What We’re Reading: DASH Diet Comes Out on Top

Every year, tens of millions of Americans go on diets, spending between $1 billion and $2 billion on products from the diet industry. But how effective are these diets? Recently, an independent panel of 22 nutritionists, dietitians, and heart and diabetes specialists reviewed and ranked various commercial and noncommercial diets based on their healthfulness both for conditions such as heart disease and diabetes as well as in general.

For people with diabetes, the DASH diet provided the most benefits, followed by the Mayo Clinic, Ornish, and vegan diets. DASH also came out on top for the best overall diet, with “high marks for its nutritional completeness, safety, ability to prevent or control diabetes, and role in supporting heart health,” according to US News and World Report, the group that published the ranking.

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To see the full rankings for commercial and weight-loss diets, you can visit this page. And for a full ranking of the diets best for people with diabetes, click here. Each list explains the various diets that were evaluated and even allows you to give feedback on your experience with them.

Have you tried any of these diets? Let us know what you think!

This blog entry was written by former Web Intern Helen Zhu.

  • Natalie Sera

    I haven’t tried any specific diet by following it to the letter, because I’m a picky eater, and constrained by a significant number of foods that I just can’t tolerate. However, I have eliminated low-nutrition carbs, and am getting my carbs from dairy, nuts and those vegetables which I can tolerate. I have NOT been limiting protein or any kind of fat. I use no added sucrose or salt.

    The results on my last checkup were the best lipid panel I have ever in my life gotten, including a VLDL count in the normal range for the first time in my life. I’ve lost about 30 lb., but have gained subcutaneous fat (apparently protective), so that means I MUST have lost visceral fat. My last A1c was 5.8, which is the lowest I’ve had in 20 years of diabetes, and I am experiencing much less variability in my BGs.

    So I am not convinced that we really need grains or fruit — we can get phytochemicals from vegetables, and plenty of nutrients come from dairy, eggs and meat. And I don’t really trust medical evaluations that don’t quote the studies, but are merely opinions according to “received wisdom”.

  • Steve Parker, M.D.

    The DASH diet is known for its ability to control diabetes? That’s news to me – I’ll have to review the scientific literature. Compared to the standard American diet, it should be better since it would have a lower glycemic index.

    Regarding the expert panel at hand: they are comparing apples and oranges. The headlines imply it’s all about weight loss. Diets like DASH and the Mediterranean diet are primarily for better health, not weight loss.

    -Steve

  • calgarydiabetic

    If you look at the answers to the question Did this diet help you?

    DASH yes = 196 no = 765

    Weight watchers yes = 3200 and no = 1208.

  • John_C

    Not surprised at all by Natalie’s great results.

    I went on what I now call my Mediterranean Low Carb Diet years ago and it sure improved my outlook on life — well actually it probably saved my life..

    Nice side effect is that it cut my insulin requirement down to a fraction of what was required on a high carb diet. No weight problem and no dieting either — A1c is in the 5s.