How to Lose Weight: The Best Diets for Weight Loss

How to Lose Weight by Dieting: Diet Rankings

Figuring out how to lose weight is an ongoing problem that many face, and most people end up with some combination of diet and exercise. This can be complicated, considering the seeming millions of diets and exercise plans out there, but one place you can start is by considering diet rankings based on expert insights. U.S. News ranks some of the most popular diets each year. Here are the rankings for 2014, sorted by best diets for weight-loss.

Diet Rankings

Diet Overall Ranking Weight-Loss Diet Ranking Diabetes Diet Ranking Heart-Healthy Diet Ranking Commercial Diet Plan Ranking Healthy Eating Diet Ranking Easiest Diet Ranking Plant-Based Diet Ranking
Weight Watchers 3 1 15 13 1 6 1 N/A
Biggest Loser Diet 9 2 1 11 3 11 11 N/A
Jenny Craig 8 2 18 16 2 7 2 N/A
Raw Food Diet 29 2 23 21 N/A 31 32 11
Volumetrics 6 5 8 11 N/A 4 5 N/A
Atkins 29 6 25 30 12 31 20 N/A
Flexitarian Diet 6 6 3 7 N/A 8 3 2
Slim-Fast 13 6 12 21 4 17 5 N/A
Spark Solution Diet 13 6 15 19 4 13 20 N/A
Vegan Diet 18 6 3 5 N/A 24 27 7
DASH Diet 1 11 1 3 N/A 1 7 N/A
Eco-Atkins Diet 22 11 25 14 N/A 22 23 9
Engine 2 Diet 18 11 3 5 N/A 22 30 7
Mayo Clinic Diet 3 11 3 8 N/A 4 7 N/A
Mediterranean Diet 3 15 8 4 N/A 3 3 1
Ornish Diet 9 15 3 1 N/A 9 26 3
South Beach Diet 18 15 25 20 8 21 12 N/A
TLC Diet 2 15 12 2 N/A 2 10 N/A
Vegetarian Diet 11 19 8 8 N/A 11 14 4
Macrobiotic Diet 25 20 15 16 N/A 27 27 10
The Fast Diet 28 20 25 26 N/A 28 18 N/A
Traditional Asian Diet 11 20 12 14 N/A 9 12 4
Flat Belly Diet 16 23 19 16 6 15 14 N/A
Medifast 25 23 23 24 11 24 19 N/A
Nutrisystem 16 23 20 28 6 13 7 N/A
Abs Diet 18 26 20 24 8 20 17 N/A
Anti-Inflammatory Diet 13 26 8 8 N/A 16 14 6
Zone Diet 22 26 29 21 10 17 22 N/A
Dukan Diet 31 29 32 32 13 29 31 N/A
Glycemic-Index Diet 22 29 20 29 N/A 17 23 N/A
Acid Alkaline Diet 27 31 30 27 N/A 24 25 N/A
Paleo Diet 31 32 31 31 N/A 29 27 N/A

Source: NerdWallet Health analysis. U.S. News & World Report Best Diets 2014.

Diets to avoid

Some diets aren’t on the U.S. News rankings–and probably for good reason. Here are some controversial but popular diets.

  • HCG Diet: The hCG diet involves eating an ultra-low-calorie diet for 8 weeks at the same time as taking hCG, or human chorionic gonadotropin–the hormone that the female body produces during pregnancy. Most studies have found that weight loss resulting from this diet in fat has nothing to do with hCG, but rather the limited calorie intake that dieters follow. The Mayo Clinic claims that the diet is not safe, and warns against potential side effects of such calorie restrictions. Still further, the FDA has recommended against using over-the-counter hCG products for weight-loss.
  • Crash Diets: According to a physician at Mayo Clinic, those who practice drastic calorie reduction for crash dieting are more likely to regain the weight quickly–usually within six months from when you stop the crash diet. The NHS warns that crash diets can make you feel unwell, slow down your metabolism, and prevent you from getting important vitamins and nutrients.
  • Breatharian Diet: Followers of the breatharian diet claim to not need food because they can survive on air and sunlight. Maybe if you’re a plant, yes–but this isn’t so much a diet as it is elective starvation. Needless to say, the breatharian diet isn’t medically recommended.

Woman with food photo courtesy of Shutterstock.

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