It’s that time of year again. The “new year, new me” posts begin, and indulgent eaters of the past vow to change their ways. But is the diet they’re relying on as effective as it claims?
U.S. News & World Report released its annual ranking of the top diets, and the results might surprise you.
The 35 diets were ranked based on how easy they were to follow, nutrition, safety, effectiveness for weight loss and their protection against diabetes and heart disease.
Top five diets:
1. DASH diet
Developed to fight high blood pressure, the Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension diet was rated the best overall from U.S. News’ panel of experts. The diet emphasizes fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean protein and low-fat dairy, and shys away from red meat and fatty sweets.
2. TLC diet
An acronym for Therapeutic Lifestyle Changes, TLC was created by the National Institutes of Health and promotes cardiovascular health. TLC cuts back on saturated fat (think fried foods and fatty meat) and limits daily cholesterol intake.
Temporary dieters: This plan is not for you. Although calorie counting is not required for this plan, the diet works in two parts and emphasizes a lifestyle change. Part one recommends 15 key habits to ditch and keep, and part two helps dieters learn how many calories to eat based on their weight loss goals.
Tied with the Mayo Clinic diet, the Mediterranean diet relies on fruits, veggies, olive oil and fish. The diet was inspired of the eating habits of people who live in countries bordering the Mediterranean Sea and is based around an active lifestyle.
Group support and tried-and-true methods have consistently kept Weight Watchers in the top-rated diets category. It is said to be effective in short- and long-term weight loss and stresses calorie counting based on a points system. The perk: Nothing is off limits.
32. Atkins diet
Experts ranked the low-carb diet as a 2.3 out of 5, saying it “leaves much to be desired” for an all-purpose diet. It also scored low for long-term weight loss, nutrition and heart health. If short-term weight loss is what you’re aiming for, it looks like the Atkins diet is your answer.
32. Raw Food diet
Tied with the Atkins diet, the Raw Food diet scored low on nutritional completeness and easiness to follow. According to one expert, “Doing it well involves considerable commitment and effort, knowledge and sacrifice. And there are diets that require less of all these that are likely to be just as healthful.”
34. Dukan diet
Labeled “idiotic” by one expert, the Dukan diet scored low on nearly every measure. The diet claims you’ll lose up to 10 pounds in the first week, denouncing calorie counting and relying on protein for the majority of the diet. The problem? There’s no proof that it works, experts say.
35. Paleo diet
Rounding out the bottom of the list is the recently popular Paleo diet, which boasts a “healthier, fitter, disease-free life.” Experts, however, say the diet is too hard to adhere to and would be too hard to duplicate in modern times.
The complete list, along with pros and cons of each, can be found here.