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The Best Popular Diets

Which of Today's Popular Diets is the Best?

In recent years, there has been an explosion of different diets in America. With so many options available, it can be challenging to choose the right one that fits your lifestyle and health goals. To get you started, let's take a look at some of the most common frameworks used by diet plans today.

First, the ketogenic diet is a high-fat, moderate protein, and low-carb diet that forces the body into a metabolic state called ketosis. In ketosis, the body burns fat for energy instead of glucose. This diet has become popular because it has been associated with rapid weight loss, increased energy levels, and improved mental clarity.

Wednesday, July 17th

2024 Popular Diet Reviews

Top Consumer Reviews Best-In-Class Blue Ribbon Award Weight Watchers Review 5 Star Rating

Weight Watchers

5 Star Rating
  • Affordably priced (starting at $15 and $30 per month, depending on your plan and location)
  • Proven way to lose weight
  • Top diet recommended by doctors
  • Teaches you to make sustainable changes for life
  • Get as much support as you like
  • In-person and app-only options
  • Price varies by geographic area
  • No food is "forbidden"
  • Over 500,000 five-star reviews
  • You do all of the shopping, meal prep, cooking and tracking
Top Consumer Reviews Best-In-Class Blue Ribbon Award

Weight Watchers has been a pioneer in the weight loss industry and has helped millions of people around the world achieve their weight loss goals.

How it all began

Founded in 1963 by Jean Nidetch, a housewife from Brooklyn, Weight Watchers began after Jean struggled with her own weight and decided to start a support group with her friends. The group grew quickly and Jean soon realized that there was a demand for weight loss support and guidance. The program gained popularity in the 1970s and 1980s and started to offer pre-packaged meals and snacks as well as support groups, but has since evolved to be a points-based way of approaching food and with a focus on overall wellness (not just weight loss). You may see this popular diet branded simply as WW.

Two plan options based on support level

When setting up your membership with Weight Watchers, you have one easy decision to make: how much support do you want?

  • The Core Plan is 100% DIY through the WW app. That's where you'll track your food, plan your meals, log your workouts, and connect with a coach at any time of day or night. This option is perfect for anyone that's too busy to meet face-to-face (or for introverts who really would rather not).
  • On the other hand, if you need some in-your-face accountability, consider the Weight Watchers Premium Tier. This gives you both in-person and virtual workshops as often as you need them: seven days a week, morning through evening, and with no limit. Pricing starts at $15 and $30, respectively, but it can vary based on where you live. You can enter your zip code on the site and find out what the fees will be in your area.

Point system lets you eat your favorite foods

Hey, we all know diets can be a real struggle. But the good news is, Weight Watchers has got your back. It earns our highest ranking among popular diets for one simple reason: they don't expect you to live off of cardboard-flavored prepackaged meals or swear off all things delicious. Nope, they let you have your cake and eat it too (literally) with their Points Budget system.

Best Popular Diets

Eat what you like

Want a glass of wine? Go for it. Craving some chocolate? Have at it. And if you run out of points, don't panic - there's a whole list of "ZeroPoint" foods you can munch on to your heart's content, like yogurt, fruit, eggs, and some veggies. No tracking or measuring required for Zero Point items. Weight loss has never been so tasty - and this way of eating teaches you healthy habits for life that don't rely on deliveries of pre-made food.

Food tracking required

Yes, you do still have to track what you eat as you "spend" your allotted points. WeightWatchers wants to wake you up from your autopilot, zombie-like snacking habits and make you aware of what's actually going into your body. But don't worry, they're not expecting you to whip out a calculator and crunch the numbers. Instead, you can use the app to scan barcodes or search for foods like a pro. Just be prepared for some shocking revelations - who knew that innocent-looking granola bar was actually a sugar bomb in disguise?! And while Weight Watchers won't promise you'll drop 20 pounds in a week (let's be real, that's just witchcraft), they'll help you shed weight at a healthy pace of 1-2 pounds per week.

Pricing and packages can get confusing

Our only criticism of Weight Watchers is that the pricing and program options get really convoluted. Basic pricing starts at that $15/$30 amount we mentioned, and we understand that it can be higher in different regions to accommodate the costs required to operate the in-person locations. But, as you set up your Weight Watchers plan, you could easily be overwhelmed by the various packages offered. During our most recent visit, there was a nine-month plan that came with three months free, no starter fee, and a smart scale. There was also a three-month plan with one month free and no starter fee. Oh, and also a month-to-month plan with a $20 starter fee and $43/month in fees. Oof. You can cancel your plan at any time, but there are no refunds offered if you quit before the term you selected at sign-up.

First choice among diets

We know that not every diet plan is a perfect fit for everyone - we all have our own unique approaches to food and life, right? But the good news is that Weight Watchers is the #1 diet recommended by doctors, and the app has over 500,000 reviews on the Google Play store alone with an awesome average of 4.6 out of 5 stars. Of course, we wish there were a free trial available so you could try Weight Watchers out for yourself, but it's not super expensive to get started - and the best part is that you can still enjoy your favorite foods and treats (hello, potato chips) while making healthy changes. So why not give it a shot? Who knows, it just might be the perfect plan for you as our #1 pick among popular diets.

