See Which Diet Plans People REALLY Like

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For years people have been searching for the “perfect diet” like they were hunting the Holy Grail. But which diets actually work?Consumer Report (CR) recently asked more than 9,000 readers to weigh in on the question. They ranked 13 weight loss plans and tools, assigning each diet a score out of 100 based on factors like initial weight loss, food variety, and maintenance, among others.

Consumer Reports found that do-it-yourself plans were more popular than commercial alternatives, possibly because of the lower cost and the better flexibility. But ratings aside, Consumer Reports points out that weight loss is possible on any of the plans, and satisfaction is based on more than just shedding pounds alone.

CR Reader Score: 56

Typical Weight Loss (Men): 12 to 35 lbs

Typical Weight Loss (Women): 10 to 28 lbs

Pros: Weight Watchers provides the flexibility to create your own diet plan and lets you eat whatever you want.

Cons: The Weight Watchers points system can be annoying to keep track of each day, and their premade food products are a bit pricey.

SparkPeople is a diet tracking website with an additional online support community.

CR Reader Score: 60

Typical Weight Loss (Men): 10 to 25 lbs

Typical Weight Loss (Women): 5 to 21 lbs

Pros: SparkPeople is free and readily-accessible, and enables you to easily track your weight loss journey. The site also has a user community that you can rely on for encouragement and shared tips.

Cons: The premise is mainly a low-carb, high-protein diet, which isn't best for everyone, and there can be a wait to get advice or answers from physicians on the site when you need help.

Nutrisystem is a commercial plan with many easy-to-make meal choices.

CR Reader Score: 66

Typical Weight Loss (Men): 10 to 30 lbs

Typical Weight Loss (Women): 7 to 24 lbs

Pros: Carbs are not off limits on the Nutrisystem plan, and the meals are simple and easy to make.

Cons: Nutrisystem's food choices have been called 'palatable,' and eating them feels like sitting down to a TV dinner instead of a meal.

The South Beach Diet is a DIY plan that guarantees weight loss in the first two weeks.

CR Reader Score: 70

Typical Weight Loss (Men): 11 to 27 lbs

Typical Weight Loss (Women): 8 to 23 lbs

Pros: One of the perks of the South Beach diet is the allowance of snacks and dessert, and the brand claims you can lose up to 13 pounds in the first two weeks.

Cons: Many people say planning and preparing the meals can be time-consuming, and the first two weeks in which the most weight is typically lost can feel very restrictive.

Medifast is a commercial plan with no calorie or point counting.

CR Reader Score: 70

Typical Weight Loss (Men): 20 to 43 lbs

Typical Weight Loss (Women): 14 to 40 lbs

Pros: Dieters on Medifast are relieved of counting calories, carbs or points on this plan, and stay full from a diet of mostly protein and fibre.

Cons: Medifast is a lot more rigorous than other diets, on which adults typically consume between 800 and 1,000 calories, which has associated health risks for some individuals.

Slim Fast is a DIY plan that is perfectly portioned.

CR Reader Score: 71

Typical Weight Loss (Men): 10 to 25 lbs

Typical Weight Loss (Women): 5 to 22 lbs

Pros: Slim Fast is convenient with its many grab-and-go products, and the plan ensures that you get the right portions and calories throughout the day.

Cons: Two out of your three meals have to be 'meal replacements,' like their meal bars or shakes, which can become boring and routine after a while.

The Paleo Diet is a DIY plan is perfect for carnivores.

CR Reader Score: 71

Typical Weight Loss (Men): 10 to 32 lbs

Typical Weight Loss (Women): 6 to 20 lbs

Pros: The mostly protein Paleo diet is based on the premise that we could eliminate all the modern day health ailments if we reverted back to eating like our Paleolithic ancestors, namely, primarily meat and plants. This diet is also low in sodium.

Cons: The Paleo diet does not approve most grains and dairy, so the diet lacks many of the nutrients, especially calcium, that our bodies need.

MyFitnessPal is a free app and website that tracks your calories and exercise.

CR Reader Score: 72

Typical Weight Loss (Men): 10 to 30 lbs

Typical Weight Loss (Women): 4 to 18 lbs

Pros: MyFitnessPal works as a calorie counter and diet and exercise journal, making users accutely aware and more conscious of what they put into their bodies.

Cons: Some users wish MyFitnessPal had healthy and guilt-free recipes available for those who love to cook but are looking out for their waistlines.

Jenny Craig is a commercial plan that many celebs have had success with.

CR Reader Score: 74

Typical Weight Loss (Men): 15 to 34 lbs

Typical Weight Loss (Women): 10 to 30 lbs

Pros: Jenny Craig is one of the easiest diets to follow, with straightforward instructions and prepackaged foods in reasonable portions delivered to your door.

Cons: Those who love to cook are largely restricted from eating homemade meals, as they don't fall within the Jenny Craig-approved foods, which can also be expensive.

The Mediterranean Diet is a DIY plan that allows the good fats of foods like olives.

CR Reader Score: 76

Typical Weight Loss (Men): 10 to 25 lbs

Typical Weight Loss (Women): 7 to 25 lbs

Pros: The Mediterranean diet offers dieters a wide variety of foods and flavours, and many find that the weight they lose on the plan stays off.

Cons: The biggest problem with the Mediterranean diet is price, as the quality, often-imported foods and ingredients can cost more than other items at the grocery store.

A Low-Carb Diet (non-Atkins) is a DIY plan in which users reduce the caloric consumption of carbs.

CR Reader Score: 77

Typical Weight Loss (Men): 13 to 35 lbs

Typical Weight Loss (Women): 10 to 29 lbs

Pros: Like those on Atkins, other low-carb dieters see quick weight loss, and many have seen lower blood pressure as well.

Cons: People cutting carbs could potentially see a loss in muscle mass if they aren't careful, and some also lack sufficient nutrients, like fibre, in their diets.

The Glycemic Index Diet is a DIY plan focused on the consumption of more low-carb foods like whole grains, and fewer high-carb foods like white bread.

CR Reader Score: 80

Typical Weight Loss (Men): 11 to 29 lbs

Typical Weight Loss (Women): 10 to 27 lbs

Pros: On the Glycemic Index diet, also known as the GI diet, users cite feeling fuller than on many other diets. The diet also claims to cut the risk of heart disease and type 2 diabetes.

Cons: The diet can be moderately difficult to follow, and other than carbs, the GI diet doesn't provide much guidance in the ways of fat, protein, or salt consumption.

The Atkins Diet is a DIY plan based on cutting carbs and finding more balanced nutrients from other sources.

CR Reader Score: 83

Typical Weight Loss (Men): 15 to 30 lbs

Typical Weight Loss (Women): 8 to 25 lbs

Pros: Many people adhering to the Atkins diet see results quickly, and the brand makes low-carb snacks and other ready-made food products.

Cons: The carb-eliminating diet can feel restricting, and some people on the diet find themselves gaining back some of the lost weight if/when they return to eating carbs.

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