Famous Diet Plans

Weight loss diets

Diets can generally be classified as low-calorie, low-carbohydrate, low-fat or a hybrid mixture. They can also be considered as ridiculous, as fads or as sensible. However, various studies have suggested that while most diets work in the short-term, in the long-term they all have close to a 100% failure rate, as people put back all the weight they lost. I find this incredible and I would not believe it were it not for the credentials of the institutions that made the findings.

The following is a long way from a complete list of the hundreds of diets that exist (or have existed) world-wide, but it does include most of the best-known ones. The diets we recommend, listed separately at the end, are those that are close to normal or which can form part of a new life-style. There is a separate section, with more details on these particular diets, including why we believe them to be the best for most people.

Popular diets

There is a truly enormous number of diets, based on all sorts of premises. The following are some of the best known.

Low-calorie diets

“Calories” measure the amount of energy in food and drinks, energy that we expend in our activities or just by being alive. Foods with a high number of calories include those containing a lot of sugar (chocolate, fruit juices, pastries, bread, pasta etc.), fats and oils, nuts and seeds. A low-calorie diet works on the principle that if we reduce the number of calories we consume to below the number we use up, then our weight must fall. (And conversely, too!) A low-calories diet will typically reduce your calorie consumption to about 1,000 to 1,500 calories a day.

There also exist very low-calorie diets, which are for the short-term only and reduce calorie consumption to 800 a day, or fewer.

Weight Watchers   –   The best known dieting system.  Foods & drinks assigned “points”, according to protein, carbs, fat and fiber in them. Dieters allocated daily points budget & within this can eat what they like. Group meetings & on-line aids. Exercise  encouraged.

5:2 Diet   –   “intermittent fasting”

Cambridge Diet   –   food replacement products:   soups, porridges, bars, & shakes  –  they can be the sole food intake or taken together with low-calorie meals.  6 flexible diet plans, ranging from 415 calories a day to 1,500 or more.

Slim-Fast Diet   –   Food replacement products. They recommend 2 meal replacement shakes or bars a day from a long list + one regular meal from list of recipes on Slim-Fast`s website + 3 snacks a day from an long list, which includes crisps & chocolate (!)

Lighter Life Diet   –   Food replacement products   –   combined with weekly counselling. There are diet plans which depend on how overweight you are and which include their “food packs”, consisting of soups, mousses, bars and shakes.

Jenny Craig Diet   –   food replacement products

Nutrisystem   –   food replacement products

Raw Food

Flat Belly

Cabbage Soup Diet   (a Crash Diet)

Low-carbohydrate diets

Despite the simplistic bad reputation they have acquired, carbohydrates are absolutely essential, as they supply the body with energy. There are, however, two categories: 1. simple carbs, which are digested very quickly  and include sugars and processed grains, like white rice, as well as refined breads and pasta – so-called “bad carbs”. 2. complex carbs, “good” carbs, which take longer to digest and include  whole-grain breads and pasta, starchy veg, like potatoes, and beans. A low-carb diet works on the premise that if you restrict calorie consumption, you force the body to burn fat for energy.

New Atkins (and “old” Atkins)   –   4 phases, drastically reduce carbs + extra vitamins & minerals. Regular exercise. Dr Atkins, who started the low-carb diet craze, said it´s eating refined carbs, like sugar, high-fructose corn syrup & flour, that causes weight increase.

South Beach Diet   –   3 phases. There is no limit on portion sizes, but it is a low GI diet. People are encouraged to eat 3 meals & 2 snacks a day & to follow an exercise plan. Rather than eliminating carbs & fats, this diet concentrates on consuming the “right” ones.

The Zone

Paleo (aka “caveman diet”, “hunter-gatherer diet”)   –   The diet consists of foods that can be hunted or  fished (meat & fish) + foods that can be gathered (fruit, veg., eggs, nuts, seeds, spices)   –   supposedly what our ancestors ate 100, 000 years ago.

Glycemic Index (“GI”) Diet

Dukan   –   An unbalanced diet, low carb./high protein, 4 phases. Vitamin supplement and oatbran are part of the diet. The diet plan a daily 20-minute walk.


Low-fat diets

Slimming World   –   Swap high-fat foods for low-fat ones. Select from list of low-fat foods, which they call “free foods” & which include fruit, veg.,pasta, potatoes, rice, lean meat, fish & eggs. You can eat as much as you like of these. There is an exercise plan.




Sugar Busters

Rosemary Conley

TLC   (Therapeutic Lifestyle Changes)


Grapefruit Diet   (a “Crash” diet)

Vegetarian and vegan diets

These are not generally thought of as weight-loss diets, but rather as a way of life. It is notable, however, that the majority of those who have been either vegetarians or vegans for some time tend to be slim.

Vegetarians :

Do not consume any animal products, whether land or sea, though they usually do consume dairy products and eggs. There are several sub-divisions of vegetarianism, some of which do and some of which don´t consume dairy products, eggs and honey.


As well as the vegetarian dietary restrictions, vegans do not consume any animal protein at all. Thus, , for example, eggs, dairy products and honey are also off the menu for them.