Mayo Clinic Diet Review 4.5 Star Rating

Mayo Clinic Diet

4.5 Star Rating
  • Several payment plans available
  • Ranges from $19.99-$49.99 month or one-time fees from $99.99 to $199.99
  • 6 different menu options: Original, Simple, Higher Protein, Healthy Keto, Vegetarian, Mediterranean
  • No calorie counting or strict portion control
  • Unlimited fruits and vegetables
  • Emphasizes sustainable changes through better nutrition and physical activity
  • All members get unlimited group coaching, a private Facebook group, and a personalized plan
  • 5-day money-back guarantee
  • Several payment plans available
  • Limited trial period

The Mayo Clinic Diet is a popular program that was developed by experts at the Mayo Clinic, a nonprofit medical organization based in Rochester, Minnesota. The diet is designed to help people lose weight and improve their overall health by emphasizing healthy eating habits and regular physical activity.

No calorie-counting here

One thing people love about this popular diet is the lack of calorie-counting or strict portion control. Instead, you'll focus on making healthier food choices with meals and snacks that help you feel satisfied but not overly full. You can have all of those fun foods you enjoy, but the Mayo Clinic Diet will help you become more aware of which things help you feel better and stay full longer.

Many different subscription terms

What you'll pay for your Mayo Clinic Diet plan depends on two things: whether you pay monthly or upfront and how long you want to use the system. Paying upfront offers the biggest savings: you can pay $99.99 for a three-month plan, $149.99 for a six-month plan, or $199.99 for a full year. If you prefer to pay month-to-month, your options include $49.99 charges each month, $39.99/month when paying quarterly, $29.99/month when choosing a six-month plan, or $19.99/month for the full-year membership. Got all that?

6 different meal plans + personalizations

There are six different meal plans you can choose from here: Original, Simple, Healthy Keto, Mediterranean, Vegetarian, and Higher Protein. Download sample menus right on the Mayo Clinic Diet website. From there, you can jump in and click the "Join Now" button, but we suggest taking Mayo's free diet assessment first. It'll take you three minutes or less and you'll answer questions about your current motivation, healthy eating habits, physical activity, recreational activities, and so on. When you're finished, you'll be taken to a personalized plan based on your answers.

3 phases of dieting

For us at least, the Mayo Clinic Diet broke down our plan into three phases. In weeks 1-2, the "Lose It" phase, we'd start by adopting healthy habits and lose anywhere from 6-10 pounds. The "Live It" phase encompassed weeks 3-12 with a focus on getting enough of the right foods and incorporating some tracking tools, with a weight loss target of up to 25 pounds over three months. Finally, the "Love It" phase for weeks 12+ allowed us to either continue on to our goal weight or start focusing on maintenance, staying connected with our support community, and experimenting with different meal plans to stay inspired.

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Extras included

As part of all Mayo Clinic Diet plans, you'll get access to unlimited group coaching (though they don't really explain what it is or how it works), practical at-home workouts, access to a private Facebook group for members only, and many other features.

Plenty of love from clients

For the most part, people enthusiastically recommend the Mayo Clinic Diet. On Trustpilot alone, there were over 350 reviews averaging 4.5/5 stars, with over two-thirds giving this diet a perfect five-star rating and many of those were entered within a few months of this evaluation. Time and again, customers said that following this plan really did help them drop significant pounds within the first few weeks, that it's enjoyable following the menus, and that this diet doesn't leave them feeling hungry with unlimited veggies and fruits for snacks.

Just a few complaints

There were very few complaints to be found, though some users said that the recipes got repetitive, the grocery lists were excessive for single people, and that some of the meal plans weren't exactly budget-friendly. When you sign up, you'll have five days to play around with the tools and meal plans to see for yourself; just make sure if you need a refund, you request it before that trial period ends.

Best no-tracking-required diet

The Mayo Clinic Diet is a plan we're excited to recommend. Not only does it allow you the freedom to not stress out about counting calories or tracking everything you eat, but it actually works to jump-start your weight loss while teaching you healthy habits that are sustainable for a lifetime. Among the popular diets in our review, this is one that should be on your "must consider" list.

Nutrisystem Review 4 Star Rating

Nutrisystem

4 Star Rating
  • Starting at $9.99/day
  • Ready-made meals include breakfast, lunch, dinner, and snacks (eat six times a day)
  • Easiest way to jump-start your diet immediately
  • No meal tracking necessary
  • Many plans to choose from, including partner options and age 55+
  • Plans come in four-week increments
  • All plans include 7-days-a-week support and counseling from trained weight loss coaches and registered dietitians
  • Free NuMi app with fun challenges, prizes, and interactive community groups
  • Free shipping
  • 7-day money-back guarantee on new 4-week plans

For over 50 years, Nutrisystem has been helping millions of people to lose weight. If you've ever wanted to just buy a "diet in a box" and do away with shopping and meal prepping in one fell swoop, Nutrisystem should rise to the top of your list.

Menopause-friendly option

There are lots of ways you can set up your Nutrisystem diet, all of which come in four-week increments. Are you a woman that's 55 or older? Consider the Complete 55 plan. You'll get a unique program based on your nutritional needs and metabolism as a woman (theoretically) in menopause. You'll start out in month one with all of your meals and snacks for seven days a week, and then in subsequent months Nutrisystem will transition you over to five days a week of meals plus two flex days where you can put your new healthy habits to work by choosing your own meals. You'll have access to all of Nutrisystem's tools (like the NuMi app and coaching); it'll just provide the additional insights and strategies for women in your life stage.

