Looking to lose weight? The food you eat plus your portion sizes play a large factor on the number that registers when you step on the scale. A diet can kick start your weight loss and set you on the right path toward slimming down. But which diet should you choose? We have broken down several popular rapid weight loss diets: Detox, Paleo, HCG, Zone, Fat Smash, Hollywood (Grapefruit), Cookie, Volumetrics, and Skinny Bitch into a simple guide so you can see which diets work and which ones are a waste of time and money. No more yo-yo dieting or aimless calorie-counting. We have done the research and found the diet program that we are confident will work for you.
“Flush out toxins and lose weight”
Does it Work? The idea that your body needs help getting rid of toxins has no basis in human biology. Your organs and immune system handle those duties no matter what you eat.
What you can and what you can’t eat: This is easy because you pretty much cannot eat most foods. Some detox programs involve fasting, liquids only, or fruits and vegetables if you are lucky.
Level of Effort: High. You will feel hungry and probably weak. Forget exercising. Rolling out of bed will be hard enough. Whether or not the diet is safe depends on how long you plan to stay on it. Most cannot be sustained more than a few days. This rigid, low-calorie, nutrient-poor diet potentially causes low energy, low blood sugar, muscle aches, fatigue, feeling dizzy, and nausea. Minimal prep and short grocery list because you are hardly eating anything
The Verdict: You will likely lose weight…and gain it back when you go off this extreme diet
“Eat like a caveman and shed pounds”
Does it Work? You might lose some weight if you stick to the diet, but it will not happen overnight. Do not expect to see results right away. If you are a vegetarian or vegan, forget it. This diet allows meats, seafood, and eggs but excludes vegetarian protein-rich foods like beans and legumes.
What you can and what you can’t eat: You are allowed lean meats, fish, fruits, vegetables, and healthier fats. You cannot eat processed foods, wheat, dairy, grains, legumes, salt, refined sugar, potatoes, and refined oils.
Level of Effort: Medium. The diet allows for 3 cheat meals a week and no-calorie counting. But this can slow your weight loss progress. Allow for plenty of prep time. You have to stock up on the allowed foods and cook from scratch.
The Verdict: You may lose some weight over a longer period of time but you will pay for it. All the required meat and fish will raise your grocery bill.
“Reset your metabolism. Lose as much as a pound a day without feeling weak or hungry”
Does it Work? If you closely follow the food guidelines and take the HCG Diet drops as instructed you will most likely lose weight more quickly than by dieting alone. The diet length is 12 days.
What you can and can’t eat: The food list contains specific fruits, vegetables, animal products (including meat, seafood, and eggs), and select startches. Avoid oils during the diet.
Level of Effort: Medium. You will be eating less calories than the paleo diet but more than the detox diet and the HCG drops are designed to use the body’s own stored fat cells for energy so you’re not left feeling hungry. You’ll stick to the meat and produce section, but because the diet lasts less than two weeks you’ll only need to follow the restrictive food list for a couple of shopping trips
The Verdict: If you can stick to the diet, you will most likely see significant results. Many participants have lost as much as 12 pounds in 12 days. Some even more. Although the diet is strict, the duration is short so your efforts will be rewarded quickly.
“Burn fat even in your sleep by balancing the fats, carbs, and proteins you eat”
Does it work? The Zone doesn’t promise immediate, dramatic weight loss. You can expect to lose just 1 to 1.5 pounds in the first week.
What you can and can’t eat: Every meal on the diet has the same proportions: 30% protein, 30% fat, and 40% carbs. You get 3 meals and 2 snacks a day. Proteins are low-fat, like skinless chicken, turkey, or fish; carbs are mostly fruits and veggies (not bread, pasta, grains, and other grains); and a small amount of “good” fat, like olive oil, almonds, and avocado. No food is completely banned, but if you’re a carb-lover, you may find getting used to the Zone plan challenging. Avoid fruits and veggies that are high in sugar and forget about eating “bad fats” like egg yolks and fatty red meat.
Level of Effort: Medium. Staying in the Zone requires sticking to the rules. Calories count. Women are permitted about 1,200 calories and men 1,500 per day. You have to eat a meal within an hour of waking, never let more than five hours go by without eating, and have a snack before bedtime.
The Verdict: You will have plenty of time to get a thorough understanding of all the rules for the Zone diet because you will need to stick to it for a long time to see the pounds drop. The diet itself allows for more food options than some of the other diets listed here, however planning meals is a much more intricate process and results are much slower.
“Smash bad eating habits in favor of building good ones”
Does it work? The four phase diet is not an overnight fix. To reach your maximum results you need to closely follow the program for 90 days as well as increase the duration of your workouts each week. The idea of the diet is a permanent way to make healthy living your way of life.
What you can and can’t eat: The foods you eat depend on the phase of the diet.
Phase 1: Detox – No meat, fish, pasta, or alcohol for 9 days. You are basically allowed produce.
Phase 2: Foundation – Exercise increases but you are permitted more food options. You can eat meat and fish as well as small amounts of alcohol, whole grains, and fats.
Phase 3: Construction – The focus shifts more from types of food to portion control. Exercise is also progressively harder.
Phase 4: Temple – You can add more variety of foods and make up for any cheat days you had earlier in the diet. Again, the intensity of your exercise is at its highest.
