Is There an Optimal Diet for Weight Management and Metabolic Health?

Gastroenterology. 2017 May;152(7):1739-1751. doi: 10.1053/j.gastro.2017.01.056. Epub 2017 Feb 15.


Individuals can lose body weight and improve health status on a wide range of energy (calorie)-restricted dietary interventions. In this paper, we have reviewed the effectiveness of the most commonly utilized diets, including low-fat, low-carbohydrate, and Mediterranean approaches, in addition to commercial slimming programs, meal replacements, and newly popularized intermittent fasting diets. We also consider the role of artificial sweeteners in weight management. Low-fat diets tend to improve low-density lipoprotein cholesterol the most, while lower-carbohydrate diets may preferentially improve triglycerides and high-density lipoprotein cholesterol. However, differences between diets are marginal. Weight loss improves almost all obesity-related co-morbidities and metabolic markers, regardless of the macronutrient composition of the diet, but individuals do vary in preferences and ability to adhere to different diets. Optimizing adherence is the most important factor for weight loss success, and this is enhanced by regular professional contact and supportive behavioral change programs. Maintaining weight losses in the long term remains the biggest challenge, and is undermined by an "obesogenic" environment and biological adaptations that accompany weight loss.

Keywords: Diet; Obesity; Sweeteners; Type 2 Diabetes; Weight Loss.

Publication types

  • Review
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Caloric Restriction*
  • Commerce*
  • Diet / methods*
  • Diet, Mediterranean
  • Dietary Carbohydrates / administration & dosage*
  • Dietary Fats / administration & dosage
  • Fasting
  • Humans
  • Non-Nutritive Sweeteners
  • Obesity / diet therapy*
  • Weight Loss*


  • Dietary Carbohydrates
  • Dietary Fats
  • Non-Nutritive Sweeteners