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Top 7 Best Diets For
Quick Weight Loss

A Comprehensive & Unbiased Study

If you want to lose weight you're probably overwhelmed at trying to figure out what are the best diets are for quick weight loss. You're likely wondering which diets are safe for your body? Which diet is structured in a way that will make you likely to stick to it? Which diets work and which don't?

Well we did all the dirty work for you. In this article we're going to answer all those questions for you. We've eliminated the guess work out of selecting the right dieting program for you through this in-depth review of the top 7 most popular diets out there. We've analyzed over 25 of the most popular diets and narrowed them to the top 7.

Table of Contents (TOC)
A. How We Rated/Scored Each Diet Program
B. Review of Top 7 Diet Systems
1. Meal Replacements (Winner)
2. Raw Food Diet (Second Place)
3. South Beach Diet  (Third Place)
4. Cabbage Soup Diet 
5. Hip & Thigh Diet
6. Calorie Counting
7. Atkins Diet

How We Rated/Scored Each Diet Program

We rated each diet program based on what we considered to be the four most important factors in selecting a weight loss diet plan:

1. Results - Does the diet plan work? Plain and simple. This factor only cares about results. This is weighted the highest of the four factors. 
2. Safety - How safe is this diet for the human body? Is the diet healthy? 
3. Convenience - Is the program easy to use? The easier the diet plan, the more likely you'll stick to the program and get the results you're after.
4. Speed - How fast can you expect to see the results. In one week, a month, a year? The faster the results the better.

Each diet plan is given a score out of 10 for each factor, 10 being the highest. We  then apply our weighting to each factor and then sum each of the weighted factors to come up with an overall score out of 100. The closer a diet program scores to 100, the better it is.

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Review of The Top 7 Diets Systems

We will review the top 7 diet plans, according to our study, from best to worst, starting with the winning diet system, Meal Replacements.

1. Meal Replacements  **WINNER**

Replace one or two of your meals for a "meal replacement" such as meal replacement drink or bar. Meal replacements like Slim-Fast are specially formulated for optimal nutrition and are low in calories compared to regular meals. This is essentially a low calorie diet, which is always going to work for losing weight. The great thing about this dieting method is that there is absolutely no thinking involved, no weighing foods, no complicated menu plans to follow, and no calories to count. Just mix a shake, open a can or eat a bar.

The cost of the meal replacements are very cheap compared to the cost of regular meals, so you'll also be saving money and losing weight. 

Overall Score: 85
Results: 8/10
Speed: 8/10
Safety: 8/10
Convenience: 10/10

Sample Meal Replacement Meal Plan:

Breakfast: Milkshake replacement meal.
Snack: Apple.
Lunch: Milkshake replacement meal.
Snack: Banana.
Dinner: Broiled chicken, backed potato, 2 servings of vegetables with gravy.
Drinks: 6-8 glasses of water or zero calorie drinks.
Total Daily Calories: 1,200

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2. Raw Food Diet - 2nd Place

This diet is low in fat, calories and is very healthy. The Raw Food Diet calls for 75% of your diet to come from raw foods such as vegetables, fruits, nuts, seeds, and grains. The weight loss experienced from this diet is as significant.

Here are several factors that makes this diet very healthy:
  • it's very low in fat
  • it's loaded with nutrients, vitamins and minerals (from the raw foods)
  • it doesn't lose nutrients or add fat from cooking
  • prevents all kinds of illnesses and diseases 
Overall Score: 81.3
Results: 8/10
Speed: 8/10
Safety: 9.5/10
Convenience: 7/10

Sample Raw Food Diet Meal Plan:

Breakfast: Fruit smoothie (four cups of fresh fruit, water, ice)
Snack: Raw nuts
Lunch: Large salad (lettuce, tomatoes, onions, parsley, bell pepper) dressed in olive oil and balsamic vinegar dressing topped with sprouted lentils).
Snack: Peach
Dinner: Vegetable soup (raw) + spinach salad + raspberry + banana sorbet.
Total Daily Calories: 1,250

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3. South Beach Diet - 3rd Place

This is a three phase diet plan that's becoming known as the "healthy" version of the Atkins diet. Dr. Arthur Agatston, a cardiologist from South Florida, created this very popular diet for his overweight patients. This diet allows you to eat until your hunger is satisfied, which is an obvious selling point.