Partner up for savings - and results

How about losing weight with a partner? These plans start at $9.99 per day, per person, and some of your frozen meals will come with two portions in one package. Each of you can separately access all of the Nutrisystem tools like coaching, logging, and challenges - plus research shows that you're more likely to lose weight if you work at it with a friend or significant other.

Basic = self-stable

Or, keep it simple and go with the Basic plan, described as "convenient pantry-ready food that's perfect for eating on-the-go" . It comes with breakfasts, lunches, dinners and snacks to cover five days a week and starts at $9.99 per day. This is a great option if you don't have a lot of freezer space, since everything is packaged in a shelf-stable format.

Uniquely Yours vs. Max+

But, most people looking for a popular diet plan will be looking at Nutrisystem's Uniquely Yours - and, at the time of this review, an upgrade to Uniquely Yours Max+ was included at no extra charge. What's the difference between the two? The Max+ plan adds more menu choices, Hearty Inspirations' high-protein entrees, and the Fast 5 program for dropping five pounds in the first week. You can decide if you want all of your meals and snacks for five or seven days a week, with pricing starting at $12.14/day.

Men's plans are also available

One side note: all of these plans assume that you are a woman (that's bold of them, don't you think?). You'll need to click on the Men's Plans option if that's not the case - or if you'd just rather have a higher daily caloric intake with your Nutrisystem meals. That could be the case if you're already exercising at a high level, work in a physically-demanding field, or if you just want the comfort of eating a little more every day. That, of course, means you'll pay more per day (starting at $11.61/day). Also, there's a men's plan for those in the second half of their lives; interestingly, for men, that starts at age 50 and not 55.

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Updates to match your changes

In 2023, Nutrisystem restructured its plan to be personalized to each person's body. Your plan adapts as you lose weight, so you won't get stuck and give up. Most of this is done through Nutristystem's free app, NuMi. It helps you keep track of what you eat and how much you exercise. You can also get advice from coaches, find healthy recipes, and participate in daily motivation challenges with prizes. If you don't want to use the app, there's a printed guide that comes with the food to tell you what to eat and when.

Tasty entrees

So, you're getting most or all of your meals and snacks delivered. Are you actually going to like the way they taste? For the most part, followers of this popular diet say "Yes" . One thing we love about Nutrisystem is that you can see customer ratings on each meal before you add it to your plan (for example, you might want to avoid the Frozen BBQ Chicken Pasta Bowl and definitely try the Caramelized Onion/Mushroom/Turkey Sausage Pizza).

Add extra fruits/veggies to stay full longer

Your entree selections can be as hands-on or hands-off as you like, but Nutrisystem recommends opting for the Chef's Choice menu in your first week. It includes their most popular entrees and can help you get your diet started right away, without having to spend too much energy making decisions. After that, you should have a better sense for what you like and then you can pick and swap as needed. Be aware that you may still need to hit the grocery store, if you want to incorporate fresh produce into your meals; Nutrisystem encourages that as a way to feel satisfied longer.

Guarantee limited to first week of first order

What if you jump into a four-week plan with Nutrisystem and decide you don't like it? You've got seven days into your first shipment to request a refund. You'll have to send back any remaining food, and you won't get a refund for any shipping fees that you paid. That's not a very generous guarantee, but it's better than nothing (and it's to be expected when dealing with food products).

They make it easy

If the thought of menu planning, grocery shopping, and meal prepping makes you want to die a little, Nutrisystem can take almost all of that off your plate (pun intended): just stop by the store for some fruits and veggies and the rest is taken care of. That's the biggest draw of this popular diet: you can get started right away and see the weight start to come off.

Best of the ready-made meal diets

Is Nutrisystem worth it? For many people, absolutely. You've got support through the NuMi app, which will guide you towards new habits including exercise. Of course, the biggest downside is the price - but think of what you won't be spending at the grocery store and it makes the cost a little easier to swallow (pun intended again). Among popular diets, Nutrisystem is our preferred choice for anyone looking for ready-made meals that actually taste good.

Noom Review 3.5 Star Rating

Noom

3.5 Star Rating
  • As low as $129 for a 12-month plan
  • Helps you understand your thoughts and habits around food, sleep, exercise, and more
  • 12-month plan broken down into multiple phases
  • No foods are off-limits
  • Weekly guidance from a coach
  • One-time fee (though some users are only offered month-to-month billing)
  • May be covered by some insurance plans
  • 14-day grace period if you decide you want a refund
  • "A+" rated and accredited by the BBB
  • Pricing varies and can be costly

Noom is a popular diet program that has gained a lot of attention in recent years due to its unique approach to weight loss. Unlike many other diets that focus solely on food and exercise, this platform emphasizes behavior change as a key component of weight loss. The program provides users with daily lessons and coaching that help them develop healthy habits and a positive relationship with food.

Coaching + support group

Let's dig a little deeper into each of those aspects of using Noom for your diet, starting with coaching. Your membership will include personalized coaching from trained health professionals, including registered dietitians, exercise physiologists, and certified personal trainers. The coaching is tailored to each individual's goals and preferences, which can provide a sense of accountability and motivation. But, keep your expectations in check: when we used Noom, that "coaching" was really more of a generic weekly check-in with our assigned coach and didn't involve much more than a few messages back and forth. You'll probably have more interactions within your cohort - in other words, you'll have a support group that includes other Noom users who signed up around the same time.

Keep your phone handy

Yes, you will need a smartphone to best use Noom, because it's based on a mobile app to help you track food intake, exercise, and weight loss progress. It's where you'll get daily lessons and little daily challenges (in a satisfying check-it-off list format) to help you develop healthy habits and a positive relationship with food.

