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||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|
|Biggest Loser Diet||9||2||1||11||3||11||11||N/A|
|Raw Food Diet||29||2||23||21||N/A||31||32||11|
|Spark Solution Diet||13||6||15||19||4||13||20||N/A|
|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|
|South Beach Diet||18||15||25||20||8||21||12||N/A|
|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|
|Acid Alkaline Diet||27||31||30||27||N/A||24||25||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.