Weight Loss Diets: What Works, What Doesn't?

From fads to fasts, six diets are put to the test. Keep scrolling to find out which ones are worth trying!

The Beauty Detox SolutionThe Beauty Detox Solution

The Plan: The Beauty Detox Solution
Bicoastal nutritionist Kimberly Snyder, CN, created slimming solutions for clients such as Drew Barrymore and Fergie with a complex and strict green-centric plan (zero gluten or dairy), as outlined in her book, The Beauty Detox Solution.

Editor's Take
The food-pairing rules (starch only with vegetables; protein never with starch; fruit on an empty stomach) took a little getting used to but eventually became second nature. My Vitamix juicer was a lifesaver; I blended my greens and fruits together into smoothies that made them go down fast and easy. I cut out coffee (the hardest part!) and replaced balsamic vinegar with naturally fermented apple cider vinegar, which Snyder says aids digestion.

The Results
I lost around three pounds in two weeks, and I think of this as not a crash diet but a lifestyle change I can stick with. The whites of my eyes are clearer, as is my skin, and I swear I see less cellulite, even though that seems impossible. I love that the focus isn't on counting calories or losing weight but on achieving glowing skin, shiny hair, and healthy digestion.

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The Green and White DietThe Green and White Diet

The Plan: The Green and White Diet
The unofficial diet of the fashion world has no book or website to back it up-I heard about it word-of-mouth from other editors. The first week, I'm allowed unlimited green veggies only; week two, I graduate to white proteins (egg whites, chicken breast, fish).

Editor's Take
A year of magical drinking (and eating, and lazing) has left me at my heaviest since freshman year of college. I throw myself into the green stage, and after four days of nothing but broccoli, string beans, and kale salad, I'm feeling woozy. Before calling it quits, I speak to NY-based nutritionist Charles Passler, DC, who, although unaffiliated with the diet, does encourage a weeklong veggie detox to some clients. To help me survive, he recommends I add five snacks throughout the day in the form of rice-protein shakes or bars.

The Results
Passler's advice helps me complete week one, and the first piece of chicken in week two is a godsend. I lose around five pounds in 14 days-though Passler warns that much of it is water weight (when imbalanced, the body retains water). I feel more sprightly already. "You realize you don't need as much food as you think," Passler says.

The Dukan DietThe Dukan Diet

The Plan: The Dukan Diet
High-protein and low-fat, the Dukan Diet, a favorite of ELLE Euro editors, gained a stateside following when it was rumored to be the diet of choice for Kate Middleton and her mom.

Editor's Take
This is why French women stay slim! In the first five days, I dropped six pounds with no hunger pains. Being an emotional eater, I found the diet challenging at first (stress? sugar, now!), but I killed cravings with a Greek yogurt or an extra cup of coffee. The Paris-based MD behind the plan, Pierre Dukan, lets those who are both weary and wary of protein-centric programs get a Dukan-approved carb fix with tastyish oat-bran-based "pancakes" made from oat bran, eggs, and cottage cheese.

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The Results
After a motivating initial Attack phase, I transitioned to the Cruise phase, which alternates between a day of just protein (think meat, eggs, and nonfat dairy) and a day of these proteins plus greens. I lost 11 pounds in four weeks (one whole dress size!). And because I never feel hungry, Dukan will be a sustainable option for me.

The Master Cleanse DietThe Master Cleanse Diet

The Plan: The Master Cleanse
While the Master Cleanse isn't doctor designed, it's Beyoncé tested and as easy as it gets. Each morning, I'd start with a laxative-like saltwater "flush," then, when hungry, I'd drink 8 oz (up to 12 glasses a day) of the famous (infamous?) "lemonade": a blend of fresh lemon juice, Grade-B maple syrup, purified water, and cayenne pepper.

Editor's Take
For two days, I was ravenous, undercaffeinated, and viciously mean. But by day four, I was totally over food and had no desire to eat. If not for my horrified mother-who begged me to have some soup after enduring my crankiness and watching me "stagger around" the mall-I'd probably have kept going on the lemonade mix.

The Results
I lost six pounds in just four days. My hunger level was manageable after day two, and surprisingly, I was ridiculously productive due to the need to distract myself from food and fill my newfound free time. Turns out I spend a great deal of my day preparing and eating food. The weight I lost made a noticeable difference, but unfortunately it returned the moment I let quesadillas back into my life.

Weight WatchersWeight Watchers

The Plan: Weight Watchers
After 49 years in business, Weight Watchers is still reinventing itself, most recently with the PointsPlus 2012 plan. Foods are assigned point values (three oz grilled chicken = three points)-or not: Now most fruits and vegetables are "free," which means with a little advance planning, it's never hard to stay full.

Editor's Take
Keeping a food diary is among the most scientifically proven weight-loss strategies-it really does make you more mindful of every morsel, and it's easier than ever in the era of the smartphone. Weight Watchers' other tenets are group meetings (which, I confess, I found a little depressing and quit early on) and activity tracking. After a week of total compliance, I lost zilch and realized that I had to be even stricter. I cut my daily points allowance to the safe minimum on the plan, and the weight started to come off.

The Results
Three pounds a month may not be a bullet train to bikiniville, but losing the smart (slow) way feels real-as if one pizza splurge isn't going to undo weeks of discipline. Plus, because I'm allowed to eat whatever I want (in smaller amounts) and can budget points for social events (yes, I still drink), it feels sustainable. For now, I'll continue tracking my points. Watch your back, Jennifer Hudson!

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The Fullbar DietThe Fullbar Diet

The Plan: Fullbar
The Fullbar plan, developed by bariatric surgeon Michael A. Snyder, MD, adds food to your diet: a rice-cake-like Fullbar in five sweet or savory flavors. The bars' active ingredient, made from potato extract, promotes the release of a natural hormone that is designed to make you feel satisfied and eat less at mealtime.

Editor's Take
The official plan contains three phases, but as I was looking to lose only five pounds, I opted for the final Maintenance phase, purported to help the average person drop one or two pounds per week. About 30 minutes before each meal, I ate a bar (around 170 calories and $1.50 each) and drank a glass of water, which immediately curbed any hunger. The result? I found myself eating less later-one taco instead of my usual two. Also, focusing on eating well inspired me to start working out again-I even signed up for personal trainer sessions.

The Results
After three weeks, I lost zero pounds. Zero! However, my new trainer said I've probably gained some muscle mass, which would weigh more than the fat I've lost. I definitely see a difference in my new welcome-to-the-gun-show biceps. What I love is that this program is about adding things to my life, not about depriving myself. And did I mention my biceps?

Click Here to See How More Diet Plans Worked-Or Didn't!

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