Color-coded food system

One aspect of using this popular diet program that can be hit-or-miss is the way you track what you eat. Noom does not eliminate any foods or food groups from the diet, but instead encourages you to make healthy choices and practice portion control. This flexible approach can make the diet more sustainable and easier to follow long-term for some people. On the other hand, Noom's food tracking doesn't use traditional "macros" - identifying the carbs, protein, fats, and so on - but rather identifies foods as "green" , "yellow" , or "red" . The idea is that you should enjoy green foods abundantly, yellow foods in moderation, and avoid red ones. We didn't necessarily agree with the apparent rationale behind some of those labels (tuna is yellow?), and didn't find it to be as helpful as other popular diets that teach you to read nutritional info on labels and understand what's in the food you're eating.

Understand the psychology behind the behavior

Noom is best approached with a 12-month mindset (though you can choose to subscribe just for a few months). While your daily tasks will always help you think about your nutrition and physical activity, you'll also get little lessons backed by behavioral science and psychology - to get into the "why" behind your habits and teach you to avoid situations that may trigger unhealthy ones. If you have any kind of background in psychology, you'll probably find these lessons almost painfully obvious, but for a lot of Noom users it's the first time they have that "A-ha!" moment about why stress makes them run for a bag of chips.

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Pricing can vary, but all plans have a 14-day refund period

What will you pay for Noom? Each time we filled out the rather lengthy new member questionnaire, it seemed like we got a different pricing plan. The lowest we spotted was $129 for a year of access, which is an amazing deal. But, even in Noom's FAQ, it says that you should expect pricing to range anywhere from $70 per month when paying as you go, up to $209 for an annual, auto-renewing subscription. You could pay even less if you're able to access Noom as an employee benefit or through your health insurance. Either way, you'll have 14 days to change your mind and get a refund if you don't wind up liking this popular diet program.

Some people really love this diet

Reputation-wise, Noom can be hit-or-miss. The Better Business Bureau still gives the company an "A+" and accreditation, despite the 1,500+ (!) complaints filed there over the last three years. Fortunately, all of those issues were addressed and usually resolved, hence the flawless rating from the BBB. Those who love Noom appreciate the insights it offers into their behaviors, allowing them to tackle the root causes behind their choices regarding nutrition, exercise, stress, and sleep. 60% of clients on Trustpilot rate Noom with a perfect five stars.

Some downsides

On the other hand, over 20% of Noom's reviewers only give it three stars or fewer. Most people don't find the app to be useful over the long haul and wind up switching to a system that gives them more detailed nutritional tracking - or they decide to just do it on their own from there on out. We also spotted a pattern of complaints about the app, and there was even an alert on the Noom site at the time of this review that apologized for problems across the platform that were being worked on. Even when the app is working well, you may not get as much feedback from your coach as you're expecting - and you might find that your coach gets swapped out with another multiple times over the course of your Noom membership.

Better than average, but take advantage of the 14-day trial period

We still give Noom a better-than-average rating, despite some of the downsides. For some people, this will be the first time they walk (gently) through the reasons behind their behaviors and truly understand them - and that's a powerful catalyst for change. And, with no strict eat/don't eat lists plus a customized timetable for weight loss, this popular diet can feel much more doable than some of the rival options in our review. Is it enough, though? Not for everyone, honestly. We recommend that you play around with the subscription process (maybe even hold off on signing up until after you've gotten a few lower-price offers via email?) and then put Noom to the test for that two-week grace period. Then you'll have a much better idea if Noom will be the right fit for your weight loss experience.

Atkins Review 3.5 Star Rating

Atkins

3.5 Star Rating
  • Free meal plans and other tools
  • Only costs are what you spend on food (Atkins-brand or otherwise)
  • Single-focus diet: low-carb/keto
  • The only cost is what you spend on food (can be Atkins-brand meals and snacks or whatever you buy at the store)
  • Allows you to sync with fitness trackers
  • Track your progress
  • Online support community
  • Diet can be overly restrictive
  • Many healthy foods (certain fruits and vegetables) aren't allowed
  • High-fat diet can be problematic for some (people with high cholesterol)

You could say that the Atkins diet was the pioneer in low-carb/keto eating. Since the early 2000s, this plan has taught millions of people how to reduce carbs, especially with the intent of controlling blood sugar (diabetics and those at risk of developing the condition). If you're all about the steaks and avocados and not a huge fan of fruit or bread, Atkins could be your perfect diet.

Atkins site is free to use

One reason you may want to consider this popular diet is - it's free. Well, sort of. The Atkins site has tons of free tools you can use, from meal plans complete with recipes and shopping lists to trackers for monitoring your progress. Need an online support group? You'll find that and then some in the Atkins community.

Buy the food

So where does the cost come in? You'll be on your own when it comes to food: unless you buy ready-made meals and snacks (either through the Atkins site or at your local supermarket), you'll spend whatever it takes to fill your fridge and pantry with the meat, poultry, fish, eggs, cheese, and healthy fats (like nuts, oils, and seeds) that are common to all Atkins plans. And we all know that a pound of shrimp (allowed) is going to cost far more than a pound of bananas (not allowed).

Can you be super-strict with your diet?

