The best diets to follow in 2012
It goes without saying that when January hits every year one of the most popular New Year’s resolutions is to eat healthily, lose weight and improve health after gluttonous indulgence during the festive period. However, boffins have suggested that by January 9, most people will have given up on this resolve. Besides, there’s still all the left over Christmas chocolates that need to be eaten.
Many people are put off by the strict, restrictive elements of diets, whether they are pursuing their own healthy eating regime or have signed up to a commercial diet plan. However, in an age of ever-increasing obesity the weight loss market is becoming inundated with healthy eating tips and new diet methods.
In the New Year, US News & World Report, famous for its analysis and rankings, published its second ever ‘Best Diets’ list for 2012. Twenty-five diets were investigated and reviewed by international diet experts for the report, judged on their simplicity, effectiveness, safeness and suitability for those with diabetes and heart disease. There are seven accolades in total: Easiest Diets to Follow, Best Diets Overall, Best Commercial Diet Plans, Best Weight-Loss Diets, Best Healthy Eating Diets, Best Diabetes Diets and Best Heart-Healthy Diets.
Commenting on the rankings, the director of the project, Lindsay Lyon from US News & World Report, said: “The Best Diets ranking is designed to guide each dieter to the diet or diets best suited to his or her goal, whether that’s weight loss, management of diabetes, healthy eating, or something else.”
As is often the case with any type of award or recognition programmes, there were some contenders that outshone others. The hugely popular and internationally recognised Weight Watchers was one of them. It was named as number one in three categories; the easiest to follow diet, the best diet for weight-loss results and the best commercial diet plan. Overall, it earned a rating of 3.9 of a possible 5.0; third place in the rankings.
The addition of the Easiest Diets to Follow category was new to the 2012 rankings and has been one of the most sought after accolades this year. That’s because dieticians believe the easier a plan is to follow, dieters are more likely to stick with it and therefore will enjoy a bigger weight loss.
Weight Watchers offers dieters the unique ‘ProPoints’ plan, which gives each food a points value and doesn’t cut any items out. Dieters are then allotted a daily quota of points which they should aim to stay within. Typically this starts off at 26 points and increases depending on age and BMI level. The beauty of ProPoints is the flexibility of the plan, especially the additional 49 ‘weekly’ points dieters are given to use as they wish; spreading them across the whole week or using them all at once for a meal out.
Although Weight Watchers came off well in this year’s listings, the DASH Diet topped the list earning a score of 4.1 out of 5.0. It was named as the Best Diet Overall and the Best Diet for Healthy Eating. It was also named as the Best Diet for Diabetes, tied with the Biggest Loser Diet.
The DASH Diet was specifically designed to reduce and prevent high blood pressure and is recommended for those with hypertension and other health issues rather than for those looking to shed pounds. The diet itself is well balanced, rich in fruit, vegetables and fibre and low in fat and salt. It has been claimed that after just two weeks of following the DASH plan hypertension starts to diminish.
Although it wasn’t ranked as the best in one particular category, the TLC (Therapeutic Lifestyle Changes) Diet was second overall in the rankings with a score of 4.0. Like the Dash Diet, this one is solely aimed at improving health. The TLC plan helps its followers to reduce cholesterol levels cutting out saturated fat and high-cholesterol foods. It claims to be able to reduce levels of bad cholesterol by 8-10 percent within the first six weeks.
The other two diets that made it into the top five of US News and World’s Report 2012’s Best Diets were the Mayo Clinic Diet and the Mediterranean Diet, both receiving a score of 3.9 and coming joint third with Weight Watchers. Other well-known diets that didn’t fare so well were Slim-Fast (#11, 3.3 out of 5.0), the Zone Diet (#17, 2.9), the Atkins Diet (#22, 2.3) and the Dukan Diet (#24, 2.0).
Weight Watcher' 2012 'Play' advert