What is the ‘best diet’ for you?

Best Diet Overall -- The DASH Diet.  (Photo by Carl Court/Getty Images)
Best Diet Overall, Best Diet for Healthy Eating — The DASH Diet “Just emphasize the foods you’ve always been told to eat (fruits, veggies, whole grains, lean protein and low-fat dairy),” U.S. news and World Reports says, “while shunning those we’ve grown to love (calorie- and fat-laden sweets and red meat). Top it all off by cutting back on salt, and voilà!” (Photo by Carl Court/Getty Images) (Getty Images/Carl Court)
Best Weight-Loss Diet: The Weight Watchers Diet
Best Weight-Loss Diet: Weight Watchers  There’s more to weight loss than counting calories – if you make healthy choices that fill you up, you’ll eat less.” (Getty Images/Wolterk) (Getty Images/Wolterk)
Best Commercial Diet -- The Mayo Clinic Diet
No food group is completely off-limits – you’re developing a pattern of healthy eating you’ll follow for life. (Getty Images/iStockphoto/Serenethos)
Best Commercial Diet — The Mayo Clinic DietNo food group is completely off-limits – you’re developing a pattern of healthy eating you’ll follow for life.” (Getty Images/iStockphoto/Serenethos) (Getty Images/iStockphoto/Serenethos)
SALISBURY, ENGLAND - JULY 19:   A field of oats grows in the chalk downlands on July 19, 2005 south of Salisbury, England.  The future shape of Britain's farming industry lies in the balance as European leaders dispute the levels of subsidy currently paid under the terms of the European Union's Common Agricultural Policy.  (Photo by Scott Barbour/Getty Images)
Best Diabetes Diet — The Fertility Diet Whole grains, such as oats, are one of the keys, U.S. News says. (Photo by Scott Barbour/Getty Images) (Getty Images/Scott Barbour)
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Best Diet for Fast Weight Loss — The Biggest Loser Diet It’s not complicated, U.S. News says: “Eat regular meals that emphasize filling calories from fruits, vegetables, lean protein sources, and whole grains; practice portion control; use a food journal; and get up off the sofa.”   Left to right, Lauren Lee and her mother, Gail Lee, both lost nearly 90 pounds on “The Biggest Loser.” Lauren ran the Marine Corps Historic Half, while her mother ran the Semper Fred 5K. (WTOP/Kathy Stewart)
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Best Heart-Healthy Diet — The Ornish Diet “Only 10 percent of calories can come from fat, very little of it saturated. Most foods with any cholesterol or refined carbohydrates, oils, excessive caffeine and nearly all animal products besides egg whites and one cup per day of nonfat milk or yogurt are banned, though the plan is beginning to include seeds and nuts,” U.S. News says. (WTOP/Rachel Nania)
Best Plant-Based Diet — The Mediterranean Diet “It’s generally accepted that the folks in the countries bordering the Mediterranean Sea live longer and suffer less than most Americans from cancer and cardiovascular ailments,” U.S. News says. “The not-so-surprising secret is an active lifestyle, weight control and a diet low in red meat, sugar and saturated fat and high in produce, nuts and other healthful foods.” (WTOP/Rachel Nania) (WTOP/Rachel Nania)
(Thinkstock)
Easiest Diet to Follow — The MIND Diet “The MIND diet takes two proven diets ­­– DASH and Mediterranean – and zeroes in on the foods in each that specifically affect brain health,” U.S. News says. “The emphasis is on eating from 10 brain-healthy food groups: green leafy vegetables in particular, all other vegetables, nuts, berries, beans, whole grains, fish, poultry, olive oil and wine. Meanwhile, MIND adherents avoid foods from the five unhealthy groups: red meats, butter and stick margarine, cheeses, pastries and sweets, and fried or fast food.” (Thinkstock) (Thinkstock)
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Best Diet Overall -- The DASH Diet.  (Photo by Carl Court/Getty Images)
Best Weight-Loss Diet: The Weight Watchers Diet
Best Commercial Diet -- The Mayo Clinic Diet
No food group is completely off-limits – you’re developing a pattern of healthy eating you’ll follow for life. (Getty Images/iStockphoto/Serenethos)
SALISBURY, ENGLAND - JULY 19:   A field of oats grows in the chalk downlands on July 19, 2005 south of Salisbury, England.  The future shape of Britain's farming industry lies in the balance as European leaders dispute the levels of subsidy currently paid under the terms of the European Union's Common Agricultural Policy.  (Photo by Scott Barbour/Getty Images)
lee640.jpg
Squash.JPG
(Thinkstock)

