Top 8 Weight Loss Diets for 2021
These 8 diets for weight loss are trending for 2021! From keto, to portion control, and calorie counting, you can have success with any of them, if you can stay consistent!
Most diets are effective in helping you lose weight. However, the diet that will help you keep the weight off is the one that you enjoy eating. Whether it’s calorie, time, or specific food group-based, this list of trending diets for 2021 has something for everyone.
1) The Keto Diet
The Ketogenic diet, most commonly known as keto, is all about eating very few carbohydrates and a lot of fat. To be more specific, the standard ketogenic diet typically consists of 70% fat, 20% protein, and just 10% of carbs – that’s a drastic drop in the carbs most of us are either used to eating or have been told to eat. In fact, the Dietary Guidelines for Americans will recommend that around half of your daily calories be from carbs! So how does keto work, and is it safe?
The Ketogenic diet puts your body in a state of “ketosis,” which is a metabolic state where the body burns fat for fuel to carry out its necessary functions, because it does have not enough glucose from carbs.
Apart from this metabolic process being effective for weight loss, the great thing about Keto is you don’t have to really track much or count calories. Once you know what you can and can’t eat, the rest is pretty simple, and most people find it pretty tasty too!
Here are some foods you would eat on a keto diet:
- Protein: beef, poultry, whole eggs, pork
- Dairy: cheese, heavy cream, sour cream
- Vegetables: asparagus, cauliflower, broccoli, cabbage
- Fruit avocados, blackberries, strawberries
- Fats: olive oil, fatty fish, real mayo, butter or ghee
2) The Paleo Diet
What did humans eat when they first roamed the earth 2.5 million years ago? That’s the Paleo diet in its purest form. The Paleo diet consists of natural foods and fats, including lean meat and game animals, some eggs, fish, non-starchy veggies, fruit, and nuts and seeds.
This eliminates all dairy, sugary drinks, and high fat and sodium-rich processed foods, which usually have too many calories and no nutritional value anyway – that’s reason #1 why this diet helps for weight loss!
The other main reason is that there is a focus on lean protein and veggies and an elimination of entire food groups, including grains and legumes.
Here’s what to eat on a Paleo diet:
- Protein: organic meat, seafood
- Starches: seafood, plantains
- Fats: nuts, oils, ghee
- Produce: all vegetables and fruit except lima beans, potatoes, snow peas, and sugar snap peas
- Dairy: nut or coconut-based dairy
3) Calorie Counting for Weight Loss
Calorie counting to lose weight operates on the simple notion that you gain weight when you eat more calories than you burn, and vice versa. Therefore, you can lose weight by eating fewer calories, and counting them keeps you on top of that goal!
While it can sound like a lot of work tracking your food intake, it’s not impossible, and you only have to keep up with one thing – calories!
First, you will need to figure out how many you need in a day if you don’t know what that is yet. And, as far as staying on track and motivated, there are a ton of apps that will not only allow you to log calories but search for just about any food you can think of.
One thing I like about calorie counting is that it teaches portion control, preventing over-eating in the process. In today’s world, we rarely see proper portions, and as a result, we struggle with serving our own. (read more about getting started with calorie counting here!)
Here’s an example of what a calorie-counted meal would look like:
- A rounded handful (1/2 cup) of pasta or grains
- A fistful (3 oz.) of meat
- A tennis ball (1/2 cup) of vegetables
- A cup of fruit
4) Portion Control Diets
Speaking of portion control, you might decide to only follow this as opposed to a diet diet that restricts a certain food group, and it’s really an invaluable thing to learn!
You know when people say their eyes were bigger than their stomachs – we’ve all been there! And while this phrase is used to explain when someone serves up more than they can finish, the reality is that most people use their eyes to count calories and not their stomachs and eat almost all of what they serve themselves.
Portion control can be practiced in a number of ways; it’s all about finding what works for you. You can use your plate as a reference or even your hands, such as a palm-size serving of meat or a fist-sized serving of veggies.
Drinking water before meals and eating slowly and mindfully can both aid progress here. I would also recommend setting aside half your meal at the very beginning whenever eating out!
Here’s how to portion control using the size of your plate: (or check out my 7 day portion control meal plan here)
- ½ plate: vegetables and salad
- ¼ plate: good quality protein
- ¼ plate: complex carbs
5) Weight Watchers
You may know Weight Watchers as the diet that tracks everything by points. The nice thing about this is it eliminates the guesswork! It also gives you freedom in the sense that no foods are off-limits.
