Lesser-known diet ranks best eating plan in new survey

A new survey ranking some of the most popular diets on the market has given a lesser-known program top marks for being the best diet overall for weight loss, nutrition and diabetes prevention.

Though popular household names like Weight Watchers and Jenny Craig were deemed the best weight-loss and commercial diets, the DASH diet (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension) was highlighted for being a sustainable, long-term program that also helps prevent or manage diabetes.

The DASH diet is endorsed by the US National Institutes of Health and the American Heart Association and was designed for people suffering from hypertension. It's been proven to lower blood pressure in 14 days.

Rich in fruits, vegetables, whole grains and low-fat dairy foods, the diet includes meat, fish, poultry, nuts and beans but limits sugar-sweetened foods and beverages, red meat and added fats. It also discourages the consumption of processed foods and suggests healthy alternatives to junk food.

Though the book The Dash Diet Action Plan isn't intended to be an aggressive weight loss program, many readers have reported a 10 to 35 lb (4.5 kg to 16 kg) weight loss in a few months, their website says.

US News, a consumer-based website, ranked 20 popular diets by combing through volumes of medical journals and government reports and consulting 22 medical experts including nutritionists, dietitians, cardiologists and diabetologists.

The team of experts ranked programs in seven categories like short-term and long-term weight loss, ease of compliance, nutritional completeness, safety, and ability to prevent or manage diabetes and heart disease.

Meanwhile, just last month, Consumer Reports also ranked popular diets and crowned Jenny Craig the winner based largely on a two-year study that found that 92 percent of the 332 participants stuck with the program for two years and weighed an average of about 8 percent less than when they started. That study was published in the Journal of the American Medical Association last October.

Here's how the other diets stack up, according to US News:

Best Weight-Loss Diets
1.  Weight Watchers
2.   Tie: Jenny Craig and Raw Food Diet

Best Heart-Healthy Diets
1. Ornish Diet
2. The TLC Diet - government-designed eating plan that stands for Therapeutic Lifestyle Changes

Best Diabetes Diets
2. Mayo Clinic Diet, Ornish Diet, Vegan Diet

Best Diets Overall
1. DASH Diet
2. Mediterranean Diet, TLC Diet, Weight Watchers

Best Commercial Diet Plans
1. Weight Watchers
2. Jenny Craig
3. Slim-Fast

The DASH Diet Action Plan is available on Amazon and Barnes & Noble.

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