The Most Popular Diets on the Internet Explained: Which is best for me?

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It's a good life, so eat just right!  It's not how you eat but what you eat and how much. Exercise could be a dirty word for people who inundate themselves with junk food and excessive sugar in response.  

It is better to eat in moderation;  junk food, healthy food, and portion-controlled meals. As with clothes, diets are not one size fits all.

A person should stick to a diet that suits them based on their overall health and nutrition needs. There are many diets for reducing calories through healthy eating, like the low carbohydrate (carb) diet, the palaeolithic (paleo) diet and the Mediterranean diet, to name a few. Here are some handy facts to help you decide the best diet for your health goals. 

The vegan diet

According to the NHS, a vegan diet consists of plant based foods like vegetables, fruits, nuts and legumes, with the elimination of any animal products like dairy, meat and eggs. A vegan diet typically includes 5 portions of vegetables and fruits, with a base meal of carbohydrates like wheat, bread, grain and other starchy foods. Dairy alternatives like soy, oat, and nut drinks are also a part of this diet. It is also sometimes a preference to eat low sugar and low-fat drinks, to prevent adding calories. Healthy fats, like olive oil, in this diet will maintain healthy eating without weight gain from calories that primarily come from this food group. Another food group that weight watchers typically focus on is protein. The vegan diet tends to add protein to a person's daily intake through beans and pulses. When choosing oils and spreads it's advisable to use unsaturated fats in small amounts. 

The plant based diet is a good path to longevity and is shown to increase life expectancy. Carbohydrate-rich foods like legumes and whole grains are also good sources of proteins. Blue zones in the world contain the longest living people on the planet. The carbohydrate-rich diet from plant based protein is responsible for this. 

Whole grains like rice and beans, primarily rich in carbohydrates, are also full of protein when used in the unprocessed variety. Dieticians recommend 60-190 g of protein for an average person weighing 120 pounds. 

Beans, lentils, soybeans, and tofu are all good sources of protein, though this group of grains are primary sources of carbohydrates.  Whole wheat, buckwheat and couscous are about 6 grams of protein per cup while quinoa contributes 8 grams. 

Nuts and seeds, though high in calories, are also loaded with omega 3 fatty acids and help with fighting inflammation and associated heart diseases. Pumpkin seeds and flax seeds are also good sources of protein with about 9 grams per ounce and 5 grams per ounce respectively. 

A vegan diet is healthy because of the nutrients it provides like fibre, antioxidants, magnesium, and vitamins like A, C and E and is also the best diet for people trying to lose weight.1 As shown by extensive scientific research,2 vegan diets can help diabetics maintain blood sugar and improve poor kidney function. 

Other health benefits include lowering the risk of heart disease, and cancer and reducing pain for arthritic patients.  

The ketogenic diet

The Ketogenic diet (keto diet) is a low carbohydrate and high-fat diet. Weight watchers benefit, as this type of diet helps in weight loss. Cancer, diabetes and Alzheimer's disease patients also benefit from the keto diet, reducing blood sugar and insulin levels by putting the body in a different metabolic state in which it uses fewer carbohydrates and more fat and ketones. 

The keto diet can be as effective as a low-fat diet to reduce weight.3 It helps in losing weight and does not require counting calories.4 It has also been shown to be 5 times more effective than a low-fat diet in reducing body fat in 34 adults over 8 weeks.5 

There are also greater health benefits associated with the keto diet as it helps in reducing the risk of, and managing disease better in diabetes, heart disease, cancer, Parkinson's disease and brain injuries. 

Keto diets reduce or eliminate carbohydrate-rich foods like rice, legumes, many kinds of fruits, grains, candy and juice.

Foods the keto diet encourages you to eat include meat, fatty fish, eggs, cheese, nuts and seeds, healthy oils and low carbohydrate vegetables like onions and peppers. Snacks include meat, cheese, boiled eggs, raw veggies and dark chocolate. Olive oil can be used in the keto diet. 

The keto diet is suitable for diabetics, overweight people, and those with metabolic health disorders. It may be unsuitable for athletes and people trying to develop muscle mass, similar to athletes.  

