The best diet of 2012 is the Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension (DASH) diet, according to new rankings released by U.S. News & World Report. The rankings were decided by a panel of 22 experts in diet, nutrition, obesity, food psychology, diabetes and heart disease, according to the magazine's website. The experts rated the 25 diets in seven categories: how easy they are to follow, their ability to produce short-term and long-term weight loss, nutritional completeness, safety and potential for preventing and managing diabetes and heart disease.
The top three diets for weight loss are the Weight Watchers Diet, the Biggest Loser Diet and the Jenny Craig Diet, according to the rankings.Weight Watchers won the category of best commercial diet plan, edging out the Jenny Craig diet, which relied too heavily on packaged meals and came with a high cost, according to the rankings.
The DASH and TLC diets topped the category of best diets for healthy eating, which emphasized nutrional completeness and safety. The Mediterranean diet ranked third.
The DASH diet prescribes the number of servings of grains, vegetables, dairy and other food types that a person should eat daily, based on their calorie needs. It suggests high amounts of fiber, potassium and magnesium, and keeps sweets to a minimum.
The data show that the DASH diet has the best overall nutrition, Enos said. "It has one of the highest levels of B-12 and potassium," she noted, whereas the Weight Watchers plan is low in those nutrients, and recommends that its followers take a multivitamin.
Sources: USNews Health, US Dept. of Health and Human Services