The 7 Most Famous Diets



Over 33% of the adult U.S. population is obese, and an additional 34% are considered to be overweight. Many Americans are often trying to lose weight, and it is estimated that we(Americans) spend $33 billion dollars per year on products for weight-loss.

Unfortunately, we can easily fall prey to the newest fad diets, which often promise dramatic weight loss despite being largely untested.According to Boston University School of Medicine:

  • 98% of people who lose weight gain it back within 5 years
  • 90% of people who lose weight gain back more weight than they originally lost
  • Only 5 -10% of dieters maintain weight loss > 10% of baseline weight

Why do diets fail? According to Boston University School of Medicine:

  • People revert back to old habits after diet ends
  • Many diets are not sustainable
  • Deprivation leads to binge eating
  • Dieters continue to rely on internal cues.

Sustainable weight loss is often the result of a lifestyle change and not necessarily a “diet” with a start and end date connected to it.

Nonetheless, here is a list of the 7 most famous diets that are out there:



The Atkins diet is alow-carbohydrate diet. There is an initial induction phase during which the dieter may consume no more than 20 grams per day of net carbohydrates (total carbohydrates – fiber). After the two-week induction period, carbohydrates are gradually increased to 120 grams per day. With the Atkins diet, there are no restrictions on intake of calories, protein, or fat (except no trans fats).

The Atkins diet satiates and provides structure. However, it can be too restrictive, too difficult to sustain, does not adhere to national dietary guidelines, may increase risk of cardiovascular disease, and is not recommended for people with kidney disease, pregnant women or breastfeeding mothers.



The Paleolithic diet is also know as the “Paleo Diet”, Caveman diet, or Stone Age diet. It emphasizes eating plants and wild animals similar to what hunter-gatherers may have eaten about 10,000 years ago. The diet consists mainly of fish, grass-fed pasture raised meats, vegetables, fruit, fungi, roots, and nuts. It excludes grains, legumes, dairy products, salt, refined sugar, and processed oils.

The Paleo Diet is typically low in sodium and may be more appealing to men. However, it can be expensive to follow, does not include grains and dairy (which can cause nutrient deficiency), and is higher in fat.



The Mediterranean Diet emphasizes consumption of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, beans, nuts, legumes, olive oil, and flavorful herbs and spices. Eating fish and seafood several times a week is encouraged as well as enjoying poultry, eggs, cheese, and yogurt in moderation. Sweets and red meat should be reserved for special occasions.

The Mediterranean Diet covers all major food groups, has a diversity of flavors, may be easier to follow than other diets, and comes close to the American Heart Association’s dietary recommendations. However, it may be more expensive to follow, takes longer to prepare meals, and is not designed for weight loss.




The DASH diet was originally developed as a lifestyle intervention to lower blood pressure. It has the following major features:

  • Emphasizes consumption of fruits and vegetables
  • Low in saturated fat and cholesterol
  • Moderate amount of protein (lean meat, poultry, fish, nuts, beans)
  • High in fiber/low glycemic
  • Includes sodium

The Dash Diet is a well-balanced diet, sustainable, and is endorsed by NIH, and the USDA MyPyramid.

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