Jan. 7, 2014 -- Just in time to help us with those New Year’s weight loss goals, the new annual ‘‘best diets'' list is out from U.S. News & World Report.
Once again, the tried and true plans won over fad diets to receive top spots on the experts' lists. The DASH diet repeats as best diet overall. It was originally developed by the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute to prevent high blood pressure. It stresses eating more fruits, vegetables, and whole grains while eating less salt.
The 2014 version of the report evaluates 32 diet plans in multiple categories. The categories are:
- Best overall
- Best weight loss
- Best diabetes
- Best heart-healthy
- Best for healthy eating
- Best commercial
- Best plant-based
- Easiest to follow
For heart health, the Ornish diet, a low-fat approach similar to the DASH diet, took first place. The Mediterranean diet, which emphasizes fruits, grains, vegetables, olive oil, and other healthy foods, took first place for the best plant-based diet.
Tied for last place overall were the Paleo diet and the Dukan diet. The Paleo suggests ''eating like a caveman" -- meat, fish, poultry. But it's not feasible for modern times, the experts say. Dukan emphasizes protein, and experts call it restrictive, even ''idiotic."
The report wins approval from Connie Diekman, RD, director of university nutrition for Washington University in St. Louis. She reviewed the findings but was not involved in the report.
"The diets topping the charts focus on health, nutritional needs, and palatability -- factors that are essential to maintaining eating plans that will meet individual needs," she says.
Stressing those factors, she says, emphasizes the importance of a diet as a lifestyle, not a quick fix.