We’ve all seen ads with weight loss claims that are seemingly too good to be true. “Lose 20 pounds in three weeks!” or “Lose five pounds by the weekend.” There are hundreds, if not thousands, of diets out there. U.S. News & World evaluated 38 of the most popular diets.

We know you don’t have to go on a diet to lose weight. But if it’s the right route for you, this is the diet you’ll want to try according to experts. Keep reading to find out which diet plan you should follow to lose weight quickly and keep it off, including the pros and cons of the top diet (page 6).

How each diet is scored

Revamping your diet and eating habits can be fun. | Vadim Guzhva/iStock/Getty Images

Diets are ranked on a scale of 1-5 in four categories: weight loss (short-term), weight loss (long-term), easy to follow, and healthy. A panel of experts in varying fields scored each diet based on the aforementioned criteria.

Next: This diet took the top spot.

Weight Watchers took the top spot

Weight Watchers has many women hooked. | Eugene Gologursky/Getty Images for Weight Watchers

U.S. News ranked Weight Watchers No. 1 in the weight-loss category. The diet’s scorecard is as follows: 4.3/5 in weight loss (short-term), 3.7/5 in weight loss (long-term), 3.7/5 in easy to follow, 4.4/5 in healthy. The Weight Watchers diet also came in second place in the Best Fast Weight-loss category and tied for first place in the Easy to Follow category.

According to U.S. News, experts said, “you’ll get enough to eat, you don’t have to eliminate any favorites and there’s a strong emphasis on emotional support, which tends to lead to higher compliance.”

Next: How does the Weight Watchers diet work?

How the diet works

Weight Watchers might be your new favorite diet. | Eugene Gologursky/Getty Images for Weight Watchers

Weight Watchers launched its Beyond the Scale program in 2015, which is designed to get participants to move more, eat healthier, and change their mindset. SmartPoints are assigned to every food and drink. Participants are encouraged to choose nutrient-dense foods because they’re worth fewer points. Support from other members is a major component of the plan. Members can talk on the phone, attend meetings, and chat online with one another.

Next: You have some control over the price.

How much does it cost?

There are options for you to choose from. | iStock.com

Participants can choose from four categories: OnlinePlus, Meetings, Coaching, and Total Access. OnlinePlus costs $19.95/month and includes chat services and tools. Meetings, the middle of the road category, costs $44.95/month and includes unlimited in-person meetings and access to OnlinePlus tools. Coaching costs $54.95/month and includes one-on-one time with a coach and access to OnlinePlus tools. Total Access costs $69.95/month and includes coaching, OnlinePlus tools, and meetings.

Food isn’t included in any plan and prices fluctuate throughout the year.

Next: What you can do right now

What you can do right now

This diet takes the stress out of dieting. | Monkeybusinessimages/iStock/Getty Images

Weight Watchers’ unwritten golden rule is “everything in moderation.” The program is all about balance and making smart choices. If you have a cupcake at your grandson’s birthday party, it’s not the end of the world. Make healthy choices the rest of the day and move on. For a more direct approach, buy a Weight Watchers cookbook.

Next: The pros and cons of Weight Watchers

The pros and cons of Weight Watchers

A diet worth trying out. | iStock.com

U.S. News compiled a list of pros and cons to Weight Watchers’ programs.


  • Eat what you want
  • Nothing is off limits
  • Create your own diet within their guidelines


  • Price
  • Deemed worth depending on the program chosen

Next: What does the research say?

What research says

Weight Watchers can help you improve those bad eating habits. | iStock.com

The journal Obesity conducted a study in 2013 and found those who participated in Weight Watchers longer were more likely to lose weight than with a weight loss clinic. The expert panel gathered by U.S. News said Weight Watchers “promotes healthy, balanced eating,” and is “in line with the government’s recommendations for fat, protein and carb consumption.”

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