Assists in weight management when used with a program of reduced intake of dietary calories and increased physical activity. We applaud that Oz highlighted the opinions — both positive and negative — from four other medical doctors. Probiotics — or healthy bacteria that your gut needs in order to perform optimally and keep you healthy — are not a common ingredient in meal replacement shakes, however the best shakes will include them. Since I have been trying to get 20 pounds off I thought that shakeology would be a step in the right direction. Experts say that Weight Watchers is one of the easiest programs to follow.
What to look for when choosing a weight loss program?
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Healthy weight loss is approx. Check with your physician before beginning a supplement program. Top 3 Meal Reaplacement Shakes 1 Shakes 9. But why would you ever choose a meal replacement shake over a filling, tasty meal?
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The information we collect about gift recipients is not used for marketing purposes. Like many websites, we use "cookies" to enhance your experience and gather information about visitors and visits to our websites. Please refer to the "Do we use 'cookies'? Experts say that Weight Watchers is one of the easiest programs to follow.
There are hundreds of Weight Watchers recipes available, both in cookbook form and online, with pre-calculated points values for each recipe. Weight Watchers has its own line of frozen entrees, and Weight Watchers points values are often pre-calculated on other brands of frozen entrees.
There are many other Weight Watchers-branded prepared foods available as well. Food preparation-wise, the program can be as easy or as difficult as your skill level in the kitchen. You do have to track everything you eat, which is easy if you're following a Weight Watchers' recipe or eating a prepackaged food with the points pre-calculated.
It gets a bit trickier when you prepare your own recipes as you have to break down the ingredients and do the math -- although that's certainly simpler if all you're doing is, for example, grilling a chicken breast and making a salad. And, under the new "Freestyle" program, that's a meal that could be points-free under the current guidelines, depending upon whether or not the salad is dressed.
It has categories of foods with similar serving sizes and caloric loads, and it's easy to swap one food for another. You can even purchase exchange cards that give you food options within categories at a glance, as well as a variety of other accessories, such as food prep tools scaled to accurate portion sizes.
TOPS also recommends that you get a diet recommendation from your doctor or follow the USDA's MyPlate tool, which focuses on filling half your plate with fruits and vegetables and the other half with lean meats and whole grains.
TOPS is low-cost, nutritionally sound, provides plenty of support and is very affordable. However, it's not as structured as some other commercial weight loss programs, so those who prefer a diet that offers more specific meal guidelines may find it more difficult to follow.
If your budget -- or your preferences -- don't make either Weight Watchers or TOPS appealing to you, there are some popular diet programs that are less-structured, but no less effective if you stick to the program. The Volumetrics Diet Est. You swap high-density foods, which tend to have more calories, for lower-density foods like fruits, vegetables, soups and stews. This swap of foods with more bulk but fewer calories helps fill you up, thus eliminating one big problem with dieting: It's a top pick in most of our expert roundups, and its author, Barbara Rolls, is a leading researcher in the field of nutrition.
Many other diets, most notably Jenny Craig Est. The Volumetrics plan does not have a website, therefore there is no formal support, but it can be paired with any free online support program, such as SparkPeople or MyFitnessPal , both free, highly rated diet and fitness-support websites. For some people the big drawback to the Volumetrics approach is that food preparation, both shopping and cooking, is not optional -- you will need to have some level of comfort in the kitchen.
However, the book features meal plans, and the recipes are reported as easy to follow by consumer reviewers. At least one expert says this particular approach is probably best for people who have hunger or portion-control issues rather than emotional eaters who often eat for reasons other than hunger. Also, if you're more a meat-and-potatoes kind of eater, you may get weary of a diet that's heavy on vegetables, fruits and soups.
The Therapeutic Lifestyle Changes diet, most commonly called the TLC Diet Free , has a name that's about as interesting as cold broth, but experts say it's a top choice to lower cholesterol and that you will lose weight if you follow the eating and activity guidelines. The downside to this diet is that you have to figure out which foods to eat and there is no support. Guidelines are available online on the U. National Institutes of Health website , but they're not as specific as with fee-based weight loss programs.
However, while there are no "official" community websites that accompany the TLC diet, there is plenty of information available online from dieters who have successfully followed the programs and offer their suggestions, recipes and tips. Another diet that's highly ranked by experts is the Mediterranean Diet Free. Experts say that eating the Mediterranean way is the healthiest dietary choice you can make.
The difficulty for most people is figuring out exactly what that means since there is no formal "Mediterranean Diet;" rather, it's a way of eating that emphasizes fruits, vegetables, fish, lean meats in moderation, whole grains, legumes, seeds and healthy fats.
However, there are some guidelines on the Oldways website that may be helpful, and there are a wealth of other online resources from those who have adopted the Mediterranean diet lifestyle, as well as plenty of cookbooks. Low carb diets, which eliminate basically all non-vegetable carbs, even most fruits, used to be considered "fad" or "fringe" diets.
However, they're becoming more mainstream as more studies show that this approach is effective for both short and long term weight loss, as well as lowering overall cholesterol and increasing "good" cholesterol. However, many experts are leery of any diet that eliminates entire food groups -- in this case grains and many starches. However, plenty of others point out that vegetarians and vegans do not receive this type of criticism even though those diets also eliminate several food groups.
