Low carb, or low fat? Should you go Atkins, Zone or Paleo? Or does it even matter which diet you choose when you want to lose weight? Most weight loss experts say that shedding pounds comes down to a simple formula: calories in versus calories out. In other words, if you burn more calories than you take in, you’ll lose weight.
However, the question of exactly how to cut calories — in a healthy, sustainable way — has often perplexed dieters. To find the best diets for weight loss, Live Science conducted a months-long search for information. We spoke with many weight loss experts and dove deep into the most well-regarded studies on the topic done to date. We wanted to know what these studies found and, ultimately, determine the best approaches to healthy eating for weight loss.
We found that the calorie equation reigns supreme as the most important aspect of losing weight, but also that there’s still plenty of room to choose a diet that fits your personal preferences. For example, Dr. Frank Hu, a professor of nutrition and epidemiology at the Harvard University T.H. Chan School of Public Health, told Live Science that “the No. 1 factor is still a calorie deficit, so the question is, what kind of styles or what kind of foods can help people achieve a calorie deficit, and what can sustain the calorie deficit?”