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Best Diets? DASH, TLC, Mediterranean Are Tops, Experts Say

Panel Rates Popular Weight Loss Diets for Nutrition and Safety

Tips for Choosing a Diet

Colette Heimowitz, MSc, vice president of nutrition and education for Atkins, the diet that got the lowest score, said in a statement that the program ''teaches individuals to find their personal ideal carb balance. The Atkins Diet does not overly restrict vegetables, fruits, or whole grains."

The plan does restrict high-sugar fruits at the beginning, but reintroduces them, she says. The fats in the diet plan are a balance of types, including heart-healthy ones.

As for all 20 of the diets on this list, "some are clearly better than others," says Kathleen Zelman, MPH, RD, LD, director of nutrition for WebMD, who reviewed the findings.

"It's a great list and I am a huge fan of the top six," she says.

However, she tells dieters: "You really need to find a plan that works for you. The most important thing is matching your lifestyle, your preferences."

Plans that include continuing education or maintenance are ideal, she says.

If none of the diets on the list appeals to you, consider your own healthy eating plan, Zelman says. "Eat more plant foods, less cookies and crackers, fewer sweets, and get regular exercise," she says.

Or, check out reviews of other diets at http://www.webmd.com/diet/evaluate-latest-diets.

"The top five are all emphasizing plant-based diets," Giancoli says. They are high not only in fruits and vegetables but also emphasize whole grains and legumes, she says.

Giancoli's final tip for choosing a diet: "The diets that allow a little room for fun are the ones people can stick with," she says.

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