What's the best diet to lose 20 pounds?
IMHO The ketogenic diet is the best. Basically a high fat, ver low carb and protein. The reason I like it is once you get ketogenic I no longer feel hungry, your body can and does burn your excess fat. Net carbs, total carbs minus fiber, are kept below 20 grams. Protein should be kept around 1/2 your lean zero fat weight. For me a 5'10" man that is around 57 grams.
Once you become fat adapted, meaning your body is burning fat rather than carbs as fuel your mind clears becoming more focused, you stop being hungry all the time and I feel much better overall.
Once I get fat adapted I eat a 500 calorie mostly fat every other day and meet my main macros the opposite days. Weight loss is dramatic a more reasonable approach is to stay on the keto diet but lower your calories ~500 calories from your basil rate.
The negatives to this diet are while you are switching from burning mostly glucose to fat you go through a time with the keto flu. Headaches, feeling tired etc. Once your through it your mind start clearing and will function better than it has in years.
The second major negative is it is really hard to keep carbs down to a very low level. For an extended time this is a really hard diet to stick to. No bread, no rice, no sugar, no white potatoes, only pizza toppings no dough etc.
You can select the macros in cronometer via High Fat / Ketogenic diet and get more information from Dr Mercola on www.mercola.com as he really pushes this diet as the ultimate for health.
The best diet is the permanent eating pattern that works for you in the long term. Some people do better with high fat low carbs, some better high carbs low fat, some genetically fare better as vegetarian (which usually means high carbs low fat), etc. If you subscribe to a diet that you abhor, you might be able to lose the weight while you're on it, but will probably quickly put it back on once you go back to your old eating habits.
To me, a predominant whole food diet with calorie cycling / intermittent fasting plus regular refeeds, exercising and adequate rest works best. Good luck finding yours!
I think that @Vickie said it well; the best diet to lose 20 lbs is the one you can follow for the rest of your life.
It's key to think about weight management like any other disease that requires medication. But with weight management, the "medication" is food and activity. The reason that diets don't work is they aren't followed long-term; no more diet = no more weight loss. The isn't the fault of the person following the diet, but the diet itself.
Two key questions to ask yourself are:
1) Do I want my weight loss to be short-term or long-term?
2) If long-term, am I eating (and exercising) in a way that I can continue for the rest of my life?
Truth be told, all diets tend to result in the same amount of weight loss the longer they are followed, so the approach doesn't matter as much as the longevity of the diet.
With my clients, I suggest following a whole-foods, unprocessed, plant-based (or plant-focused) dietary pattern. The reason for this is because fruit, vegetables, unprocessed grains (quinoa, sweet potato, brown rice, etc.), pulses, nuts and seeds have been found to not only support weight loss, but have health benefits. It's also important to limit your frequency of restaurant meals and pay attention to liquid calories.
Best of luck!
Susan Macfarlane, MScA, RD
Registered Dietitian Nutritionist
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