Jan 14, 2015 1:00 AM

Author: Libby Mitchell


The beginning of a new year is when many people try to change their eating habits in hopes of a slimmer waist line, and better health in general. Not all diets are created equal though, so for the fifth year U.S. News and World Report put together a panel of experts to review some popular diets and give their recommendations. “The DASH diet was deemed the best overall ‘diet’ for the 5th straight year,” says Katherine Beals, an associate professor with University of Utah Health’s Division of Nutrition, who was on the panel. The DASH diet was designed to prevent and lower high blood pressure in participants. The panel also found it helped with long and short term weight loss, and could be followed by pretty much everyone.

Diets like the popular paleo diet, the raw food diet and the low carb Atkins plans all got low marks from the expert panel. Beals says it’s because they all displayed common red flags when it comes to nutrition. “Any diet that limits or restricts whole food groups or promises rapid weight loss should be avoided,” she says. “Also, stay away from those that require extensive use of supplements or food replacements like shakes or bars.” Not surprisingly, the Medifast diet also ranked low.

Beals says the real key to weight loss is not to go on a diet at all. “The biggest pitfall with diets is that people go ‘on them’ inferring that at some point they will go ‘off them,’” she says. “The only way to lose weight and keep it off is to make permanent changes in your eating behaviors and exercise patterns.  The minute you go back to your old behaviors and patterns, the weight will come right back.  For a diet to be effective it has to be something that you will follow for a lifetime.”


Libby Mitchell

Libby Mitchell is the Social Media Coordinator for University of Utah Health Care. Follow her on Twitter @UUHCLibby.

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