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Best Diets List: DASH Eating Plan, Weight Watchers Rated Tops

By    |   Tuesday, 07 January 2014 08:24 AM

The DASH Eating Plan outscored all other programs this week to take the top spot on U.S. News & World Report's annual list of best diets for the fourth year in a row. Weight Watchers is the best weight-loss diet.

Health experts analyzed the 32 most popular diets, from the tried and true regimens like Jenny Craig and Weight Watchers to fads like the Paleo and raw food diets, and ranked them by category. The DASH, or Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension, Eating Plan took the No. 1 spot in the overall best diets group.

"DASH was developed to fight high blood pressure, not as an all-purpose diet. But it certainly looked like an all-star to our panel of experts, who gave it high marks for its nutritional completeness, safety, ability to prevent or control diabetes, and role in supporting heart health," U.S. News & World Report wrote. "Though obscure, it beat out a field full of better-known diets."

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DASH works because it isn't highly restrictive. People following the diet must simply aim to cut their sodium intake. The meal plan calls for three whole-grain products each day, four to six servings of vegetables, four to six servings of fruit, two to four servings of dairy products, and several servings each of lean meats and nuts/seeds/legumes.

Other top contenders in categories like best weight-loss diets, best diets for diabetes, and easiest diets to follow included Weight Watchers, the Biggest Loser diet, the Ornish diet, and the Mayo Clinic diet.

"The diets topping the charts focus on health, nutritional needs, and palatability — factors that are essential to maintaining eating plans that will meet individual needs," Connie Diekman, director of university nutrition for Washington University in St. Louis, told WebMD.com.

Some of the lowest scorers were the Paleo and Dukan diets. Experts criticized the Paleo plan, which stresses lots of meat, fish, and poultry, and called it "eating like a caveman." Likewise, the Dukan plan encourages a very high protein approach, which some health experts said was "idiotic."

Here's a sample of U.S. News & World Report's final list for 2014:

Best Overall

1. DASH Diet
2. TLC Diet
3. Mayo Clinic Diet
3. Mediterranean Diet
3. Weight Watchers
6. Flexitarian Diet
7. Volumetrics
8. Jenny Craig
9. Biggest Loser Diet
9. Ornish Diet

Best Weight Loss
1. Weight Watchers
2. Biggest Loser Diet
2. Jenny Craig
2. Raw Food Diet
5. Volumetrics
6. Atkins
6. Flexitarian Diet
6. Slim-Fast
6. Spark Solution Diet
6. Vegan Diet

Best Diabetes

1. Biggest Loser Diet
1. DASH Diet
3. Engine 2 Diet
3. Flexitarian Diet
3. Mayo Clinic Diet
3. Ornish Diet
3. Vegan Diet
8. Anti-Inflammatory Diet
8. Mediterranean Diet
8. Vegetarian Diet

Easiest to follow
1. Weight Watchers
2. Jenny Craig
3. Flexitarian Diet
3. Mediterranean Diet
5. Slim-Fast
5. Volumetrics
7. DASH Diet
7. Mayo Clinic Diet
7. Nutrisystem
10. TLC Diet

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The DASH Eating Plan outscored all other programs this week to take the top spot on U.S. News & World Report's annual list of best diets for the fourth year in a row.
Tuesday, 07 January 2014 08:24 AM
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