Just in time for the dieters who have made resolutions to lose weight and get healthy in the new year, U.S. News and World Report has released its second annual best diet rankings.
To determine which diet would come out on top, a panel of 22 experts – like Brian Wansink of the Cornell University Food and Brand lab and Dr. David Katz of the Yale-Griffin Prevention Research Center – ranked 25 of the world's most popular diets . Information was gathered from sources like government reports and scientific journals, then categorized based on seven factors: short-term weight loss, long-term weight loss, nutrition, safety, diabetes, heart health, and how easy it is to follow.
Weight Watchers snagged the top spot for "Best Weight-Loss Diet" and "Best Commercial Diet Plan," as well as earning the highest ranking in the "Easiest Diet to Follow" category. But the #1 spot for “Best Diets Overall” went to the DASH Diet, which stands for “Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension.” Although the DASH Diet was initially developed to fight high blood pressure, the expert panel gave it high marks for nutritional completeness, safety, ability to prevent or control diabetes, and its role in supporting heart health, making it the best all-purpose diet of the year as well as #1 in “Best Diets for Healthy Eating” and “Best Diabetes Diets.”
DASH is a fruit- and veggie-heavy diet plan that emphasizes nutrients that lower blood pressure and cholesterol levels, like potassium, magnesium, calcium, and fiber, while recommending more traditional nutrition like whole grains and nuts, fruits and vegetables, lean protein, and low-fat dairy. DASH dieters are also advised to eat only small amounts of sugar, fat, and red meat.
"DASH is actually awesome. It's pretty realistic, it's not bizarre. It just asks people to eat a lot of fruits or vegetables and low-fat or non-fat dairy, which really is how I measure the quality of a diet," Dr. Keith Ayoob, director of the nutrition clinic at the Rose F. Kennedy Center at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine, told ABC News. "It's not inhuman."
The other top scorers in the “Best Diets Overall” category were:
#2: TLC Diet
#3: Mayo Clinic Diet
#4: Mediterranean Diet
#5: Weight Watchers Diet
#6: Volumetrics Diet
#7: Jenny Craig Diet
#8: Biggest Loser Diet
#9: Ornish Diet
#10: Vegetarian Diet