Weight loss programs are one of the most effective methods for shedding extra pounds.
They provide structure and accountability when, for many people, dieting on their own can be confusing, overwhelming, and hard to stick to.
Of course, some weight loss programs are more effective than others. You’ll find programs that have people shedding 100 pounds in a year, and others where people don’t lose any weight at all. It can be hard to sort through all the noise in the dieting and weight loss community, so we’ve done it for you.
Part 1 ranks this year’s 11 best weight loss programs in order, and part 2 will go over how they work and answer some FAQs.
WonderSlim is a protein-driven weight loss meal program that offers diet meal plans in 2 or 4-week packages. Packages come in Basic, Core, and Premium sizing depending on how many meals per day you want. You also receive multi-vitamins, fatty acid supplements, and a shopping list to ensure you’re getting the full range of proper nutrition.
Their foods include meal replacement shakes and smoothies, meal replacement bars, snack bars, and other snacks, as well as full lunches and some desserts. In addition to being high in protein and low in fat, sugar, and calories, their food items also incorporate ingredients that are meant to curb appetite and cravings.
There’s very little focus on exercise as a part of this weight loss program, and the makers claim you can easily lose weight on this diet without incorporating additional workouts. Of course, working out doesn’t hurt.
Fructose, corn syrup solids, artificial flavors, and cornstarch are all high on the list, which aren’t typically viewed positively by the health community. That being said, protein and dietary fiber are the two most prominent ingredients. Several studies have shown that a fiber-rich diet helps you lose fat and boosts the metabolism. (1)
WonderSlim participants have seen great success, and it’s probably because a high protein, high fiber, low-calorie diet is shown to be the most effective way to lose weight.
10. Fat Diminisher
This new weight loss system created by Wesley Virgin aims to accelerate your weight loss by resetting your metabolism.
Fat Diminisher really targets those people who feel that they’re not losing weight quickly enough despite diligent diet and exercise. The problem is two-fold: a slow metabolism and a hormonal imbalance.
Studies have shown that intense calorie restriction can actually put your body into starvation mode, causing your metabolism to slow down in order to conserve energy. While you may continue losing weight, it will happen at a very gradual pace because you won’t be burning calories as quickly as you were before. (2)
Additionally, research shows that hormones are one of the biggest influences on your appetite and how much fat your body stores. (3) (4) This means a hormonal imbalance can make it difficult, or nearly impossible, to lose weight at a steady pace.
The Fat Diminisher’s copywritten diet plan does not focus on intense calorie restriction. Instead, it focuses on resetting your body’s fat burning abilities by swapping out certain vegetables for fat-burning superfoods, teaching you about acidic versus alkaline foods, cutting processed foods that can throw off your hormones, and fixing common cardio mistakes people make when exercising for weight loss.
If you’re looking for an effective strategy to boost your weight loss rather than a specific meal plan, this is it.
9. Modere M3
M3 weight loss system by Modere is a three-stage burn, sustain, and sync process. Their dietary supplement boosts your metabolism and helps you burn more calories, the protein shake curbs appetite and helps you keep losing weight, and the fiber drink mix keeps your digestion optimized.
The Modere weight loss program is based on the Mediterranean diet and lifestyle. Studies have shown that the Mediterranean diet can lead to 52% more weight loss than a regular low-fat diet, because it focuses on a full lifestyle change rather than simply restricting fat.
Modere Burn, their fat-burning supplement, contains caffeine, green tea, green coffee bean, chromium, and guarana, all of which are known to help boost the metabolism. In fact, caffeine, which is in several of those ingredients, has been proven to increase fat burning and improve exercise performance, and substances like green tea have antioxidants, which boost metabolism. (5) (6)
Modere Sustain, the protein shake, is made from pea protein. Pea protein is a promising and fairly new complete protein source. One study on rats showed that it increased fullness feelings and reduced calorie intake more than dairy-based proteins, and that it is absorbed slower than whey protein. (7)
Finally, their digestive fiber drink Modere Sync contains whole oat bran. Whole oats are a healthy prebiotic that has been linked to healthy gut bacteria, lower cholesterol, and improved blood sugar levels. (8) (9) It’s also one of the most filling foods and has been linked to decreased risk of obesity. (10)
Nutrimost’s wellness and weight loss programs focus on promoting holistic nutrition and weight management through personalized, flexible food plans and individualized support.
