Penn State professor helps U.S. News assemble diet rankings

University Park, Pa. -- Diets go in and out of style as fast the latest clothing trends, but how can we know which are the best? A panel of health experts, including Penny Kris-Etherton, distinguished professor of nutrition at Penn State, helped U.S. News and World Report create a diet ranking.

The 22 experts reviewed information about 20 well-known diets, from Atkins to Zone, and rated each diet on specific measures such as effectiveness, safety and cost. Using the experts’ ratings, U.S. News created the "Best Diet" rankings and released them today.

"Obesity and overweight are serious problems in the United States," said Kris-Etherton. "Because of that many people want to lose weight, but there are a lot of diets out there. Our goal was to analyze the most common diets based on a variety of criteria so as to enable consumers to make informed decisions."

The brand-new rankings, and the top diets in each, are:

Best Weight-Loss Diets
Weight Watchers ranked No. 1 in weight loss. Tied at number 2 were Jenny Craig and the Raw Food Diet, an approach that challenges dieters to avoid foods that have been cooked.

Best Heart-Healthy Diets
The Ornish Diet ranked No. 1 for heart health. The TLC Diet, a government-designed eating plan that stands for Therapeutic Lifestyle Changes, ranked No. 2. Another government-developed diet, DASH (for Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension), ranked No. 3.

Best Diabetes Diets
The DASH Diet ranked No. 1 for preventing or managing diabetes. Close behind it, in a three-way tie at No. 2, were the Mayo Clinic Diet, the Ornish Diet, and the Vegan Diet.

Best Diets Overall
The DASH Diet ranked No. 1 overall. Three diets tied at No. 2, excelling in all measures U.S News considered: the Mediterranean Diet, the TLC Diet, and Weight Watchers.

Best Commercial Diet Plans
Some dieters may seek the structure and social support provided by many brand-name programs, so U.S. News also examined how 8 prominent diets stacked up. Weight Watchers ranked No. 1, Jenny Craig ranked No. 2, and Slim-Fast ranked No. 3.

For more information, the College of Health and Human Development Office of College Relations at 814-865-3831 or healthhd@psu.edu, or Kris-Etherton at pmk3@psu.edu.

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Last Updated June 28, 2011