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2016 has seemingly only just begun but even so, weight loss diet plans are again proving themselves to be influential aspects of human life and wellness. With the extent of extremely diverse diet options, you should be able to find one that suits your character traits and desired outcomes. But with these endless options, contradictions are inevitable. One plan may recommend eliminating fats from your nutrition while another may advocate implementing multiple servings of fats per day. Which diets can you trust?

As scientific research continues to develop, our knowledge of healthy eating practices also improves. Therefore, weight loss diet plans which stand the test of time and stay popular even in the year 2016 deserve acknowledgement, at the very least, and implementation, at most. The following diets top the lists for this year thus far, both in the weight-loss category and in the more general best diet category. In order to cater to all budgets and lifestyles, both homemade and commercial diets will be included, detailing the top 3 plans from each category.

Homemade Weight Loss Diet Plans:

Weight Loss Diet Serving SizesImage Source: caldining.berkeley.edu

Crucial to homemade weight loss diet plans is an understanding of food groups and serving size. The substance of most of these plans lies in the number of servings you should consume from each of the food groups. In order to successfully follow the guidelines established by each unique diet, you first must recognize what resides within the main food groups of fruits, vegetables, grains, dairy, and protein foods. Fruits and vegetables seem fairly self-explanatory, but don’t forget these may also include juiced and dried varieties, not just the whole piece of produce. You can consume grains by means of bread, pasta, oatmeal, cereals or tortillas, among other things. The dairy category contains yogurt, milk, and cheese. And protein foods span from meat, poultry, and fish to beans, eggs, and nuts.

Once you know which foods manifest in each of the food groups, you then must learn what constitutes one serving of each. Due to varying densities, calories, and other characteristics, one serving translates into different amounts depending on the nature of the category. For instance, one serving of fruit equates to 1 medium-sized raw, 1/2 cup of fresh, frozen, or canned, or 4 ounces of juice. One serving of vegetables could be 1 cup of raw leafy greens or 1/2 cup raw or cooked. One slice of bread or 1 ounce of dry cereal, rice, or pasta provides you with one serving of grains. A serving of dairy could look like 1 cup milk, 1 cup yogurt, or 1 1/2 ounces cheese. And one serving of protein foods could be found in 1 ounce of meat, poultry, or fish, 1/2 ounce of nuts, 1 egg, or 1/4 cup of cooked beans. A general understanding of both serving size and food groups allows you to successfully undertake these homemade weight loss diet plans.

DASH Diet

DASH weight loss dietImage Source: gbhealthwatch.com

What is it?
Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension, or the DASH diet, was initially developed to lower blood pressure, thus treating or preventing hypertension without medication. But this approach to healthy eating has expanded to also help its users lose weight. The DASH diet emphasizes an implementation of the knowledge you already wield; eat what you’ve always been told to and avoid what you know is unhealthy.

What can I eat?
The diet focuses on fruits, vegetables, whole grains, low-fat dairy, and lean protein. More specifically, DASH suggests 4-6 servings of fruits, 4-6 servings of vegetables, 6-12 servings of grains, 2-4 servings of dairy, and 1.5-2.5 servings of lean proteins a day.

What should I avoid?
Meanwhile, calorie- and fat-laden foods should be reduced to 5 servings or less of sweets a week and 2-3 servings of healthy fats a day. One serving of sweets could be embodied in 1 tablespoon sugar, jelly, or jam, 1/2 cup sorbet, or 1 cup lemonade. And 1 teaspoon margarine, 1 tablespoon mayonnaise, or 2 tablespoons salad dressing constitutes one serving of fats. The DASH diet also targets salt intake, keeping sodium levels to less than 2,300 milligrams (or 1/2 teaspoon) a day.

What are the benefits?
The DASH diet can improve your health in a variety of ways. Although initially meant to target hypertension, the approach can also help individuals lose weight and prevent osteoporosis, cancer, heart disease, stroke, and diabetes. The diet allows you to use normal foods, prepared in normal ways. You have great flexibility in terms of what you eat and do not have to totally eliminate your favorite indulgences, but rather consume them in moderation.

What are the drawbacks?
But, this diet does require a great deal of effort and determination. Whole, raw ingredients are not cheap and creating meals that align with the DASH criteria will take some forethought and time to assemble.

Raw Foods Diet

Raw Foods Weight Loss DietImage Source: chicagointernalcleansing.com

What is it?
The Raw Foods Diet targets weight loss, overall improved health, and environment-consciousness, all depending on the individual. Proponents of this diet claim that cooking, processing, microwaving, or otherwise modifying food from their natural form eliminates beneficial nutrients and minerals.

