Wednesday, January 6, 2016

The Best Diet Of 2016: DASH Diet Tops The List

US News & World Reports Diet Rankings, DASH Diet
Click HERE to download a FREE DASH Diet meal plan.

The DASH Diet has done it again. U.S. News & World Report has named the DASH Diet the "Best Overall Diet" of 2016 in an examination of 38 different diet plans. It also ranked #1 as the Best Diet For Healthy Eating but ranked #12 in terms of Best Weight Loss Diets.

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Learn More About the DASH Diet

The diet, developed by National Heart, Lung & Blood Institute, is designed to prevent and lower high blood pressure. Weight loss is the nice bonus.

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DASH Diet Menu, DASH Diet Meal Plan, DASH Diet PDF

There is really no magic meal plan on the DASH Diet. It's a common sense approach to eating that grandma told you to do:
  • 6-8 servings of grains a day
  • 4-5 servings (each) of vegetables and fruit daily
  • 2-3 servings of fat-free or low-fat dairy daily
  • 6 ounces or fewer of lean meat, poultry and fish daily 
  • 4-5 servings of nuts, seeds and legumes weekly 
  • 5 or fewer servings of sweets weekly 
  • No more than 2300 milligrams of sodium daily with the ideal amount around 1500 milligrams

The DASH Diet topped the Best Overall Diet list followed by the MIND Diet (designed to prevent Alzheimer's with brain-healthy foods) and TLC Diet (designed to cut bad cholesterol). My personal favorite, the Mediterranean Diet tied for fourth.

RELATED: See the best diets of 2015

Other Findings From U.S. News & World Report's 2016 Diet Rankings

U.S. News & World Report ranks a number of eating plans based on various factors: weight loss, commercial diets, easiest to follow. Here are the diets featured in "Best Of" lists:

  • Best Weight Loss Diet - Weight Watchers topped the list followed by the HMR Program. 
  • Best Commercial Diet - Mayo Clinic Diet tied with Weight Watchers for number one.
  • Best Diabetes Diet - interestingly, the Fertility Diet topped the list followed by the Biggest Loser Diet and DASH Diet tied for second. 
  • Best Diets for Healthy Eating - DASH Diet followed by the TLC Diet. 
  • Best Fast Weight Loss Diet -  the Biggest Loser Diet tied with the HMR Program when it came to helping you drop pounds quickly. 
  • Best Heart Healthy Diet - the Ornish Diet took the list again. (Did you know Dr. Dean Ornish's father was our family dentist for years?)
  • Best Plant-Based Diet - the Mediterranean Diet ranked number one followed by the Flexitarian Diet.
  • Easiest Diet To Follow - there was a three-way tie for first when it came to easy diets to follow. The Fertility Diet, the MIND Diet and Weight Watchers all scored high marks for being easy to do.
Shop DASH Diet Books

This sheer number of highly-ranked diets speaks to the concept of diets itself. Remember a "diet" is not a weight loss plan. By definition a "diet" is your regular consumption of food and beverages. Of course, it can mean you are following a certain approach to eating whether that be vegetarian, restricted calorie, Kosher or whatever. Somehow we got all screwed up in the process. 

My advice? Find a meal plan that you can follow and stick with it while allowing for a few variances. The Mediterranean approach to eating really works for me. I like the abundance of fish and produce it promotes. The fact that you can have dark chocolate and wine doesn't hurt either.

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I have also found that eating a large lunch and smaller dinner, comprised of real food, play a huge role in weight maintenance. 

The more important thing to remember? Staying sane and enjoying your meals are absolutely critical to a healthy approach to eating.