U.S. News & World Report has been ranking diets for 5 years. For all 5, the top spot for best overall plan has gone to the DASH diet, which is based on whole grains, vegetables and low-fat dairy. Developed as a way to lower blood pressure without medication, it was also chosen by a panel of health experts as the top diabetes diet and the best healthy-eating plan.

“It’s good for your waistline, in addition to your high blood pressure, because it is such a common-sense, balanced diet,” said Angela Haupt, senior health and wellness editor at U.S. News & World Report.

Thirty-five eating plans were evaluated by two dozen diet, nutrition, obesity, heart disease, diabetes and food psychology experts. When they examined sample menus and published medical studies, a variety of plans came out ahead in specific subcategories:

Healthy Eating: DASH, Therapeutic Lifestyle Changes (TLC), Mediterranean
Heart-Healthy: Ornish, TLC, DASH
Easiest to Follow: Weight Watchers, Jenny Craig
Weight Loss: Weight Watchers, Health Management Resources (HMR)

Tied for last place were two diets, both of which have a strong consumer following—Paleo, with its focus on meat, fish and vegetables, and the four-phase Dukan Diet. For more categories and rankings, visit http://health.usnews.com/best-diet.

Alexandra Williams, MA

Alexandra Williams has taught fitness for 17 years and has a master’s degree in agency counseling, with an emphasis on marriage and family. Her professional training has forced her to scrutinize her own value system, especially as she attempts to raise ethical children. The author wishes to thank Jack Raglin and Jim Gavin for their helpful insights and suggestions.

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