Moderate Diets for Weight Loss

Topic Overview

Although there are many weight-loss diets, statistics show that most people who lose weight on a diet regain that weight, and sometimes they gain more. The best ways to stay healthy are eating well and being physically active.

You can eat almost anything you want on moderate diet programs, just not as much as you want. Balance and calorie control are what's important—you don't eat too much of one thing or too little of another. The Zone Diet and Weight Watchers are moderate diets.

The Zone Diet

The zone diet works temporarily, because it is low in calories. It involves planning and keeping track of your portions for each meal.

Basic concept

The Zone Diet promotes eating a balanced amount of protein, carbohydrate, and fat every time you eat. The idea is to keep your blood sugar in check, within a tight “zone.”

How it works

Divide your plate into three equal sections. Fill one section with low-fat protein. Fill the remaining sections with vegetables and fruit. Add a “sprinkle” of fat. That’s it. Some people call it the 40-30-30 plan. You get 40% of your meal from carbohydrate, 30% from protein, and 30% from fats.

Other guidelines include:

  • Eat within 1 hour of waking.
  • Eat three meals and two snacks a day.
  • Keep bread, pasta, grains, and starches to a minimum.
  • Drink at least eight 8 fl oz (236.6 mL) glasses of water a day.

On the menu

  • Lean meat and protein
  • Fruits and vegetables
  • Olive oil
  • Low-fat dairy

Off the menu

  • Sugar
  • Processed foods
  • High-fat dairy

Weight Watchers

Weight Watchers provides motivation, support, and education as part of a healthy lifestyle plan. The program teaches people to make healthy eating decisions and to stay or get active.

Basic concept

Weight Watchers has two eating plans. The Flexible Points plan allows you to eat anything you want as long as you stay within a certain number of points. All foods are assigned points. Nutritious foods are lowest in points. The Core Plan doesn't ask you to count points. Instead, you focus on eating from all the food groups.

How it works

Weight Watchers is a program that you sign up and pay for. You have a number of choices. You can attend meetings with other members in person or online. You can buy your own foods or purchase Weight Watchers’ products. You can pay month-by-month, or you can get a discount if you prepay for several months with one payment.

On the menu

All food groups (protein, carbohydrate, fat, grains, vegetables, lean meats, eggs, dairy products)

Off the menu

Nothing, but you must stick to specific guidelines

For more information, see the topic Weight Management.

Related Information


Author Debby Golonka, MPH
Editor Susan Van Houten, RN, BSN, MBA
Associate Editor Pat Truman, MATC
Primary Medical Reviewer Ruth Schneider, MPH, RD - Diet and Nutrition
Specialist Medical Reviewer Rhonda O'Brien, MS, RD, CDE - Diabetes Educator
Last Updated February 6, 2009

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