DASH Diet is best diet overall.

The U.S. News & World Report rated the Best Diets for 2012 this week,  including 25 different diet plans. The DASH Diet (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension) was the winner.  The DASH Diet  is a plan to prevent high blood pressure and it  took the top spot in the Best Diets Overall category.

Therapeutic Lifestyle Changes (TLC), a diet that’s high in fiber and low in fat, developed by the National Institutes of Health, took second place. Mayo Clinic Diet, the Mediterranean, and Weight Watchers all tied for third place overall. Mayo Clinic Diet includes foods with low energy density, such as fruits and vegetables, and allows dieters to eat more while eating fewer calories. The Mediterranean plan includes whole grains, fresh fruits and vegetables, healthy fats such as olive oil, and red wine in moderation. Weight Watchers focuses on portion control and encourages plenty of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and low-fat dairy.

A panel of 22 experts also rated the plans six other ways, such as best diabetes diet, best commercial plan, and easiest diets to follow.

David Katz, MD, MPH, founding director of the Yale University Prevention Research Center, and a panel member noted that, “The diets near the top of the lists are sensible.” “Those on the bottom we wouldn’t recommend you choose.”

Diets on the bottom of the overall list include the Dukan Diet, a high-protein, low-fat, low-carbohydrate plan, and the Paleo Diet, which encourages eating like ancient hunter-gatherers, with fruits, vegetables, and animal proteins. Those diets tied for last place.

Before choosing, think of your priority, says panel member Andrea Giancoli, RD, a spokeswoman for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. Do you want most to eat better? Lose weight? Prevent or manage diabetes?

The experts rated the diets in six other ways.

Easiest to follow:
  • Weight Watchers
  • Jenny Craig
  • Mediterranean
For best weight-loss diets:
  • Weight Watchers
  • Tied for second place were Biggest Loser, Jenny Craig, and raw food.
    • Biggest Loser focuses on weight loss and includes fruits, vegetables, lean proteins, and whole grains.
    • Jenny Craig is a commercial program that uses consultants and portion control, among other measures, to help people lose weight and eat better.
    • Raw-food diets focus on eating plant foods in unprocessed or uncooked states.
For best diets, commercial plans:
  • Weight Watchers
  • Jenny Craig
  • Biggest Loser
For best diabetes diets:
  • Biggest Loser and DASH tied for first place.
  • Mayo Clinic, Ornish, and vegan were next, all tied.
    • The Ornish plan is a very low-fat diet for weight loss and prevention and reversal of health problems such as heart disease.
    • Vegan diets exclude meat, fish, poultry, eggs, and dairy products.
For best diets that are heart-healthy:
  • Ornish
  • TLC
  • DASH
Best diets for healthy eating:
  • DASH
  • TLC
  • Mediterranean

Before picking a plan, think about whether it will fit your lifestyle, Giancoli says. If the diet calls for you to prepare food, think about whether you like or hate spending time in the kitchen. If you don’t like it, or don’t have the time, a plan that doesn’t require extensive food preparation may be better.

Get more information on the diet before plunging into it, says Marion Franz, MS, RD, a Minneapolis dietitian and another panel member. “Most people will be successful for the first six months [on a diet],” she says. “The real question is what happens after six months.”

Via Diabetes in Control