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Best Diets: Other Categories

The experts rated the diets in six other ways.

Easiest to follow:

Best weight loss diets:

  • Weight Watchers
  • Tied for second place were Biggest Loser, Jenny Craig, and raw food diets.
    • Biggest Loser focuses on weight loss and includes fruits, vegetables, lean proteins, and whole grains.
    • Jenny Craig is a commercial program that uses consultants and portion control, among other measures, to help people lose weight and eat better.
    • Raw-food diets focus on eating plant foods in unprocessed or uncooked states.

Best diets, commercial plans:

  • Weight Watchers
  • Jenny Craig
  • Biggest Loser

Best diabetes diets:

  • Biggest Loser and DASH tied for first place.
  • The Mayo Clinic Diet, Ornish Diet, and vegan diets tied for second place.
    • The Ornish Diet is a very low-fat diet for weight loss and prevention and reversal of health problems such as heart disease.
    • Vegan diets exclude meat, fish, poultry, eggs, and dairy products.

Best diets that are heart-healthy:

  • Ornish
  • TLC
  • DASH

Best diets for healthy eating:

  • DASH
  • TLC
  • Mediterranean

Best Diets? More Advice

Before picking a plan, think about whether it will fit your lifestyle, Giancoli says. If the diet calls for you to prepare food, think about whether you like or hate spending time in the kitchen. If you don't like it, or don't have the time, a plan that doesn't require extensive food preparation may be better.

Get more information on the diet before plunging into it, says Marion Franz, MS, RD, a Minneapolis dietitian and another panel member. A couple of key questions: How successful were people who followed the diet? If it's a weight loss plan, how long did they keep off the weight?

"Most people will be successful for the first six months [on a diet]," she says. "The real question is what happens after six months."

If a plan can show you long-term results past that time, that's ideal, Franz tells WebMD.

Think very long term, says panel member Sachiko St. Jeor, PhD, RD, professor of clinical medicine at the University of Nevada. The long haul, she says, often means making permanent diet changes, not changing your eating just for a few months.

No diet is perfect, she says: "All have good, bad, and limitations."

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