U.S. News has just issued its list of the best (and worst) diets for 2015. A panel of health experts surveyed many of the most popular diets, from eating plans you would use independently to group programs. In order to get a top rating, the diet had to meet the panel’s strict criteria. It had to be easy to follow, high in nutrition, safe, and effective in supporting weight loss and preventing heart disease and diabetes. Here are the top five winners:
DASH was developed by The National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI), one of the National Institutes for Health, specifically to combat high blood pressure. However, more and more Americans are adapting DASH as a full-time eating plan. Although there are some online sites that offer support, this diet was designed to be used on an individual basis. The U.S. News experts ranked it at the head of the class.
Therapeutic Lifestyle Changes, or TLC, was also created by the National Institutes of Health, and one expert described it as a “very healthful, complete, safe diet.” It also supports heart health, but like DASH, it is an individual plan.
The Mayo Clinic designed this diet with the goal of making healthy eating a lifetime habit. It got high marks for nutrition and safety, and as a tool against diabetes. The premise is that you will lose 6 to 10 pounds in the first 2 weeks, then a pound or two weekly until you reach your goal.
The Mediterranean Diet emphasizes fruits and vegetables, as well as olive oil and fish. Experts agreed it is a sensible, healthy approach to eating that most diners can enjoy. It is designed to help you take off extra weight while supporting overall health.
The expert panel agreed Weight Watchers is the best of the commercial diet plans, in terms of both short-term and long-term weight loss. It is also very easy to follow and nutritionally safe. The group support is a big plus, as are the inclusion of lots of fruits and vegetables and the opportunity for occasional treats.
Of the 35 diet plans including in the U.S. News rankings, the worst were:
28. (Tie) The Acid Alkaline Diet and The Supercharged Hormone Diet
30. (Tie) The Fast Diet
32. (Tie) The Raw Food Diet and The Atkins Diet
34. (Tie) The Paleo Diet and The Dukan Diet
The diets at the bottom were poorly ranked for a variety of reasons, including poor scientific research, safety concerns, and likelihood most people would not be able to follow them for the long term.