The 40 Easiest Diets to Follow

Experts rank 40 diets 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 40 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. 40 Raw Food Diet

Pro: Raw fruits and veggies dominate the menu.

Pro: Nearly guaranteed weight loss.

Con: Tedious meal prep; special equipment required.

Con: Lots of rules.

[See: raw food diet menu.]

No. 39 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. 35 (tie) Dukan Diet

Pro: All you can eat.

Pro: Filling.

Con: Lots of rules.

Con: Could fall short nutritionally.

[See: Dukan diet nutrition.]

No. 35 (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. 35 (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. 35 (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. 33 (tie) AIP Diet

Pro: Pinpoints triggering foods.

Pro: Healing potential.

Con: Restrictive.

Con: Needs more research.

[See: AIP (Autoimmune Protocol Diet) diet recipes.]

No. 33 (tie) Sirtfood Diet

Pro: Can promote rapid weight loss.

Pro: A clearly defined plan with recipes.

Con: Low calorie and restrictive.

Con: Requires planning and cooking.

[See: sirtfood diet recipes]

No. 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.]

No. 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.]

No. 30 (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. 29 Macrobiotic Diet

Pro: Emphasis on “real” food.

Pro: Filling.

Con: Food prep required cuts into convenience.

Con: Somewhat pricey.

[See: macrobiotic diet health and nutrition.]

No. 27 (tie) Ornish Diet

Pro: Solid nutritionally.

Pro: Heart healthy.

Con: Not exactly easy.

Con: Can be expensive.

[See: Ornish diet menu.]

No. 27 (tie) Paleo Diet

Pro: Carnivore approved.

Pro: Very low in sodium.

Con: Goodbye to grains and dairy.

Con: Pricey.

[See: paleo diet reviews.]

No. 24 (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.]

No. 24 (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. 24 (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. 23 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. 20 (tie) Biggest Loser Diet

Pro: Solid nutrition.

Pro: No foods off limits.

Con: Can be a lot of work.

Con: Challenging to sustain long term.

[See: Biggest Loser diet reviews.]

No. 20 (tie) Intermittent Fasting Diet

Pro: Few rules to keep track of.

Pro: No foods are forbidden.

Con: Unsafe for some people.

Con: Hunger pangs likely.

[See: intermittent fasting diet meal plan.]

No. 20 (tie) Zone Diet

Pro: All foods welcome.

Pro: Frequent meals and snacks.

Con: Tedious portioning.

Con: Limited daily calories.

[See: Zone diet reviews.]

No. 18 (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 (Health Management Resources) program reviews.]

No. 18 (tie) Nordic Diet

Pro: Tasty, healthy foods.

Pro: Environmentally friendly.

Con: Time consuming.

Con: Impractical for many people.

[See: Nordic diet nutrition.]

No. 15 (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. 15 (tie) Nutrisystem Diet

Pro: Heat and eat.

Pro: No foods off limits (not even carbs).

Con: Eating out is limited.

Con: You may tire of heat-and-eat meals and smallish portions.

[See: Nutrisystem menu.]

No. 15 (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) 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. 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 (Therapeutic Lifestyle Changes) diet do’s and don’ts.]

No. 11 (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. 10 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. 9 Mayo Clinic Diet

Pro: Nutritionally sound.

Pro: You shape your diet.

Con: Food prep time required could make it challenging.

Con: Challenging to sustain long term.

[See: Mayo Clinic diet recipes.]

No. 7 (tie) Jenny Craig Diet

Pro: No guesswork.

Pro: Prepackaged meals, delivered.

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

Con: May not necessarily learn how to prepare or shop for foods.

[See: Jenny Craig meals.]

No. 7 (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. 6 DASH Diet

Pro: Heart healthy.

Pro: Nutritionally sound.

Con: Requires a lot of time in the kitchen.

Con: Somewhat pricey.

[See: DASH (dietary approaches to stop hypertension) diet menu.]

No. 3 (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. 3 (tie) MIND Diet

Pro: Blends two proven healthy diets.

Pro: May boost brain power.

Con: Details not fleshed out.

Con: Recipes, resources lacking.

[See: MIND (Mediterranean-DASH Intervention for Neurodegenerative Delay) diet nutrition.]

No. 3 (tie) 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.

[See: WW (Weight Watchers) menu.]

No. 2 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. 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.]

Top 10 Easiest Diets to Follow

— No. 1 Mediterranean diet.

— No. 2 Flexitarian diet.

— No. 3 (tie) Fertility diet.

— No. 3 (tie) MIND diet.

— No. 3 (tie) WW (Weight Watchers) diet.

— No. 6 DASH diet.

— No. 7 (tie) Jenny Craig diet.

— No. 7 (tie) Volumetrics diet.

— No. 9 Mayo Clinic diet.

— No. 10 Noom diet.

More from U.S. News

12 Health Benefits of a Plant-Based Diet

10 Tips to Keep Your Diet on Track

Best Mediterranean Diet Food List

The 40 Easiest Diets to Follow originally appeared on

Update 01/04/22: This story has been previously published at an earlier date and has been updated with new information and ranking results.

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