World’s best diets 2015: DASH ticked all the healthy boxes yet again for top spot

Lay it on your plate: the world's best diets.

Lay it on your plate: the world’s best diets.

It was a dash to finish first. Well, sort of.

Once again the DASH diet took out top honours in the annual US News and World report.

DASH, which stands for Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension, and which was formulated by the US National Institutes of Health, has won top spot every year since 2011.

“To be top-rated, a diet had to be relatively easy to follow, nutritious, safe, effective for weight loss and protective against diabetes and heart disease,” the report states.

Developed to lower blood pressure without medication, the diet’s emphasis on grains, low fat and a provision for sugar is at odds with the behemothly popular, but controversial Paleo diet, which was ranked last.

Like last year, the 22 health and nutrition experts, ravaged Paleo.

“Experts took issue with the diet on every measure,” the report states. “Regardless of the goal – weight loss, heart health or finding a diet that’s easy to follow – most experts concluded that it would be better for dieters to look elsewhere.”

Dieters looking elsewhere however are advised to look straight past the Dukan diet, which was ranked equal last and which one expert referred to as “idiotic”.

 The panel had kinder words to say about some of the other 35 diets examined, which include the raw diet, Biggest Loser diet and Michael Mosley’s Fast Diet.

Interestingly – shockingly – Paleo and Dukan, Fast Diet and Atkins rate worse than the Slim-Fast Diet – that’s the one where you have meal replacement bars or shakes.

“Slim-Fast is a reasonable approach to dieting, experts concluded,” the report reads. “It outscored a number of competitors on weight loss and as a diabetes diet, and being highly structured, it’s fairly easy to follow.”

As well as looking at overall diets, the US News and World report looked at best diets for healthy eating and best weight loss diets, among other things.

The Therapeutic Lifestyle Changes Diet (TLC) diet, which involves choosing your calorie level based on your desired outcomes and limiting the calories you consume from saturated fat, came in second to DASH overall and in the healthy eating category.

Weight Watchers won the best weight-loss and commercial diet categories while the Mediterranean and Flexitarian diets were considered the best plant-based diets.

“Any diet will work if people follow them but the main issue is sustainability and often extreme strict regimes are difficult to follow long term,” says dietitian Susie Burrell.

“From a health perspective, eliminating food groups also has nutritional consequences which is what we see from a number of the lower ranked regimes which may not be the ‘sexy’ approach to diet, but calorie controlled, fresh food based plans are what work long term and what we know are the best for health long term. “