What makes a diet best? In Best Diets 2016, the latest set of exclusive rankings from U.S. News, the DASH diet beat out 37 others, including Atkins, Jenny Craig and Slim-Fast, to win the “Best Diets Overall” crown. Among the 17 commercial diet programs marketed to the public, Weight Watchers and the Mayo Clinic Diet came out on top. (Our methodology explains how.) We also ranked the diets on likelihood of weight loss, ability to prevent and control diabetes and heart disease, healthiness and how easy they are to follow.

Our analysis puts hard numbers on the common-sense belief that no diet is ideal for everybody.

Take DASH, the Best Diets Overall winner. It wasn’t created as a way to drop pounds, but as a means of combating high blood pressure (it stands for Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension). The federal government, which funded the research behind DASH, doesn’t even call it a diet — it’s an “eating plan.” If losing weight is your No. 1 goal, a diet in our Best Weight-Loss Diets rankings would be a more likely choice. Or if you have diabetes, you might want to look especially hard at Best Diabetes Diets.

That’s why we’re giving you lots of tools. Each diet was scored by a panel of experts in short-term and long-term weight loss, on how easy it is to follow, how well it conforms to current nutrition standards and on health risks it may pose — plus its soundness as a diabetes and as a heart diet.

Besides the rankings and data, each diet has a detailed profile that tells you how it works, what evidence supports (or refutes) its claims, a nutritional snapshot — right down to daily milligrams of potassium — and, of course, a close look at the food you’d eat, with photos. All of it is reliable and easy to understand.

These tools will be at least a start at helping you, your mother, your brother — whomever — find that elusive perfect-for-me diet. Once you’ve whittled down your eligible diets to a few, consider your personality and lifestyle. If you’re a foodie, you probably won’t be happy with a plan built around frozen dinners, such as Nutrisystem and Jenny Craig, or mostly just-add-water meals, like Medifast. If cutting carbs will make you cranky and resentful, you’ll want to stay away from low-carb diets such as Atkins and South Beach.

Then think about what did and didn’t work the last time you were on a diet. Was it too restrictive? Lots of diets we covered don’t consider any food off-limits. Didn’t provide enough structure? Some plans will tell you exactly what to eat and when.

With any diet, ask yourself: How long can I stay on this? No matter how good it looks — or how good it might make you look — if you can’t stick with it in the long run, you’ll be right back where you started after a couple months.

And consider physical activity — an important component of any healthy lifestyle. Does your plan lay out a specific exercise program, or are you on your own?

The questions are endless. Right now, you may have no idea what will or won’t work for you. That’s what we’re here for. We’re not going to tell you what diet you should be on, but we can help lead you to a winner — the Best Diet for you.

Here’s which diets came out on top in the nine different ranking lists:

Best Diets Overall

1. DASH Diet

2. MIND Diet (tie)

2. TLC Diet (tie)

Best Weight-Loss Diets

1. Weight Watchers

2. HMR Program

Best Fast Weight-Loss Diets

1. Biggest Loser (tie)

1. HMR Program (tie)

Best Diabetes Diets

1. Fertility Diet

2. Biggest Loser (tie)

2. DASH Diet (tie)

Best Heart-Healthy Diets

1. Ornish Diet

2. TLC Diet

Best Commercial Diet Plans

1. Mayo Clinic Diet (tie)

1. Weight Watchers (tie)

Best Diets for Healthy Eating

1. DASH Diet

2. TLC Diet

Easiest Diets to Follow

1. Fertility Diet (tie)

1. MIND Diet (tie)

1. Weight Watchers (tie)

Best Plant-Based Diets

1. Mediterranean

2. Flexitarian

More from U.S. News

How to Lose 50 Pounds Without Really Trying

9 Foods Packed With Potassium

5 Extreme Diets You Shouldn’t Try

What Is the ‘Best Diet’ for You? originally appeared on usnews.com

Update 01/05/16: This is an updated version of a previously published story.

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