This morning, 20 popular diet profiles were reviewed by 22 health experts and ranked by U.S. News and World Report. The DASH diet was named the Best Diet Overall, and Weight Watchers the Best Commercial Diet Plan.
A team of 22 experts including nutritionists, dietitians, cardiologists and diabetologists assessed the method of each diet, whether each of their claims could stand under scrutiny, potential health risks of the diet, and how it fairs in actual practice. The 20 diets were graded for short- and long-term weight-loss results, the ease of following the guidelines, the nutritional quality provided, safety, and effect in preventing or managing diseases.
The DASH diet, Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension, was created in 1997 by the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute (NHLBI) to help combat hypertension and encourage a healthy meal plan. While it was intended to be an eating plan, it is designed for the whole family to enjoy healthy meals.
The diet is low in fat and recommends the consumption of fruits and vegetables, low-fat diary products, fish, poultry and whole grains, ingredients high in fiber, potassium, calcium, magnesium, as well as in protein and fiber, low in saturated fat, cholesterol, and total fat. The DASH diet eating plan encourages people to reduce the intake of lean red meat, sweets, added sugars, and sugar-containing beverages.
The DASH diet has been proven to lower blood pressure. In the first DASH study of 459 adults, those with high blood pressure improved the most. This was just within the first two weeks of starting the diet, NHLBI reported.
Many studies have praised the DASH diet to be more efficient than hypertension medication in lowering blood pressure.
A new research finding in the Archives of Pediatric and Adolescent Medicine stated that teen girls who followed the basic principles of the DASH diet had a lesser tendency to gain an excess amount of weight in their early adulthood, lowering BMI (Body Mass Index).