As a future dietitian, the number one health question I get asked by friends, family, and patients is: “What is the best diet?”.
“The answer is not so simple”, I tell them, “You have to do what works best for you”.
Luckily, health professionals at U.S. News & World Report ranked 29 of the “Best Overall Diets”. The overarching winner?…(drum roll please)…The DASH diet.
The DASH diet recieved a total score of 4.1 out of 5 possible points. The diets were judged based on the following categories: short-term weight loss, long-term weight loss, easiness to follow, nutrition, safety, best for diabetes, and best for heart health. However, not all categories were weighted equally. For example, long-term weight loss was weighted twice as much as short-term weight loss…which I completely agree with (because I believe long-term weight loss is the most imporant factor in determining the success of a diet).
Also known as the Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension, the DASH diet was developed by the National Institutes of Health (NIH). The diet is rich in fruits, vegetables, whole-grains, and low-fat dairy and limits foods with added sugar, red meat, and added fats. Originally, the DASH diet was designed with the purpose of lowering blood pressure and, after several randomized control trials in the 1990’s, it has proved successful at this. In more recent years, the DASH diet is supported by the USDA in promoting overall health and weight loss for the general public.
If you are thinking about following the DASH diet, daily serving suggestions and a sample menu are available below. For more information, the NIH has published a very informative document with complete details about the DASH diet.
The “Best Overall Diets” according to the U.S. News & World report are ranked as follows:
#1. DASH Diet
2. TLC Diet
3. Mayo Clinic Diet
3. Mediterranean Diet
3. Weight Watchers
6. The Flexitarian Diet
6. Volumetrics Diet
8. Jenny Craig
8. The Biggest Loser Diet
9. The Dean Ornish Diet