Top 5 Diets: Lose Weight Before Spring

By Hilda Scott , Feb 27, 2013 02:17 PM EST

It's common knowledge that the right combination of healthy eating and exercise can help to shed pounds. With so many diets available, choosing an eating plan that's right for you can be confusing. A panel of health experts recently compared 29 diets and rated them based on effectiveness.The panel was made up of experts in diabetes, heart health, human behavior and weight loss. All of the diets were assessed based on short- and long-term weight loss results, safety, nutrition and how easy it was to follow. Comparing the overall structures of all 29 diets, five of them made it to the top of the list. Some of diets on the list may come as a surprise : 

#1 Dash Diet:

The Dash Diet is endorsed by the U.S. Department of Health and consists of consuming potassium, calcium, protein and fiber. Foods that are rich in these nutrients are said to have positive effects on fighting high blood pressure. High blood pressure can lead to heart disease, heart attack and stroke. Dash is often referred to as a "healthy heart" diet since it consists of eating lots of fruits and vegetables while minimizing the intake of saturated fat, salt and sugar.

#2 TLC Diet: 

Reducing high cholesterol is the main focus in the Therapeutic Lifestyle Changes (TLC) Diet. Created by the National Institutes of Health's National Cholesterol Program, the key feature of this diet is to significantly cut back on saturated fat. Staying away from fatty meats, whole milk and fried foods while adding more fiber will help to lower cholesterol.

#3 Mediterranean Diet

Studies show that the Mediterranean diet is proven to prevent heart disease. Additional benefits are that is prevents cancer and diabetes and can help people lose weight and keep it off. The diet includes a high consumption of extra virgin olive oil, fish and poultry, fruits, vegetables, nuts, legumes, low dairy intake, red meat and wine in moderation during mealtime. People who follow this diet along with an exercise regimen achieve great benefits.

#4 Mayo Clinic Diet:

Another heart-healthy diet, The Mayo Clinic Diet was designed by Mayo Clinic medical experts and focuses on key eating patterns. This diet keeps cholesterol and blood pressure at normal levels and is rich in fruit, vegetable and whole grain consumption. This diet is said to lower the risk of heart disease and allows the light use of saturated fat and salt.

#5 Weight Watchers:

Weight Watchers is not about calorie counting and is more about dieting. Point values are assigned to foods under the PointsPlus program based on the content of protein, carbs, fat, fiber and calories. There is no fixed membership period and the diet is customized based on gender, weight, height and age. Each person is given a PointsPlus target and can eat whatever s/he wants as long as s/he sticks to a daily PointsPlus target. Many celebrities have credited their weight loss to Weight Watchers, including Charles Barkley, Mariah Carey and Jennifer Hudson. 

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