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What Are the Best Diets Around? US News Weighs In

Ryan | June 20th, 2012

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According to the annual ranking report from US News, the best diets available to Americans in 2012 include the DASH diet, the TLC diet, and the Ornish diet. Though each was created for its own unique health or weight loss goals, all of them establish similar guidelines for participants, including a balanced diet of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and lean meats, reducing saturated fats and sugars, and incorporating some kind of exercise program.

The primary goal for many of the US News Best Diets is to improve cardiovascular health, lower cholesterol and blood pressure, and reduce the risk of heart disease or heart failure. Many of these diets, however, can be easily adapted to suit further goals of rapid weight loss or to help resolve type 2 diabetes.

DASH diet

The DASH (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension) diet was devised by the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI) to help at-risk patients lower their blood pressure. It aims to establish healthy, long-term eating habits that focus on increasing calcium, potassium, fiber, and protein, while dramatically restricting salt consumption.

The DASH diet is self supervised, and so can be demanding in terms of time and discipline. Dieters must do their own food research, and plan out their weekly meal programs in advance to make sure they are meeting their nutrition and calorie requirements. DASH isn’t constructed to help people lose weight, though a “calorie deficit” variation helps dieters decrease their total caloric intake, and fat-burning aerobic exercise is recommended.

TLC diet

The goal of the Therapeutic Lifestyle Changes diet (TLC) is to lower cholesterol by implementing a low-fat diet. Specifically, it promises to lower a patient’s so-called “bad” LDL cholesterol levels by 8-10% in six weeks. Dieters focus on strictly limiting their intake of saturated fats (fried foods, whole-milk dairy, fatty meats, etc.), while selecting daily meals that are high in heart-healthy fiber.

Though the TLC diet has demonstrated strong results in lowering people’s cholesterol, it requires dieters to determine their own daily calorie thresholds, put together their own meal plans, and interpret food labels for themselves.

The TLC diet was not specifically developed for weight loss. Dieters with rapid weight loss goals will have to customize the TLC diet in order to meet these additional needs.

Ornish diet

Developed by Dean Ornish, a professor of medicine at the University of California, this holistic health plan includes an all-purpose diet whose parameters are flexible enough to allow participants to meet their own individual health needs, such as lowering cholesterol, fighting diabetes, or just shedding pounds.

Ornish ranks foods on a scale of 1-5 in regard to their overall health value, allowing dieters to make their own decisions about what to eat. A major element in this program is stress reduction, which is achieved by deep breathing, meditation, or yoga.

Are the US News Best Diets the easiest way to lose weight?

Although these diets provide a great deal of helpful guidance, they also require individuals to construct their own nutrition plans and food menus, as well as maintain their own fitness program. This self-supervision can be a daunting task, especially for those who are dieting for the first time, or who have been unsuccessful with weight loss regimens in the past.

Another alternative: physician assisted weight loss programs

In recent years, physician assisted weight loss programs have been gaining momentum as an alternative to other branded diets. The Center for Medical Weight Loss (CMWL) is one of the largest group of physician assisted weight loss networks in the country. Founder and chief medical officer Dr. Michael Kaplan has overseen the development of 450 centers staffed by doctors who consult one-on-one with each patient, and design a personalized weight loss plan based on an individual’s metabolism rate, body composition analysis (BCA), medical history, and lifestyle.

A study appearing in the American Journal of Medicine reported that patients who treated with a CMWL doctor lost an average of 28 pounds in 12 weeks. “This is just the average weight loss,” says Dr. Kaplan. “If you’re heavy to begin with, you can expect to lose much more.”

Healthy diets yield results

Rapid weight loss should be just one goal when choosing the best diet for you. There are many other benefits to be had by adopting a healthy lifestyle.

“We see diabetic patients all the time who lose weight and no longer need insulin,” reports Dr. Kaplan. “When patients lose 5% – 10% of their body weight, it is a given that they will reduce their blood sugar significantly; many no longer need medication.”

For more information about the programs offered by The Center for Medical Weight Loss, visit their website here:  Center for Medical Weight Loss – How it works