Diets can often be synonymous with “fads” or “trends”. Coming in and out of style like the latest runway fashions. Therefore, it makes sense to pay attention when there is a trusted source ranking the best ones for you. Some diets are more extreme than others, but all require cutting out some form of food, whether it be an entire food group, a certain food or simply reducing calories.
In the end, the only thing that really matters is that the diet you choose is easy for you to implement and physician-approved so you can stick to it.
Here are their top 10 Overall: as ranked by U.S. News and World Report. (A number of these diets you probably have never heard of, and will leave you scratching your head.)
If you are looking to lose weight with a proven winner, consider that Weight Watchers was named the “Best Commercial Diet,” the “Easiest Plan to Follow,” and “Best Weight Loss Diet.” For the third year in a row. The full list of their top 29 diets, click here
- Number 1 is the DASH diet. Actually an acronym (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension), it was developed by US National Institutes of Health. Its original goal was to help people lower blood pressure without the use of meds. Findings have shown that people who’ve adopted the diet have also cured other conditions and incurred weight-loss. Ironically, this diet is similar to overall simple healthy eating. It promotes vegetables and fruits, low-fat or nonfat dairy, lean non-red meats, whole grains, nuts and beans. It suggests to limit the obvious sugary foods and drinks and alcohol. For more info, click here.
- Coming in second is TLC diet. No not tender lovin’ care, but Therapeutic Lifestyle Changes. Accolades are in order to the National Institutes of Health for creating this one as well. Like the other diets on this list, it promotes a healthy lifestyle, rather than an extreme low-calorie diet. Aimed at reducing cholesterol levels rather than weight loss, its plan reveals that by adopting a healthy lifestyle, which includes regular exercise and eating unprocessed foods you will more than likely naturally lose weight as well. For a more comprehensive look at this diet, click here.
- There’s a 3-way tie for 3rd place, with each diet having a score of 3.9 out of 5. They are the familiar Weight Watchers, Mayo clinic and my personal favorite, the Mediterranean diet. Each is touted as being nutritionally sound and easy to follow, and they all focus on eating healthy foods with a bit of indulgence on occasion.
- Another tie for 4th place is between 2 diets; The Volumetrics and the Flextarian diet. The latter focuses more on the traditional vegetarian diet that we’re all familiar with. It is termed “Flextarian” because it is flexible. It does allow for the occasional meat serving when the urge hits. The Volumetrics diet is interesting but does require a bit of dietary education. One would have to get smart on knowing how many calories are in a gram of certain foods. It argues that we eat the same amount (weight-wise) of food generally each day and that by choosing foods which have fewer calories per gram, will inadvertently lead to weight-loss. An example is a gram of any protein has 4 calories in it versus a gram of fat which has 9 calories in it.
- The Jenny Craig diet weighs in at number 8 on the list (after you separate all the ties). One of a few commercial diets that have stood the test of time, it’s praised for its ability to promote weight-loss. However it didn’t fare higher on the list due to its cost and the inability to potentially have other health benefits such as preventing diabetes. Panelists argued that its cost made it inaccessible for some people, thereby leaving it at number 8.
- Number 9 is The Biggest Loser Diet. If you’ve ever watched the hit TV show, the name says it all. A spin off of the program (ie another way to profit), this diet is effective and has roots in old-school health. Basically, eat healthier and exercise more. Nothing fancy (or new) here.
- Lastly, rounding out the top 10 is the Ornish Diet. Named after its inventor, Professor Dean Ornish, this diet is more of a program than a calorie-restricted menu. It suggests to correct your diet, increase your physical activity amount and to reduce your stress levels. It also suggests correcting your emotions by staying connected and leaning on family and friends for emotional support. Its full philosophy can be found in Dean Ornish’s 2007 book titled “The Spectrum”. (Note that Nutrisystem was ranked #15 this year)
Diets should be permanent lifestyle changes, not temporary band aids if one is looking for lasting effects. The running theme to these diets reveals that with general healthier eating, one can not only lose weight but also correct certain diseases.
If looking to simply shed some unhealthy weight, Matthew McCaughey had some words on the subject recently when a radio reporter asked him how he did it for his upcoming film “The Dallas Buyer’s Club”. His response was “at the end of the day it’s a matter of math. You need to consume less than you expend.” Consult a local dietician to figure out your daily calorie needs.