Monthly Archives: November 2016

Which is the top diet for you

Jenny Craig may have taken top prize when Consumer Reports ranked the best diets of 2011 in May, but the DASH (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension) Diet earned best diets overall honors in U.S. News & World Report’s first-ever diet rankings, released today.

In an effort to help Americans weed through a seemingly endless array of weight-loss plan options, U.S. News recruited a panel of 22 health experts (nutritionists and specialists in weight loss, diabetes, heart health, and human behavior) to rank 20 of today’s most popular diets. “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,” according to U.S. News Health News editor Lindsay Lyon in a press release.

The results include the the best weight-loss diets, the best diets overall, the best heart-healthy diets, the best diets for diabetes, and the best commercial diets.

Each diet was rated from one to five in the following categories: short-term weight loss (within 12 months), long-term weight loss (two years or more), ease of compliance (satiety, taste appeal, special requirements), nutritional completeness (based on the 2010 U.S. dietary guidelines), health risks (malnutrition, rapid weight loss, contraindications for certain health conditions), and ability to prevent or manage diabetes and heart disease. Cost and exercise were not included in the scoring.

“Evaluating weight-loss plans isn’t an easy task, there’s a great deal to consider,” says Everyday Health nutritionist Maureen Namkoong, RD, adding that the “ease of compliance category” is essential when ranking diets, considering how difficult sticking to a diet plan can be. “I think they missed the mark by only having ‘experts’ evaluate these plans. It’s easy for a nutritionist to say a plan would be easy to follow, but it’s more important to know if dieters themselves — people who’ve struggled with healthy, balanced eating — would find it easy.”

So what do all of these rankings mean for you? Well, don’t read too much into the results.

“Different plans work for different people,” says Joy Bauer, Everyday Health diet and nutrition expert and creator of JoyBauer.com. “Just because one diet ranks higher than another doesn’t necessarily mean it’s going to be best for your personality, lifestyle, or taste buds.”

Read more about the diets ranked below, and take our What’s Your Diet Personality Quiz for a perfect plan that’s truly customized for your lifestyle.

Best Weight-Loss Diets

Winner: Weight Watchers

Runners-up (tie): Jenny Craig and the Raw Food Diet

Best Heart-Healthy Diets

Winner: Ornish Diet

Second place: TLC (Therapeutic Lifestyle Changes) Diet

Third place: DASH (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension) Diet

Best Diabetes Diets

Winner: DASH Diet

Runners-up (three-way tie): Mayo Clinic Diet, Ornish Diet, and Vegan Diet

Best Commercial Diet Plans

Winner: Weight Watchers

Second place: Jenny Craig

Third place: Slim-Fast

Best Diets Overall

Winner: DASH Diet

Runners-up (three-way tie): Mediterranean Diet, TLC Diet, and Weight Watchers

 

The Inside Scoop on the Best Diets From ‘U.S. News’

Here, get more details about all of the diets that U.S. News ranked, listed in alphabetical order.

And to find the best diet for you, visit us on Facebook to take our What’s Your Diet Personality Quiz.

Atkins Diet: The Atkins Diet is a low-carbohydrate plan that emphasizes protein and fats, with a minimum of carbs during its initial phase. Select carbs are added back into the diet after an “induction” period of two weeks. No. 7 best weight-loss diets, No. 8 best commercial diet plans, No. 18 best diabetes diets, No. 19 best diets overall, No. 19 best heart-healthy diets

DASH Diet: Recommended by the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute, the DASH (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension) Diet aims to control hypertension and promote overall health through foods that are low in sodium and high in potassium, calcium, magnesium, fiber, and lean proteins. Dieters are encouraged to eat nuts, seeds, legumes, fish, lean meats, lean poultry, fruits, vegetables, and low-fat dairy. No. 1 best diets overall, No. 1 best diabetes diets, No. 3 best heart-healthy diets, No. 8 best weight-loss diets

The keys to successful weight loss

The treatment for obesity is weight loss, and there are a number of ways to achieve that, including:

  • Diet and lifestyle changes
  • Prescription medicines
  • Weight-loss surgery

For adults, particularly those using diet and lifestyle modifications to lose weight, the following are generally considered realistic goals:

  • Aim to lose 5 to 10 percent of your body weight over six months.
  • Lose weight slowly, at a rate of no more than 1 to 2 pounds a week.
  • Once you’ve lost 10 percent of your body weight, focus your efforts on keeping it off before attempting further weight loss.

 

Obesity and Lifestyle Modifications

Overeating is a major contributor to obesity, and some of the most common reasons for overeating include:

  • Fatigue
  • Boredom
  • Stress or anxiety
  • Feeling happy or wanting to celebrate
  • Eating too fast
  • Eating mindlessly, or without paying attention to what you’re eating
  • Eating to please someone else or to fit in with a social group
  • Trying to follow a too-strict diet
  • Going too long between meals and getting overly hungry

Lifestyle modifications that can help to address these reasons and help with weight loss include:

  • Getting enough sleep
  • Becoming aware of the habits and/or emotions that lead you to overeat
  • Being mindful of how hungry or how full you are before, during, and after you eat
  • Following a healthy diet that provides enough calories and enough variety
  • Choosing foods that are high in water and/or fiber, such as fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and legumes
  • Engaging in regular physical activity
  • Joining an in-person or online weight-loss support organization

 

Obesity Medications

Only a few prescription drugs are approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for the long-term treatment of obesity.

