All diets work says Sports Nutritionist Susan Kleiner, at least in the beginning.
People lose weight on all diets, but can you sustain it? Will you feel good? Is it a lifetime strategy or will you balloon up afterward? Those are the questions, she said.
So what are the answers: WeightWatchers? Mediterranean diet? Gluten-free? Or something else?
Here's what our panelists had to say.
I'm definitely a big fan of the Mediterranean way of eating, said clinical nutritionist Brian Higginson of Swedish Medical Center.
That means olive oil, fish, fruits and veggies, whole grains, even red wine, but be careful. You need to do it the right way, says Holistic Nutritionist Beverly Kindblade.
You know the Mediterranean diet includes a lot of beans and legumes and people in this county just have a tendency to avoid those foods, Kindblade said.
So Is this a thumbs up or a thumbs down?
If we can back to what that really is, that is the high thumbs up.
Mediterranean. That's good.
Mediterranean diet. Big thumbs up.
How about the old standbys like WeightWatchers?
I think that Weight Watchers can be very beneficial for a lot of people because there is built-in support, said Brian.
Susan points out that the system can be complicated to learn and once people lose the weight, they also lose the support group.
As people say Weight Watchers works. I've gone back ten times, said Susan. So the pros are people do learn -- if they work at it -- they do learn how to balance their diet.
Beverly likes the new revised point system which now rewards healthier eating.
Thumbs up both in the short term and the long term, she said.
Brian agrees, but Susan's thumbs up is less enthusiastic.
Going gluten-free is also all the rage these days.
There are a lot more choices now, but that can be a negative. Susan maintains that the old gluten-free approach was much healthier.
A gluten-free diet actually forced you to make a lot of very healthy choices, but today it's a lot of highly processed foods, highly engineered, taken apart and put back together and packaged on a shelf with a long shelf life.
One of the things that people need to know about the gluten-free diet is that almost all the foods that are gluten free are higher in calories.
Brian sums up the unanimous verdict.
Gluten-free diet, I would give it a thumbs up for people that medically need to limit the gluten such as celiac disease or other forms of gluten intolerance. Otherwise no need for it.
What about the quick weight loss plans? Juice diets and cleanses.
Gotta be careful with those. A few days, I'll be cautious and give it the thumbs up. More than 3 or 4 days , thumbs down, said Beverly.
Susan and Brian also gave the approach a thumbs down.
So what do they recommend as a good way to promote weight loss and healthy eating?
I try to get into people's minds the idea or the concept of 80 percentand 20 percent. What that means is that 80 percent of the time, trying to make the healthiest food choices possible--things that are lower in overall fat content, higher in fiber, lean protein, lots of fruits and vegetables, etc. The other 20 percentthough gives a little bit of an allowance to-have those 'bad foods.'
I have clients only read three things on a food label: protein, fiber and sugars. I don't have them read carbohydrates because they'll eliminate a lot of good foods out if their diet if they do that.
If you feel great, then you stick to the plan and if you stick to the plan and you need to lose weight, you will.
The best diet, it seems, is one that promotes gradual weight loss, lets you eat a variety of foods, and is something you can adapt and follow for the rest of your life and that diet gets a big, big thumbs up.