The DASH diet took the No. 1 spot in best overall diet in the U.S. News and World Report’s Best Diets 2012, which rates popular diets in various categories.
That diet plan also took top ranking as the best diet for healthful eating and the best diabetes diet — tied with the Biggest Loser diet. The DASH diet, standing for Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension, may also help lower cholesterol, as it’s big on whole grains, fruits, vegetables and lean proteins — not a bad program for a number of people.
A 2008 study in the Archives of Internal Medicine found that among 88,517 women who were followed for 24 years, the DASH diet was associated with a lower risk of coronary heart disease and stroke in middle age.
Weight Watchers ranked high as well, voted best weight-loss diet, best commercial diet plan and easiest diet to follow. Weight Watchers also came out ahead in a September 2011 study in the journal The Lancet, in which 772 overweight and obese adults were randomly assigned to be treated by a doctor, or to Weight Watchers. Those in the Weight Watchers program lost about twice as much as those under a doctor’s care.
The Ornish diet, which groups foods from most healthful — fresh fruits and vegetables, vegetarian protein sources — to least healthful — cakes, cookies, bacon, sausage — ranked first in best heart-healthy diets.
Also on various lists were the Mediterranean diet, ranked fourth in heart-healthy diets; the Mayo Clinic diet, ranked third among best diabetes diets; and Jenny Craig, ranked second among best commercial diet plans.
The 22-person volunteer panel that chose the diets included Brian Wansink of the Cornell University Food and Brand lab, Dr. JoAnn Manson of Harvard Medical School and Dr. David Katz of the Yale-Griffin Prevention Research Center. The rankings were chosen, said a news release, based on information from sources such as government reports and scientific journals. The panelists used seven criteria to rate the diets, including how well they generated short- and long-term weight loss.