Weight Loss

Nutritionist diet for weight loss

June 24, 2024

Written by Maeve Ginsberg

Medically reviewed by Rita Faycurry, RD

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Key Points

  • There is no singular “best diet” for weight loss, but rather the best one that works for you and your lifestyle.
  • There are plenty of vetted diets to try, like the DASH diet or Mediterranean diet.
  • A registered dietitian is the most qualified provider to support your weight loss journey. 

Weight loss is a tricky, sensitive topic. How do you know what the best diet is? Should you try the Mayo Clinic diet? What about plant based diets? How many calories should you eat? Should you try a low carb diet?

When it comes to losing weight, the best thing you can do is turn to the experts: registered dietitian nutritionists. They are the most qualified nutrition providers out there and can give you a completely custom meal plan and approach to help you lose weight and live a fulfilled life.

Let's talk about the nutritionist diet for weight loss and what RDs recommend.

What is the best diet for weight loss?

The best diet for weight loss is one you can follow sustainably for a long period of time while meeting your goals. There are plenty of weight loss diets out there – the DASH diet, MIND diet, intermittent fasting – but you need to find the right option for you. Your lifestyle, personal preferences, health history, and more all play a role in which diet plan is best.

If weight loss is your primary goal, you will need to reduce your overall calorie consumption. Consider how many calories you need to be satiated and healthy while losing weight. There's plenty of diet advice out there touting 1,200 calories as the right amount, but odds are likely that that's too low for most people to feel properly fueled regardless of their weight loss goals. Your caloric intake should be customized based on your starting weight, history of weight loss, activity level, and more.

"When it comes to weight loss and general health, it's never a bad idea to minimize processed foods and added sugars to start," says registered dietitian Rita Faycurry. "I also encourage clients to avoid fad diets and follow the science of proven methods."

It's best to think of a diet as a lifestyle change rather than a temporary thing or quick fix. The reality is that weight loss takes a long time and requires long-term dedication.

You can try a new approach of healthy eating like the flexitarian diet or plant-based approach if you want to limit or cut out meat.

You can follow a specific eating plan like the MIND diet or DASH diet, or you can try a more flexible approach like the Mediterranean diet or intuitive eating where you simply prioritize whole food ingredients like whole grains, fruits, and vegetables.

How to find the right diet for you

Here are some tips to find the best diet for you, based on advice from registered dietitian nutritionists.

Is this diet sustainable for you? "A sustainable diet is one you can follow without too much struggle," says Rita Faycurry, RD. "That means that you feel adequately satiated and energized, and the diet isn't detracting too much from your daily life. Feasibility is just as important as results for long-term, lasting effects."

Is this diet overly restrictive? If you eat too little, a low-calorie diet is likely to catch up with you. "It's not uncommon for overly restrictive diets to result in binges," says Faycurry. "That's why I recommend not cutting out entire food groups completely but focusing on lower calories overall. If low fat or low carb works for you, that's great, but those approaches don't work for everyone. It's better to watch general portion sizes."

Will it negatively impact your lifestyle? What do the next six months of your life look like? If they're full of travel and special events, now might not be the time for a weight loss plan. Do you have regular habits like brunch on Sundays or family dinners? Consider how you can reasonably fit in these moments without sacrificing your goals or, more importantly, meaningful time with loved ones.

Does it fit your goals? While weight loss does ultimately come down to eating less, there are many other factors at play. That's why it's important to work with an experienced, qualified provider who can help determine the best approach for you to lose weight. Find a board-certified dietitian to aid with your weight loss with Fay.

What diets do dietitians recommend?

DASH diet

DASH stands for "Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension." This diet was designed to lower blood pressure and, somewhat obviously, stop hypertension. It is frequently prescribed for people with high blood pressure and high cholesterol, as it can help lower LDL cholesterol.

The DASH diet focuses on whole grains, fruits, and vegetables. It takes a low fat approach, limits saturated fat, and prioritizes low fat dairy products, poultry, beans, nuts, and fish. While its focus is on blood pressure, it can aid in weight loss and promotes general health.

Mediterranean diet

The Mediterranean diet is one of the most well-supported diets out there, backed by research proving its connection to low rates of chronic disease, improved cardiovascular risk factors, and high adult life expectancy.

Similar to the DASH diet, the Mediterranean diet is meant to be a dietary approach for life. It is a largely plant-based diet, utilizing olive oil as the primary source of healthy fat and prioritizing seasonal and locally grown fruits and vegetables. It limits red meat and encourages moderate amounts of dairy while keeping added sugar to a minimum.

MIND diet

The MIND diet is a mix of the DASH and Mediterranean diets; it stands for "Mediterranean-DASH Intervention for Neurodegenerative Delay." This diet plan is designed to slow the progression or development of Alzheimer’s disease, a neurodegenerative condition.

