Best Diets 2012: The Exclusive Rankings by U.S. News & World Report
It's a new year, and many Americans are dieting with new resolve. To help them, U.S. News has released its second annual Best Diets rankings—an evaluation of 25 eating plans that have been expert-rated in seven categories, including short-term weight loss, long-term weight loss, nutritional completeness, and more. The centerpiece of Best Diets 2012 is the first-ever Easiest Diets to Follow ranking. Weight Watchers ranked first on this list. Dieters who choose a plan or approach that scored well are more likely to succeed in staying on their diet for the long haul.
U.S. News also put out other diet rankings, including an overall ranking; the government-endorsed DASH Diet (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension) snagged the top spot on that list. A panel of 22 experts in diet and nutrition, as well as specialists in diabetes and heart disease, said it was heart-healthy and nutritionally sound. The Biggest Loser Diet and DASH Diet tied for first in Best Diabetes Diets, and the Ornish Diet ranked as the Best Heart-Healthy Diet. "The Best Diets rankings are designed to guide each dieter to the diet or diets best suited to his or her goal, whether that's weight loss, management of diabetes, healthy eating, or something else," said U.S. News's Lindsay Lyon, who directed the project.
Best Diets Methodology: How We Rated 25 Eating Plans
Diets come and go, teasing and tempting with dreams of that elusive hot body. Eat what you want! Pounds melt away overnight! The reality, as frustrated dieters know well, is that dieting is hard and most diets don't work. Some can even threaten your health. And digging out the truth about dieting, let alone whether particular plans live up to the hype, is laborious enough to burn off a pound or two by itself.
Best Diets 2012 cuts through the clutter of claims and delivers the facts about 25 diets. That's five more than last year, when we published our first-ever diet rankings. The five new diets added this year are the Abs Diet, Biggest Loser Diet, Dukan Diet, Flat Belly Diet, and Macrobiotic Diet. Many of the diets, such as Weight Watchers, are household names, while others, such as the DASH diet, should be. To create the second annual rankings, U.S. News editors and reporters spent months winnowing potential additions to our diet roster and then mining medical journals, government reports, and other resources to create in-depth profiles for the five that made the cut.
Each profile explains how the diet works, determines whether its claims add up or fall short, scrutinizes it for possible health risk—and reveals what it's like to live on the diet, not just read about it. [Read more: Best Diets Methodology: How We Rated 25 Eating Plans.]
What Makes a Diet Easy to Follow?
Losing weight is never going to be a piece of cake. But obstacles like bland food, a rigid eating schedule, and hours-long meal prep make sticking to a diet—and seeing the number on the scale steadily decline—much less likely. That's why it's smart to look for a plan or approach that's relatively easy to follow.
"It's always going to be hard at first, but you're more likely to be able to live with some diets than you are others," says registered dietitian Andrea Giancoli, who serves on U.S. News's Best Diets panel of 22 experts in nutrition and diet. "You don't want something that's immediately setting you up for failure."
Accordingly, for Best Diets 2012, U.S. News has added a new Easiest Diets to Follow set of rankings to six others, from Best Diets Overall to Best Weight-Loss Diets, that we published in 2011. The new rankings rely on the expert panel's ratings of each of 25 popular diets from 5 (best) to 1 (worst) depending on how much difficulty the judges thought dieters would have in getting used to a diet, how much taste appeal they felt it would offer, how full they believed it would make dieters feel, and how many rules would have to be obeyed. [Read more: What Makes a Diet Easy to Follow?]
Popular Health Articles from USNews.com
- How to Find the Right Doctor
- HCG Diet Dangers: Is Fast Weight Loss Worth the Risk?
- To Fix Your Health Habits, Do It All at Once
- Biggest Diet News of 2011