Acta Scientific Nutritional Health (ASNH)(ISSN: 2582-1423)

Review Article Volume 6 Issue 11

Components of an Optimal Weight Loss Diet: What Darwin Would Say About Survival of the Fittest

Stacey J Bell1* and Crystal MacGregor2

1Nutritional Consultant, Boston, MA, USA
2Nutritional Consultant, Charlottetown, PEI C1K 0B1, Canada

*Corresponding Author: Stacey J Bell, Nutritional Consultant, Boston, MA, USA.

Received: October 20, 2022; Published: October 30, 2022


Most North American adults will try to lose weight at some point, but likely regain what they lost. Many weight loss plans set dieters up for failure because they are predicated on gimmicks rather than science. If Charles Darwin were to comment on popular weight loss diets, he’d suggest the best ones include approaches that have been shown to work - “survival of the fittest”. In this review, we identify five components of a commercial weight loss diet (referred to as the Diet), which have been shown to be effective at promoting weight loss. First, the weight loss diet includes nutrient-dense foods, providing all essential nutrients. Diets fail because they are not nutritionally complete. Second, the Diet is devoid of ultra-processed foods, which have been shown to decrease satiety, promote hunger, and foster overeating. Third, the Diet is anti-inflammatory, which fosters weight loss. Fourth, the Diet adopts an intermittent fasting approach - there is no snacking - so it produces an overnight fast of at least 12 hours. The Diet is also energy-restricted to 1,500 kcal, which is at least as good at promoting weight loss as an intermittent fasting diet. Fifth, the Diet offers microbiome support because it is rich in dietary fiber, which promotes satiety and a diverse microbiota. The weight loss Diet described herein is easy to follow, includes recipes and meal plans, and features meals that can be prepared in 20 minutes or less. Nearly 12,000 individuals have followed the Diet for three months. The average rate of weight loss was one to two pounds each week. After three months, the percentage of weight loss was considered to be medically significant, with a loss of at least 5%. Before starting any weight loss diet, it is important to determine if it is based on proven principles to support weight loss, and thus, if it has a “survival of the fittest” approach.

Keywords: Weight Loss; Anti-inflammation; Nutrient-Dense Foods; Nutritional Completeness; Optimal Weight Loss Diet


