For the fourth year in a row, the DASH diet has been named 2014’s best overall diet in the U.S. News & World Report rankings. This heart-friendly diet has been on top of the list every year since the news organization began its diet ratings.
To determine the rankings, according to U.S. News & World Report, a panel of “nationally recognized experts in diet, nutrition, obesity, food psychology, diabetes and heart disease” ranked 32 different diets in seven different categories. The categories included how easy the diet was to follow, how effective it was at promoting weight loss, its safety and its nutritional value. The Best Diets Overall rating, which the DASH diet won, combines all seven categories.
The DASH diet, which stands for Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension, was developed by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to benefit people with high blood pressure. It may also help lower cholesterol, improve cardiovascular health and reduce diabetes risk. The DASH diet plan is centered on limiting daily sodium intake and is not very restrictive, allowing multiple servings of whole grains, vegetables, fruits, dairy products, lean meats and nuts and seeds a day. Learn how to get started on the DASH diet with this 7-day meal plan.
The Therapeutic Lifestyle Changes (TLC) diet, also developed by the NIH, came in second in the Best Overall Diets category, and the Mayo Clinic diet, Mediterranean diet and Weight Watchers diet all tied for number three.
The Paleo diet, which is a high-protein, low-carbohydrate diet, tied for last place alongside the Dukan diet. The Paleo diet is based on the idea that people should only eat what hunter-gatherer societies ate during the Paleolithic Era over 10,000 years ago. U.S. News & World report said the diet could lead to nutritional deficiencies and suggested many people would find it difficult to adhere to.
The Acid Alkaline diet, Spark Solution diet and Fast diet were all new to the list this year, and U.S. News & World Report also expanded its profiles on the Gluten-Free diet and the Low-FODMAP diet. You can view the full rankings and each diet profile here.