What is the Best Diet for You?

diet-1324036-1279x850Every year (for seven years now), U.S News and World Report publishes their Best Diets, rankings of a wide variety of diets in terms of:

  • best overall diets
  • best weight loss diets
  • best commercial diets
  • best diabetes diets
  • best diets for healthy eating
  • best fast weight-loss diets
  • best heart-healthy diets
  • best plant-based diets
  • easiest diets to follow

A lot of different publications and people have tried to rank diets, but these are the rankings that I pay the most attention to, kind of like how I subscribe to over a dozen publications, but the gold standard for nutrition and health information, in my opinion, is the Nutrition Action Healthletter published by the Center for Science in the Public Interest.

Every year, the editors and reporters at U.S. news spend months reading medical journals, government reports, and other credible sources of health and nutrition information to rank dozens of diets. The diets are reviewed for how likely it is that someone will actually change their lifestyle and be able to adhere to the diet. It’s a breath of fresh air after studying the endless amount of publications and news stories that promote the yo-yo dieting that so many Americans are already vulnerable to in this day and age. A panel of actual experts (not self-proclaimed gurus) help to fact-check the editors and reporters, and provide their own input to rank the diets and provide advice that readers should know about.

I can’t recommend strongly enough that anyone interested in health and nutrition spend some time reading about the diets. Every diet has:

  • an overview
  • how it ranks in the seven categories
  • information about how it works, what sorts of foods you’d eat if you followed the plan
  • how much it costs to follow
  • how likely you are to lose weight on the diet
  • what the pros and cons of the diet are
  • how much exercise is recommended on the plan
  • what the health benefits and risks are
  • the nutritional breakdown of a sample day
  • recipes
  • a “do and don’t” list for people following the plan
  • expert reviews

Before you rush off to the bookstore to buy the newest diet book or spend time perusing the Internet to read about what other people are doing, please do me (and yourself) a favor and really study this information that is free and clinically tested.

I have pasted the best and worst rankings from three of the seven categories below:

Best Diets Overall compares the experts’ ratings in all seven categories. Safety was double-counted while short-term and long-term weight loss were combined, with long-term ratings getting twice the weight.

Best Weight-Loss Diets was created by combining short-term and long-term weight-loss ratings, weighing both equally.

Best Heart-Healthy Diets uses average heart-healthy ratings.

Best Diets Overall

Diet Overall Score
DASH (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension) Diet (BEST) (#1/38) 4.2/5
Mediterranean Diet (#2/38) 4.1/5
MIND (Mediterranean-DASH Diet for Neurodegenerative Disease) Diet (#3/38) 4.0/5
Flexitarian Diet (#4/38; tie)

Mayo Clinic Diet (#4/38; tie)

TLC (Therapeutic Lifestyle Change) Diet(#4/38; tie)

Weight Watchers Diet (#4/38; tie)

3.9/5
Fertility Diet (#5/38) 3.8/5

Worst Diets Overall

Diet Overall Score
Raw Food Diet (#32/38; tie)

Fast Diet (#32/38; tie)

Body Reset Diet (#32/38; tie)

2.5/5
Atkins Diet (#35/38) 2.4/5
Paleo Diet (#36/38) 2.3/5
Dukan Diet (#37/38) 2.1/5
Whole30 Diet (WORST) (#38/38) 2.0/5

Best Diets for Weight Loss

Diet Weight Loss Score
Weight Watchers (BEST) (#1/38) 4.1/5
Jenny Craig (#2/38; tie)

Volumetric Diet (#2/38; tie)

3.7/5
HMR Program (#4/38) 3.6/5
Biggest Loser Diet (#5/38; tie)

Flexitarian Diet (#5/38; tie)

Slim-Fast Diet (#5/38; tie)

Vegan Diet (#5/38; tie)

3.5/5
Ornish Diet (#10/38) 3.4/5

Worst Diets for Weight Loss

Diet Weight Loss Score
Dukan Diet (#33/38) 2.7/5
Body Reset Diet (#35/38) 2.6/5
Acid Alkaline Diet (#36/38; tie)

Whole30 Diet (#36/38; tie)

2.5/5
Paleo Diet (WORST) (#38/38) 2.4/5

 Best Heart Healthy Diets

Diet Health Score
DASH Diet (tie for BEST) (#1/38; tie)

Ornish Diet (tie for BEST) (#1/38; tie)

4.8/5

4.1/5

TLC Diet (#3/38) 4.5/5
Mediterranean Diet (#4/38) 4.7/5
MIND Diet (#5/38) 4.6/5

Worst Heart Healthy Diets

Diet Health Score
Glycemic-Index Diet (#31/38) 3.5/5
Paleo Diet (#34/38; tie)

Body Reset Diet (#34/38; tie)

2.3/5
Atkins Diet (#36/38) 2.3/5
Dukan Diet (tie for WORST) (#37/38; tie)

Whole 30 Diet (tie for WORST) (#37/38; tie)

2.4/5

2.2/5