Lifestyle & Belief

DASH, Weight Watchers ranked as top diets for 2012 by US News


Two-thirds of US adults and one in five children are overweight or obese, putting them at greater risk of chronic illness like heart disease, cancer, stroke and diabetes.



U.S. News & World Report has released its second annual Best Diet rankings, based on information from scientific journals, government reports, and US health and nutrition experts.

To come up with the rankings:

A panel of 22 health experts including nutritionists and specialists in diabetes, heart health, human behavior, and weight loss, reviewed detailed assessments prepared by U.S. News of 20 diets. 

The panel included Brian Wansink of the Cornell University Food and Brand lab, Dr. JoAnn Manson of Harvard Medical School and Dr. David Katz of the Yale-Griffin Prevention Research Center.

On the Best Diets Overall list, out of 25 contenders, the federal government endorsed DASH (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension) diet, developed with the help of the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute, was ranked no. 1, and the TLC cholesterol-fighting diet, based on the National Institutes of Health’s National Cholesterol Education Program, ranked no. 2.

DASH, which is big on whole grains, fruits, vegetables and lean proteins, also took top ranking as the best diet for healthy eating and the best diabetes diet (ties with the Biggest Loser Diet, which pushes lean protein as a means of keeping hunger at bay).

And, according to the LA Times:

A 2008 study in the Archives of Internal Medicine found that among 88,517 women who were followed for 24 years, the DASH diet was associated with a lower risk of coronary heart disease and stroke in middle age.

Meanwhile, U.S. News & World Report ranked Weight Watchers as the No. 1 "Easiest Diet to Follow." The best diet for diabetics was the Biggest Loser Diet.

No. 1 in "Best Heart-Healthy Diets" was the Dean Ornish diet, which , according to the report groups foods from most healthful (fresh fruits and vegetables, vegetarian protein sources) to least healthful (cakes, cookies, bacon, sausage).

Honorable mentions in various categories include the Mayo Clinic Diet and the Mediterranean Diet, and it evaluates six "new" diets: Biggest Loser, Abs Cookie, Dukan, Flat Belly, and Macrobiotic.

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"All of these programs have common denominators," CNN quoted Marjorie Nolan, spokesperson for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, who is not involved in the magazines rankings, as saying. "They all have a level of accountability worked into them, where they have a certain support system and different options. They generally all promote writing your food down, healthy amounts of exercise and they're all really convenient."