  1. “Overweight and obesity statistics”. National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases.
  2. “Obesity and overweight”. The World Health Organization.
  3. Dansinger ML., et al. “Comparison of the Atkins, Ornish, Weight Watchers, and Zone Diets for Weight Loss and Heart Disease Risk Reduction: A Randomized Trial”. JAMA 1 (2005): 43-53.
  4. Wing RR., et al. “The Look AHEAD Research Group; Benefits of Modest Weight Loss in Improving Cardiovascular Risk Factors in Overweight and Obese Individuals With Type 2 Diabetes”. Diabetes Care 7 (2011): 1481-1486.
  5. Conrad Z., et al. “Quality of Popular Diet Patterns in the United States: Evaluating the Effect of Substitutions for Foods High in Added Sugar, Sodium, Saturated Fat, and Refined Grains”. Current Developments in Nutrition 9 (2022): nzac119.
  6. Ames BN. “Low micronutrient intake may accelerate the degenerative diseases of aging through allocation of scarce micronutrients by triage”. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America 47 (2006): 17589-17594.
  7. Owczarek M., et al. “Nutrient deficiency profiles and depression: A latent class analysis study of American population”. Journal of Affective Disorders 317 (2022): 339-346.
  8. Baker LD., et al. “Effects of cocoa extract and a multivitamin on cognitive function: A randomized clinical trial”. Alzhiemer’s and Dementi. 14 September, (2022): 1-12.
  9. Gardner CD., et al. “Micronutrient quality of weight-loss diets that focus on macronutrients: results from the A TO Z study”. American Journal of Clinical Nutrition 2 (2010): 304 312.
  10. Calton JB. “Prevalence of micronutrient deficiency in popular diet plans”. Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition 7 (2010):
  11. Das SK., et al. “Long-term effects of 2 energy-restricted diets differing in glycemic load on dietary adherence, body composition, and metabolism in CALERIE: a 1-y randomized controlled trial”. The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition4 (2007): 1023-1030.
  12. Das S., et al. “Body-composition changes in the Comprehensive Assessment of Long-term Effects of Reducing Intake of Energy (CALERIE)-2 study: a 2-y randomized controlled trial of calorie restriction in nonobese humans”. American Journal of Clinical Nutrition 105 (2017): 913-927.
  13. Vieux F., et al. “Approximately Half of Total Protein Intake by Adults must be Animal-Based to Meet Non-Protein Nutrient-Based Recommendations with Variation Due to Age and Sex”. Journal of Nutrition (2022):
  14. Bell SJ., et al. “Nutrient-dense, portion-controlled meals and snacks promote weight loss”. Journal of Food Technology and Nutrition Sciences1 (2016).
  15. Bell SJ., et al. “Use of self-reported data to determine the effect of nutrient-dense meals on body weight and quality of life”. Journal of Nutrition and Food Sciences 3 (2018).
  16. National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute. “Classification of Overweight and Obesity by BMI, Waist Circumference, and Associated Disease Risks”.
  17. Weaver CM., et al. “Processed foods: contributions to nutrition”. The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition6 (2014): 1525-1542.
  18. Monteiro CA., et al. “Ultra-processed foods: what they are and how to identify them”. Public Health Nutrition5 (2019): 936-941.
  19. Rauber F., et al. “Ultraprocessed food consumption and indicators of obesity in the United Kingdom population (2008-2016)”. PLoS ONE5 (2020): e0232676.
  20. Pagliai G., et al. “Consumption of ultra-processed foods and health status: a systematic review and meta-analysis”. British Journal of Nutrition3 (2021): 308-318.
  21. Fiolet T., et al. “Consumption of ultra-processed foods and cancer risk: results from NutriNet-Santé prospective cohort”. BMJ (2018): 360.
  22. Mendonça RD., et al. “Ultraprocessed food consumption and risk of overweight and obesity: the University of Navarra Follow-Up (SUN) cohort study”. The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition5 (2016): 1433-1440.
  23. Steel ME., et al. “Ultra processed foods and added sugars in the US diet: evidence from a nationally representative cross-sectional study”. BMJ Open 6 (2016): e009892.
  24. Lucan SC and DiNicolantonio JJ. “How calorie-focused thinking about obesity and related diseases may mislead and harm public health. An alternative”. Public Health Nutrition4 (2015): 571-581.
  25. Ludwig, DS., et al. “Competing paradigms of obesity pathogenesis: energy balance versus carbohydrate-insulin models”. European Journal of Clinical Nutrition (2022).
  26. Hall KD., et al. “Ultra-Processed Diets Cause Excess Calorie Intake and Weight Gain: An Inpatient Randomized Controlled Trial of Ad Libitum Food Intake”. Cell Metabolism1 (2019): 67-77.e3.
  27. Pereira MA. “Food processing in nutritional epidemiology: proceed with caution”. The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition 6 (2022): 1455-1456.
  28. Monteiro CA and Astrup A. “Does the concept of 'ultra-processed foods' help inform dietary guidelines, beyond conventional classification systems? YES”. The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition (2022).
  29. Astrup A and Monteiro CA. “Does the concept of 'ultra-processed foods' help inform dietary guidelines, beyond conventional classification systems? NO”. The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition (2022).
  30. Casas R and Estruch R. “Dietary Patterns, Foods, Nutrients and Chronic Inflammatory Disorders”. Immunome Research 12 (2016): 122.
  31. Bell SJ., et al. “The anti-inflammatory diet: what to consider. Nutritional Perspectives”. Journal of the Council on Nutrition of the American Chiropractic Association4 (2019): 33-40.
