What is the Best Diet to Lose Weight Fast?
There are a ton of dieting buzzwords going around lately – keto, paleo, carnivore, intermittent fasting, the list goes on. If you’re starting out wanting to lose weight or just be healthier, all of these buzzwords can make it very confusing to choose. Which weight loss diet is the best? Do the actually work? How do you even get started with each diet?
Let’s take a look at the details on some of the most popular diets for weight loss:
Keto Diet for Weight Loss
What is the Keto diet?
AKA The ketogenic diet. This is probably the most popular diet going around at the moment. It’s a very high fat, very low carb diet. Basically, about 80% of your calories would come from fat, 5% from carbs, and the rest (15%) from protein. The idea behind it is to force your body into fat burning mode.
Does the keto diet work (Pros/Cons)?
The keto diet is great for certain people with certain conditions, especially neurological. The ketogenic diet can have neurological, aka brain boosting, benefits… if you’re actually in ketosis.
The biggest problem I see with people on this diet is that getting in ketosis, like real ketosis in healthy way is difficult. You really need to know what you’re doing or have a nutritional specialist. If you are still deadset on trying keto, I atleast highly recommend you get ketone strips to more accurately measure your progress.
The other major downside for me is the minimal amount of carbs. To begin with, the drastic reduction in carbs is what causes ‘keto flu’. Oh yea, did I mention that? Most people have ‘flu like symptoms’ when they begin this diet.
Aside from the keto flu, any diet where I can’t have more than a bananas worth of carbs a day is just not for me. It might be for some people, but restricting my carbs to those extremes is not a way of eating that I find to be sustainable, personally, but you be the judge for yourself if you are ready to give up pizza for the foreseeable future. 😐
If this is such a problem, why are so many people having success, you might ask? GREAT QUESTION.
The keto diet is providing great weight loss results for so many people due to the same reason many of these diets ‘work’. Calorie Restriction.
When you take someone who has basically been eating whatever they want without much thought and you place them on any diet where they need to consciously think about what they’re eating and track what’s in it, they’re caloric intake is very likely going to go down.
Calories In < Calories Out = Weight Loss
So can it work? Yes. Do I recommend it? Only for certain people, not for the majority.
Paleo Diet for Weight Loss
What is the Paleo diet?
The rules are, if a caveman had access to it, you can eat it, if not, you can’t. That pretty much means you’re left with meats, fish, fruits, vegetables, and nuts/seeds. The cavemen did not have Twinkies, so no Twinkies for you, sorry. The basic idea is that by eliminating modern day, highly-processed foods, you can also eliminate some modern day diseases, like Type 2 Diabetes. The belief behind it is that paleo is the way humans were ‘designed’ to eat.
It seems very similar to what I would consider ‘eating clean’.
Does the Paleo diet work (Pros/Cons)?
There have been studies that have found that this way of eating can make you feel fuller, help you lose weight, and help control blood sugar. So, can the Paleo diet help you lose weight? Yes, it could definitely work. I like the Paleo diet for it’s simplicity. I personally feel that it would be difficult to stick to given the stringent restrictions, but if you have some iron will power, it could work!
IIFYM (Macro Counting) Diet for Weight Loss
What is the IIFYM diet?
IIFYM stands for If It Fits Your Macros. Your macros being the amount of macronutrients you eat – aka how much of your food is carbs, protein, and fats. You figure out the optimal amount of each of those for your fitness goal, whether is fat loss, muscle building, or maintaining, and as long as you stay within those numbers, you can eat it! I go over it in much more depth and how to find out your macro numbers in this article. That means no food is off limits!
Does the IIFYM diet work (Pros/Cons)?
I can absolutely attest to the IIFYM diet/macro counting being able to help you lose weight. It’s what I personally use and lost over 40lbs using the technique. After losing the fat, it’s also helped me build up some muscle to add more toning and definition. It’s also extremely common in the fitness competition/bodybuilding world. I like this way of eating because it’s so flexible (actually flexible dieting is another name for it). I find that the flexibility of it makes it way more sustainable. If I want a piece of pizza one day, I have it. I just make sure that what I eat the rest of the day fills in the rest of my macros. Another pro for me is that if I hit a plateau or want to switch up my goals, I just recalculate my macro goals and I’m good to go.
The only downside is that you have to track your food. This can put people off at first because they don’t want to take the time to do it. Once you get the hang of it though, it goes quickly and I don’t mind it at all. Some of the other diets, like Keto, you’d actually need to track your food for as well.
Carnivore Diet for Weight Loss
What is the carnivore diet?
The carnivore diet one of the newest ‘trending’ diets out right now. It’s very simple. The only thing you can eat is meat. Technically, I’ve heard a slightly more inclusive list as being red meats, poultry, fish, eggs, lard, bone marrow, butter, salt and pepper, water, and bone broth. No fruits, no vegetables, no seeds, no nuts, no dairy, no beans, no grains. It’s like the Paleo diet… on steroids.
Does the carnivore diet work (Pros/Cons)?
Some of the hype around the carnivore diet has come from *claims* of anti-inflammatory effects and benefits for those with autoimmune conditions. It is such a new diet that there isn’t much research on it. However, Dr. Rhonda Patrick, a Ph. D who has worked extensively with nutrition voiced numerous concerns on the Joe Rogan Experience Podcast in this episode.
Can the carnivore diet help you lose weight? Probably. Once again, you’ll naturally be restricting your calories by virtue of simply eliminating whole food groups from your diet which will very likely lead to weight loss. However, being another elimination diet, it seems it would be hard to sustain.
The Intermittent Fasting Diet for Weight Loss
What is the intermittent fasting diet?
Intermittent fasting does not tell you which foods you can eat, rather, when you can eat them. The idea is that you can eat what you want, as long as you follow one of these patterns:
16/8 Intermittent Fasting Method: Eat for 8 hours, fast for 16 hours. For example, you could eat like normal from 12P to 8P and then you would not eat anything the rest of the day.
Eat-Stop-Eat Intermittent Fasting Method: In this method, you would go an entire 24 hours without eating once a week. The other days you would eat normally.
5:2 Intermittent Fasting Method: For 2 days in a row, you would only consume 500 calories. The other 5 days a week, you would eat normally.
Does the intermittent fasting diet work (Pros/Cons)?
Many people have had success on the intermittent fasting diet. The idea behind the diet comes from the effects of fasting on your body. Fasting has been shown to reduce insulin levels, increase human growth hormone production, initiate cell repair. Will intermittent fasting help you lose weight? Similar to the other diets, it will reduce your caloric intake, but this time by way of timing instead of food groups, so it can most likely help you lose weight.
The only downside is not eating for extended amounts of time can be difficult. If it is something that would fit your schedule well, or if you would be okay with not eating or eating very small amounts of food for a few days, it could be a good option for you!
This article from Empty Nest Bliss does a great job on going more in depth on Intermittent Fasting for Women specifically.
Any of these diets could help you to lose weight if followed correctly. They all end up restricting your calorie intake in someway which will ultimately result in weight loss.
Personally, IIFYM and intermittent fasting are the only 2 ‘diets’ I would follow. Our body needs all three proteins, fats, and carbs for different essential functions for living, so I’m not a fan of any elimination diets.
I am a big believer in IIFYM, and it is what my fitness programs are based around, but I am interested in trying intermittent fasting as an experiment!