The 41 easiest diets to follow

41 diets ranked by how well each one helps dieters stay on board

Hard work is always going to be part of the diet equation, but some plans and approaches are easier to follow than others. U.S. News’ Easiest Diets to Follow list ranks 41 popular diets. The highest scorers are typically tasty, flexible, convenient and filling, while those at the bottom of the pack may emphasize unfamiliar ingredients or cut out entire food groups.

Here’s a look at the rankings, along with pros and cons for each diet.

#1 Mediterranean Diet

Pro: Nutritionally sound

Pro: Diverse foods and flavors

Con: Lots of grunt work

Con: Moderately pricey

[See: Mediterranean Diet photos.]

#2 (tie) The Flexitarian Diet

Pro: Flexible

Pro: Lots of tasty recipes

Con: Emphasis on home-cooking

Con: Might be tough if you don’t like fruits and veggies

[See: Flexitarian Diet menu.]

#2 (tie) WW (Weight Watchers) Diet

Pro: Eat what you want; no foods off-limits

Pro: Flexibility to shape your own diet

Con: Tedious point-tallying

Con: Pricey

[See: WW (Weight Watchers) menu.]

#4 MIND Diet

Pro: Blends two proven healthy diets

Pro: May boost brain power

Con: Details not fleshed out

Con: Recipes, resources lacking

[See: MIND Diet nutrition.]

#5 (tie) DASH Diet

Pro: Heart healthy

Pro: Nutritionally sound

Con: Lots of grunt work

Con: Somewhat pricey

[See: DASH Diet menu.]

#5 (tie) The Fertility Diet

Pro: Promotes fertility

Pro: Encourages healthy pregnancy

Con: Discouraged for those with blocked fallopian tubes

Con: It’s strictly for women

[See: Fertility Diet nutrition.]

#7 Jenny Craig Diet

Pro: No guesswork

Pro: Prepackaged meals, delivered

Con: Home-cooked and restaurant meals largely off-limits

Con: Budget-buster

[See: Jenny Craig recipes.]

#8 Mayo Clinic Diet

Pro: Nutritionally sound

Pro: You shape your diet

Con: Lots of grunt work

Con: Somewhat pricey

[See: Mayo Clinic Diet recipes.]

#9 Volumetrics Diet

Pro: Filling

Pro: Nothing off limits

Con: Lengthy meal preparation

Con: Fruit-veggie-and-soup burnout possible

[See: Volumetrics photos.]

#10 (tie) Flat Belly Diet

Pro: Tasty menu recipes

Pro: Abundant guidance and resources

Con: Skimpy evidence that “good” fats are the magic bullet

Con: Fewer days of menus than other plans

[See: Flat Belly Diet menu.]

#10 (tie) South Beach Diet

Pro: Yes to snacks and dessert

Pro: No calorie-counting

Con: Could seem awfully restrictive at first

Con: Lots of time prepping and cooking meals

[See: South Beach recipes.]

#12 (tie) Abs Diet

Pro: Indulging allowed

Pro: Frequent meals and snacks

Con: Lack of specific research

Con: Fewer days of menus than other plans

[See: Abs Diet photos.]

#12 (tie) SlimFast Diet

Pro: Convenient — grab and go

Pro: No math or guesswork

Con: Little “real” food

Con: Same old, same old, meal after meal

[See: SlimFast Diet reviews.]

#12 (tie) TLC Diet

Pro: Heart healthy

Pro: Not a fad diet; government endorsed

Con: On your own

Con: Must decode nutrition labels

[See: TLC Diet photos.]

#15 (tie) Anti-Inflammatory Diet

Pro: Nutritionally sound

Pro: You shape your diet

Con: Moderately pricey

Con: Can be lots of work

[See: Anti-Inflammatory Diet nutrition.]

#15 (tie) Vegetarian Diet

Pro: Nutritionally sound

Pro: Heart healthy (if you plan it right)

Con: Might miss the meat

Con: Can be lots of work

[See: Vegetarian Diet nutrition.]

#17 (tie) Asian Diet

Pro: Diverse foods and flavors

Pro: Filling

Con: Rice-and-noodle burnout possible

Con: Few guiding resources

[See: Asian Diet menu.]

#17 (tie) Nutrisystem Diet

Pro: Heat and eat

Pro: No foods off limits (not even carbs)

Con: Comeback of the TV dinner

Con: Eating out is limited

[See: Nutrisystem menu.]

#19 (tie) HMR Program

Pro: Meals delivered to you

Pro: Phased approach for quick start on weight loss

Con: Eating out limited

Con: Shakes could get humdrum

[See: HMR Program reviews.]

#19 (tie) Nordic Diet

Pro: Tasty, healthy foods

Pro: Environmentally friendly

Con: Time-consuming

Con: Impractical for many people

[See: Nordic Diet nutrition.]

#19 (tie) Spark Solution Diet

Pro: Nutritionally sound

Pro: Fitness guidance

Con: Difficult to dine out

Con: Rigid daily guidelines

[See: Spark Solution reviews.]