The paleo diet

This is a very effective way to lose weight. The basic concept of the paleo diet is different in different locations, but the basic principle is to avoid processed foods and eat more whole foods. Dairy foods, grains, bread, sugar, vegetable oils like olive oil, and trans fat processed foods are in the food groups that must be avoided. However, foods like fruits, vegetables, meat, eggs, healthy fats and oils can be included. Whenever possible grass-fed and organic products are advisable. 

Grass-fed sourced butter and gluten-free grains are base diets that can be built upon. Indulgent foods like red wine and dark chocolate can be enjoyed from time to time. Drinks with added sugar and other beverages can be eliminated to be replaced by tea, water and coffee, which has been shown to be particularly beneficial. Olive oil can be used as it is anti-inflammatory as it is packed with healthy monounsaturated fats and antioxidants. 

It is also beneficial to people with cardiovascular disease risk and diabetic patients. It is a very popular diet and enables weight loss with additional health benefits. This dieting trend does not involve counting calories and involves primarily cutting out unhealthy diet groups like processed food, added sugar items and dairy that add unnecessary calories. If you are a person who does not like counting calories this diet may  work for you. On the other hand, people who struggle  with food restrictions may not find it appealing.  

Sugar-free diet

Excessive sugar intake can lead to many health problems like diabetes, obesity,  heart disease, high cholesterol and high blood pressure. Sugar free diets involve eating foods with natural sugars. Sweeteners can be reduced in commonly consumed drinks and cereals. Soda and fruit juice can be swapped for drinks without artificial sweeteners like flavored or fruit infused water. Unflavored yogurt, fewer or no dried fruits, fresh fruits and grains with no added sugar are preferable. 

Pastries like muffins and cake, as well as ice-cream and sorbet, should be eliminated. Natural sugar foods can be loaded with nutrients and fibre, but they should also be reduced e.g. dried fruits, yoghourt with flavours and milk. There are hidden sugars in baked beans, crackers, boxed rice, grains like bread and pasta, and one should start checking ingredients for sugar content. 

Artificial sweeteners like stevia and ‘Sweet ‘N Lo’, can put you in the habit of craving sugars and should be stopped, despite their lack of calories. Adding sugar to drinks like tea and coffee should be avoided too, as well as sugar loaded drinks like tonic water and fruit drinks. Always opt for unsweetened varieties, avoid foods with sugar in other formulations, like maltodextrin and agave. Flavourings like vanilla and cinnamon can help replace sugar and make meals tasty. Sugar can be enjoyed on special days. 

Sugars are very addictive and should be avoided due to this. Research carried out on rats in a Connecticut lab showed that Oreo cookies activated pleasure centres in the brain. Sugar activates opiate receptors in the brain, increasing dependency on it, and enabling cravings which can ultimately lead to weight gain and potentially symptoms like headaches. 

A sugar free diet can be for everyone!  

The alkaline diet

The alkaline diet, or alkaline ash diet, is named like this because there is more alkalinity in the body than acid. Normal function of cells includes a reaction called metabolism.  This metabolism of cells leads to the creation of metabolites which, after digestion, can either be acidic or alkaline.  Alkaline metabolites are good, while acidic products make you vulnerable to illness and disease. 

Examples of alkaline foods are fruits, nuts, legumes and vegetables. Dairy, eggs, and poultry are acidic foods. Alkaline diets focus more on eating healthy foods like. It has been proven to help people with chronic kidney disease. 

The alkaline diet promotes healthy eating by swapping junk foods with plant foods and unprocessed foods. It is for people with weight loss goals who also look for nutrition quality. Consuming an alkaline diet can also help prevent kidney stones.8 An alkaline diet is recommended for people with weight loss goals and cardiovascular risks, as it promotes healthy weight loss and prevents excess fat retention. 

The Mediterranean diet 

The Mediterranean diet is a delicious diet that is also nutritious. It is made up of fruits, vegetables, and food grains. It supports brain growth, prevents fatigue, promotes heart health,  and better regulates blood sugar levels. 