Weight Watchers uses an app that keeps everything simple – you can search for a specific food or ingredient to get the number of points for it and create a whole week’s menu from that!
Your allotted daily points are determined by your weight, height, and lifestyle. It’s very similar to calorie counting, but you may find it easier to track points that don’t go higher than 71, as opposed to calories in the thousands place. Weight watchers is also a big community, and there are a lot of useful tools in the app that you might appreciate.
Here is what a weight watchers’ diet might look like:
- Breakfast: Omelet with toast (5 points)
- Lunch: Cheese and turkey wrap (6 points)
- Snack: Hummus and carrots (3 points)
- Dinner: Grilled chicken with quinoa and veggies (10 points)
6) Low FODMAP
What in the world is FODMAP?
FODMAP stands for fermentable oligo-, di-, monosaccharides, and polyols.
Okay, now you might be thinking, that still doesn’t tell me anything – ha!
Put simply, these are all groups of fermentable carbs that are known to trigger digestive symptoms and aggravate gut symptoms in some more sensitive people. That is why this diet is only recommended for people with IBS, as it helps with gas, bloating, reflux, flatulence, bowel urgency, and stomach pain.
Here is a breakdown of the acronym to help you know what to avoid:
- Oligosaccharides: wheat, legumes, rye, some fruits and vegetables (including onions and garlic)
- Disaccharides: yogurt, milk, and soft cheese; the main carb here is lactose
- Monosaccharides: various fruits, including mangoes and figs. Some sweeteners, including honey and agave nectar; the main carb is fructose.
- Polyols: certain fruits and vegetables, including blackberries and lychee, and some low-calorie sweeteners, such as erythritol and xylitol.
Here’s an example of what to eat on a FODMAP diet:
- Proteins: chicken, eggs, tofu
- Vegetables: carrots, cucumbers, lettuce
- Fats: oils, butter, peanuts
- Fruits: strawberries, pineapple, grapes
- Starches: potatoes, tortilla chips, popcorn
7) Intermittent Fasting
This is the first diet mentioned that focuses on not what you eat, but when. Now, there are different ways you can do IF to customize it to you, but they are all centered around only eating in a certain window of time.
The idea is that after you go hours without food, the body experiences something called metabolic switching, where it exhausts its sugar stores and burns through the calories of your last meal, needing to now burn fat for fuel instead.
You can take a daily approach to intermittent fasting, eating in a six to eight-hour window and fasting for the remaining hours. Or, IF can be done with what is called a weekly 5:2 approach, where you would eat normally for five days and select two days of the week to restrict yourself to having one meal, averaging around 500 calories.
This diet won’t be all that effective if you go wild during your non-fasting hours, though. You should still stick with nutritious foods, and in your fasting hours, you are allowed to drink water, zero-calorie drinks, tea, and black coffee.
Here’s an example of an IF eating schedule:
- 8 a.m.: Black coffee and water
- 12 p.m.: Hearty lunch with fiber
- 3 p.m.: Healthy snack
- 7 p.m.: Protein-packed dinner
- 8 p.m.: Eating window ends
8) Macro Counting
Macros (macronutrients) are the nutrients your body can’t live without – this includes protein, fat, and carbohydrates. This diet is unique in that it encourages you to get enough of the right food choices, as opposed to a focus on limitation.
Your personalized macro diet will be based on your weight loss and performance goals, and you will be tracking the components of calories, as opposed to the calories themselves.
A macro diet can help you lose weight by sticking to the right amount of macros and helping ensure you get the proper amount of protein, which many people fall short on.
I also like this diet because it looks at the bigger picture of good, balanced nutrition, where you pay attention more to what you’re eating.
Here’s an example of what a macro diet in a day might look like for me, but remember, it will be different for you! (Here’s an example of my most recent 7 day macro meal plan)
- Breakfast: Oatmeal with apple slices
- Lunch: Grilled chicken and broccoli
- Snack: Apple
- Dinner: Salmon over couscous with avocado salad
- Dessert: Chocolate zucchini muffin
And there you have it, the top trending diets of 2021! Which will you choose, and why?
Send me a message and let me know – I’ll be here cheering you on! firstname.lastname@example.org
Download the free 7 Day Meal Plan here.
Just an FYI: On the Paleo diet.. you have organize meat as part of what you eat. I think you meant – organic.
I fixed it. Thanks for the heads up!