U.S. News and World Report has ranked 34 of the most popular diets in key areas. While the report acknowledges that the “best diet” is different for each person, the rankings should help dieters make the best choice for themselves.
In choosing a diet, consider your own weight goals, how well you’ve been able to stick to diets in the past, your budget (many diets include special foods that may be more costly than normal), and how much exercise you have time and interest for.
To accomplish the ranking, experts in diet, nutrition, obesity, and food psychology, as well as experts in the most common diet-related illnesses, diabetes and heart disease, examined more than 40 of the nation’s most popular diets. The result is a list of the top 34. Diets were ranked according to 7 major criteria:
- How nutritionally complete is the diet?
- How well does the diet produce short-term weight loss?
- How well does the diet produce long-term weight loss?
- How well does the diet help prevent or manage diabetes?
- How well does the diet help prevent or manage heart disease?
- How easy is the diet to follow?
- How safe is the diet?
The diets included long-time favorites like Weight Watchers and much talked-about newcomers like the Paleo Diet.
The overall best diet as ranked by the experts was one you may not have heard as much about, although it’s been ranked the best for 5 years in a row. The DASH diet, a diet that was originally developed to fight high blood pressure without medication, received the highest scores. The diet was also ranked as the top diabetes diet and the best plan for healthy eating.
The DASH diet has long maintained that it can lower blood pressure quickly without medication and without significantly restricting sodium. It has been shown to work in clinical trials regardless of the glycemic index of the foods consumed.
The TLC, or Therapeutic Lifestyle Changes, another diet from the NHI, was ranked second in several categories, especially as a heart-healthy diet.
The ranking overall best diet for weight loss is Weight Watcher’s. Weight Watcher’s also won in the categories of best commercial plan and easiest diet to follow.
The best diet for fighting diabetes is the Biggest Loser, the diet that says you should eat regular, reasonable portions getting most of your calories from fruits, vegetables, lean proteins, and whole grains. You should also keep a food journal and “get up off the sofa.” Note that exercise is a key component in managing blood sugar.
The best diet for fighting heart disease is the Ornish diet, a diet that divides foods into “good” and “bad” ones. The Ornish is believed to reverse heart disease by reducing fat calories to only 10% of your diet, getting 15-20% of your calories from protein, and 70-75% from complex carbohydrates.
Although experts examined more than 40 diets, the higher-ranked diets are similar in many ways. For example, the report says that the Weight Watcher’s Diet resembles the Jenny Craig and the Mayo Clinic diets. The TLC diet is similar to the Ornish and the DASH. The full report can be accessed at the U.S. News and World Report site.
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