The first phase of the South Beach Diet involves cutting almost all carbohydrates, and eating lots of high protein foods (chicken, turkey, fish etc.). Also allowed are low glycemic index vegetables, eggs, nuts, and low-fat cheese.

Phase two allows for some of the banned foods in phase one such as most fruits, vegetables and some whole grains. The weight loss therefore in this phase won't be as dramatic as that experienced in phase one.

Phase three is the maintenance phase, and is to be followed for life. At this point, there are no foods that are disallowed. It's at this point the dieter is expected to be more educated on healthy eating, and is expected to use this knowledge to properly manage his/her weight.

Overall Score: 79.8
Results: 9/10
Speed: 8/10
Safety: 8/10
Convenience: 6.5/10

Sample South Beach Diet Meal Plan (Phase 1):

Breakfast: Scrambled eggs + lean bacon (2 slices) + tomato juice + decaffeinated coffee/tea with fat-free milk and sugar substitute
Snack: Low-fat cheese
Lunch: Chicken Caesar Salad with prepared ceasar dressing (2 tbsp)
Snack: 100 g of low-fat cottage cheese + 50 g of chopped tomatoes and cucumbers
Dinner: Swordfish + vegetables + arugula salad with low-sugar prepared dressing
Dessert: Lemon peed ricotta creme

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4. Cabbage Soup Diet 

The cabbage soup diet is a very low calorie diet that involves having an unlimited amount of low calorie cabbage soup. Large amounts of fruits and vegetables are allowed; however, carbohydrates and proteins are limited. The very limited amount of carbs, proteins, and the high amount of salt in this diet can cause dizziness while on the program. The diets protocol calls for one week on the cabbage diet followed by two weeks of normal eating (then repeat the process over and over again). Since you get two weeks off before you go back on the cabbage soup diet, the health effects may not be to bad.

Cabbage Soup Recipe:
  • 1/2 a cabbage
  • 1 head of celery
  • 2 cans of chopped tomatoes
  • 3 onions
  • 1 green bell pepper
  • 1 pack of onion soup mix
  • 7 1/2 cups of vegetable broth from bouillon cubes
Overall Score: 77.5
Results: 9/10
Speed: 9/10
Safety: 5/10
Convenience: 8/10

Sample Cabbage Soup Weekly Meal Plan:

Drinks allowed during the seven days on the cabbage soup diet are water and unsweetened fruit juices.

Day 1:
Unlimited cabbage soup + unlimited fruits (except bananas).
Day 2: Unlimited cabbage soup + vegetables + one baked potatoe with butter.
Day 3: Unlimited cabbage soup + fruits + vegetables.
Day 4: Unlimited cabbage soup + unlimited skim milk + 8 bananas.
Day 5: Unlimited cabbage soup + up to 10 oz of lean beef (or chicken) + up to 6 tomatoes.
Day 6: Unlimited cabbage soup + unlimited lean beef (or chicken) + unlimited vegetables.
Day 7: Unlimited cabbage soup + unlimited brown rice + unlimited vegetables.
Average Total Daily Calories: 800-1,000

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5. The Hip & Thigh Diet

This diet is a very clean low fat (15%-20%) and low calorie diet. In Rosemary Conley's book, The Complete Hip and Thigh Diet, you get to choose from a list of meals. While you don't have to count calories, you do have to weigh your food. 

