One of America’s best diet plans is free—and online
Popular diet programs like Jenny Craig and Weight Watchers now have some stiff competition, and it’s free.
A new ranking of diets by U.S. News & World Report gives top honors for best overall diet to a plan that is not currently a household name, the DASH (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension) diet. The program, developed by the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute to lower blood pressure, is available free online.
The panel of experts at U.S News also ranked diets in seven other categories, including diabetes, weight loss, heart–healthy, plant-based, easiest to follow, commercial and healthy eating.
The crown for best weight-loss diet, as well as easiest to follow and best commercial diet went to Weight Watchers.
The DASH diet tied with The Biggest Loser diet as the best plan to manage and prevent diabetes. It also earned high marks as the best diet for healthy eating. The Mediterranean diet was dubbed as the best plant-based diet option.
U.S. News compiled the rankings with the help of a panel of experts who reviewed 29 diets and looked at each diet’s effectiveness in the following categories:
- Long-term weight loss
- Short-term weight loss
- How easy it is to follow
- Nutritional completeness
- Heart disease prevention
- Diabetes prevention and management
The scores ranged from 5 (highest) to 1 (lowest). It’s important to note that while many popular diets, like Jenny Craig and Weight Watchers, made the list, lesser-known diets like DASH also earned some of the highest marks.
Below are the top two diets developed by researchers and what the panel of experts had to say about them:
- DASH Diet received 4.1 stars—Recognized for its blood pressure lowering benefits, the DASH diet beat out other popular and more recognizable diets for its nutritional completeness, ability to prevent and control diabetes, safety and its heart health benefits.
- TLC Diet received 4.0 stars—Known as the Therapeutic Lifestyle Changes diet, developed by the National Institutes of Health, TLC was found to significantly lower cholesterol levels. Experts say it’s a well-rounded, healthy diet that requires a “do-it-yourself” approach.
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health enews staff is a group of experienced writers from our Advocate Health Care and Aurora Health Care sites, which also includes freelance or intern writers.