What can I eat?
Therefore, your methods of consumption are reduced to their untouched state. This diet largely limits foods to fruits, vegetables, nuts, and legumes, which may be safely consumed without any alteration. Thankfully, many options exist in the year 2016 that make a raw food diet more diverse. Specialty stores sell raw milk, cold-pressed olive oil, and raw coconut butter. You can achieve some variation, also, by juicing, blending, dehydrating, and other alternative processes.

What should I avoid?
What to avoid lies more in the state of the foods rather than the foods themselves. Therefore, you have the freedom to eat whatever you please, as long as it can be consumed in raw form. All pasteurized, processed, and refined foods are off limits — so you must avoid pasta, baked goods, and junk foods unless you can creatively discover a way to prepare these in a raw fashion.

What are the benefits?
Thanks to the technological developments of our day and age, the raw foods diet is a viable and achievable weight loss diet option. Raw food recipes flood the Internet and you can find them with very minimal effort. Also, unlike many others, this diet does not establish any guidelines for the number of servings for each food group. This freedom allows you to eat until your appetite is satisfied.

What are the drawbacks?
Unfortunately, the raw foods diet is quite involved and difficult to maintain. You can purchase equipment in order to create some variety in your daily regimen, but these are expensive and take time to master. Also expensive are the obscure, raw ingredients which require you to venture to specialty grocery stores. And eating out presents a near impossible struggle, as it is difficult to ensure an adherence to rawness in every aspect of the preparation process.

Volumetrics Diet

Volumetric Weight Loss DietImage Source: wedishnutrition.com

What is it?
Unlike the other diet plans discussed thus far, the sole aim of the Volumetrics Diet is weight loss. The thought-process behind this plan lies in the density of foods. By eating more low-density foods, you can consume the same amount of food but with fewer calories. Or, as seen above, by eating low density vegetables over higher density chicken or oil, you can consume a greater quantity for the same amount of calories. Barbara Rolls, a nutrition professor at Penn State University, divided all foods into four categories and suggests you base your diet heavily in Categories 1 and 2, utilize portion control in Category 3, and keep Category 4 foods to a minimum. Category 1 foods are very low-density, including nonstarchy vegetables, fruits, and broth-based soups. Category 2 incorporates low-density foods such as grains, low-fat milk, legumes, and lean proteins. Medium-density items like cheese, higher-fat meats and baked snacks comprise Category 3 and nuts, oils, butters, and sweet constitute the high-density Category 4.

What can I eat?
Therefore, you have great flexibility in what you eat as long as you practice moderation. Your kitchen should be stocked with many Category 1 and 2 foods, and sequentially fewer amounts of Category 3 and 4 foods. Each meal should be comprised of multiple servings of very low- and low-density foods, with maybe one serving of a medium-density food and the occasional treat of a high-density one.

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What should I avoid?
The volumetrics weight loss diet does not specifically forbid any food items, as you dictate when to allow yourself to splurge. You will have to familiarize yourself with compromise, for instance by leaving the butter off your bread in order to be able to put syrup on your pancakes.

What are the benefits?
The benefit to this diet is that nothing is off limits, allowing for great flexibility and low risk of becoming bored with your food options. The Volumetrics Diet can be practiced long term as the anticipation of an occasional treat motivates you to push through less savory meals.

What are the drawbacks?
The freedom that makes this diet so attractive also presents a source of struggle. Some individuals will not possess the degree of self-control necessary in order for to make this plan effective. The lack of structure can also be frustrating for those who prefer more clarity in exactly what they should be eating.

Commercial Weight Loss Diet Plans:

For the individuals who want to lose weight but do not enjoy being creative or resourceful in the kitchen, commercial weight loss diet plans provide an easy way to quickly change eating habits. But, seemingly endless options exist in this market, forcing you to separate effective plans from ones solely intended to cheat you out of money. Below are three verified methods which boast endless success stories and warrant your time, effort, and money if you are looking to lose a few pounds.

Biggest Loser Diet

Biggest Loser Weight Loss DietImage Source: getdiamondcut.com

What is it?
The Biggest Loser Diet facilitates weight loss through smart food choices, reasonable portion sizes, exercise, and a food journal. Biggest Loser books such as “30-Day Jump Start,” “6 Weeks to a Healthier You,” and“The Biggest Loser: The Weight Loss Program to Transform Your Body, Health and Life” provide information about general nutrition along with the program’s specific suggestions. The diet claims to encourage weight loss while also preventing diseases such as cancer, dementia and Alzheimer’s and improving your heart’s health.

What can I eat?
The Biggest Loser Diet focuses on satisfying your appetite through the main food groups of fruits, vegetables, grains, and lean proteins. More specifically, you should consume about 4 servings of fruits and vegetables, 2 servings of whole grains, 3 servings of lean proteins, and 200 calories of extras each day. These servings should be spread out through 3 meals and 2 snack.

