Best Weight Loss Programs Of 2023, According To Experts – Forbes

Best Weight Loss Programs Of 2023, According To Experts – Forbes

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If you’re trying to lose weight but struggling to find a method that actually garners results, you may want to speak with your doctor about trying a commercial weight loss program. These programs typically provide structure in the form of prepackaged foods and/or meal plans, trackers and/or individual support.
While the efficacy of weight loss programs relies heavily on an individual’s health history and behavior, some weight loss programs are superior to others—especially when it comes to nutrition and the methods used to produce results. To that end, the editors at Forbes Health asked a panel of nutrition and weight loss experts for their top commercial weight loss programs. The top three programs on our list received two out of three recommendations, and the honorable mentions received at least one.
Read on to learn about the top weight loss programs, as recommended by our panel of experts.
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Our Top Weight Loss Programs

Best “No-Food-Is-Off-Limits” Weight Loss Program

Weight Watchers (WW)

Weight Watchers (WW)
  • Cost: Varies from $15 a month to $43 a month, based on plan
  • Plan length: Varies
  • Primary focus of the program: To help users lose weight and keep it off with healthy habits via a Points system and digital tools
On Weight Watcher's Website
Why We Picked It
Pros & Cons
Our Experience

WW claims to help users lose weight and keep it off with a customized food plan that encourages nutrient-dense food choices through a Points system, in which foods are assigned a number of points based on their nutritional content. Additionally, WW features an app that provides support in the form of articles, trackers (like activity trackers) and member discussion.
“The WW program continues to follow the latest research and evolve its program to meet the nutritional needs of the individual,” explains Toby Amidor, a registered dietitian, nutrition expert, food safety consultant, author and Forbes Health Advisory Board member. In addition to its  commitment to staying up to date on the latest science around behavior change and nutrition, Amidor recommends the WW program because “no food is off limits, and the program is based on individualized consumer plans.”
Melina Jampolis, M.D., a board-certified physician nutrition specialist and Forbes Health Advisory Board member, also recommends the program, adding WW is “one of the more livable [dietary] approaches that can be readily applied to any eating situation such as eating out, cooking at home, packaged foods, holiday and travel.”
Our reviewer found WW not only helped them lose weight, but ultimately proved to be a sustainable way to possibly keep it off in the long run. While there was a lot of tracking involved and an app that sometimes felt confusing, overall, WW proved successful for them. Read our full review here.

Best Psychological-Focused Weight Management Program

Noom Weight

Noom Weight
  • Cost: $60 per month
  • Plan length: 16 weeks, then ongoing at a user’s discretion
  • Primary focus of the program: To help users achieve and maintain a healthy weight with lifestyle changes via a psychology-backed program and a personalized daily calorie target
On Noom's Website
Why We Picked It
Pros & Cons
Our Experience

Noom is an app-based weight management program rooted in behavioral science. Daily lessons take a psychological approach to weight loss, and challenges, personal guides and specialists are all part of the program. Support groups and tracking tools are also available.
“Noom helps you better understand your relationship with food, how to be more mindful of your habits and gives you the knowledge and support you need for long-lasting change,” explains Dr. Wallace, who recommends Noom to anyone who feels they do better when coached, or those who have difficulties with personal accountability.
“This program takes a behavioral approach to weight loss, which is critical for long-term success,” adds Dr. Jampolis. “I can recommend the best diet in the world, but if people don’t follow it, it doesn’t matter.”
While Noom did prove to be a time commitment for our reviewer, they found the program interesting, and did end up losing weight.

Best Low-Carb Weight Loss Program

Atkins

Atkins
  • Cost: Pre-made food prices vary, but range from $5 for a frozen meal to $22 for an eight-count box of protein chips
  • Plan length: Varies based on weight loss goals
  • Primary focus of the program: Weight loss achieved through a lower-carb diet
Why We Picked It
Pros & Cons
Our Experience

“I like Atkins because it is less restrictive than most keto or low-carb diets that have you avoid certain food groups (like fruits), which we all know isn’t a good idea,” explains Taylor Wallace, Ph.D., principal and CEO of the Think Healthy Group—a food science and nutrition research firm— professor in the department of nutrition and food studies at George Mason University and a Forbes Health Advisory Board member. “A low-carb diet focuses on limited carbohydrates to help the body burn fat instead of sugar for fuel,” he says, explaining that because not all bodies respond the same to low-carb eating plans, Atkins offers three plans to fit your personal needs: Atkins 20, Atkins 40 and Atkins 100, each of which allows for a different amount of carbs per day.
While Dr. Jampolis doesn’t recommend Atkins in its purest form (which she says can include high levels of saturated fat and higher amounts of high-fat animal protein), she does recommend an “Eco-Atkins” type of diet, which is an offshoot of Atkins that replaces high-fat animal protein with vegetable protein. Dr. Jampolis recommends this iteration for individuals with diabetes or pre-diabetes, or people who are dealing with excess fat around their midsection.
While there is a lot of planning involved in following a low-carb diet like Atkins, our reviewer found the premade Atkins diet food to be surprisingly tasty and satisfying in the short term.
While our top three weight loss programs were all recommended by two out of three of our experts, there were a few honorable mentions that also made the cut, based on the recommendation of at least one panelist.
This 30-day elimination diet focuses on whole, unprocessed foods and a 10-day re-introduction period. Its creators claim this short-term elimination can help with everything from digestive issues to energy levels. While Dr. Jampolis cautions that this restrictive way of eating is challenging to follow over the long term, she recommends it as a “reboot to get you off highly processed foods that have been linked to increased risk of cancer, heart disease, diabetes, dementia and obesity.”
Developed by the prestigious medical institution it gets its name from, the The New Mayo Clinic diet is an updated digital version of its original weight loss program that claims to help provide “sensible and sustainable weight loss” via personalized meal plans, educational content, a food tracker and at home workouts. “This program is designed to help lose excess weight and find a healthy way of eating that is sustainable for a lifetime,” explains Dr. Wallace. “It also teaches [users] to enjoy good nutrition.
A meal delivery and one-on-one coaching service, Jenny Craig focuses on portion control and support to help users lose weight. “Research supports the idea of portion controlled food programs like Jenny Craig for weight loss, and even some degree of portion controlled prepared meals for weight maintenance,” explains Dr. Jampolis. Still, she cautions that while Jenny Craig may help some individuals with weight loss, the meals are “highly processed” and may not be the most nutrient dense way to lose weight in the long term. Additionally, Dr. Jampolis notes  that the Jenny Craig weight loss program may be expensive for some people “and does not teach you how to control portions in the real world,” i.e., once you stop receiving the brand’s pre-portioned meals.

