U.S. News and World Report recently evaluated 25 popular diets. Each was evaluated by a panel of health experts who considered how “relatively easy to follow, nutritious, safe, and effective for weight loss and against diabetes and heart disease the diets were.”
The number one ranking? The DASH Diet. An acronym for Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension, DASH and was created by the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute, a part of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. DASH emphasizes a well rounded eating lifestyle rich in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and low-fat dairy foods.
The Therapeutic Lifestyle Changes (TLC) diet was number 2 on the list. The TLC diet works by setting a calorie limit and focusing on lowering cholesterol. The top 5 diets were rounded out by The Mayo Clinic Diet and Weight Watchers, both of which focus on counting calories (points) and educating people about food choices, and The Mediterranean Diet, which emphasizes fruits, vegetables, whole grains, beans, nuts, olive oil, and seafood.
The worst diets according to U.S. News are the Dukan Diet and the Paleo Diet. The Dukan Diet is a low carb plan which is very heavy in protein. It was considered a poor choice because it has strict elaborate rules that may be hard to follow and the health experts deemed it wasn’t nutritionally balanced.
The Paleo Diet has seen a massive surge in popularity lately. It’s based on the idea that our bodies were not meant to eat any of the processed modern food we currently consume. Its followers are encouraged to eat a diet similar to what humans ate 10,000 years ago which means no dairy or grains. It was ranked last on the list because of the perceived lack of nutritional balance, the cost, and the limited weight loss data.
Of the diets on the list, I can only speak personally about Weight Watchers, which I followed for about 4 months during my 13 month long weight loss. Weight Watchers served as a jumping off point for me, a way to learn the basics of proper nutrition and portion sizes. I respect the plan and I’m eternally grateful for what I gained in the brief period I participated.
But, because this plan is the only one mentioned above that I’m deeply familiar with, you’ll understand why my discussion of the others above seemed rather dry, rather clinical. In truth, I don’t have strong opinions one way or the other about many of them. I see the pros in each, the cons in each, but then- it’s still simply my own judgment, a reflection of my own needs and wants in choosing an eating lifestyle. For this reason, I’m eager to hear your thoughts in the comment section. I believe you know me well by now. So I hope it comes as no surprise to you that my feelings about particular diets (Weight Watchers included) always begin and end with this: all I could ever want for myself, and you, is that we find a way of eating that suits us. A plan that doesn’t feel cage-like, that gives us breathing room and peace of mind.
Now, it’s your turn. Which diets or lifestyles have you tried? How do you feel about the rankings?