Ranking The Best Diets For Weight Loss In 2020

Starting a new diet is a pretty big commitment lasting anywhere from several months to a full year in many cases. You’ll experience greater long term success by choosing a diet best suited to your lifestyle and your personal diet discipline. Here’s a list of the best diets for weight loss, including a look at sustainability and effectiveness.

Keto Diet

The Keto diet is one of the more effective diets for pure fat loss, because it’s predicated on switching your primary energy source from high carb foods to fat. Keto is a high fat, low protein, and low carbohydrate diet.

Your typical calorie breakdown for each day is:

Fat calories: 70%
Protein calories: 20%
Carb calories: 10%

When your carb consumption is at an extremely low level (less than 20g/day), for long periods of time, your body will enter ketosis and burn fat stores at an accelerated rate.


While an incredibly effective diet for weight loss, it’s not always easy or convenient. Maintaining an extremely low level of carbs eliminates many food staples like bread, rice, and pasta. It’s okay to take a week long break to help relieve some mental fatigue, but you shouldn’t alternate on a daily basis.

The diet is most effective when you remain in ketosis for long periods of time (weeks to months).

Effectiveness For Weight Loss:

Very High. When followed diligently your body will literally be forced to breakdown fat stores to supply much needed energy.

Keto Resources:

Keto food list
50 foods to avoid on keto

Intermittent Fasting

Intermittent fasting is the practice of separating your daily eating and fasting into large blocks of time. A popular method is to consume all your daily calories during an eight hour block of time, followed by a 16 hour fast.

Example Schedule:

Eating (all daily calories): 10am – 6pm (8 consecutive hours)
Fasting (no calories): 6pm – 10am (16 consecutive hours)

Short term fasting allows your body to remain in a fasted state for longer periods of time than normal. Without a steady influx of calories from food during your fast, your body is more likely to utilize the fat you have stored.

Health benefits of intermittent fasting:

– Reduced inflammation
– Increase growth hormone production
– Improved insulin sensitivity


The initial weeks of intermittent fasting can be challenging, but many are able to find a fasting schedule suitable to their lifestyle without becoming too inconvenient. The most important element of fasting is consecutive non-eating hours. It doesn’t matter what time of day that happens, but it needs to be consecutive for the diet to work.

Effectiveness For Weight Loss

Moderate to high. Losing a substantial amount of weight while intermittent fasting is still heavily dependent on your calorie deficit. You’ll experience many of the health benefits while fasting, but weight loss is not guaranteed without proper calorie management.

The potential for intermittent fasting is very high when combined with most calorie counting diets, however. If you’re currently on Weight Watchers, for example, you can dramatically improve your results by following an intermittent fasting schedule along with their eating plan.

Intermittent Fasting Resources:

Intermittent fasting guide
Five intermittent fasting rules you shouldn’t break

High Protein/Low Carb

Switching to a high protein, low carbohydrate diet will help curb hunger cravings while eliminating many of the high calorie junk foods associated with obesity and weight gain. High protein meals have also proven effective because of its influence on blood sugar, and the energy needed to digest.

“Not all calories are equal.” It’s a popular diet phrase, and particularly relevant to high protein diets.

Eating 100 calories of carbs is not the same as eating 100 calories of protein, because of the thermic effect. This is the amount of energy needed to digest food. Protein has a very high thermic effect, with 20-25% of all protein calories needed just to digest it.

For every 1,000 calories of protein, after digestion, you’re only left with about 750 for your body to use. Even though you ate 1,000 calories your body only gets 75% to use after digesting it.

Pretty cool, huh.

What about carbs? For every 1,000 calories of carbs, after digestion, you’re left with about 900-950. The more carbs you eat, the more calories are in your system that will need to be burned or stored, compared to eating protein.


Most low carb diets allow 50-100 grams per day depending on your total calories, and weight loss goals. This is usually enough to help satisfy your carb cravings without wrecking all progress.

Effectiveness For Weight Loss

Moderate. Low carb diets aren’t as effective for rapid weight loss compared to ketogenic diets, but they often have more staying power allowing you to lose weight over longer periods of time. There isn’t going to be any shock value on a weekly basis, but steady weight loss should be expected after several months.

Low Carb Resources:

Low carb fruits and vegetables list

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Best diets for weight loss

Image Credit: Jacob Lund / iStockphoto

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