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Heart

Meet Our Panelists

Melina Jampolis, M.D.

Diet / Nutrition

Toby Amidor, M.S., R.D., C.D.N, F.A.N.D.

Food / Nutrition / Food Safety

Diet / Nutrition
Nutrition
Food / Nutrition / Food Safety
For our best weight loss programs ranking, the Forbes Health editorial team worked with our expert panelists to evaluate a wide range of commercial weight loss programs. Our top picks scored highest in regards to nutrition, sustainability, low risk of complications and ease of use.
A commercial weight loss program typically includes resources such as clear guidelines, pre-packaged meals, individual support and a way to track progress around weight loss goals. When choosing a commercial program, it’s a good idea to ask yourself how important pre-packaged meals may be to your success, as many of the programs without a pre-packaged meal plan require planning, prepping and cooking daily.
Another important caveat about commercial weight loss programs is that many of them are not reviewed by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), which means their claims are unsubstantiated by a reliable third party.
Most people can safely lose about 1 to 2 pounds a week. If the commercial weight loss program you’re eyeing is promising anything more than that, it’s best to proceed with caution, or better yet, talk with your doctor.
While not everyone needs a commercial weight loss program to lose weight, research shows that they can be effective. A smaller, 2022 study of more than 300 adults found that commercial weight loss programs like WW—which was the program used in the study and the program that provided funding—that require a reduced amount of personal dietary self-monitoring (i.e., the programs do a lot of the heavy lifting in terms of food choices and meal planning) can produce “clinically significant weight loss[1].”
At the end of the day, the effectiveness of any weight loss program has a lot to do with the individual—especially when it comes to long-term weight loss, which is often much harder to achieve than those short-term results. Research shows that long-term weight loss often requires the individual to make both dietary and cognitive changes, which typically means a reframing around habits, food choices and expectations.

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While there are all sorts of weight loss programs available, experts agree that the best program for you is one that not only works for your lifestyle and personal health history, but also one that you feel like you can stick with. Because of this, talking with your doctor or a registered dietitian is a great first step in the process of finding the right weight loss program for you.
Additionally, most successful weight loss programs include at least 150 minutes per week of moderate intensity exercise (such as brisk walking).
According to our panel of experts, no matter what weight loss program you and your doctor decide on, what truly helps with weight management in the long run are small lifestyle changes—such as increasing vegetable and fruit intake, staying physically active and limiting processed foods—that will eventually have a positive, cumulative effect.

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On WeightWatcher’s Website

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Product Best For Learn More
Weight Watchers (WW) 5.0 5 Best “No-Food-Is-Off-Limits” Weight Loss Program Learn More On Weight Watcher’s Website https://oc.brcclx.com/t/?lid=26682934&cr=27700&last_updated=1594081290
Noom Weight 4.5 4.5 Best Psychological-Focused Weight Management Program Learn More On Noom’s Website https://noom.8utb.net/c/1955282/1205790/8591
Atkins 5.0 5 Best Low-Carb Weight Loss Program View More #atkins_section

Information provided on Forbes Health is for educational purposes only. Your health and wellness is unique to you, and the products and services we review may not be right for your circumstances. We do not offer individual medical advice, diagnosis or treatment plans. For personal advice, please consult with a medical professional.
Forbes Health adheres to strict editorial integrity standards. To the best of our knowledge, all content is accurate as of the date posted, though offers contained herein may no longer be available. The opinions expressed are the author’s alone and have not been provided, approved or otherwise endorsed by our advertisers.
Jessica is a writer and editor with over a decade of experience in both lifestyle and clinical health topics. Before Forbes Health, Jessica was an editor for Healthline Media, WW and PopSugar, as well as numerous health-related startups. When she isn’t writing or editing, Jessica can be found at the gym, listening to a health or true prime podcast, or spending time outside. She also really enjoys bread (even though she’s not supposed to eat it).
Sarah is an experienced writer and editor enthusiastic about helping readers live their healthiest and happiest lives. Before joining Forbes Health, Sarah worked as a writer for various digital publications including LendingTree, theSkimm, CNBC and Bankrate. When she isn’t writing or editing, you can find Sarah with her nose in a book or enjoying the outdoors with her French bulldog, Honey.

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