The meal plan states that you should focus on 10 specific foods with health benefits, aiming to consume this on a weekly basis:

  • Six or more servings of green, leafy vegetables
  • One serving of non-starchy vegetables
  • Five or more servings of nuts
  • Other foods to focus on include berries, beans, olive oil, whole grains, fish, and poultry

Mayo Clinic diet

The Mayo Clinic diet is another lifetime dietary approach with an initial weight loss phase followed by a set of lifelong guidelines to follow. This weight loss plan aims to educate users to empower them to make healthier choices throughout their lifetime, including portion sizes, meal planning, physical activity, and healthy habit building. Learn more about the Mayo Clinic diet here.

Plant based diets

While going vegan, vegetarian, or flexitarian isn't necessarily a pathway to weight loss, these diets can be a welcome change to switch up your eating style and try something new. Exploring plant based diets can aid in finding new healthy foods and recipes that can reignite your passion for health and help you navigate a new lifestyle appraoch.

How can a registered dietitian help me lose weight?

Working with a registered dietitian is the best way to ensure a successful and sustainable weight loss diet. An RD will help find the best diet for you and your goals, food allergies and preferences, and lifestyle. Here's what to expect when working with a qualified registered dietitian nutritionist for weight loss:

You'll start with an intake call where you'll meet one-on-one, either in person or virtually, to establish why you want to work with an RD. In this call, the RD will ask about your goals, history, and preferences. This includes details like other diet plans you've tried, what food groups you do or don't like, any allergies or medical conditions you have, why you want to pursue weight loss, and more. Don't be afraid to be completely honest – the more direct you are about what you're looking for, the more effectively the dietitian can help you.

Once your RD understands your weight loss goals, they can determine the best diet for you. They'll come back with a personalized meal plan, which could be anything from a plant-based diet to a set number of calories to consume daily or more intuitive guidelines, like prioritizing whole grains and watching portion sizes while limiting processed foods. If you have more specific health concerns, this could instead be your introduction to the DASH diet or MIND diet.

Once you begin your eating plan, you'll have weekly calls to check in on progress. This is where you'll share your latest weight loss numbers, talk about your experience with the meal plan, and navigate any concerns or roadblocks you might have. Again, nothing is off limits here! Be honest about what you're struggling with so that your RD can best serve you. They can offer tips on how to keep losing weight when you hit a plateau, how to minimize sodium on the DASH diet, how to prepare healthy whole grains to replace your favorite processed foods, or how to create a day meal plan for special occasions or trips.

Your dietitian is also there for continuous education about relevant topics that will help make your healthy eating journey easier and empower you to be more autonomous in your weight loss and eating plan. If you're finding the approach to be too difficult and don't think the plan is the best diet for you, your dietitian can help you pivot to find the right approach to keep losing weight and staying satisfied.

Find a trusted dietitian for the best weight loss diet

If you want to lose weight, working with a qualified provider is key to finding the right eating plan and getting the support you need for your healthy eating journey.

With Fay, it's easy to find a registered dietitian nutritionist near you. You can search Fay's extensive network by expertise to find someone who specializes in a weight loss diet or specific diets like the DASH diet, MIND diet, or Mediterranean diet who's covered by your health insurance. With Fay, you can meet with a qualified provider for as little as $0 per session.

Click here to get started with Fay.

The views expressed by authors and contributors of such content are not endorsed or approved by Fay and are intended for informational purposes only. The content is reviewed by Fay only to confirm educational value and audience interest. You are encouraged to discuss any questions that you may have about your health with a healthcare provider.

  • National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute - DASH Eating Plan
  • Alzheimer’s Research & Therapy - MIND diet and the risk of dementia: a population-based study
  • Journal of Internal Medicine - The Mediterranean diet and health: a comprehensive overview
  • Mayo Clinic - The Mayo Clinic Diet: A weight-loss program for life

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Maeve Ginsberg

Written by Maeve Ginsberg

Maeve Ginsberg is a health and wellness writer with a personal passion for fitness. As an ACE Certified Personal Trainer and former powerlifter, she loves combining her interests in health with her writing. Maeve has a Bachelor’s degree from Northwestern University. 

Rita Faycurry, RD

Medically Reviewed by Rita Faycurry, RD

Rita Faycurry, RD is a board-certified Registered Dietitian Nutritionist specializing in clinical nutrition for chronic conditions. Her approach to health is centered around the idea that the mind and body are intimately connected, and that true healing requires an evidence-based and integrative approach that addresses the root cause of disease. In her books and articles, Rita offers practical tips and insights on how to care for your body, mind, and spirit to achieve optimal health and wellness.