A Surprising New Report Ranks the 38 Most Popular Diets from Best to Worst

Rachel Krause
Taylor Hill/Getty Images

Taylor Hill/Getty Images

The results are in: The U.S. News & World Report released its annual Best Diets rankings today, which means that those of us who spend much of our time jumping from fad diet to fad diet are in for a shock. After all, what’s more alarming than the facts, especially when the facts state that the trendy eating plans you’ve experimented with all year didn’t actually do you any favors?

To establish the rankings, editors and reporters at U.S. News took 38 popular diets—some, like Weight Watchers, are household names, while others like the DASH and MIND diets are less recognizable—and used medical journals, government reports, and other resources to create profiles of each, then had a panel of nationally recognized health experts weigh in.

The DASH (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension) diet took the top spot as the number-one diet overall for the sixth year in a row, as well as number one in Best Diets for Healthy Eating. Developed by the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Association as the ideal eating plan for those looking to lower their blood pressure, it turns out the protein- and fiber-rich diet is a pretty solid approach overall. What it’s not the best for, however, is weight loss: Weight Watchers takes the cake (but doesn’t eat it) for that one.

Hanging out at the very bottom of the overall list at number 38 is the demanding Whole30 diet, which eliminates sugar, alcohol, grains, legumes, and dairy over the course of 30 days. Weight loss is likely; weight gain and then some after the 30 days, even more so. And the overhyped, frequently sworn by Paleo Diet? It’s the very worst for weight loss, and not much better for healthy eating, diabetes, or your heart. Sucks.

If we’ve learned anything from these rankings, aside from the fact that everything we thought we knew (or heard from Dr. Oz) is wrong, it’s that healthy, balanced eating plans and a reasonable amount of exercise will do our waistlines far more good than anything that promises to get us fit in a hurry. If only it were so simple.

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