It's going to take some work to implement - and stay on - the Atkins plan (or any keto diet, really). You're going to have to count calories, weigh and measure what you eat, and keep track of it all faithfully - in order to make sure that you're sticking to the daily carb limits of the plan you choose.

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3 plans to choose from

There are three you can choose from on the Atkins site: Atkins 20, Atkins 40, or Atkins 100. The number refers to the number of allowed net carbs per day, and it's pretty safe to say that the 20 plan will take the most effort if you're used to eating carbs-carbs-carbs. Theoretically, you could try starting with the Atkins 100, but the site says that that plan is best for people already living a low-carb lifestyle and trying to maintain their weight. You'll definitely want to spend some time browsing the site, considering the meal plans, and being honest with yourself about your willingness (and ability) to change your eating habits in this way.

High-protein, high-fat diet not appropriate for everyone

Another factor to consider is your overall health. Your primary care physician can tell you if a low-carb, high-protein and high-fat diet is suitable for you. If you're trying to avoid or control diabetes, it could be ideal. But, if you also are struggling with heart disease, high cholesterol, or other conditions, the Atkins diet could make some problems worse.

Great option - if keto is right for you

If you've already determined that the keto approach is right for you, the Atkins diet is a smart place to start. You'll find plenty of free resources on the site that can help you flesh out what your day-to-day eating and weekly grocery/meal prep routine might look like, and make sure you're setting yourself up for success. However, many people trying to overhaul their lifestyle might find that the Atkins approach is too restrictive right out of the gates, and some nutritionists would argue that a plan that eliminates so many otherwise healthy foods (like many fresh fruits and veggies) isn't a great choice. Work with your doctor and decide if Atkins (or any other low-carb/keto) diet is your best option.

Lumen Review 3.5 Star Rating

Lumen

3.5 Star Rating
  • $249 for six months
  • $299 for one year
  • $459 for one year for two users
  • 6- and 12-month memberships include the cost of the device
  • 30-day refund policy
  • 1-year warranty
  • Next-level metabolism science
  • Relatively new technology = not as much feedback as some popular diets
  • Can feel complicated
  • Not suitable for users with diabetes, severe asthma, COPD, kidney disease, cancer, thyroid disorder, or who are pregnant

The Lumen diet is a weight loss program that is based on a device called Lumen, which is a handheld breath analyzer that measures your metabolism in real-time. The device is designed to help users optimize their metabolic health and improve their weight loss results.

Super science-y weight loss tool

How does it work? The Lumen device measures the concentration of carbon dioxide (CO2) in your breath, which is a marker of your metabolic rate. By measuring your breath, the device can provide personalized recommendations on nutrition and exercise based on your results.

Recommendations every morning

Each day, you start by using the Lumen device to measure your metabolic rate in the morning before eating or drinking anything. The device provides a score between 1 and 5, which indicates your current level of metabolic flexibility. Based on that score, the Lumen app recommends foods that are suitable for that daily reading, including macro ratios and meal timing. The app also provides personalized exercise recommendations based on your current Lumen score. From there, you'll also monitor your progress using the Lumen app, which provides daily feedback on their metabolic rate and weight loss progress, as well as guidance on how to make adjustments to the diet and exercise program to optimize your weight loss results.

Device cost included in 6- or 12-month memberships

How about the cost? When we visited the Lumen site recently, we were offered a $25 discount if we signed up for the email newsletter. Without the discount, you can expect to pay $249 for one user for six months of tracking, $299 for one user for a year of tracking, and $459 for one year of tracking with two users on the same device. All memberships include the Lumen breath tracker.

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More complex than just watching what you eat

Lumen is still really new to the diet marketplace - and so you might not understand every little detail about how it works before you sign up. For example, you might have a hard time adapting your food plans for the day if you have to wait until the morning when you analyze your breath, in order to know what macros you're trying to hit. Also, while Lumen adapts to your overall physical activity and offers integrations with some wearables, there's not a lot of information about how your results are affected if your daily steps aren't entered (either by syncing or manually). That's why we appreciate that it has a 30-day refund policy.

Initial results are impressive

Still, preliminary feedback from Lumen users is remarkably positive despite being such a new service. With almost 2000 ratings on Google Play and almost 3000 on the Apple App store, averaging out to 4.5/5 stars on both platforms, that's definitely showing Lumen is off to a great start. Feedback indicates that Lumen might be best suited to those who are already experienced with health and wellness but might be trying to break through a weight loss plateau, or for those who have fitness goals that would be enhanced by having a day-to-day read on their metabolism.

Novel "diet" that has potential

Lumen takes a completely different approach to dieting than any other service in our review. If you're the type of person who likes to be on the bleeding edge of technology, Lumen will absolutely capture your attention. However, it's nothing like a traditional, popular diet: you won't get ready-made meals delivered to your doorstep or a long list of restricted foods, but rather a tool that helps you gauge day by day what the nutritional content of your food should be in order to reach your goals. We anticipate Lumen jumping up in our rankings once it gets a little more established as a service and is better-suited for a wider range of clients.

Whole 30 Review 3 Star Rating

Whole 30

3 Star Rating
  • $36 for the first month ($21/month thereafter)
  • $59 for the first quarter ($45/quarter thereafter)
  • $99 for the first year ($91/year thereafter)
  • Can improve your digestion
  • Can increase your energy
  • May improve your skin
  • Low-carb, high-protein can be helpful for controlling blood sugar
  • 10-day money-back guarantee when purchasing a meal plan
  • Very restrictive
  • Can be expensive to buy high-quality, organic produce and meats/seafood

The Whole30 diet is a 30-day elimination diet designed to help people identify foods that may be causing inflammation, digestive issues, or other health problems. This diet emphasizes eating whole foods such as meat, seafood, vegetables, fruits, nuts, and seeds, while restricting potentially problematic foods and ingredients like sugar, grains, dairy, legumes, and alcohol.

