The 5 Best Weight Loss Programs in 2024

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WeightWatchers, Noom, and the Mayo Clinic Diet all made Healthline’s ranking of the best weight loss programs. But everyone is different, so we’ve ranked a handful of other safe options.

Every year, millions of adults in the United States try to lose weight.

Along with exercise, dieting is one of the most common methods used to promote weight loss.

However, not all diets are created equal, which can make it challenging to find a weight loss program that’s safe, sustainable, and effective.

This article looks at five of the best weight loss programs in 2024, as well as other eating patterns that are worth considering.

Weight loss programs are commercial diet plans that require a membership or subscription fee and typically offer more structure than lifestyle diets, such as the Mediterranean diet or plant-based diet.

Weight loss programs typically provide guidance on which foods to eat or avoid, how frequently to exercise, and how to monitor your progress.

Some programs also provide personal coaching, peer support, or resources aimed at helping you build healthy habits in the long run.

On the other hand, lifestyle diets usually offer more general guidelines on which foods are permitted, giving you a bit more wiggle room when making your meal plan.

Which one is right for you?

While some people might enjoy the flexibility of a lifestyle diet, others might find that not having a clear set of rules or regulations to follow can be a bit confusing.

In some cases, weight loss programs may actually make it easier to follow a certain eating pattern by providing additional resources and support to help you stay on track.

They might also be a better fit for those who prefer a diet plan with more structure, especially as you’re first getting started with your weight loss journey.

Still, keep in mind that not all commercial weight loss programs are safe and effective, especially long term. They can also be expensive and may not be the right fit for everyone.

The weight loss programs below were chosen based on the following criteria:

  • Nutritional quality: Weight loss programs are nutritionally balanced and designed to meet nutritional needs.
  • Sustainability: Weight loss programs are not overly restrictive, are easy to stick with, and are designed to support long-term weight loss.
  • Effectiveness for weight loss: Weight loss programs have all been studied for their ability to promote weight loss.
  • Additional health benefits: In addition to supporting weight loss, some programs may offer health benefits for other conditions.
  • Dietitian review: All the programs below were reviewed by registered dietitians Rachael Ajmera, MS, RD, and Kelli McGrane, MS, RD.
  • Vetting: The programs and products on our list have been vetted to ensure that they align with Healthline’s brand integrity standards and approach to well-being. You can read more about our vetting process.

There are a number of factors to consider when finding a diet or weight loss program that works for you. Here are a few key considerations:

  • Lifestyle and preferences: To improve your chances of losing weight and keeping it off, it’s important to choose a diet that can easily fit your lifestyle and food preferences.
  • Realistic approach: Similarly, look for a diet program or pattern that’s realistic and sustainable. Steer clear of diets that are overly restrictive or promise a quick fix for rapid weight loss.
  • Effectiveness: Select a program that’s backed by research and has been shown to be effective for weight loss.
  • Whole foods approach: Look for a program that emphasizes eating whole foods, and be cautious of those that require you to purchase expensive products or supplements to get results.
  • Lifestyle approach: Weight loss is about more than just what you eat. It’s important to choose a program that incorporates other healthy habits, such as regular physical activity and mental wellness practices.

If you have any underlying health conditions or are taking any medications, be sure to consult a trusted healthcare professional before making changes to your diet.

While some people may prefer commercial weight loss programs, there are many other options available that can help you lose weight.

In fact, following a healthy eating pattern might be a better choice for some. In addition to being more budget-friendly, these eating patterns also often offer more flexibility than many commercial weight loss programs.

Here are a few of our top picks to consider:

  • Mediterranean diet: The Mediterranean diet is inspired by the eating patterns of the Middle East and Mediterranean and prioritizes nutritious whole foods. Not only can the Mediterranean diet lead to weight loss, but it may also help prevent chronic conditions, such as type 2 diabetes and heart disease.
  • Plant-based diet: Plant-based diets are less restrictive than vegan diets and are rich in fiber to keep you feeling full. Studies show that plant-based diets may be more effective for weight loss than conventional diets and may even lead to greater improvements in blood sugar, cholesterol, and inflammation.
  • Low carb diet: Low carb diets are often recommended to improve insulin sensitivity and help manage polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) symptoms. Reviews published in 2019 and 2021 found that following a low carb diet could help increase weight loss, balance hormone levels, and improve fertility in people with PCOS.
  • DASH diet: The DASH diet was specifically designed to support heart health and has been shown to decrease blood pressure, total cholesterol, and LDL (bad) cholesterol, all risk factors for heart disease. Additionally, a 2020 review showed that the DASH diet could also lead to significant reductions in body weight and belly fat.
  • MIND diet: The MIND diet may help support brain health and preserve brain function as you age, making it a great option for older adults. While limited research is available on the MIND diet for weight management, both the Mediterranean diet and DASH diet have been associated with increased weight loss.
  • Vegetarian diet: Vegetarian diets emphasize nutrient-dense plant foods and can be easily adapted to fit your personal tastes and preferences. Research suggests that following a vegetarian diet can also be an effective way to boost weight loss and improve diet quality.

There’s no one-size-fits-all solution for weight loss. Therefore, the most effective weight loss program for you may depend on your goals, needs, and preferences, as well as whether you’re able to follow it in the long term.

In Healthline’s internal review of diets, the Mediterranean diet and the plant-based diet scored the highest, with an overall rating of 4.8 and 4.9 out of 5, respectively. In terms of commercial diet programs, Calibrate had the highest rating, receiving a score of 4.2 out of 5.

WeightWatchers uses a simple points-based system to help you learn to make healthier choices. Research from 2021 suggests that it may be similarly effective for long-term, sustainable weight loss as other commercial weight loss programs.

The best way to keep weight off long term is to make sustainable changes to your diet and lifestyle. This may include exercising regularly, eating fewer processed foods, or enjoying more healthy homemade meals instead of dining out.

Many factors can make it harder to lose weight, including several medical conditions.

You may want to consider consulting a healthcare professional, such as a doctor or registered dietitian, to determine whether other factors may be involved and develop a plan to help you reach and maintain a moderate weight.

There are many weight loss programs available, so it’s likely you’ll be able to find something that can work for you.

When picking a diet, look for a program that’s realistic, sustainable, and backed by research.

Be sure to incorporate other healthy habits, such as regular physical activity and mindful eating, into your daily routine to maximize weight loss and improve your overall health.

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