January 7, 2014
Dissecting Diets – Expert Panel Ranks DASH Diet First, Paleo Last
[ Watch the Video: Best Diets Rated - DASH Takes Top Spot ]
Lee Rannals for redOrbit.com - Your Universe OnlineU.S. News & World Report published its fourth annual Best Diets rankings this week, ranking DASH Diet as best and the Paleo Diet as dead last. The latest Best Diets ranking includes a collection of 32 in-depth analyses, reviewed by a panel of nutrition and health experts. In order for a diet to make the top of the list, it has to be relatively easy to follow, nutritious, safe, effective for weight loss and protective against diabetes and heart disease.
The Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension, or DASH diet, topped the list, outscoring both the TLC Diet and the much vaunted Mediterranean diet. This diet was developed to help fight high blood pressure, but has also shown nutritional completeness, safety, ability to prevent or control diabetes, and a strong role in heart health. This diet may not be the best for weight loss, but it does provide great nutrition and a healthy heart.
The DASH diet essentially emphasizes foods like fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean protein and low-fat dairy. It also requires participants to shun things like high-calorie and high-fat sweets and red meat. Finally, the DASH diet says participants should cut back on salt.
The Therapeutic Lifestyle Changes (TLC) diet took second place on the rankings. This diet was created by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and is particularly good at promoting cardiovascular health. This diet works by asking people to choose a target calorie level, cut saturated fat to less than seven percent of daily calories and consume no more than 200 milligrams of dietary cholesterol per day, which is about two ounces of cheese.
Weight Watchers took home the prize for the best weight-loss diet, while the Biggest Loser diet was tied for second place along with the Jenny Craig diet and Raw food diet. Weight Watchers assigns every food a points value, based on its protein, carbohydrate, fat, fiber, calories and how hard your body has to work to burn it off. This diet also won the award for the easiest diet to follow. Experts say that this diet has been proven to help people lose weight and keep it off.
The Paleo Diet first rose to popularity in the 1970s by asking people to follow a diet similar to what our ancestors in the Paleolithic era 2.6 million to 10,000 years ago would have eaten. People following this diet are asked to eat like hunter-gatherers, consuming lots of produce and animal protein while steering clear of processed sugar, grains, legumes and dairy.
The caveman diet was the most searched term on Google in 2013, but the latest ranking shows it falls dead last in both overall health and weight-loss. Experts say the diet was too restrictive for people to follow long-term and that it limited some essential nutrients. While the idea of eating like our ancestors seems attractive to some, the authors of the new report suggest sticking to modern-day diets like DASH, TLC and Mediterranean instead.