Defining the Optimal Dietary Approach for Safe, Effective and Sustainable Weight Loss in Overweight and Obese Adults

Healthcare (Basel). 2018 Jun 28;6(3):73. doi: 10.3390/healthcare6030073.


Various dietary approaches with different caloric content and macronutrient composition have been recommended to treat obesity in adults. Although their safety and efficacy profile has been assessed in numerous randomized clinical trials, reviews and meta-analyses, the characteristics of the optimal dietary weight loss strategy remain controversial. This mini-review will provide general principles and practical recommendations for the dietary management of obesity and will further explore the components of the optimal dietary intervention. To this end, various dietary plans are critically discussed, including low-fat diets, low-carbohydrate diets, high-protein diets, very low-calorie diets with meal replacements, Mediterranean diet, and diets with intermittent energy restriction. As a general principle, the optimal diet to treat obesity should be safe, efficacious, healthy and nutritionally adequate, culturally acceptable and economically affordable, and should ensure long-term compliance and maintenance of weight loss. Setting realistic goals for weight loss and pursuing a balanced dietary plan tailored to individual needs, preferences, and medical conditions, are the key principles to facilitate weight loss in obese patients and most importantly reduce their overall cardiometabolic risk and other obesity-related comorbidities.

Keywords: efficacy; macronutrient composition; obesity; safety; weight loss diets.

Publication types

  • Review