35 Top Diets Based on Various Health Outcomes

Patient Expert

There are a lot of diets out there. Should you embrace the Mediterranean diet, the Paleo diet, Weight Watchers, or a vegan diet? What if you have specific worries, such as being pre-diabetic or are in the early stages of heart disease.

Obviously, you can do a lot of research - or you can start your research by going to the U.S. News & World Review website, which has just posted expert-analyzed lists of best diets. To create the list, the magazine's editors and reporters identified specific diets and then reviewed medical journals, government reports and other resources in order to create in-depth profiles for the selected diets. Each profile describes how the diet works, reviews its claims, analyzes health risks, and determines what it's like to follow the diet.

In addition, the magazine asked nationally recognized experts in diet, nutrition, obesity, food psychology, diabetes and heart disease to review and add to the profiles as well as to rate the profiles in numerous categories:   ease of following the diet; ability to produce short-term and long-term weight loss; nutritional completeness; safety; potential for preventing and managing diabetes; and potential for preventing and managing heart disease. This data was then used to create eight sets of rankings - best diet overall; best commercial diets; best weight-loss diets; best diabetes diets; best heart-healthy diets; best diets for healthy eating; easiest diets to follow; and best plant-based diets.

There's a lot of overlap. For instance, the DASH (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension) Diet comes out first in the best overall diet category, the prevention of diabetes category, and the complete nutrition category. And what also is interesting is that some of the more hyped diet plans didn't top any of the lists.

Seven diets were given recognized with gold medal recognition as the best eating plans. These diets (in order) are:

  • #1 - DASH Diet
  • #2 - TLC Diet
  • #3 (tie) - Mayo Clinic Diet
  • #3 (tie) - Mediterranean Diet
  • #3 (tie) - Weight Watchers
  • #6 (tie) - Flexitarian Diet
  • #6 (tie) - Volumetrics

Ten diets were rated the best for both short-term and long-term weight loss. These diets in order are:

  • #1 - Weight Watchers
  • #2 - HMR Diet
  • #3 (tie) - Biggest Loser Diet
  • #3 (tie) - Jenny Craig
  • #3 (tie) - Raw Food Diet
  • #6 - Volumetrics
  • #7 (tie) - Atkins
  • #7 (tie) - Flexitarian Diet
  • #7 (tie) - Slim-Fast
  • #7 (tie) - Vegan Diet

Seven diets were rated the best when considering preventing and managing diabetes. These diets in order were:

  • #1 (tie) - Biggest Loser Diet
  • #1 (tie) - DASH diet
  • #3 (tie) - Engine 2 Diet
  • #3 (tie) - Flexitarian Diet
  • #3 (tie) - Mayo Clinic Diet
  • #3 (tie) - Ornish Diet
  • #3 (tie) - Vegan Diet

The best heart-healthy diets are designed to help you lose weight or lower cholesterol, blood pressure or triglycerides.   The seven top-rated heart-healthy diets, in order, are:

  • #1 - Ornish Diet
  • #2 - TLC Diet
  • #3 - DASH Diet
  • #4 - Mediterranean Diet
  • #5 (tie) - Engine 2 Diet
  • #5 (tie) - Vegan Diet
  • #7 - Flexitarian Diet

The best diets for healthy eating were analyzed based on nutritional completeness and safety. They were also analyzed to make sure they provided sufficient calories and nutrients and did not take out entire food groups. The best diets for healthy eating were (in order):

  • #1 - DASH Diet
  • #2 - TLC Diet
  • #3 - Mediterranean Diet
  • #4 (tie) - Mayo Clinic Diet
  • #4 (tie) - Volumetrics
  • #6 - Weight Watchers
  • #7 - Jenny Craig

The experts also reviewed diets that were part of the category Best Commercial Diet Plans, looking for ability to lose weight, nutrition, safety, and ease of following. The best diets in this category (in order) were:

  • #1 - Weight Watchers
  • #2 - Jenny Craig
  • #3 - Biggest Loser Diet

The magazine's panel also rated the diets that were the easiest to follow since that equates to being able to stick to the diet. The top diets in this category were:

  • #1 - Weight Watchers
  • #2 - Jenny Craig
  • #3 - Flexitarian Diet
  • #4 - Mediterranean Diet
  • #5 (tie) - Slim-Fast
  • #5 (tie) - Volumetrics
  • #7 (tie) - DASH Diet
  • #7 (tie) - Mayo Clinic Diet
  • #7 (tie) - Nutrisystem

So if you're looking at starting a diet - or committing to a eating healthy as part of your overall lifestyle - I'd encourage you to peruse this issue and also include your health care professional in your decision-making process. There's a lot more data on this website that can help you make a good choice based on your individual health issues, needs and wishes.

U.S. News & World Report. (2015). Best diets overall.

U.S. News & World Report. (2015). U.S. News best diets: How we rated 35 eating plans.