Level of Effort: High. The hardest part is phase 1. You will be extremely limited on eating in comparison to the typical American diet. It is common to feel fatigued, light headed, and weak. If you can make it past the grueling intro and can stick with the diet for the next few months you will eventually see results.
The Verdict: If you can make a long term diet commitment you will see gradual weight loss. However, if you have struggled sticking to even shorter diets in the past this will be a challenge. Many Fat Smash dieters do not make it past phase 1. Nine days of produce only is no small task and require immense self-discipline.
“Burn fat by eating grapefruit before meals”
Does it work? Sorry, but grapefruit does not burn fat. The diet claims that grapefruit has a similar property to a fat burning enzyme. Some variations of the diet have an extremely low daily caloric allowance and participants must be cautious of the citric acids interacting with certain medications and potentially becoming dangerous.
What you can and can’t eat: Well, grapefruit, obviously. You must eat the fruit with every meal. Some foods are cut completely like celery and onions as well as other fruits and vegetables. Cut back on sugar and carbs like rice, pasta, and potatoes. Foods that are high in protein, fat, and cholesterol are allowed. Versions of the diet vary but some limit calories to 800 per day.
Level of Effort: Medium. Some versions of the diet are more strict than others. Most last approximately 10 to 12 days. Others require a pattern of 10 days on the diet followed by a 2 day break over the course of several weeks.
The Verdict: Any weight loss is not necessarily due to the “grapefruit fat-burning enzyme” but rather a reflection of restricted daily caloric intake. You may lose a few pounds but you will need to stick to a low calorie diet to maintain that weight. Also cutting back on healthy fruits and vegetables may deprive you from essential vitamins and nutrients.
“Eat cookies, instead of meals, and watch the pounds melt away”
Does it Work? Yes. You are likely to lose weight eating cookies. That is not a statement you hear everyday. However, the pounds lost are due to a low calorie intake that you are likely to gain back when you have run out of the prepackaged product and are left on your own to prepare food.
What you can and can’t eat: Cookies. Cookies. More cookies. The product is high in protein and fiber and is your breakfast, lunch, and snacks. You’re on your own for a low-cal, sensible dinner.
Level of Effort: Not a lot of thought or planning is necessary when you are eating pre-made food. Although you better get used to eating specially made “healthy” cookies for the next 3 to 5 weeks. You can kiss variety and freedom goodbye.
The Verdict: There is a chance for success on the Cookie Diet but you will need to drop some dollars (about $250 for a 4 week cookie supply) and commit for several weeks. Many find it difficult to sustain the very low calorie diet and get bored eating the same food over and over again.
“Eat a lot and still lose weight”
Does it work? If you follow the plan long term you will most likely see gradual weight loss. You learn to eat healthier food that fill you up but also contain less calories so you can eat as much as you want.
What you can and can’t eat: You eat 3 meals per day plus 2 snacks and a dessert. Pay attention to “energy density” in your food selections. High energy density foods contain lots of calories for not that much food, whereas you get more volume for not too many calories eating low energy density foods. This diet relies on foods with a high water content. There are four categories of foods from lowest energy density to highest that is your guide. The first category is anytime, “free” foods like fruit, certain veggies, and broth based soup. Category 2 is whole grains, low-fat dairy, lean meats, and legumes to be eaten moderately. The next category should be eaten in small portions and includes desserts, bread, higher-fat meat, and baked goods. The final category is fried foods, high-fat foods, cheese, nuts, and candy and should be eaten sparingly.
Level of Effort: Medium. Volumetrics is basically a low-cal sensible diet with lots of fruit and vegetables and low in fat.
The Verdict: This diet is a good guide to follow for a long-term healthy eating lifestyle. The focus is more on proper nutrition and portion sizes than immediate weight loss. Slimming down will be a gradual process with the Volumetrics diet.
“Stop eating all animal products for an amazing body and health”
Does it Work? The plan has you eating less calories so you are likely to lose weight. Depending on your eating habits prior to the diet, it could be a drastic change that is difficult to sustain for life as the program intends. If you are a meat-eater, going completely vegan will be a tough transition. And whether or not the diet satisfies all of your nutritional needs is yet to be determined.
What you can and can’t eat: No meat, dairy, fish, eggs, cheese, or other animal products. Go vegan or go home basically. Also no sugar, artificial sweeteners, or refined carbs. Alcohol and caffeine are highly discouraged. Think tofu, fruits, vegetables, grains, and legumes. Of course, everything must be organic. Do not expect the book to hold your hand through the process either. The authors use a tough-love approach toward your diet with detailed graphic descriptions of animal processing. They also recommend fasting and cleanses which the medical community often warns us against doing.
Level of Effort: High. Many foods are cut from this diet and obtaining nutrients, vitamins, and sufficient protein is difficult.
The Verdict: It is possible to lose weight on the Skinny Bitch Diet. Whether or not that is due to cutting out meat and animal products is a highly controversial topic and not proven. Lost pounds are most likely contributed to a restricted calorie intake and not necessarily because it is vegan. The diet may be hard to maintain long term.
Evolve Gym recommends the HCG Diet for members looking to slim down. Everyone who has followed the program has lost weight, and more importantly, not gained the weight back. Stop by Evolve to pick up your bottle of the HCG Diet Drops and meal guide today. We’ll help you along the way and congratulate you when you need to buy a smaller dress size!