What Is the ‘Best Diet’ for You?
What makes a diet best? In Best Diets 2020, the latest set of exclusive rankings from U.S. News, the Mediterranean diet beat out a pool of other eating plans, including Atkins, Jenny Craig and SlimFast, to win the “Best Diets Overall” crown. Among the 13 commercial diet programs marketed to the public, WW (Weight Watchers) came out on top. (Our methodology explains how.) We also ranked the diets on likelihood of weight loss, ability to prevent and control diabetes and heart disease, healthiness and how easy they are to follow.
Our analysis puts hard numbers on the common-sense belief that no diet is ideal for everybody.
Take DASH, the No. 2 Best Diet Overall. It wasn’t created as a way to drop pounds, but as a means of combating high blood pressure (it stands for Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension). The federal government, which funded the research behind DASH, doesn’t even call it a diet – it’s an “eating plan.” If losing weight is your primary goal, a diet in our Best Weight-Loss Diets rankings would be a more likely choice. Or if you have diabetes, you might want to look especially hard at Best Diabetes Diets.
That’s why we’re giving you lots of tools. Each diet was scored by a panel of experts in short-term and long-term weight loss, on how easy it is to follow, how well it conforms to current nutrition standards and on health risks it may pose – plus its soundness as a diabetes and as a heart diet.
Besides the rankings and data, each diet has a detailed profile that tells you how it works, what evidence supports (or refutes) its claims, a nutritional snapshot – right down to daily milligrams of potassium – and, of course, a close look at the food you’d eat, with photos. All of it is reliable and easy to understand.
These tools will be at least a start at helping you, your mother, your brother – whomever – find that elusive perfect-for-me diet. Once you’ve whittled down your eligible diets to a few, consider your personality and lifestyle. If you’re a foodie, you probably won’t be happy with a plan built around frozen dinners, like Nutrisystem, or mostly just-add-water meals, like Medifast. If cutting carbs will make you cranky and resentful, you’ll want to stay away from low-carb diets such as Atkins and South Beach.