For the third year in a row, the DASH Diet Eating Plan has been named the best overall diet by U.S. News & World Report .
Each year, the publication asks experts to rank more than 25 diet plans to help consumers make informed decisions about nutrition.
"To be top-rated, a diet had to be relatively easy to follow, nutritious, safe and effective for weight loss and against diabetes and heart disease," according to U.S. News & World Report. DASH, or Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension, was developed by the National Institutes of Health for people with high blood pressure. But it is also effective in lowering cholesterol and reducing your risk for heart disease, stroke, kidney stones and diabetes, its website states.
Unlike many diet plans, DASH doesn't cut out or extremely restrict certain foods. Its focus is on limiting your daily sodium intake. The meal plan has three whole-grain products each day, four to six servings of vegetables, four to six servings of fruit, two to four servings of dairy products and several servings each of lean meats and nuts/seeds/legumes.
"It certainly looked like an all-star to our panel of experts," U.S. News & World Report wrote. "Though obscure, it beat out a field full of better-known diets."
Following DASH on the list was the Therapeutic Lifestyle Changes (TLC) Diet, which also was created by the National Institutes of Health. Next in line were the Mayo Clinic Diet, the Mediterranean Diet and Weight Watchers -- all tied for third place.
U.S. News & World Report also published several other lists, including best weight-loss diets, best diabetes diets, best commercial diet plans and easiest diets to follow.
Weight Watchers topped best weight-loss, best commercial diet plan and easiest to follow lists. Also high on several lists were the Jenny Craig plan and "The Biggest Loser" plan.