The Best Low Carb Diets Of 2021

We may receive a commission on purchases made from links.

With so many low carb diets on the market, and all the conflicting information that surrounds them, it can be challenging choosing the right one. The low carb craze seems to have been chasing us since the early 1970s with the publication of Dr. Atkins' first book, "Dr. Atkins' Diet Revolution." From the South Beach diet to keto, low carb diets continue to evolve. Research (via Pub Med) has shown us that, aside from weight loss, there are some health benefits to eating low carb (via Harvard Health Publishing).

According to Eating Well, for 11 years now, U.S. News and World Reports has created a list of healthy and unhealthy diets, each studied by experts and placed into specific categories such as best overall diet, best for weight loss, and best plant-based. The No. 1 pick for the fourth year in a row is the Mediterranean diet, and while not a traditional low carb diet, the Mediterranean way of eating is more of a lifestyle focusing on plant-based foods, fresh vegetables, fruits, and lean proteins.  

According to Healthline, aside from weight loss, a low carb-style Mediterranean diet is shown to provide tremendous health benefits such as a reduced risk of heart disease and certain cancers, and a decreased risk of developing Type 2 Diabetes. 

A healthy low carb diet is a modified Mediterranean

Eat This, Not That! also suggests a low carb Mediterranean diet as one of the best ways to lose weight and prevent disease. The low carb version of this popular way of eating is not vastly different from the original, as the diet is not particularly high in carbs to begin with. Originating in European countries like Spain, Italy, and Greece, the Mediterranean plan focuses on eating seafood, vegetables, and healthy fats like olive oil and avocados. Poultry and dairy are eaten in moderation, while refined grains, processed foods, and high-sugar foods are avoided (via Medical News Today).

The next best low carb diet of 2021 you might consider is the generic "low carb" diet, which is simply a commitment to cut down on carbs daily, replacing them with vegetables, lean proteins, and healthy fats (via Eat This, Not That!). This type of diet is not actually a diet at all, which is part of the appeal — no counting and no set restrictions.

Other low carb diet options for 2021

The Paleo (caveman) plan tops the list of low carb diets for Lifestyle Asia, calling for eliminating sugar, processed foods, grains, and dairy, or, eating as a "caveman" would. Like other low carb plans, the premise is to get the body to use its fat as fuel, promoting weight loss. This low carb diet was ranked much differently by U.S. News experts, who placed it in spot No. 31, considering it too restrictive and not sustainable.

According to U.S. News & World Report, the Atkins diet, while ranked No. 1 in the low carb department, was 33 out of 39 in the overall healthy diets category. This long-standing eating plan tied with Weight Watchers for the No. 2 spot for best fast weight loss diets, per U.S. News & World Report. While studies have shown that the Atkins diet promotes weight loss and healthy blood pressure levels, they also show these results may not be sustainable, per Pub Med.

Unfortunately, ultra-low carb diets, such as the keto and dukan diet, were rated least healthy and sustainable by U.S.News, and while they remain popular due to their weight loss effects, experts say, again, they are too restrictive, can be difficult, and may cause chronic health conditions.