U.S. News & World Report has released its Best Diets 2013 rankings, which examined the tenets of 29 diets, ranging from the Traditional Asian Diet to Weight Watchers. Diets were ranked based on ratings from an independent panel of 20 experts. The experts rated each diet in categories such as ease of compliance, diabetes control and management, heart health, weight loss, safety, and nutritional completeness.
"Many Americans struggle with maintaining a healthy diet, and especially around the first of the year tend to become interested in trying a new one," said Brian Kelly, editor and chief content officer of U.S. News. "Diets are serious business, so we've assembled the experts to provide the best and most current information for consumers."
Increasingly popular in health and wellness circles, plant-based diets have gained attention as a potential antidote to the obesity epidemic in this country. In addition to weight loss, research suggests these diets help protect against diabetes, heart disease, and other health conditions. U.S. News evaluated 11 plant-based diets, including the Anti-Inflammatory Diet, Engine 2 Diet, and Flexitarian Diet.
Following is how the diets were ranked in across eight categories:
Best Plant-Based Diets
The Mediterranean Diet took first place in the survey's newest category. It was followed closely by Dawn Jackson Blatner's Flexitarian Diet, a flexible approach to vegetarianism, and then Dean Ornish's Diet, a low-fat, heart-healthy eating regimen bolstered by exercise, social support and stress management techniques.
Best Weight-Loss Diets
Weight Watchers ranked first place in weight loss. Tied for second place were Jenny Craig, the Biggest Loser Diet, and the raw food diet.
Best Heart-Healthy Diets
The Ornish Diet ranked No. 1 for heart health. The TLC Diet, a government-designed eating plan that stands for Therapeutic Lifestyle Changes, took second place. Another government-developed diet, DASH (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension), came in third.
Best Diabetes Diets
The DASH Diet tied with the Biggest Loser Diet for the top diet for preventing or managing diabetes. Close behind it was a five-way tie among the Mayo Clinic Diet, the Ornish Diet, the vegan diet, Engine 2 Diet, and Flexitarian Diet.
Best Diets Overall
The DASH Diet ranked No. 1 overall. The TLC Diet came in at a close second, while the Mediterranean Diet, Mayo Clinic Diet, and Weight Watchers tied for third place.
Best Commercial Diet Plans
Some dieters may seek the structure and social support provided by many brand-name programs, so U.S. News also examined 12 commercial diet plans, from Dukan to Slim-Fast. Weight Watchers ranked No. 1, followed by Jenny Craig at No. 2, and the Biggest Loser Diet in third place.
Best Diets for Healthy Eating
Considered the gold standard by our panelists, the DASH diet claimed first place for healthfulness. Scoring second place was the TLC Diet, with the Mediterranean diet placing third.
Easiest Diets to Follow
With its extensive guidance and support, Weight Watchers ranked No. 1 among the easiest diets to follow. Jenny Craig followed close behind in second place. A tie for third went to the Mediterranean Diet and Flexitarian Diet.