Tools to keep it simple

Sounds like a lot? It is. RealPlans' Whole30 tries to make it easier with tools like a mobile grocery list, partnerships with Instacart and Amazon Fresh (so that you can skip the supermarket and get your Whole30-compliant foods delivered right to you... and avoid any impulse buys that will sabotage your diet), recipes and more. You'll want to check out the helpful How It Works video to get a feel for the RealPlans structure. It's impressive, really: not only do you have your Whole30 diet customized to your preferences, but your dashboard will tell you exactly what to do and when, from defrosting your ground pork on Monday morning to putting the roast in to thaw on Friday night for Saturday's dinner.

Pick a subscription length

To get started, you'll enter your start date and create a user account. From there, you'll choose a plan: $36/month, $59/quarter, or $99/year. All plans decrease in price for subsequent subscription periods, but keep in mind that Whole30 is only meant to be used short-term and so you might not need a long-term membership. All plans come with a 10-day money-back guarantee, if you get started and then decide Whole30 (or RealPlans itself) isn't a good fit. Once you've paid for your plan, you'll have access to all those tools we described earlier.

Excellent if you need an elimination diet

But, let's get back to whether or not Whole30 itself is worth doing in your case. It really depends on what you're trying to accomplish. Struggling with allergies? This elimination diet might help you get the answers about what you'll need to avoid and what you can safely keep eating. Whole30 will walk you through the process of reintroducing foods at the end of the month-long diet, to pinpoint what's been causing you problems. Issues with digestion? Same thing.

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Not ideal for the average dieter

But with respect to weight loss? While pretty much everyone will lose weight while faithfully adhering to the Whole30 diet, it's not sustainable as a long-term approach for most people. This diet expects you to avoid eating in restaurants (because you can't be sure that all of the "forbidden" ingredients aren't in what you're ordering), skip most of what you'd eat at holidays and celebrations (no champagne, no beer, no birthday cake, you get the idea), and stick strictly (and we do mean strictly) to whole, unprocessed foods. It shouldn't be a surprise that people going off the Whole30 diet - either after the month is complete or quitting mid-course - experience big cravings and may spiral into binge eating.

Whole30 ingredients aren't cheap

And, while the RealPlans app itself isn't overly expensive, the food you'll have to buy to follow Whole30 can be. Organic produce? High-quality protein sources like seafood and steak? This diet could be tricky if you're on a tight budget.

Not suitable for most diet needs

Because Whole30 can be the exact right choice for some people - namely, anyone that needs to go on an elimination diet to target allergies or digestive issues - we still give it three stars. What it claims to do in that regard, it actually accomplishes. However, for the average person trying to shed a few pounds or make changes they can sustain for a lifetime, Whole30 is way too restrictive.

Jenny Craig Review 2.5 Star Rating

Jenny Craig

2.5 Star Rating
  • About $200/week ($13.99 to $24.99 per day)
  • $29 shipping fee per delivery (free on the first week's delivery)
  • Combines principles of keto + intermittent fasting
  • Convenient with ready-made meals
  • 1-week refund policy on first order
  • Coaching available on Max Up plan
  • Can book a free consultation prior to signing up
  • Can buy a 7-meal bundle, breakfasts and lunches, or all three daily meals + snacks
  • Much more expensive than most similarly-structured diets
  • Customer service is lacking

Since 1983, Jenny Craig has offered pre-packaged meals, personalized coaching, and support to help people lose weight and improve their overall health. If you're looking to jump-start your weight loss, you could drop up to 18 pounds in your first month on this plan.

Try 7 entrees

There are several different ways you can use Jenny Craig. Maybe you'd like to just try a week's worth of dinners. No problem: there's a 7-meal bundle for just $79.99 and delivery is included. Each dinner is 350 calories or less and is made with fresh, organic vegetables. This includes meals like plant-based meatloaf, turkey and cheddar chili mac, and chicken penne parmesan. That's a great option to determine if you like the way the food tastes, the portion size, and so on - before you jump into a bigger commitment.

Maybe just breakfast and lunch?

The next option is the Simple meal plan, priced at $13.99/day. It includes a week of breakfasts and lunches from over 70 different recipes in a four-week menu, but you can't swap or change your meals if there's one you don't like. The Essential plan adds in dinner for all seven days of the week; you'll pay $21.99 per day and shipping is free on your first order.

Max Up to get personal coaching

Jenny Craig's most comprehensive program is the Max Up Weight Loss Meal Plan. This is what you're probably picturing when you think of popular diets: it includes three meals per day plus one daily snack/dessert and Recharge bar. But, the big draw of Max Up is the personal coaching. You'll get weekly sessions (in person, via phone, or online) to get guidance and advice tailored to your needs. This is also where you'll find out that Jenny Craig recommends following an intermittent fasting approach for greatest results, and that the meal plans are oriented towards a keto framework. Max Up costs $24.99 per day - the most expensive of the popular diets in our evaluation.

