'U.S. News & World Report' ranks the top diet plans

June 7, 2011 6:58:44 PM PDT
Obesity is an epidemic in the U.S., and many of us are tempted by dozens of diet plans to get back to a healthy weight.

With so many diet plans on the market, losing weight can be as risky as playing the stock market. So "U.S. News & World Report", known for ranking the best hospitals and colleges, turned their expertise to ranking popular diets.

Twenty-two health experts with different specialties scrutinized twenty diet plans, comparing nutritional value, proven results, cost and ease.

"What we've really done is tried to cut out the hype and misinformation and get at the facts on these twenty diets," said Lindsay Lyon of "U.S. News & World Report."

For sustained weight loss, Weight Watchers was number one. You can eat almost anything. You tally points for each food to a certain total each day. There are fiber-packed foods to keep you full, and support meetings keep you on track.

The runner up was a tie. Jenny Craig was one. You eat pre-packaged food that are low-fat and fiber-and-protein rich, which makes you feel full longer. This is not a plan for foodies who like fresh foods. There are also weekly support groups. However, it is expensive, with a registration fee of $400. A week of food starts at a hundred bucks.

The other number two was the raw food diet, where dieters eat only uncooked foods. It's primarily vegan, no meat, eggs, animal products. The heart healthy winner was the Ornish diet, high-fiber low-fat and vegetarian. The best overall was the Dash diet, low-fat and low-salt. It was actually designed to reduce blood pressure, with lots of fruits, veggies, fish, chicken and nuts included in the daily diet.