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This Is the Best Diet for Weight Loss

Unlike other fad diets that have strict guidelines, this one doesn't require any restrictions at all.
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If you search "diet" in any search engine right now, you're going to end up with millions of results. The list of diets you can pursue goes on-and-on, promising fast results for a relatively decent price. However, there's still no scientific evidence proving diets work long term, which brings us to the ultimate question: What is the best diet for weight loss? And should you even diet at all?

In order to determine the best diet for weight loss, we turned to the Best Diets Rankings through the U.S. News & World Report. Every year they release a list of the best diets for people that includes data on how successful they are. Their rankings evaluate if the diet will provide short-term and long-term weight loss, if it's easy to follow, and if it's overall a healthy diet to follow. 

While there are some diets that do rank higher in terms of losing weight specifically, that doesn't mean that those diets provide successful weight loss long term. So instead, we chose the U.S. News & World Report's Best Diets Overall, and there's one diet that stood out among the rest: The Mediterranean Diet.

Speaking of eating healthy, you'll want to save these 21 Best Healthy Cooking Hacks of All Time for later!

Why is it the best diet for weight loss?

First, some historical background. The Mediterranean Diet is based on the eating habits of those who live in the countries bordering the Mediterranean Sea. Research and data actually show that those who live in these areas live a longer life compared to most, and typically suffer less from chronic or autoimmune diseases like heart disease and cancer.

If you're to evaluate the eating habits of those in the Mediterranean, their diets may actually shock you. The Mediterranean Diet is well-balanced and includes protein, fat, and yes, carbs. Lots of carbs, actually. And wine.

The U.S. News & World Report releases a new Best Diets Ranking every year, and while the Mediterranean diet continues to share the top spots with the DASH Diet (a diet that focuses on lowering blood pressure), it's constantly rated the most effective diet overall.

How does the Mediterranean Diet work?

The Mediterranean diet isn't restrictive, which is likely why it has been successful for so many people. The Mediterranean Diet Pyramid looks similar to the nutritional food pyramid we know, but with a few alterations. Alterations that, in our opinion, make perfect sense.

The bulk of the Mediterranean Diet comes from fruits, vegetables, grains, oils, nuts, legumes, beans, and seeds. Now, the grains in this diet aren't highly processed simple carbohydrates, but whole-grain and homemade carbs served in proper portion sizes. Plus, these are the foods loaded with dietary fiber, which is the thing you should eat to lose weight.

The next "food group"—and the second largest—is actually fish and seafood. It's recommended to eat these often—at least two times a week, if possible.

Next, you'll find a smaller section with poultry, eggs, cheese, and yogurt. "Moderate portions" are recommended, and clearly not as important as adding seafood to your diet.

And lastly, you'll find meats and sweets in the tiny tip of the pyramid. That's right—no restriction at all in this diet. You can still enjoy meals made with your favorite meats and sweets, but less often compared to all the other goodness the Mediterranean Diet has to offer.

Lastly, it's recommended to drink water and wine. Obviously more water than wine—you should be drinking this much water every day—but wine is not off-limits. There are actually a lot of health benefits to drinking a glass of red wine, and the Mediterranean diet sure takes advantage of it.

Other elements of the Mediterranean Diet and how to get started.

How you eat is a huge part of the success of the Mediterranean Diet, but it's not just the diet that provides results. It's also the lifestyle of the Mediterranean people that make a huge difference in their health and longevity.

Experts of the Mediterranean Diet say that being physically active and engaging in good community result in an overall well-balanced, stress-free life. Food is a huge part of the weight loss experience, but stress can also play a huge factor in it as well. Stress will increase cortisol levels, which can sabotage any efforts you make to lose weight. So take notes from the people of the Mediterranean and stress less about your meals and your days. Go for walks. Enjoy a delicious meal with friends. Drink red wine. Didn't think that would be part of your diet, did you?

If this sounds like the kind of diet that you need in your life, it's easy to get started. Here's our guide for starting the Mediterranean diet, along with a list of all the foods you can eat and even some healthy swaps for your go-to meals.

Sure, you may not lose weight as quickly as you would on a fad-diet like keto or Whole30, but you will experience a satisfying, long-term weight loss that will leave you feeling good about the skin you're in. After all, isn't that what we all want in the end?

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Kiersten Hickman
Kiersten Hickman is a senior editor at Eat This, Not That!, specializing in recipe development, food, and diet coverage. Read more