The TOPS Diet Programs

The TOPS Diet Programs

The TOPS Club is over 60 years old and is one of first pioneers of today’s weight loss programs. It’s similar to the Weight Watchers, which is another popular diet program.

TOPS was founded by Esther S. Manz, together with two of her friends at the local community center in Milwaukee. It has grown ever since to a huge number of members worldwide and had donated millions to research at the Obesity and Metabolic Research Center.

What is the TOPS Diet?

TOPS stands for “Take Off Pounds Sensibly.” At the beginning, this club served as a support group for those who wanted to shed some weight without being tied to any diet plan. Nevertheless, today it recommends a structured set-up for dieting.

Anyone can become a member of TOPS as long as he or she wants to lose weight. Members can follow any diet program they like, because the club does not teach a specific diet plan nor does it sell any type of supplement. Before following any weight loss program, the club encourages the members to eat well and to consult their doctor. TOPS  has two suggested diet plans based on the “Take off pounds sensibly” principle and they’re available online for free.

The Eating Plans Recommended by TOPS

The first diet plan is the food exchange system. It is a regimen that is created by the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics together with the American Diabetes Association.

In this eating plan, foods fall into 6 categories namely starch, fruit, vegetable, meat, fat, and milk. Foods that have less than 20 calories for each serving go to the “free” group. A person may choose a particular portion size of a food item on the list and interchange that with other food item found on the same list. That is why this is called exchange system

For instance, a half English muffin can be exchanged for one slice of bread because both are listed on the starch group and have approximately the same carbohydrate, fat and protein content. Members can use a guide for this food exchange system, which TOPS provides, to know how they can go on with the system.

The second diet plan is found on It was released in 2011 by the U.S. Department of Agriculture. It’s an excellent nutritional plan recommended highly by the federal government.

In the MyPlate eating plan, it is recommended to have a plate that is half-filled with fruits and veggies. Then, the other half may be filled with proteins and whole grains like brown rice and whole wheat pasta.

The TOPS online community supports its members who are planning to lose weight. It’s up to the member to choose his specific diet plan and menu. Should he choose the plans recommended by TOPS, he can get more help and tips online to stick to the plan.

Photo credits: By Lionfish0 – Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0,

Categories: Nutrition, Weight Loss