These drugs include:

  • Belviq (lorcaserin)
  • Contrave (naltrexone/bupropion)
  • Qsymia (phentermine/topiramate)
  • Xenical (orlistat, also available as a lower-dose, over-the-counter product called Alli)

Xenical is approved for use in adolescents and adults; the other three drugs are approved for use in adults only.

Each of these drugs works differently and has different side effects. Choosing which to try is a decision best made with input from your doctor.

The average amount of weight lost as a consequence of using one of these drugs ranges from 3 to 9 percent of body weight.

In studies, use of Qsymia results in more weight loss than any of the other three.

In all cases, weight-loss medications are intended to be used along with a reduced-calorie diet and increased physical activity, and their effects stop when the drug is stopped.

Some other weight-loss drugs are approved for short-term use, but their usefulness is limited, because most people regain the weight they lost when they stop using the drugs.

Food with nutritious

When you think of hospital food, what comes to mind — mystery meat, watery bouillon, limp peas and carrots, wobbly green Jell-O? It’s no secret that the meals served to patients haven’t been a hit in terms of taste. There’s even a photo blog that invites people to submit snapshots of hospital meals from all over the world, and while some look pretty tasty, most are sad, unidentifiable variations on stereotypical hospital fare.

And while you’d think that meals designed for people who are sick should follow the latest nutritional guidelines, that’s often been far from the case. When the advocacy group Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine and ADinfinitum Inc. surveyed 40 hospitals or hospital systems across the United States in 2005, they found that fewer than a third had either a daily salad bar or a low-fat vegetarian entrée, and many so-called healthy items offered were actually very high in fat. Studies have also found that hospital food may have lower levels of nutrients like vitamin C, perhaps because the food is heated to a high temperature in order to retain warmth when delivered to patient rooms some time later.

But lately, the image of bland, unhealthy hospital meals has been shifting. The Culinary Institute of America in upstate New York offers a first-of-its-kind elective course on cooking for patients in health care facilities, with students taking field trips to hospitals and learning firsthand what’s involved in improving the taste and quality of institutional fare. At Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in New York City, executive chef Pnina Peled works with a nutritionist to prepare great-tasting, healthy meals for children and adult cancer patients, who often have depleted appetites due to chemotherapy. Sloan-Kettering was also involved in last month’s 2011 Big Apple Health Care Culinary Challenge, which pitted chefs from several NYC-area hospitals against each other to see who could whip up the most delicious dishes.

Healthier Food for America’s Veterans

Even the Department of Veterans Affairs is taking note, with all 153 VA medical centers and 132 community living centers making healthier changes to their menus. Based on several different government nutrition guidelines, the new menu plan, known as the VHA Healthy Diet, was adopted by every VA facility in 2010. The plan calls for meals averaging 2,000 to 2,400 calories per day, with zero or minimal trans fats or hydrogenated fats, whole grains, and locally sourced fruits and vegetables. At Bay Pines VA Healthcare System, a VA facility in Florida, the cooks have also created healthy variations on favorite foods to adapt them to the new guidelines. So how’s the taste? Barbara Harrington, MS, RD, chief of nutrition and food services at Bay Pines, says that the most recent Patient Satisfaction Score was 4.4 on a 5-point scale — “Our highest ever! I’m very proud of that.” She does admit, though, that some patients “do miss their bacon and sausage at breakfast.”

How do you know when a fad diet is potentially dangerous

Weight loss veterans know that losing weight and keeping it off requires a long-term commitment, yet even savvy dieters can occasionally be tempted by the quick weight loss promised by fad diets. As each new “lose weight fast” gimmick comes along, some people forget about the negatives associated with most fad diets — from a lack of nutritional value to food restrictions that are hard to live with — while others might not know if the weight-loss plan they’re considering is a fad or a program that could be helpful over the long haul. Here’s how to tell a flash-in-the-pan plan from an effective one

 

Beware Magical Claims and Passing Promises

“It seems to be human nature to be attracted to fad diets, which promise quick and easy results,” says Allen Knehans, PhD, chair of the department of nutritional sciences at Oklahoma University Health Sciences University in Oklahoma City. Weeding out fad diets takes a bit of effort because, Knehans acknowledges, “there is no standard definition of a fad diet.” Here are some of the red flags that indicate a weight-loss plan is an ineffective fad diet:

  • The diet promises that you will lose weight fast or at an unrealistic pace. The claims sound too good to be true. The diet’s recommendations are based on a single study – or no research at all.
  • The diet’s recommendations seem extreme.
  • Statements made about the diet are refuted by reputable scientific organizations.
  • It refers to foods as “good” or “bad.”
  • Personal testimonials are used to “sell” the diet.
  • The fad diet involves crash dieting, or very intense reductions in eating and drinking.