There is a big list of banned foods. In the High & Thigh Diet you can't have any of the following:
  • Butter
  • Cakes
  • Chocolate
  • Cookies
  • Dairy (except for low-fat milk, cottage cheese and yogurt) 
  • Fried foods
  • Lards
  • Low-fat spreads
  • Nuts
  • Oil
  • Pastry
  • Seeds
Foods allowed are lean meats, poultry, fish, unlimited vegetables, and carbohydrates (rice, pasta and bread). Drinks allowed are low calorie drinks, juices, tea, coffee and small amounts of liquor.

Overall Score: 72.5
Results: 8/10
Speed: 8/10
Safety: 7/10
Convenience: 6/10

Sample Hip & Thigh Diet Meal Plan:

Breakfast: Shredded What with skim milk (allowance) and brown sugar (1 tsp)
Snack: Raw carrot + celery
Lunch: Chicken salad with yogurt and wine vinegar dressing + fresh fruit
Dinner: Broiled steak + baked potatoe + broiled mushrooms + unlimited vegetables + melon + glass of red wine + rice pudding
Drinks: Tea (with skim milk), mineral water, diet cola
Total Daily Calories: 1,200

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6. Calorie Counting

Calorie counting is where you determine the number of calories you need to consume daily in order to put your body into the predetermined caloric deficit (e.g., tdee - 500 calories). Once this number is determined you need to count all the calories consumed during the day. Use food calorie charts, beverage calorie charts and a food scale to help you track your calories. Your foods need to be weighed in order to accurately determine the number of calories in them. 

This dieting method requires a lot of commitment and discipline, especially at the beginning. Over time you will memorize the calorie contents of most of the foods you consume. So it definitely does get easier over time.

One drawback of this method is that it can be as health or unhealthy as you want because there are no restrictions as to what you can or can not eat. This makes it easy for the dieter to cheat and make bad food choices. 

Overall Score: 71
Results: 8/10
Speed: 7/10
Safety: 8/10
Convenience: 5/10

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7. Atkins Diet

This is probably the most popular of all diets for quick weight loss. It was created by Dr. Robert Atkins in the 1970s. It has since taken a lot of criticism for advocating a large portion of your diet to come from fat, 55%-65%. The Atkins Diet advocates that your diet consists of 55%-65% fat; 20% carbohydrates; and 25% protein. This is considered a high-fat, high protein, low carb diet. There are many disputable claims of the Atkins diet; regardless, this diet has helped lots of people lose weight (likely due to very low carbohydrate levels).

The Atkins Diet frowns upon fruits, breads, pastas, grains, starchy vegetables, milk and yogurt. Allowed foods are those high protein such as fish, meats, eggs, butter, cream etc.

There are four stages to the Atkins Diet:

1. Induction (2 weeks) - only 20g of carbs allowed
2. Ongoing Weight Loss (lasting until your within 5-10 lbs of your goal)
3. Pre-Maintenance (lasts until you reach desired weight)
4. Lifetime Maintenance (lasts a lifetime)

Due to the extremely high fat content, this is not very healthy diet plan.

Overall Score: 64.3
Results: 8.5/10
Speed: 8/10
Safety: 4/10
Convenience: 5/10

Sample Atkins Diet Meal Plan:

Breakfast: Ham + fried egg + decaffeinated coffee + water
Lunch: Chicken Salad (1 small tomato, 1/2 avocado) with olive oil dressing + water
Dinner: Steak + shrimp cocktail with mayonnaise dressing + salad (6 slices of cucumber, 1/2 a small onion) with sour cream + soda water
Total Daily Calories: 1,400-1,500

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Atkins, R.C. (2001). Dr. Atkins New Diet Revolution.

Clement, B., DiGeronimo, T. (1994). Living Foods for Optimum Health.

Conley's, R. (1990). Rosemary Conley's Complete Hip and Thigh Diet.

Danbrot, M. (1997). The New Cabbage Soup Diet.

Wills, J. (2001). The Diet Bible.

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