For its annual list, US News & World Report ranked 38 eating plans, considering different criteria including how easy the diet is to follow, its effects on weight loss (both short and long term), how nutritional and safe the diet is, and how well it helps prevent diabetes and heart disease.
The ranking drew on the expertise of a panel of dietitians and nutritionists, but didn't account for any costs associated with the diet plans or how exercise fit into the programs.
Here's which diets ranked above the rest to make the top 10.
10. The Vegetarian Diet (Tie): This diet is up from Number 13 last year. This diet is simple, no meat allowed. Ideally the meat is replaced with vegetables making you more full.
10. The Ornish Diet (Tie): This diet was developed by Dr. Dean Ornish. This diet emphasizes whole grains, fruits, and vegetables and some fat if it contains Omega 3 fatty acids. This diet was also ranked one of the best for overall heart health.
10. Jenny Craig Diet (Tie): This diet uses prepared meals that can be delivered or picked up at a Jenny Craig location.
8. Volumetrics Diet: This diet was developed by Penn State University nutrition professor, Barbara Rolls. It categorizes food based on density with less dense foods such as soups and vegetables preferred over more dense foods such as butter, cookies, and pizza.
8. Fertility Diet (Tie): The aim for this diet is to help women who are having trouble getting pregnant. It emphasizes eating vegetable proteins and oils and drinking a glass of whole milk. It also suggests taking a multivitamin with folic acid.
4. Weight Watchers (Tie): This diet rose in the rankings due to its new slogan of "Beyond the Scale". Weight watchers still uses its signature point system but is also focusing beyond just weight in a more holistic way.
4. TLC Diet (Tie): This diet stands for therapeutic lifestyle changes and is about lowering cholesterol levels. It emphasizes eating foods with less saturated fat and eating more fruits and vegetables, skinless chicken, fish, and low fat dairy products.
4. Mayo Clinic Diet (Tie): This diet is about breaking bad habits and replacing them with good habits. This diet has it's own food pyramid with fruits and vegetables at the bottom.
4. The Flexitarian Diet (Tie): This diet was developed by a Registered Dietitian, Dawn Jackson Blatner. This diet is geared towards those who are interested in being vegetarian but do not want to give up meat completely. It encourages people to add "new meat" to their diets such as tofu, lentils, beans, and eggs. If you want to eat meat once in a while it is not a big deal.
3. The Mind Diet: This diet focuses on foods that help the brain. It's a hybrid of the Mediterranean and DASH diets. Staples of the diet include berries, olive oil, nuts, and dark green leafy vegetables.
2. The Mediterranean Diet: This diet is modeled on foods that are typically eaten in this region of the world. It's typically high in fruits and vegetables, fish, and whole grains.
1. The DASH Diet: This diet stands for Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension. This diet has been ranked #1 for seven years in a row. This diet recommends limiting your sodium intake to no more than 2300 mg per day along with eating fruits, vegetables, and whole grains. This plan is safe for everyone, there is nothing fancy about it and it is not a fad diet. In addition to being named the best overall diet, it is deemed as the best diet for healthy eating, diabetes, and cardiovascular health.
Source: US News and World Reports