39 easiest diets to follow

39 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 39 popular diets. The highest scorers are typically tasty, flexible, convenient and filling. They’re also easier to adjust to and don’t come with a lot of special requirements. Those at the bottom of the list may emphasize unfamiliar ingredients, impose challenging restrictions or cut out entire food groups.

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

No. 1 Mediterranean Diet

Pro: Nutritionally sound.

Pro: Diverse foods and flavors.

Con: Significant time required to make meals.

Con: Moderately pricey.

[See: Mediterranean diet photos.]

No. 2 WW (Formerly 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.]

No. 3 Flexitarian Diet

Pro: Flexible.

Pro: Lots of tasty recipes.

Con: Emphasis on home cooking may make it inconvenient.

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

[See: Flexitarian diet menu.]

No. 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.]

No. 5 (tie) DASH Diet

Pro: Heart healthy.

Pro: Nutritionally sound.

Con: Requires a lot of time in the kitchen.

Con: Somewhat pricey.

[See: DASH diet menu.]

No. 5 (tie) Fertility Diet

Pro: Promotes fertility.

Pro: Encourages healthy pregnancy.

Con: Discouraged for those with blocked fallopian tubes.

Con: Designed exclusively for women, though diet plays a role in male fertility too.

[See: Fertility diet nutrition.]

No. 7 Jenny Craig Diet

Pro: No guesswork.

Pro: Prepackaged meals, delivered.

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

Con: Pricey.

[See: Jenny Craig meals.]

No. 8 (tie) Mayo Clinic Diet

Pro: Nutritionally sound.

Pro: You shape your diet.

Con: Food prep time required could make it inconvenient.

Con: Somewhat pricey.

[See: Mayo Clinic diet recipes.]

No. 8 (tie) Noom Diet

Pro: Coaching and group support.

Pro: Flexible food choices.

Con: Lacks in-depth nutritional guidance.

Con: You’re glued to your phone.

[See: Noom diet recipes.]

No. 8 (tie) Volumetrics Diet

Pro: Filling.

Pro: Nothing off limits.

Con: Lengthy meal preparation.

Con: Fruit-veggie-and-soup burnout possible.

[See: Volumetrics do’s and don’ts.]

No. 11 (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.]

No. 11 (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.]

No. 11 (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 do’s and don’ts.]

No. 14 (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.]

No. 14 (tie) Vegetarian Diet

Pro: Nutritionally sound.

Pro: Heart healthy (if you plan it right).

Con: Might miss the meat.

Con: Can require a lot of planning.

[See: Vegetarian diet nutrition.]

No. 16 (tie) Asian Diet

Pro: Diverse foods and flavors.

Pro: Filling.

Con: Rice-and-noodle burnout possible.

Con: Few guiding resources.

[See: Asian diet menu.]

No. 16 (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.]

No. 16 (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.]

No. 19 Nordic Diet

Pro: Tasty, healthy foods.

Pro: Environmentally friendly.

Con: Time consuming.

Con: Impractical for many people.

[See: Nordic diet nutrition.]

No. 20 Biggest Loser Diet

Pro: Solid nutrition.

Pro: No foods off limits.

Con: Can be a lot of work.

Con: Somewhat pricey.

[See: Biggest Loser diet reviews.]

No. 21 (tie) 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.]

No. 21 (tie) Zone Diet

Pro: All foods welcome.

Pro: Frequent meals and snacks.

Con: Tedious portioning.

Con: Limited daily calories.

[See: Zone diet reviews.]

No. 23 (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.]

No. 23 (tie) OPTAVIA

Pro: Nutritionally sound.

Pro: No counting carbs, points or calories.

Con: Mostly powdered, just-add-water food.

Con: Might be tough to stick with.

[See: OPTAVIA recipes.]

No. 25 (tie) Acid 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.]

No. 25 (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.]

No. 25 (tie) Ornish Diet

Pro: Solid nutritionally.

Pro: Heart healthy.

Con: Not exactly easy.

Con: Can be expensive.

[See: Ornish diet menu.]

No. 28 (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.]

No. 28 (tie) Paleo Diet

Pro: Carnivore approved.

Pro: Very low in sodium.

Con: Goodbye to grains and dairy.

Con: Pricey.

[See: Paleo diet reviews.]

No. 28 (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.]

No. 31 (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.]

No. 31 (tie) Macrobiotic Diet

Pro: Emphasis on “real” food.

Pro: Filling.

Con: Food prep required cuts into convenience.

Con: Somewhat pricey.

[See: Macrobiotic diet photos.]

No. 33 AIP Diet

Pro: Pinpoints triggering foods.

Pro: Healing potential.

Con: Restrictive.

Con: Needs more research.

[See: AIP diet recipes.]

No. 34 (tie) Keto Diet

Pro: You won’t have to cut back on fatty foods.

Pro: No calorie counting.

Con: Strict carb limits.

Con: Can seem extreme and challenging to follow.

[See: Keto diet nutrition.]

No. 34 (tie) Modified Keto Diet

Pro: Fatty foods embraced.

Pro: You can cycle in and out.

Con: Carbs very limited.

Con: Restrictive.

[See: Modified Keto diet do’s and don’ts.]

No. 34 (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.]

No. 37 (tie) Dukan Diet

Pro: All you can eat.

Pro: Filling.

Con: Lots of rules.

Con: Could fall short nutritionally.

[See: Dukan diet nutrition.]

No. 37 (tie) GAPS Diet

Pro: Many resources available.

Pro: Can have positive digestive benefits.

Con: It’s lots of work.

Con: Lack of research supporting diet’s claims.

[See: GAPS diet meal plan.]

No. 39 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.

— Flexitarian diet.

— MIND diet.

— DASH diet.

— Fertility diet.

— Jenny Craig diet.

— Mayo Clinic diet.

— Noom diet.

— Volumetrics diet.

More from U.S. News

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The 39 Easiest Diets to Follow originally appeared on usnews.com

Update 01/04/21: This slideshow has been updated to reflect the latest ranking results.

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