Diets come and go. For a while everyone seems to be on the latest hot diet, we hear some amazing success stories, and most of us lose a little weight and gain it right back again. Then we try the next hot diet and the cycle continues.

Is there a best or most effective diet?

Many scientific studies have been done comparing different types of diets, e.g. low carb, low fat, Mediterranean, etc., and the bottom line is that the overall differences in weight loss with all of these diets is low, less than a kilogram difference.

So, the diet you follow doesn’t really matter as far as the amount of weight you will lose.

And the main factor that determines whether you will keep the weight off is the degree to which you keep adhering to the diet. This is important. You need to choose a diet that you can adhere to for the long term.

For some people, that means the Weight Watchers points system — they become masters at keeping track of their points every day and keeping within the limits of the points.

For others, a vegan diet is the way to go. If they avoid anything animal based, they won’t eat anything fattening.

But this is an individual thing. Each individual needs to choose a way of eating that is going to suit him- or herself, and give them a guideline to help avoid overeating.

For me personally, low carb is best. When I’m eating low carb, I really tune in to my body and how it is responding to food. My hunger levels go way down so I have a lot more control of myself when it comes to choosing what will work for my next meal.

But what works best for me may not work for you.

The key is to find the way of eating that works best for you. And that may involve trying some different systems and see what works.

And ultimately, when it comes to long term success, the mental game is much more important.

The mental game component of weight control is called a lifestyle intervention in medical studies. Lifestyle interventions involve developing and using mental tools to help you make better choices with food and activity.

Lifestyle interventions in medical studies show significant increases in success at keeping weight off for years and preventing diabetes and other health outcomes.

To summarize, there is no magic diet that works for everyone. Dietary restraint combined with a lifestyle intervention is better than any specific hot diet as a way to lose weight and keep it off. And this combination increases your chance of being healthy all the way into old age.