The DASH diet has been ranked the best overall diet in the U.S. News and World Report’s Best Diets 2012, which rates popular diets (such as Weight Watchers and Jenny Craig) in various categories.
The DASH diet, which stands for Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension, also placed first as the best diet for healthy eating and the best diabetes diet (tied with the Biggest Loser diet).
In addition to its hypertension-fighting benefits, the DASH diet may also help lower cholesterol. The plan advocates a heavy dose of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and lean protein.
A study published in the Archives of Internal Medicine in 2008 found that among 88,517 women who were followed for 24 years, the DASH diet was associated with a lower risk of coronary heart disease and stroke in middle age.
Other diet plans scoring well in the U.S. News rankings included
- Weight Watchers, which was voted best weight-loss diet, best commercial diet plan, and easiest to follow.
- The Ornish diet, which groups foods from most healthful (fresh fruits and veggies) to least healthful (bacon, cakes, cookies), ranked first in best heart-health diets
- The Mediterranean diet ranked fourth in the heart-healthy diet category
- The Mayo Clinic diet was ranked third among best diabetes diets
- Jenny Craig was ranked the second best commercial diet plan
The 22-person volunteer panel that rated the diets for the U.S. News and World Report rankings included Brian Wansink of the Cornell University Food and Brand lab, Dr. JoAnn Manson of Harvard Medical School and Dr. David Katz of the Yale-Griffin Prevention Research Center. The rankings were chosen based on information from sources such as government reports and scientific journals, according to the news release. The panelists used seven criteria to rate the diets, including how well they generated short- and long-term weight loss.
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