Comparison shoppers know that you can turn to U.S. News & World Report for helpful advice on virtually anything you might want to do or purchase. The publication has long made it their business to rank everything from where to get an MBA to where to live if you have a teen driver in the house.
And now you can even take their advice on nutrition. For the first time, the magazine has evaluated and ranked 20 popular diet plans, and the winner is – for all intents and purposes – an underdog. The DASH diet (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension) beat out well-known plans such as Weight Watchers, South Beach and Atkins.
According to the plan, simply eating responsibly, without the bells and whistles of counting points or shunning carbs, is the way to go. Intended to prevent (and lower) high blood pressure, or hypertension, the report notes that DASH uses a series of simple nutritional principles – less sodium and more potassium, calcium, and fiber – to guide eating habits. “Just emphasize the foods you’ve always been told to eat,” says U.S. News, “while shunning the ones you’ve grown to love.”
In judging the relative merits of different diets, a panel of 22 diet and nutrition experts, including specialists in diabetes and heart disease, reviewed the diets along seven categories: short-term weight loss; long-term weight loss; how easy it is to follow; nutritional completeness; safety; ability to prevent or manage diabetes; and ability to prevent or manage heart disease.
As Time Magazine’s Amie Ninh writes in assessing the various diets, “As always, the best diet is the one you’re likely to stick with: So if all the ratings have got you wondering which weight-loss plan is really best, here's the simplest answer: whichever one you can reasonably stick with. Regardless of its rating, a diet won't work if you can't stick with it.” So for the long haul, eat responsibly and the rest will follow – imagine that.