Free in-person consultation

Still not sure? If there's a Jenny Craig in your area, you can click on "Book Appointment" to meet with a coach and see if it's right for you. Just keep in mind that the pressure to buy into Jenny Craig's complete weight loss plan will be high when you meet with a rep in person.

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Membership required

Also, be aware that all Jenny Craig plans require some kind of membership, and the site doesn't make that very obvious. The Max Up plan comes with 12 weeks for free, but we had to poke around in the Terms and Conditions and external websites to find out what it will cost otherwise: usually around $99 for a year or $399 for a "lifetime membership" . And yes, that's on top of the cost of the food.

Poor client feedback

We have a hard time getting excited about Jenny Craig as a diet when we look at client feedback. Starting with a "D-" grade from the Better Business Bureau and moving on to the mediocre rating averages we found elsewhere, this company doesn't exactly knock it out of the park. People have mixed feelings about the meals themselves: some say they taste great and rival a good restaurant's entrees, while others say they have to add leafy greens or cauliflower rice to feel even remotely full. Everyone points out that you'll need a lot of freezer space for Jenny Craig food too.

Disappointing customer service

But, the biggest problem is customer service. If you decide you want to take advantage of the first-week refund policy, good luck: time and again, clients complain that customer service is far less than helpful, especially when it comes to refunds (either during the first week or when there are problems with shipments). You shouldn't have to grovel to get a refund when your meals arrive completely thawed and unsafe to eat, but apparently that's par for the course with Jenny Craig.

Try a different diet instead

Could you join Jenny Craig and lose weight? Sure - just like any other popular diet that gives you everything you need to eat and helps you achieve a caloric deficit (you burn more calories than you consume every day). Unfortunately, we can't find any reason why you would choose Jenny Craig over other plans that take the same ready-made meal approach. These meals are extremely expensive, we're not thrilled with the somewhat hidden membership fees, and lots of clients don't exactly sing Jenny Craig's praises. You've got better options to consider first, so take a look at the higher-ranked rivals on our list before you open your wallet to Jenny Craig.

Diet to Go Review 2 Star Rating

Diet to Go

2 Star Rating
  • From $138.99 to $225.99 per week
  • $19.98 shipping
  • Simplifies your diet with prepared meals
  • 5 meal plans to choose from: Balance, Balance-D (for diabetics), Keto-Carb30, Mediterranean, Vegetarian
  • Can choose meals with no seafood
  • Meals arrive frozen for convenience
  • Select between women's (1200 cal/day) and men's (up to 1,600 cal/day) plans on some diets
  • Choose 5 or 7 days per week of meals
  • Some customers say the food tastes terrible
  • Lacking in variety

If all you're looking for is someone to take care of the cooking for you, and you don't need any other kind of diet support, Diet To Go could sound like the right plan. The company specializes in delivering ready-made, frozen meals that you simply heat and eat.

Some improvements since the last evaluation

We were pleased to see that Diet To Go has made some improvements to their service since the last time we evaluated it. For example, it is now completely transparent with respect to pricing: you don't have to enter any of your personal information (other than your zip code, to verify that they deliver in your area) to see what you'll pay. You can also preview sample menus from each of the five meal plans offered here: Balance, Balance-D (for diabetics), Keto-Carb30, Mediterranean, and Vegetarian. Mediterranean is Diet To Go's newest addition, and we appreciate the variety that it offers here.

Five-week menu rotation

What kinds of meals can you expect with this service? Naturally, that depends on the plan you select, but let's take a look at the flagship product: Balance. At the time of this review, Diet To Go was offering a five-week meal rotation. Breakfast options in one week included a savory morning muffin, scrambled eggs rancheros, cheese and veggie egg bites, whole wheat bagel with date/raisin cream cheese, and mushroom strata. Lunches ranged from salmon cake over rice pilaf to black bean and feta cheese wrap. Dinner selections included porcini mushroom chicken and vegetable ravioli.

A few steps to set up your diet

When you set up your plan, confirming that your area code is within Diet To Go's service area, you'll select which menu you prefer, whether you want to exclude meals with seafood, and if you want three meals a day for five or seven days a week. Some menus also ask you to specify if you want the women's or the men's plan: the difference is just in the calories per day (1200 vs. up to 1600).

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Spendy per-week pricing

As we mentioned earlier, this site now shows you what you'll pay per week as you click through the menu options: no need to get a quote via email or create an account first. That matters because Diet To Go is one of the most expensive options among the popular diets in our review. While you may get a 50% discount on your first week (which was the promo in place when we visited most recently), that doesn't go very far when you're spending at least $138.99 per week (plus almost $20 in shipping for each delivery). On the high end, you could be paying as much as $225.99 weekly. You might think it's worth it for the convenience: you don't have to spend a dime at the grocery store, not even for condiments or side dishes, because Diet To Go is meant to be comprehensive.

Feedback on meal quality is lukewarm

Is it worth it? The jury is still out. The last time we considered Diet To Go, there were almost no recent reviews. This time we found many more from the last few months, but many of them looked fake (it was the only review written by the submitter, and the review only contained a selfie). Among the comments that seemed legit, sentiment runs about 50-50. Some dieters say that Diet To Go is absolutely worth what they pay because it simplifies their lives: they never have to go to the store or even think about what's for breakfast, lunch, or dinner. Others say that the convenience isn't enough to make up for the low-quality meals and what they paid for them. Some people point out that you could get frozen keto meals from the supermarket for much less than you pay here, and they'll probably taste better.

