The Only 4 Diets That Actually Help People to Eat Better and Eat Less

By Marion Nestle

U.S. News has released its ranking of 20 diet plans, but only four -- from Weight Watchers to Eco-Atkins -- worked for survey respondents

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U.S. News has just released its rankings of 20 popular diet plans -- the "Best Diets for Healthy Eating."

The top five:

  • DASH (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension)
  • TLC (Therapeutic Lifestyle Changes)
  • Mediterranean
  • Mayo Clinic
  • Volumetrics

These may be healthy, but from the standpoint of survey respondents, they don't work very well. To the question "Did this diet work for you?" the "no's" hugely outnumber the "yes's" for a whopping 16 of the 20 diets.

The four exceptions:

  • Weight Watchers (#6)
  • Vegetarian Diet (#9)
  • Eco-Atkins (#15)
  • Vegan (#16)

Diets are about maintaining or losing weight. This means balancing food energy against the amount of energy used in metabolism and activity. To lose weight, you have to eat less or move more or do both. It also helps to eat better and make healthier food choices.

All of the diets on the U.S. News list are based on healthy food choices. But these are the only four diets on the list that seem to help a majority of people to eat better and eat less.

Image: John T Takai/Shutterstock.

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This post also appears on Food Politics, an Atlantic partner site.

This article available online at:

http://www.theatlantic.com/health/archive/2011/11/the-only-4-diets-that-actually-help-people-to-eat-better-and-eat-less/247693/