The best diets, ranked by experts

Earlier this week I wrote about what to consider when choosing a diet. I noted that there was no best diet for everyone, but that there were some characteristics that someone should look for in a diet.

For example, a weight loss diet should be low (but not too low) in calories, restrict portion sizes as a way to reduce calories, include healthy foods like fruits, vegetables, and whole grains, and, perhaps most importantly, foster healthy eating habits. Additionally, some form of support, group or otherwise, is helpful and regular exercise is absolutely required. I also recommended a diet that is good for both healthy eating and weight loss — the DASH diet.

Almost simultaneously, US News and World Report published their Best Diets rankings. Categories include the best overall diet and the best diets for weight loss (including best commercial plans and easiest to follow diets), heart-health, diabetes, and healthy eating. The rankings were made by a panel of nutrition and health experts and are an excellent resource for learning more about these diets and healthy eating in general.

The top diet overall was the DASH (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension) diet, followed closely by the TLC (Therapeutic Lifestyle Changes) diet. While these were designed to prevent and treat high blood pressure and high cholesterol, respectively, both are healthy eating plans that can also lead to weight loss. In fact, both of these diets show up in several of the other categories. Since these diets were developed by the National Institutes of Health, information and resources are available for free.

I’m still not sure that there is a true BEST diet, but there are several good options to choose from. Each person really needs to find an eating plan that will work for them, not just now but in the long run. The goal is to develop healthy eating habits that last a lifetime. The US News rankings are a good place to start.

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