Skip to content
My WebMD Sign In, Sign Up

Weight Loss & Diet Plans

Font Size

DASH Diet Ranked Best Overall -- See What's Second

By
WebMD Health News
Reviewed by Laura J. Martin, MD

Jan. 9, 2013 -- The best diet plan for overall health may not cost a thing.

A new ranking of diets by U.S. News & World Report gives top honors for best overall diet to the DASH (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension) diet.

Originally developed by the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute to lower blood pressure, the diet plan is available free online

Experts also ranked top diets in seven other categories, including weight loss, diabetes, heart-healthy, commercial, easiest to follow, plant-based, and healthy eating.

Weight Watchers won best weight loss diet as well as easiest to follow and best commercial diet.

The DASH diet tied with The Biggest Loser diet as the best diet plan to prevent and manage diabetes. The DASH diet was also named best diet for healthy eating, while the Mediterranean diet won best plant-based diet.

Ranking the Best Diets

The rankings are based on reviews of 29 diets by a panel of experts in diet, nutrition, obesity, food psychology, diabetes, and heart disease.

The panel rated each diet’s effectiveness in the following seven categories:

  • How easy it is to follow
  • Short-term weight loss
  • Long-term weight loss
  • Nutritional completeness
  • Safety
  • Diabetes prevention and management
  • Heart disease prevention

Cost of the diet was not considered in the rankings.

Researchers then converted the experts’ ratings to scores and stars from 5 (highest) to 1 (lowest).

The results showed many diets that topped the rankings are already household names, like Weight Watchers and Jenny Craig. But others, such as the DASH and TLC diets, are lesser-known plans developed by government researchers.

Here are the top overall and best weight loss diets, and what the experts had to say about them. There were three-way ties in the top five in both categories based on the diets’ star ratings.

Best Overall Diets

1. DASH Diet (4.1 stars) -- The blood-pressure-lowering diet beat out other better-known diets for its nutritional completeness, safety, ability to prevent and control diabetes, and promote heart health.

2. TLC Diet (4.0 stars) -- The National Institutes of Health created the Therapeutic Lifestyle Changes diet to lower cholesterol levels. Experts say it’s a well-rounded, healthy diet, but it requires a “do-it-yourself” approach as opposed to the hand-holding provided by some commercial diet plans.

3. Mayo Clinic Diet (3.9 stars) -- This diet plan got high marks for its safety and nutrition. Experts say it is moderately effective for weight loss.

3. Mediterranean Diet (3.9 stars) -- With an emphasis on fruits, vegetables, olive oil, and other healthy foods, the diet got some of the highest scores for nutrition. But experts say some Americans might have a problem sticking to a diet that requires giving up processed foods and sugary drinks.

3. Weight Watchers (3.9 stars) -- Experts said the commercial weight loss diet plan was the easiest to stick to thanks to a strong emphasis on emotional support.

Today on WebMD

vegetables
Video
feet on scale
Blog
 
Woman looking at reflection in mirror
Article
Hot cup of coffee
Quiz
 
woman shopping fresh produce
Video
butter curl on knife
Quiz
 
eating out healthy
Article
Smiling woman, red hair
Article
 
6-Week Challenges
Want to know more?
Chill Out and Charge Up Challenge – How to help your tribe de-stress and energize.
Spark Change Challenge - Ready for a healthy change? Get some major motivation.
I have read and agreed to WebMD's Privacy Policy.
Enter cell phone number
- -
Entering your cell phone number and pressing submit indicates you agree to receive text messages from WebMD related to this challenge. WebMD is utilizing a 3rd party vendor, CellTrust, to provide the messages. You can opt out at any time.
Standard text rates apply
thumbnail_woman_tossing_spinach
Video
lunchbox
Article
 
What Girls Need To Know About Eating Disorders
Article
teen squeezing into jeans
fitfor Teens