There’s a big focus on eating real, whole foods – Nutrimost does not sell pre-packaged foods, and the Nutrimost philosophy is that low-calorie, cardboard tasting snack bars aren’t a sustainable way to lose weight. Instead, they have you schedule consultations with their medical experts to design personalized meal plans based on an assessment of your weight and body type, which you then pair with weekly consultations and a set of nutritional and weight loss supplements.
Most participants see results pretty quickly, with some losing up to 40 pounds in 40 days. Their supplements, which target specific areas such as kidney support supplement, liver support, and adrenal support, are all natural and very gentle on your system.
Nutrimost is a great option for people who want to lose weight without restricting calories too much or relying on bland, pre-packaged food, and it’s also very helpful for folks who need additional support on their weight loss journey. Studies have shown that having social support and accountability during weight loss greatly improves results, which is what makes the Nutrimost weekly consultations so effective. (11)
7. Ideal Protein
Ideal Protein was developed by medical professionals to promote weight loss and health education. It’s a 4-phase protocol that includes one-on-one coaching, personalized weight loss goals, easy and affordable recipes, and health education.
Products include courses, meetings and coaching, meal replacement products, diet drinks, desserts, and snacks, and a line of gluten-free products. Their foods are healthy, low in calories, easy to make, and tasty.
Ideal Protein has been so successful in helping participants to lose weight largely because it focuses on eliminating sugar, which teaches your body to instead burn fat and protein to create energy, which boosts your metabolism and causes you to shed pounds more quickly. Cutting back on sugars and starches is the most important step to rapid weight loss, and studies have shown that these diets are significantly more effective and sustainable than low fat and low-calorie diets. (12)
You also get to visit a local clinic where a medical professional will assess your current situation and help you develop personalized goals and a weight loss plan that works best for your body. The before-and-after pictures that have been circulating on social media suggest that this combination of in-person coaching and in-home lifestyle changes is pretty effective.
6. Jenny Craig
Jenny Craig has become a household name in weight loss and dieting. Meal plans and diet foods are paired with a dedicated personal consultant to provide you with an individualized weight loss program that holds you accountable. The new Rapid Results program can help you lose up to 16 pounds in just 4 weeks.
You can participate in Jenny Craig through both their in-center programs and an in-home program. In-center programs will include regular visits with your consultant, while in-home programs have food delivered to you and phone meetings with your consultant.
Meals are prepared and take minutes to heat up, making this program very easy and convenient. They even have vegan and vegetarian meals.
The focus of their meal plan is calorie restriction, and participants who follow the diet plan will end up consuming about 1,200 to 1,300 calories per day. The foundation of weight loss is simply to eat at a calorie deficit, and this plan will keep anyone at a significant enough deficit to see results fairly quickly.
According to a study published in the Annals of Internal Medicine, Jenny Craig is one of only two brand name diet programs that are proven to lead to long-term, sustainable results in a safe and healthy way. (13)
Medifast is a diet program developed by doctors for both weight loss and diabetes control. They claim that participants will lose 11 pounds over their first 8 weeks.
The program provides you with 5 small pre-prepared meals per day and then allows for one meat and veggies meal prepared by you. There is some evidence that eating frequent small meals rather than a few large meals can boost the metabolism and decrease hunger, although most studies show that meal frequency doesn’t really play a role in weight loss. (14)
Medifast restricts calories more than most diets – just 800 to 1,000 calories per day. This makes it incredibly effective in the short-run, but harder for some to maintain in the long-run.
