One of America’s best diet plans is free—and online
Popular diet programs like Jenny Craig and Weight Watchers now have some stiff competition, and it’s free.
A new ranking of diets by U.S. News & World Report gives top honors for best overall diet to a plan that is not currently a household name, the DASH (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension) diet. The program, developed by the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute to lower blood pressure, is available free online.
The panel of experts at U.S News also ranked diets in seven other categories, including diabetes, weight loss, heart–healthy, plant-based, easiest to follow, commercial and healthy eating.
The crown for best weight-loss diet, as well as easiest to follow and best commercial diet went to Weight Watchers.
The DASH diet tied with The Biggest Loser diet as the best plan to manage and prevent diabetes. It also earned high marks as the best diet for healthy eating. The Mediterranean diet was dubbed as the best plant-based diet option.
U.S. News compiled the rankings with the help of a panel of experts who reviewed 29 diets and looked at each diet’s effectiveness in the following categories:
- Long-term weight loss
- Short-term weight loss
- How easy it is to follow
- Nutritional completeness
- Heart disease prevention
- Diabetes prevention and management
The scores ranged from 5 (highest) to 1 (lowest). It’s important to note that while many popular diets, like Jenny Craig and Weight Watchers, made the list, lesser-known diets like DASH also earned some of the highest marks.
Below are the top two diets developed by researchers and what the panel of experts had to say about them:
- DASH Diet received 4.1 stars—Recognized for its blood pressure lowering benefits, the DASH diet beat out other popular and more recognizable diets for its nutritional completeness, ability to prevent and control diabetes, safety and its heart health benefits.
- TLC Diet received 4.0 stars—Known as the Therapeutic Lifestyle Changes diet, developed by the National Institutes of Health, TLC was found to significantly lower cholesterol levels. Experts say it’s a well-rounded, healthy diet that requires a “do-it-yourself” approach.
About the Author
health enews staff is a group of experienced writers from our Advocate Health Care and Aurora Health Care sites, which also includes freelance or intern writers.
I am 64 years old and have been declared totally disabled since September 1999. I was injured in an underground coalmine accident and broke my L5 Vertebra. I had two back surgeries to correct it and have pain in my left low back, left hip and down my left leg. I take Morphine (MS Contin) for the pain along with Oxycodone for breakthrough pain, Celebrex for inflammation, and Lyrica for nerve pain in my left leg.
I am not active at all, the most activity I may have is cutting the grass and trimming the hedges and trimming the flowers and vines around the house. I don’t eat a lot. I may eat a bowl of cereal for breakfast, but usually I drink coffee and that is all. I usually skip lunch unless we are out doing errands and eat lunch at a fast food restaurant. Supper is the most important meal in our house, my wife and I will either cook a meat and some vegetables from a can. I hardly ever eat bread, but I do put sugar and non-dairy creamer in my coffee. I drink lots of coffee, usually three or four mugs of coffee (about two cups per mug). I know it is too much coffee for me, but I drink it for everything, unless we are out again and I drink sweet tea.
I know I am not healthy as far as blood pressure and cholesterol goes, but other than that, I have no medical problems (other than my weight and my back problems). I need help in planning a menu so my wife and I can buy the food at the store and not just buy whatever we want at the time when we get to the store. Sometimes we go hungry and buy a load of junk food. Then sometimes we go after we have eaten and end up buying nothing, a few cans of beans and some hamburger meat or some chicken.
We are both on a fixed income and combined we pay our house payment, car payment, insurance and utilities and a few other bills we have, so money is tight, but we get by. Unless we end up loosing our heath insurance for some reason, we have our health insurance through the company I worked 20 years for. We have the best plan you could imagine, but are afraid we may have to choose through the Affordable Care Act and that will be a disaster for us.
Any way, whatever help you can give us is greatly appreciated now and more after.