  32. Cavicchia PP., et al. “A new dietary inflammatory index predicts interval changes in serum high-sensitivity C-reactive protein”. Journal of Nutrition12 (2009): 2365-2372.
  33. Schulze MB., et al. “Dietary pattern, inflammation, and incidence of type 2 diabetes in women”. The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition3 (2005): 675-684; quiz 714-5.
  34. Tabung FK., et al. “An Empirical Dietary Inflammatory Pattern Score Enhances Prediction of Circulating Inflammatory Biomarkers in Adults”. Journal of Nutrition8 (2017): 1567-1577.
  35. Ellulu M S., et al. “Obesity and inflammation: the linking mechanism and the complications”. Archives of Medical Science4 (2017): 851-863.
  36. Soltani S., et al. “The effect of dietary approaches to stop hypertension (DASH) on serum inflammatory markers: A systematic review and meta-analysis of randomized trials”. Clinical Nutrition2 (2018): 542-550.
  37. Isbill J., et al. “Opportunities for Health Promotion: Highlighting Herbs and Spices to Improve Immune Support and Well-being”. Integrative Medicine (Encinitas)5 (2020): 30-42.
  38. Oh ES., et al. “Four weeks of spice consumption lowers plasma proinflammatory cytokines and alters the function of monocytes in adults at risk of cardiometabolic disease: secondary outcome analysis in a 3-period, randomized, crossover, controlled feeding trial”. The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition1 (2022): 61-72.
  39. Acosta-Rodríguez V., et al. “Circadian alignment of early onset caloric restriction promotes longevity in male C57BL/6J mice”. Science6598 (2022): 1192-1202.
  40. Patikorn C., et al. “Intermittent Fasting and Obesity-Related Health Outcomes: An Umbrella Review of Meta-analyses of Randomized Clinical Trials”. JAMA Network Open12 (2021): e2139558.
  41. Koopman KE., et al. “Hypercaloric diets with increased meal frequency, but not meal size, increase intrahepatic triglycerides: a randomized controlled trial”. Hepatology 2 (2014): 545-553.
  42. Mattson MP., et al. “Impact of intermittent fasting on health and disease processes”. Ageing Research Reviews 39 (2017): 46-58.
  43. Patterson RE., et al. “Metabolic Effects of Intermittent Fasting”. Annual Review of Nutrition 37 (2017): 371-393.
  44. de Cabo R and Mattson MP. “Effects of Intermittent Fasting on Health, Aging, and Disease”. The New England Journal of Medicine26 (2019): 2541-2551.
  45. Stockman MC., et al. “Intermittent Fasting: Is the Wait Worth the Weight?” Current Obesity Reports 2 (2018): 172-185.
  46. Liu D., et al. “Calorie Restriction with or without Time-Restricted Eating in Weight Loss”. The New England Journal of Medicine16 (2022): 1495-1504.
  47. Gentile CL and Weir TL. “The gut microbiota at the intersection of diet and human health”. Science 6416 (2018): 776-780.
  48. So D., et al. “Dietary fiber intervention on gut microbiota composition in healthy adults: a systematic review and meta-analysis”. The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition6 (2018): 965-983.
  49. Augustin LSA., et al. “Dietary Fibre Consensus from the International Carbohydrate Quality Consortium (ICQC)”. Nutrients 9 (2020): 2553.
  50. Carlson JL., et al. “Health Effects and Sources of Prebiotic Dietary Fiber”. Current Developments in Nutrition 3 (2018): nzy005.
  51. Graf D., et al. “Contribution of diet to the composition of the human gut microbiota”. Microbial Ecology in Health and Disease 26 (2015): 26164.
  52. Liu Y., et al. “Dietary quality and the colonic mucosa-associated gut microbiome in humans”. The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition 3 (2019): 701-712.
  53. Petersen KS., et al. “Herbs and Spices Modulate Gut Bacterial Composition in Adults At Risk for Cardiovascular Disease: Results of a Pre-Specified Exploratory Analysis from a Randomized, Crossover, Controlled-Feeding Study”. Journal of Nutrition (2022): nxac201.
  54. Markowiak P and Śliżewska K. “Effects of Probiotics, Prebiotics, and Synbiotics on Human Health”. Nutrients 9 (2017): 1021.
  55. Kechagia M., et al. “Health benefits of probiotics: A review”. Hindawi Publishing Corporation ISRN Nutrition (2013). 
  56. Choi Y., et al. “A Guide to Dietary Pattern-Microbiome Data Integration”.Journal of Nutrition 5 (2022): 1187-1199.
  57. Nestle M. “Preventing Obesity—It Is Time for Multiple Policy Strategies”. JAMA Internal Medicine 9 (2022): 973-974.


Citation: Stacey J Bell and Crystal MacGregor. “Components of an Optimal Weight Loss Diet: What Darwin Would Say About Survival of the Fittest". Acta Scientific Nutritional Health 6.11 (2022): 83-95.


Copyright: © 2022 Stacey J Bell and Crystal MacGregor. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.


Acceptance rate30%
Acceptance to publication20-30 days
Impact Factor1.316

Indexed In

News and Events

  • Certification for Review
    Acta Scientific certifies the Editors/reviewers for their review done towards the assigned articles of the respective journals.
  • Submission Timeline for Upcoming Issue
    The last date for submission of articles for regular Issues is July 10, 2024.
  • Publication Certificate
    Authors will be issued a "Publication Certificate" as a mark of appreciation for publishing their work.
  • Best Article of the Issue
    The Editors will elect one Best Article after each issue release. The authors of this article will be provided with a certificate of "Best Article of the Issue"
  • Welcoming Article Submission
    Acta Scientific delightfully welcomes active researchers for submission of articles towards the upcoming issue of respective journals.

Contact US