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U.S. News & World Report ranks popular diets

U.S. News & World Report released its second annual ranking of popular weight-loss diet programs Wednesday morning. The DASH — or Dietary Approach to Stop Hypertension — Diet, endorsed by the federal government, came out on top in several categories, including the lists of Best Diets Overall, Best Diets for Healthy Eating and Best Diabetes Diets.

But in a new category added this year, Weight Watchers emerged as the Easiest Diet to Follow. That ranking was based on criteria including “likely taste appeal, ease of initial adjustment, ability to keep dieters from feeling hungry, and special eating restrictions,” according to the news release announcing the rankings. Other top winners in the easiest-to-follow category were Jenny Craig, the Mediterranean Diet and, tied for fourth, Slim-Fast and Volumetrics. Weight Watchers also topped the lists of Best Weight-Loss Diets and Best Commercial Diet Plans.

Other “Best Overall” diets, after the DASH Diet, were the Mediterranean Diet, the TLC Diet and Weight Watchers. Criteria for that category included being “relatively easy to follow, nutritious, safe, and effective for weight loss and against diabetes and heart disease.”

Rock bottom on that list, though, is the Paleo Diet. The report notes that “Regardless of what a dieter’s goal is — weight loss, heart health, or finding a diet that’s easy to follow — most experts concluded he or she is better off looking elsewhere.” Ouch.

The panel of 22 medical experts — the same group that worked on last year’s rankings — analyzed 26 plans altogether, this year including the Abs Diet, Biggest Loser Diet, Dukan Diet, Flat Belly Diet and Macrobiotic Diet.

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