The U.S. News & World Report recently released its findings on the best weight loss diets to follow. Evaluating data from 20 common diets, with the input from a panel of health experts, it ranked the programs according to their simplicity, how easy they were to follow as well as how nutritious, safe and effective the diets were for weight loss. Here are their top 10:
1. Weight Watchers Diet
In the experts' opinion, Weight Watchers bested all other programs for both short-term and long-term weight loss. They were quick to point out, though, this doesn't guarantee the program will work for everyone.
2. (tie) Jenny Craig Diet
This program led the pack due to its weekly oneon-one counselling sessions dieters must attend while on the plan. If you decide to join the Jenny Craig program, though, be forewarned their prepackaged, portion-controlled foods that you must buy can make this program quite costly.
2. (tie) Raw Food Diet
I was surprised this diet made the top 10. It's a great program, delivering a lot nutrients and both short-and long-term weight loss, but the list of what you can't eat is fairly long, and the food you can eat is pretty labour intensive.
4. Volumetrics Diet
I will be honest with you, before this release, I had never heard of this diet, so I had to do some research. Pioneered by a Penn State University nutrition professor, Volumetrics is all about filling your plate with lessenergy-dense foods (translation: lower calorie) to get more mileage out of what you eat.
5. (tie) Slim Fast Diet
Experts liked this program because it teaches people to restrict portion sizes and calories - both key points when trying to lose weight - but they also note the shakes and bars can get a little old after a while.
5. (tie) Vegan Diet
The experts liked this diet because it is rich in high-fibre foods and not only provides health benefits, but also environmental benefits. But - and this a big but - it is highly restrictive.
Where a vegetarian eliminates meat products, a vegan takes it up a notch and also eliminates all dairy and eggs, making this program, in my opinion, one of the toughest plans to follow.
This low-carb diet has been around since the early 1970s and it is still going strong. While it allows fatty food, you can say goodbye to anything resembling sugar or bread. Researchers reported that short-term weight loss happens quite fast. What they question is the ability for the dieter to maintain this plan for longterm weight loss success.
8. (tie) DASH Diet
The DASH (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension) diet was created by the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute to help prevent and/or lower high blood pressure, but because of its emphasis on fresh fruit and vegetables and its calorie restrictiveness, the health experts found it doesn't hurt the waistline either.
8. (tie) Eco-Atkins
The Eco-Atkins diet came about after researchers at St. Michael's Hospital in Toronto decided to see whether a high-protein vegetarian diet could promote weight loss along with a reduction in "bad" cholesterol. They devised the Eco Atkins diet, keeping the same ratio of protein and carbs as the original Atkins diet but replacing the highfat animal protein with vegetable protein (primarily from soy and gluten).
8. (tie) Mayo Clinic Diet
Broken into two parts, the Mayo Diet emphasizes lifestyle changes in addition to the dietary ones. The emphasis is on fruit, veggies and whole grains while light on saturated fat and salt. If you are currently eating a really unhealthy diet, you will see great results with this program.
P.J. Wren is a local personal trainer and writer in the Delta area. She can be reached at www.fitnesswithpj.com.