What should I avoid?
While this diet allots a few calories a day for “extras”, you should be careful when selecting these treats. Certain foods such as white bread and pasta, pastries, and fried snacks stimulate your appetite rather than quenching it. Also, you should strive for the natural, not the processed, forms of each food group.

What are the benefits?
This weight loss diet plan allows for flexibility within general serving size guidelines. Biggest Losers provides many online resources including recipes and a purchasable meal plan.

What are the drawbacks?
While you have many options with your meals, the Biggest Loser Diet leaves little room for treats. Despite the existence of a daily “extras” category, this is meant more for condiments than for fats or sweets. Also, the calories counting aspect of this diet is a turn-off for many, as it requires a substantial degree of effort.

Weight Watchers Diet

Weight Watchers Weight Loss DietImage Source: seekingalpha.com

What is it?
The Weight Watchers Diet strives to eliminate frivolous calorie counting through mobile apps and online databases. Their newly established SmartPoints food plan gives each food item a numerical value based on its nutrition in the components of calories, saturated fat, sugar, and protein. Depending on demographic information such gender, weight, height, and age, you will be given a SmartPoints target number. Weight Watchers designates Power Foods (most healthy option among a similar food type) and provides recipe suggestions with their corresponding SmartPoints values.

What can I eat?
Your personal preference determines what you eat in the Weight Watchers Diet. Eating what you want is one of the popular mantras of this weight loss diet. This program concentrates on low amounts of saturated fat and sugar and high amounts of protein as these criteria dictate the SmartPoints values. You want to focus on foods which satisfy your appetite. The thousands of recipes offered by the company provide plenty of options with consideration for people with dietary preferences such as vegetarian and gluten-free diets.

What should I avoid?
Again, you should attempt to avoid foods with high point values, such as those with saturated fats and sugar. Processed, refined, and fatty foods will “cost” you more in respect to your specific SmartPoint target number and therefore should be limited, but not necessarily eliminated.

What are the benefits?
The Weight Watchers Diet does not brandish any required membership period. You can sign up for a time, see if the program fits into your lifestyle, and then feel free to cancel your membership whenever necessary. Also, as previously mentioned, you can eat what you want. And the points system can be easily maintained due to its online nature.

What are the drawbacks?
Even so, this program requires both personal effort and paid membership. You must purchase and prepare the ingredients necessary for meals even if Weight Watchers provides the recipes. And if you do not enjoy keeping track of what you eat in any sense, you may not enjoy the SmartPoints system.

HMR Program

Meal Replacement weight loss dietImage Source: jonnydfitness.com

What is it?
Health Management Resources, or HMR, program utilizes meal replacement strategies in addition to fruits and vegetables to reduce calories and encourage weight loss. Unlike the other commercial weight loss diet plans, many different companies offer products which fulfill the HMR guidelines. These companies deliver low-calories shakes, soups, bars, and cereals to your home and substitute daily meals. The amount of meals which you substitute depends on the intensity of a particular program or your particular phase.

What can I eat?
The specific program you choose will dictate the diversity in your meal replacement options. For instance, Ideal Shape Shakes offers weight loss shakes in chocolate, vanilla, strawberry, and mocha flavors. You can keep these flavors interesting simply by adding supplemental ingredients (for suggestions, look at our article: “Can Weight Loss Shakes Be Delicious?“). Aside from what your chosen company provides, you should also consume fruits and vegetables both concurrently with and in between meal replacement options.

What should I avoid?
Knowing what foods to avoid in programs like Health Management Resource’s is quite simple. You may consume the shakes, soups, bars, and cereals sent in the mail, along with fruits and vegetables, but little else. If you chose not to replace all meals, the other meals should be healthy in order to make your meal replacement efforts worth it. Thus, you can either exercise your own knowledge of nutrition or adopt another diet plan in order to determine how to maintain nutrition in all your entire diet.

What are the benefits?
HMR programs and the like require very little effort for big results. You can order meal replacement options from a company of your choosing and they will be delivered directly to your door.

What are the drawbacks?
Adopting a HMR-like program as a weight loss diet makes eating out a challenge. Unless you only utilize meal replacement strategies for a select number of your daily meals, your options will be limited to fruits and vegetables when you visit eateries.

Hopefully this list helped to make sense of the seemingly infinite weight loss diet options advertised in the year 2016. Between these six homemade and commercial diet plans, you can find one which agrees with your lifestyle and personality. The top trending diets of 2016, including the DASH Diet, Raw Foods Diet, Volumetrics Diet, Biggest Loser Diet, Weight Watchers Diet, or HMR Program, are all capable of drastically improving your health. While none can profess to be perfect, by recognizing the benefits and drawbacks of each before committing to one, you increase your chances of sticking with the plan and achieving the weight loss you desire.