U.S. News & World Reports — perhaps most famous for its best colleges and best high schools rankings — has brought its expertise and acumen to the world of food.
Its ranked — with the help of a panel of “health experts” — 35 different diets. According to its metrics, “To be top-rated, a diet had to be relatively easy to follow, nutritious, safe, effective for weight loss and protective against diabetes and heart disease.”
The best? An apparently government-approved one called “DASH”:
DASH was developed to fight high blood pressure, not as an all-purpose diet. But it certainly looked like an all-star to our panel of experts, who gave it high marks for its nutritional completeness, safety, ability to prevent or control diabetes, and role in supporting heart health. Though obscure, it beat out a field full of better-known diets.
From there, one created by the National Institutes of Health is next, followed by one from the Mayo Clinic. Feeling or seeing a pattern?
Well, No. 4 is the classic “Mediterranean Diet”:
With its emphasis on fruits and vegetables, olive oil, fish and other healthy fare, the Mediterranean diet is eminently sensible. And experts’ assessments of it were resoundingly positive, giving this diet an edge over many competitors.
A few more to, er, whet your appetite: Jenny Craig at No. 8, The Biggest Loser at No. 9, a Vegetarian at No. 11. (Yep!)
But we have to go even farther down the list to get where I’m looking. Vegan — its No. 19. But that’s still not where my eye has fallen. Not even at the Macrobiotic, at a cool No. 26.
I’m looking at the Raw Food diet. Which — despite our experience — sucks, apparently. It’s at No. 32:
The experts conferred solid marks on the diet for weight loss, both short- and long-term, but considered it all but impossible to follow and its nutritional completeness and safety were concerns. “Doing it well involves considerable commitment and effort, knowledge and sacrifice,” one expert said. “And there are diets that require less of all these that are likely to be just as healthful.”
OK, maybe that is hard to argue with. But at least it is better than the Paleo, tied for the worst at No. 34 with something called the Dukan diet. (I was hoping that was Dunkin’, as in the doughnuts, but no.)
The one thing I’ll give this list is that it has fairly decent links explaining all the diets. But it sure isn’t friendly to anything that one might generally call “alternative.”
Posted by Steve