut down your consumption of meat. Overall, it is one of the healthiest diets out there. The only reason it is not a solid 5 is that research has indicated (so far) that a completely vegetarian or vegan diet is likely healthier if done properly.

Sustainability: 5

The Flexitarian Diet is very sustainable. It doesn’t completely eliminate any food group. It only asks that you reduce your consumption of meat and animal-based products. This can easily be done by cutting down meat in meals to 2-3 days a week. On the other days, you’ll be getting a full diet rich in fruits, vegetables, vitamins, and nutrients.

Overall Rating: 4.5

Overall, the Flexitarian Diet is a great one to follow. It may not be for everyone as some people need more direction and structure. However, many people consider the Flexitarian Diet a lifestyle change rather than a diet. It can be a great guideline to follow to lose weight and become healthier overall, without the pressure of counting calories or following a specific plan.

The Volumetrics Diet Review

The Volumetrics Diet is a structured approach to eating that was developed by Penn State University nutrition professor Barbara Rolls, Ph.D. It boasts itself as being a smart, simple, and science-based approach to weight loss. The book The Ultimate Volumetrics Diet was released in 2012 and has grown massively in popularity ever since. In fact, it’s rated as the second most popular diet in 2019 (behind Weight Watchers which rated number one).

The Volumetrics Diet is based on viewing food’s energy density vs. calories. To do this, foods are split up into four different groups: very low-density, low-density, medium-density, and high-density food. The idea is to consume as many very low and low-density foods as we can and limit the medium and high-density foods. This can be done easily by making food swaps in some places. For example, a white baked potato would be a high-density food item, but you can replace it with a sweet potato instead which is a very low-density food item. Look below for a further list of examples.

Very Low-Density Food Examples:

  • Non-starchy fruits and vegetables
  • Broth-based soup
  • Nonfat milk

Low-Density Food Examples:

  • Starchy fruits and vegetables
  • Cereal and grains
  • Legumes
  • Low-fat meat

Medium-Density Food Examples:

  • Cheese
  • Meat
  • Bread
  • Ice Cream

High-Density Food Examples:

  • Chips
  • Crackers
  • Butter
  • Cookies

Does the Volumetrics Diet Work?

The Volumetrics Diet is still new; however, it shows promising results. Many scientific journals and doctors have praised its science-based approach and the ability to bring sustainable weight loss. The main idea of the diet is to keep you feeling full and satisfied with low-density foods. By eating food high in water content like fruits and vegetables, you’ll feel fuller longer. Since you can eat as much as you want of these, it’s less likely that you’ll want to snack on other higher-calorie foods. Therefore, many users of this plan report feeling fuller longer and up to a 2lbs per week weight loss.

Breakdown

Main Diet Focus: breaking food down into groups by their energy density. You can eat as many very-low and low-density foods as you’d like (such as fruits and vegetables) but lessen your consumption of medium and high-density foods (such as chips, cookies, and candy).

Ratings

1 being the worst and 5 being the best

 Healthy Food Rating: 4.5

The Volumetrics Diet includes a very healthy array of food choices. It encourages the consumption of many plant-based items and some lean-meats while limiting highly processed and sugary foods.

Sustainability: 4

The Volumetrics Diet is very sustainable for most people. Critics argue you have to really like water and soup to be able to benefit from it. However, it doesn’t ban any food groups and can be a sustainable way to lose weight and keep it off.

Overall Rating: 4

Overall, the Volumetrics Diet seems to be a promising lifestyle plan. Since it is still pretty new, the research is still ongoing and we likely won’t know more about the scientific results for another year or so. Its emphasis on fruits and vegetables and limiting highly processed and sugary foods is still a good one and can be very effective for weight loss. It can be especially helpful if you have problems feeling full on other diets.

The Most Popular Weight Loss Methods: Which One is Right for You?

First of all here is our Summary

Diet Healthy Food Sustainability Overall
The Paleo Diet 2.5 1.5 3
Weight Watchers Review 4 4.5 4.5
Vegetarian and Vegan Diets 4 4 4
The Flexitarian Diet 4.5 5 4.5
The Volumetrics Diet 4.5 4 4

There are literally thousands of different diets out there. Only you and your doctor can figure out what works best for you. We all know that fad diets result in yo-yo dieting which can be very unhealthy for you. That’s why it’s important to choose a diet that is aimed at long-term success and sustainability. While we’ve only included the top 5 most popular weight loss methods, there is usually a reason they are so widespread. Though, it’s important to note that popularity is not equal to successful weight loss. Fad diets are named that way for a reason, they don’t have long-term sustainability. It has yet to be shown if the Paleo Diet is a fad diet, only time will tell. However, the rest on our list are not.

After reviewing many, many weight loss methods (including ones that didn’t make this list like the Ornish Diet, Keto Diet, and Mediterranean Diet), we believe that these top 5 can lead to the most success. Studies have shown that plant-based diets result in the best weight loss overall. Therefore, a vegetarian or vegan diet would be the most recommended. If you feel like giving up meat or animal-based products would be too much for you, then a Flexitarian Diet would be the next best one.

If you’re looking for more structure in your meal planning and/or weight loss, then using Weight Watchers or the Volumetrics Diet might work better for you. You could also do a combination of these such as practicing a vegetarian lifestyle while using Weight Watchers to control caloric intake. Try which one or combination you think might fit you best. Also, try to think of your “diet” as a lifestyle change instead. Whatever plan you choose, it must be something you can imagine yourself sustaining for the rest of your life. We wish you much luck and success on your journey!

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