Star ratings reflect scores of 1 to 5 assigned to the Biggest Loser diet in eight categories by nutritionists, specialists in diabetes and heart disease, and other diet experts on a ratings panel assembled by U.S. News. (See our Best Diets methodology.) Experts gave the diet pretty good marks other than for long-term weight loss and how easy it is to follow. If you can stick with it, said one panelist, Biggest Loser can be a “basic, fool-proof plan.”
Short-Term Weight Loss
Very few diets gain popularity without delivering on quick weight loss, and this one is no exception—its highest score was in this category. Most dieters will see fast results on this program, thanks to the emphasis on calorie restriction and exercise. It pulled in more than 4 out of 5 stars, edging out all the other diets.
Long-Term Weight Loss
The diet requires lots of grunt work and is somewhat pricey—two reasons why experts considered it only moderately likely to be able to deliver lasting results. Our panel handed out slightly under 3 out of 5 stars, suggesting that most people won’t stay on it long enough to lose significant weight and keep it off for at least two years.
Easy to Follow
Experts deemed the plan moderately easy to follow; it ranked 11th out of 29 diets. Lots of resources are available, but meal prep can be tedious. Still, “it’s not overly restrictive in terms of food groups, making it easier to stick with long term,” as one expert said.
The plan’s 3.8 stars for nutritional completeness put it in 10th place in this category, above the group average of 3.4 stars. Experts were impressed. It’s got more salt than the government recommends, but it’s at the low end of the range for recommended percentage of calories from fat and provides healthy doses of important nutrients like calcium and vitamin B-12.
Most experts labeled the diet very safe. Dieters don’t need to worry about serious side effects, malnourishment or too-rapid weight loss, and there are no age or other dieter restrictions.
The Biggest Loser diet tied with DASH for first place in preventing and managing diabetes. The panelists appreciated that it promotes the right foods, like fruits and veggies, and discourages the wrong ones.
For Heart Health
The plan was considered effective in the heart-health category. Research suggests almost-certain cardiovascular benefits, and the program mandates exercise, an important part of keeping heart disease at bay.
Last updated by Kurtis Hiatt | December 12, 2013