U.S. News ranks best dieting plans

WASHINGTON — U.S. News Media Group on Tuesday ranked the best dieting plans by health goal — identifying the best plans for weight loss, heart health and diabetes.

Building on the company’s experience evaluating hospitals, U.S. News developed five diet rankings to address a broad range of consumers' dieting goals and needs. Diets were ranked based on ratings from an independent panel of 22 experts.

"The goal of the Best Diets rankings is to help consumers find authoritative guidance on healthful diets that will work for them over the long haul," stated Lindsay Lyon, U.S. News health news editor, who directed the project.

Weight Watchers ranked as the best “commercial” diet plan, as well as the best weight-loss diet. “In experts' ratings, Weight Watchers bested all other ranked diets for both short-term and long-term weight loss,” U.S. News reported. Jenny Craig stood as the No. 2 commercial diet plan and Unilever’s Slim Fast No. 3. For overall weight loss, tied at No. 2 were Jenny Craig and the Raw Food Diet, an approach that challenges dieters to avoid foods that have been cooked. To see the full rankings, click here.

The Ornish Diet was named the best diet for heart health. “The balanced, sound menu promotes heart health, if … the diet's rules are followed,” the commentary stated. The TLC Diet, a government-designed eating plan that stands for "therapeutic lifestyle changes," ranked No. 2. Another government-developed diet, DASH (for Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension), ranked No. 3. For complete rankings, click here.

The DASH Diet (No. 3 for heart health) was identified as the best diet for people diagnosed with diabetes and the best diet overall. “Its emphasis on whole grains, fruits and veggies matches the sort of nutritional prescription that diabetics frequently hear their doctors recommend,” according to U.S. News. Rankings of the second-best diet for diabetics resulted in a three-way tie between the Mayo Clinic Diet, the Ornish Diet and the Vegan Diet. Similarly, there were three tied for the No. 2 ranking for best diets overall — the Mediterranean Diet, the TLC Diet and Weight Watchers.

To create the rankings, U.S. News developed profiles of the 20 diets that explain how each one works, the evidence that backs up (or doesn't back up) the claims made for it, how it breaks down nutritionally and more. A panel of 22 experts, including nutritionists, dietitians, cardiologists and diabetologists, reviewed the diet profiles and rated the diets.

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