Let's face it, not all diets work. Nor do all diets work for the same people. A weight loss plan that works for a friend or family member does not necessarily guarantee the same positive results for you.
Just in time for all those who made New Year's resolutions to shed unwanted pounds, the U.S. News & World Report that released its annual list of the top diets of 2012. The DASH diet topped the chart at the number one spot, while the celebrity touted Weight Watchers plan nabbed the number five spot.
But is the DASH diet, which some call just the latest fad, right for you? Or are you more suited for a well-known plan like Weight Watchers?
Here's a breakdown of both diet plans with pros and cons, so you can choose for yourself.
The DASH diet - Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension - focuses on nutrients like potassium, sodium, calcium along with protein and fiber in an effort to decrease high blood pressure which inevitably leads to weight loss.
The diet requires that participants eat loads of fruits and vegetables as well as a good amount of low-fat dairy products, whole grains, fish or poultry, and nuts rather than fatty foods, red meat, sweets and salt.
The DASH Diet has at least three DASH-based books to be published in early 2012, in addition to the thousands of DASH cookbooks and guides already available, highly touted by dieticians. In addition, the plan is customizable with a variety of portion options available within the diet.
The DASH Diet is sensible, healthy and effective, one dieter gushed on the web site's reader feedback section. The book is easy to read, understand and follow.
Some of the books are actually even free of cost; The National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute (NHLBI), which helped create the program, is offering free guides at 64 (PDF here) and just six (PDF here) pages in length.
However, one drawback reported by participants is that it's easy to stray off track since there are no points or pre-prepared meals. Others said buying fresh and organic can be very expensive, not to mention inconvenient when dining out.
Pros: Combines Healthy Life AND Weight Loss, Easy to Read Books, Guide Free of Cost, Customizable
Cons: No Sweets, Can Easily Stray off Track, Costly Food Options, Inconvenient
Named the easiest to follow and endorsed by a slew of celebrities, Weight Watchers launched in November 2010 and is based on a point system, which monitors food intake while giving dieters options of healthy choices along with guilty pleasures, like sweets.
Over 40,000 foods have been added to the Weight Watchers plan, with each member given a PointsPlus target goal based on their height, weight and age. In addition to food guidelines, with fruits and vegetables at 0 points encouraged in PointsPlus, the program also has group meetings, weigh-ins, recipe suggestions and behavioral counseling in addition to incorporating exercise into the regimen.
No foods are off limits with Weight Watchers and many restaurants even carry Weight Watchers approved options on their menus.
The plan, however, is a costly option when compared to traditional dieting and exercise. Participants in the program are required to pay $39.95 for unlimited meetings and to access the eTools. Weight Watchers is also not proven effective for a healthy life, including diabetes and heart condition prevention, though diet and exercise in general can lead to a healthier life.
Pros: Convenient, Easy to Stick to, Complete with Guilty Pleasures, Incorporates Exercise,
Cons: Must Adhere to PointsPlus, Meetings Inconvenient, Costly