Their products also minimize your carbohydrate consumption to just 30-50 grams per day, which can be a very effective method for helping your body lose significant weight. Essentially, by limiting your carb intake, you’re forcing your body to burn extra fat for energy instead of carbs. Low carb diets even release a hormone called PYY that reduces appetite. (15)
The carbs that are part of the Medifast diet are low on the glycemic index, so they moderate your blood sugar. This makes it a great diet for diabetics.
4. Beyond Diet
Beyond Diet gives participants an approved foods list along with a meal plan tailored to your metabolic needs and online support to help them lose weight quickly without having to follow a strict, unrealistic diet.
The food plan is built around whole, fresh foods with a low glycemic index that keep your blood sugar balanced. Mostly, this involves avoiding simple carbs, foods that are high in sugar, and starchy processed foods. Studies have shown that low-GI diets are not only effective in promoting weight loss, but they can also lower blood sugar levels for diabetics and decrease the risk of type 2 diabetes. (16) (17)
Beyond Diet also offers a massive community of over 1 million dieters and coaches who can offer support throughout your weight loss journey. These online groups are built into your diet plan to provide accountability.
They also offer a few more specific weight loss programs. The blood sugar control diet is great for diabetics and people who are at risk for diabetes.
Nutrisystem is a popular weight loss and diabetes prevention program that claims to help you lose up to 13 pounds and 7 inches in the first month. They also have a weight loss program designed specifically for men.
One of the biggest barriers to consistent weight loss is not having the knowledge, time, energy, and money to plan out and cook healthy meals on a daily basis. Nutrisystem aims to completely get rid of that barrier by taking care of the meal planning and portion control part of dieting, so all you have to focus on is eating the meals they provide.
Nutrisystem offers healthy, low-calorie versions of foods you love, even including items like pizza, chips, and chocolate shakes. A Nutrisystem hamburger, for example, has 240 calories, while a fast food burger has 700 calories. Not only do you still get to indulge your cravings, but the meals are high in fiber and portioned out so that you can eat six times per day, making sure you stay full.
A study published in the Annals of Internal Medicine found that people who use Nutrisystem to lose weight shed at least 3.8% more weight than people who attempt to diet on their own. (18)
2. Weight Watchers
Weight Watchers is one of the most popular diet and weight loss programs in the world, helping you drop 2 pounds every week. Not only are their meal plans effective at burning fat, but many participants consider their points counting method of calorie restriction to be easier to stick to than more traditional dieting methods.
The weight watchers points system assigns a point value to every food and drink item based on its nutritional value and calorie count. You’re then allotted a specific number of points per day depending on your weight loss goals, and you can eat whatever you want – even fast food – don’t exceed your limit. Many people find this freedom to be far preferable to restrictive diets.
The way Weight Watchers evaluates nutritional value is based on nutrition density, so they make sure you’re getting the most nutrition for the least amount of calories, which also keeps you full longer. They offer meal plans as well as pre-packaged Weight Watchers meals and snacks, and your diet is paired with accountability meetings that can be in-person or over the phone.
A study published in Circulation: Cardiovascular Quality and Outcomes compared various popular dieting programs and found that Weight Watchers was the most effective at promoting sustained weight loss, even after 12 months of dieting. (19)
1. Advocare 24 Day Challenge
Advocare is one of the biggest names in fitness and weight management, and their 24-day challenge is their most popular weight loss plan. It’s a bundle of six nutritional products, a nutrition guide, workout videos, and online coaching.
The 24-day challenge kicks off with a 10 day cleanse using a herbal detoxifying supplement, fiber, and omega supplements. For the following 14 days, meal replacement shakes help you cut calories dramatically, while fiber and appetite suppressing supplements keep you feeling full. Vitamin and amino acid supplements boost energy, and a multinutrient improves digestion.
Starting with a 10-day cleanse that provides dense nutrition and fiber completely changes the way your body responds to food. It virtually eliminates all cravings and causes your body to metabolize the calories you consume more rapidly. It’s a full reset that trains your body to absorb nutrition and burn fat more efficiently. Apart from sparking rapid weight loss, studies have shown that detoxing can also improve overall health, reduce stress, and even improve energy levels and sleep quality. (20)
The results from participants in their 24-day challenge speak for themselves. It’s possible to lose over 20 pounds in 24 days
Part 2: Why should you use weight loss programs? What are their benefits and side effects?
