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