Zero support as you diet

Another big drawback is the lack of support for dieters here. If you're trying to change the way you approach food, work on the psychology behind your habits, or just need someone to say "Hey, it's hard, we get it" from time to time, you definitely won't find that with Diet To Go. True, not everyone needs that, but many of today's most popular diets include that kind of encouragement.

Not a favorite among popular diets

Despite having an "A+" from the Better Business Bureau, Diet To Go doesn't strike us as a top-rated plan for losing weight. Customer feedback isn't consistent, the meals are extremely expensive, and there's not a ton of variety in the meal options. We encourage you to look at the higher-rated diets in our review before you make a costly commitment to Diet To Go.

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Continued from above...

Next, the paleo diet is based on the principle of eating like our ancestors did during the Paleolithic era. This diet focuses on eating whole foods such as meats, fish, fruits, vegetables, and nuts while avoiding processed and refined foods. The paleo diet has been associated with weight loss, improved gut health, and reduced inflammation.

Foodies particularly like the Mediterranean diet. It's based on the traditional dietary patterns of that region, focusing on eating whole, plant-based foods such as fruits, vegetables, nuts, and grains, while also including moderate amounts of fish, poultry, and dairy. The Mediterranean diet has been associated with a reduced risk of heart disease, improved brain function, and a longer lifespan.

One of the most buzz-worthy diets at the moment is intermittent fasting. This isn't a diet in the traditional sense but rather an eating pattern that involves alternating periods of fasting and eating. There are various methods of intermittent fasting, such as the 16/8 method, where you fast for 16 hours and eat during an 8-hour window. Intermittent fasting has been associated with weight loss, improved insulin sensitivity, and reduced inflammation.

And that's not even scratching the surface. You could track your macros, go vegetarian or vegan, experiment with Whole30, and the list just keeps going. Feeling overwhelmed already, trying to figure out which diet is right for you? Take a deep breath, and keep these three criteria in mind to sort out the choices:

  • Commitment. How much will you have to change about how you currently eat (and live in general) to follow the diet? Will you have to spend a lot of time prepping food, tracking what you eat, or paying someone else to do that for you (in the form of pre-made food that you buy)? You may be ready to make a drastic change; just check your commitment level first.
  • Results. How well does the diet you're considering work for people who have tried it? What can you reasonably expect to see, both short- and long-term? Are there any guarantees in place, even though your results may vary?
  • Cost. Some popular diets don't require anything more than paying attention to what you're buying at the store and how much of it you're eating. Others are a complete system that includes buying ready-made meals and snacks. Make sure you understand what you'll be spending with any diet plan you're considering.

To help you get your nutrition on track, Top Consumer Reviews has evaluated and ranked some of today's most popular diets. It can be confusing trying to sort out all of the options, and we're confident that this information will help you find the right approach for you - for your budget and your lifestyle!

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Popular Diet FAQ

Some of the most popular diet plans have been around for a while, including WW (formerly known as Weight Watchers), Nutrisystem and Atkins. Others are newer to the industry, like Noom and keto.
The best place to start is by being completely honest with yourself. What has worked in the past, and what hasn't? Do you need to have everything spelled out for you meal-by-meal, or would you find that stifling and likely to make you quit? Whichever diet you choose, the "best" one will always be the one you can stick to!
Absolutely! Many people feel the same way and want everything to be done for them, more or less. Nothing wrong with that! You'll probably want to look for a diet like Nutrisystem, South Beach Diet, or Medifast: you will buy ready-made meals and snacks and use them as the foundation of your nutrition, at least for the first few stages of your progress.
Not at all. There are many popular diets that teach you how and what to eat, but you get to do the shopping, preparing and cooking yourself. Being on a diet doesn't mean you have to eat ready-made, heavily processed foods!
Paleo and keto are two very popular diets right now. Paleo is sometimes known as "the caveman diet" and prioritizes eating the kinds of foods that hunter-gatherers did: meat and fish, eggs, nuts and seeds, fruits and vegetables (except for corn), some fats and oils, and natural sweeteners. Keto aims to help your body burn primarily fat as its energy source and usually allows for less than 5% of your daily calories to come from carbohydrates. Both diets place strong emphasis on whole foods and healthy fats, eliminate legumes and grains, and they don't allow refined sugars. The big difference: keto allows dairy and soy but cuts out most carbs, while paleo encourages fruits and vegetables but doesn't include soy or most dairy products.
That depends on which diet you choose. Most experts say that tracking what you eat is the best way to make sure you know how much you're eating; people tend to overeat by a lot and not realize it. But, if you don't want to track your food, consider following one of the popular diets that uses ready-made meals: all the work is done for you!
Many popular diets will have a quick initial drop in weight: if you're drastically changing your eating habits, reducing your caloric intake, and exercising more, you could see a fast drop of 5-10 pounds in the first week. But, before you get too excited, understand that much of that weight loss will be water, not fat. If you want to lose weight and, more importantly, keep it off, slow and steady really does win the race. A healthy rate of weight loss after the initial "whoosh" downward is usually considered to be 1-2 pounds per week.
Not necessarily. If you choose a diet plan that doesn't include the food - in other words, you're getting a nutritional plan, coaching or other support, and maybe an app for tracking your food, water, and exercise - expect your costs to be $50-$100 per month. If you opt for a diet that includes the food, like South Beach or Nutrisystem, you'll pay around $300 for 4 weeks of food. (But remember how much you WON'T be spending at the grocery store or bringing home takeout!)
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