#22 Biggest Loser Diet

Pro: Solid nutrition

Pro: No foods off limits

Con: Lots of grunt work

Con: Somewhat pricey

[See: Biggest Loser Diet reviews.]

#23 Zone Diet

Pro: All foods welcome

Pro: Frequent meals and snacks

Con: Tedious portioning

Con: Limited daily calories

[See: Zone Diet reviews.]

#24 (tie) Eco-Atkins Diet

Pro: Less restrictive than Atkins

Pro: Filling; rich in high-fiber foods

Con: Little guidance

Con: Nothing for carnivores

[See: Eco-Atkins photos.]

#24 (tie) Optavia Diet

Pro: Nutritionally sound

Pro: No counting carbs, points or calories

Con: Powdered, just-add-water food

Con: Might be tough to stick with

[See: Optavia Diet recipes.]

#26 (tie) Alkaline Diet

Pro: Heavy on fresh produce

Pro: Filling

Con: Lots of rules to remember

Con: Little research to back it up

[See: Alkaline Diet reviews.]

#26 (tie) The Fast Diet

Pro: Few rules to keep track of

Pro: Dieting only two days a week

Con: Unsafe for some people

Con: Hunger pangs likely

[See: Fast Diet menu.]

#26 (tie) Glycemic-Index Diet

Pro: Menu flexibility

Pro: Hampers hunger

Con: Little guidance, save for carbs

Con: Have to do homework

[See: Glycemic-Index Diet reviews.]

#26 (tie) Supercharged Hormone Diet

Pro: Restores hormonal health and metabolic function

Pro: Long-lasting effects

Con: Starts with a rigorous two-week detox

Con: Somewhat pricey

[See: Supercharged Hormone Diet recipes.]

#30 (tie) Atkins Diet

Pro: Fatty food guilt-free

Pro: Quick weight loss

Con: Goodbye to sweets and bread

Con: More calorie-restricted than you might think

[See: Atkins recipes.]

#30 (tie) Engine 2 Diet

Pro: Health and environmental benefits

Pro: No calorie-counting

Con: Complete lifestyle overhaul

Con: Considerable meal planning and prep

[See: Engine 2 Diet nutrition.]

#30 (tie) Nutritarian Diet

Pro: Health and longevity focus

Pro: No calorie-counting

Con: Salads could turn tiresome

Con: Healing claims may overreach

[See: Nutritarian Diet nutrition.]

#30 (tie) Ornish Diet

Pro: Solid nutritionally

Pro: Heart-happy

Con: Not exactly easy

Con: Not exactly cheap

[See: Ornish Diet menu.]

#30 (tie) Paleo Diet

Pro: Carnivore approved

Pro: Very low in sodium

Con: Goodbye to grains and dairy

Con: Pricey

[See: Paleo Diet reviews.]

#35 (tie) Body Reset Diet

Pro: Short-term program

Pro: Should see results quickly

Con: Smoothies could get boring

Con: Weight loss may not last

[See: Body Reset Diet menu.]

#35 (tie) Macrobiotic Diet

Pro: “Real” food emphasized

Pro: Filling

Con: Lots of grunt work

Con: Somewhat pricey

[See: Macrobiotic Diet photos.]

#37 (tie) Vegan Diet

Pro: Fiber-rich and filling

Pro: Health and environmental benefits

Con: Really restrictive

Con: Can be lots of work

[See: Vegan Diet recipes.]

#37 (tie) Whole30 Diet

Pro: Short term

Pro: No calorie-counting or exercise required

Con: Goodbye to grains, dairy, sugar, legumes and alcohol

Con: Only the highly committed and organized need apply

[See: Whole30 Diet nutrition.]

#39 (tie) Dukan Diet

Pro: All-you-can-eat

Pro: Filling

Con: Lots of rules

Con: Could fall short nutritionally

[See: Dukan Diet nutrition.]

#39 (tie) Keto Diet

Pro: Fatty foods embraced

Pro: No calorie-counting

Con: Strict carb limits

Con: Can seem extreme

[See: Keto Diet nutrition.]

#41 Raw Food Diet

Pro: Fruits and veggies dominate the menu

Pro: Nearly guaranteed weight loss

Con: Tedious meal prep; equipment required

Con: Lots of rules

[See: Raw Food Diet menu.]

Easiest Diets to Follow

— Mediterranean Diet

— WW (Weight Watchers) Diet

— The Flexitarian Diet

— MIND Diet

— DASH Diet

— The Fertility Diet

— Jenny Craig Diet

— Mayo Clinic Diet

— Volumetrics Diet

— Flat Belly Diet

More from U.S. News

Best Diets of 2019

The 10 Best Exercises You Can Do for the Rest of Your Life

What Not to Say When Someone Loses Major Weight

The 41 Easiest Diets to Follow originally appeared on

Update 01/02/19: This slideshow has been updated to reflect the latest ranking results.

Federal News Network Logo
Log in to your WTOP account for notifications and alerts customized for you.

Sign up