The Mediterranean diet includes food that is made up of traditional cuisines from Greece, Spain and France. It is linked to heart health, stroke reduction and other health benefits for lowering Cardiovascular Disease risk.9 It also helps regulate blood sugar levels, prevent type 2 diabetes and has been shown to reduce fasting blood sugar and haemoglobin A1c levels to improve risk factors for type 2 diabetes.10

Food groups that one must include are healthy plant foods like vegetables and fruits. These include broccoli, carrots, onions, tomatoes, and fruits like berries, apples and bananas. Nuts like almonds and food groups like whole-grain bread, quinoa, and brown rice are also included. Tea, coffee, water and red wine are acceptable beverages. Animal proteins like seafood and fish are allowed too. 

It has numerous benefits for people aiming for weight loss, people with type 2 diabetes risk, or  cardiovascular disease risks.   


Diets are a tool for weight loss, maintaining blood sugar, monitoring calorie intake and in general healthy eating. With many diets to choose from, it is important to follow a well-suited diet plan to avoid adding unnecessary calories via processed food, starchy vegetables and starchy foods. However, maintaining a healthy and nutritious balanced diet is a great way to achieve good health and avoid long-term illnesses or diseases.


  1.  Weikert, Cornelia, et al. “Vitamin and Mineral Status in a Vegan Diet.” Deutsches Arzteblatt International, vol. 117, no. 35–36, Aug. 2020, pp. 575–82. PubMed,
  2. Barnard, Neal D., et al. “A Mediterranean Diet and Low-Fat Vegan Diet to Improve Body Weight and Cardiometabolic Risk Factors: A Randomized, Cross-over Trial.” Journal of the American College of Nutrition, Feb. 2021, pp. 1–13. PubMed,
  3.  Bueno, Nassib Bezerra, et al. “Very-Low-Carbohydrate Ketogenic Diet v. Low-Fat Diet for Long-Term Weight Loss: A Meta-Analysis of Randomised Controlled Trials.” The British Journal of Nutrition, vol. 110, no. 7, Oct. 2013, pp. 1178–87. PubMed,
  4. Ketosis, ketogenic diet and food intake control: a complex relationship
  5. Goss, Amy M., et al. “Effects of Weight Loss during a Very Low Carbohydrate Diet on Specific Adipose Tissue Depots and Insulin Sensitivity in Older Adults with Obesity: A Randomized Clinical Trial.” Nutrition & Metabolism, vol. 17, no. 1, Aug. 2020, p. 64. BioMed Central,
  6. Healthline. 2022. 5 Studies on the Paleo Diet — Does It Work?. [online]> [Accessed 15 February 2022].
  7.  Lindeberg, S., et al. “A Palaeolithic Diet Improves Glucose Tolerance More than a Mediterranean-like Diet in Individuals with Ischaemic Heart Disease.” Diabetologia, vol. 50, no. 9, Sept. 2007, pp. 1795–807. PubMed,
  8.  Passey, Caroline. “Reducing the Dietary Acid Load: How a More Alkaline Diet Benefits Patients With Chronic Kidney Disease.” Journal of Renal Nutrition: The Official Journal of the Council on Renal Nutrition of the National Kidney Foundation, vol. 27, no. 3, May 2017, pp. 151–60. PubMed,
  9. Martínez-González MA, Gea A, Ruiz-Canela M. The Mediterranean Diet and Cardiovascular Health. Circ Res 2019;124:779–98.
  10. Sleiman D, Al-Badri MR, Azar ST. Effect of Mediterranean Diet in Diabetes Control and Cardiovascular Risk Modification: A Systematic Review. Front Public Health 2015;3:69.
This content is purely informational and isn’t medical guidance. It shouldn’t replace professional medical counsel. Always consult your physician regarding treatment risks and benefits. See our editorial standards for more details.

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Aarthi Narayan

Master of Science (M.S.), Biological science, University of Illinois Chicago

Scientist with 10+ years of strong industry, academic experience in Molecular biology, Tissue culture, Protein purification techniques. Mid-level experience in Diagnostics and start-ups. Excellent at completing large scale projects and experiments with minimal supervision in a timely and efficient manner.

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