Weight loss is incredibly difficult. Even when you find a diet that works, it’s often difficult to stick to it and produce long-term results, which is why “yo-yo dieting” is so prevalent. Weight loss programs aim to make dieting more simple and more effective.
There is a myriad of benefits associated with weight loss programs. Let’s talk about some of them, and then we’ll cover a few common side effects associated with these popular fat-burning empires.
Benefits of weight loss programs
The most obvious benefit of weight loss programs is, of course, weight loss. The benefits of weight loss programs versus dieting on your own come from the medical assistance you receive as part of a weight loss program.
This medical assistance can come in the form of pre-packaged foods and individualized meal plans that tell you exactly what to eat in order to lose weight. Many people find that they lose more weight more quickly thanks to the nutritional advice and products designed by people who know much more than them about health and weight loss.
Many weight loss programs also include a mentorship or accountability component in which you work with a medical professional to design your own personalized plan and then check in with them on a weekly or monthly basis to make sure you stay on track. Studies have shown that positive social support and group participation is very effective in maintaining weight loss. (21)
Additionally, studies have shown that the convenience and ease of having healthy, pre-packaged foods that are portion controlled for you lead to more weight loss as compared to self-selected diets. (22)
Side effects of weight loss programs
The most common side effect of weight loss programs is weight regain. While weight loss programs tend to help people lose significant amounts of weight very quickly, many people have trouble keeping that weight off once they’ve stopped the program.
Weight regain is typically associated with extremely restrictive weight loss programs that produce rapid but unsustainable weight loss.
Most other side effects are associated with losing weight too quickly. It’s not recommended to lose more than 2 pounds per week. Extreme rapid weight loss can lead to loose skin, muscle loss, gallstones, and even liver issues. (23)
This varies greatly depending on the weight loss program. While some incorporate a detox that may only have you eating one meal replacement shake per day, others incorporate 6 small, low-calorie meals per day. It’s important to not eat more than your meal plan recommends, otherwise you’re unlikely to lose weight.
Weight loss programs FAQ
What is the failure rate of diets? One of the most involved studies on weight loss programs shows that after eight years, 50% of participants have kept off weight loss of 5% of their body weight or more, and another 25% kept off weight loss that amounted to 10% of their body weight or more. (24)
What is the most effective weight loss program? This depends on your specific body composition, but also on your preferences. Low-calorie diets can be very effective, as can low carb diets. However, the most effective diet is the one you are most likely to stick to.
Is weight loss covered by insurance? Obesity screening and counseling are covered at no cost. Whether or not other weight loss services are covered depends on both your healthcare plan as well as the specific weight loss program.
How can I lose weight without exercising? While exercise is good for you, diet is far more important when it comes to weight loss. As long as you restrict your calories to an appropriate level, you can see weight loss results without any exercise.
Can you lose 10 pounds in a week? While there are certainly some detox and fasting programs that may help you lose 10 pounds in a week, that kind of weight loss is not sustainable or healthy. In fact, most of the lost weight is actually water weight rather than fat.
How do I lose belly fat? Weight loss will automatically lead to a reduction in belly fat, but if you want to specifically target the belly, there are supplements and fat burners out there that, when paired with a diet, help you shrink your waistline quickly. Abdominal exercises such as crunches help as well.
What should I eat to lose weight fast? Foods that are low in calories and high in protein are particularly helpful for weight loss. There is also some evidence that foods with a low glycemic index aid in weight loss.
Thanks to advancements in nutrition and the proliferation of health and wellness companies, losing weight doesn’t have to be a solo journey anymore that keeps you guessing at which foods to eat or restricting yourself so much that you end up falling off your diet and regaining weight.
Weight loss programs aim to make weight loss easier, faster, and more straightforward by providing you with pre-set meal plans, pre-cooked meals, and social support, all of which are designed to help you shed pounds fast.
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