Regardless of which camp you're in, if you do decide to try out a low carb diet, the Atkins Diet is the gold standard. Atkins has been proven effective for both short- and long-term weight loss, and studies show it is just as effective in lowering cholesterol levels over the long term as low fat diets for many people. As with any diet program, it may not be effective for everyone.
While Atkins does initially restrict carbs to very low levels, the plan adds in more carbohydrates as you lose weight. It's also easy to follow, say users, and it's restaurant friendly -- hold the bread and order an extra vegetable instead of a potato. There are a plethora of resources for getting started on, or maintaining, the Atkins Diet. In addition to the official Atkins website , with recipes, many free downloads, and a support community, there are thousands of websites built by low carb devotees with additional tips, recipes and encouragement.
It's highly rated by users, who say it's a great guide for making a dietary lifestyle change. Some like that the science of low carb eating is well presented, others say they would prefer a more casual approach and more recipes. Others point out that all of the information in the book is available on the Atkins website, free of charge. The South Beach Diet is also considered low-carb, but it's not as restrictive as Atkins in its later phases. In fact, even in the early phases of the South Beach Diet, small servings of complex, non-vegetable carbs are allowed.
South Beach earns high praise for weight loss and as an overall healthy way of eating, but gets panned for its complicated meal plans and time-consuming recipes by both users and experts. The ingredients in its recipes can jack up your grocery bill as well. Still, it's popular for those who love to cook, or prefer meals that aren't just a hunk of meat and a vegetable or two. The book is still considered to be the best way to get information on the basic diet, but there are also many follow up books and cookbooks to supplement the original, as well as South Beach compliant recipes available around the Internet.
The official South Beach Diet website is mostly fee-based. Even its adherents quibble over whether the Paleo Diet is low carb or not. Technically, it is not in that it allows some starch-based carbs such as sweet potatoes, yams, and squash. It also allows some fruits. Some Paleo programs allow white potatoes and certain kinds of rice as well. Most Paleo programs don't allow dairy, others do. The Paleo Diet Free is not intended to be a weight loss diet, per se, but rather a way of eating that is meant to be permanent.
In many Paleo protocols, there is a strong emphasis on grass-fed or organic foods, which can be pricey and may not be readily available to some, but other programs recommend that you just purchase the highest quality of food you can afford. Exercise is strongly encouraged.
You don't count calories; you just eat until you're satiated. Proponents of the Paleo diet say it's a much healthier way to eat than the standard American diet, which is often heavy on added sugars and processed foods.
Critics say it's too restrictive, banning dairy, wheat and legumes -- food groups that many nutritionists feel should be part of a healthy diet. However, as we noted earlier in this section, veganism and vegetarianism also ban entire food groups and do not come under the same cloud of criticism. Regardless of where you stand, the fact is that the Paleo way of eating is becoming increasingly popular, as are "nutritional reset" programs based upon Paleo, such as the Primal Blueprint day Challenge hosted by Marks Daily Apple , or the Whole30 program, popularized by the New York Times bestseller, It Starts with Food: Anecdotally, many people say they feel great on the Paleo diet -- losing weight and lowering health markers such as blood pressure and cholesterol.
However, like most programs, many simply don't stick with this way of eating over the long term -- they keep lapsing and going back -- the same issue we see with all eating plans. Again, there is no formal "Paleo" diet, but there are plenty of books and online resources for anyone interested in exploring the idea.
Regardless of which of these diets appeals to you, the biggest challenge for any of them is that you have to have at least some ability in the kitchen -- and for some you have to be pretty competent -- because all of them are based, at least in part, upon purchasing and preparing your own, whole foods. That may be a challenge if food prep is not your thing or you're often pressed for time. In that case, Weight Watchers is probably the easiest program for the non-cook to follow.
They not only have a complete line of prepared foods, they also have tools to give you the points values for the menus of many popular restaurants.
If you really want to make dieting as simple as possible, skip on over to our discussion of the Best Prepackaged Diet Plans for some really convenient weight loss plans. The Ultimate Volumetrics Diet: The South Beach Diet: ConsumerSearch editors personally research every product category to recommend the best choices.
Expert review sources are heavily weighted, but user reviews, especially those where durability or usability are a factor, are crucial to helping us finalize our top picks. Like most other product review sites, ConsumerSearch is supported by a combination of commissions on the sale of the products we recommend and ads that are placed on our site by Google.
If you find something you like, you can help support us by clicking through and buying the products we pick. Best Weight Loss Programs By: Kelly Burgess on December 15, Weight Watchers is still the best choice for both short-term weight loss and long-term healthy eating, while Jenny Craig rules in the prepackaged convenience category. But if neither of those works for you, we also review the top diet books, low carb diets, the Paleo diet and more.
We even recommend less-expensive alternatives to the top commercial diets. Best Weight Loss Programs. Best weight loss program. Sign up at WeightWatchers. Best weight loss book.
Best prepackaged diet plan.