Flat Belly Diet? Paleo Diet? Biggest Loser Diet? With so many diets from which to choose, how does a dieter decide?

Fortunately for those looking to trim some fat, U.S. News and World Report has done the research already. Each year, the magazine and a panel of experts evaluate and rank the country’s most popular diets; this year, there were 32 diets reviewed.

To land in the upper ranks, a diet had to be relatively easy to follow, nutritious, safe and effective for weight loss as well as work against diabetes and heart disease. Along with the Best Diets Overall category, the report also further ranks the diets in specific categories including Best Weight Loss Diets, Best Diabetes Diets, Best Commercial Diet Plans, Best Heart-Healthy Diets, Best Diets for Healthy Eating, Easiest Diets to Follow and Best Plant-Based Diets.

The following are the top five for Best Diets Overall:

1. DASH Diet

For the fourth consecutive year, the DASH diet takes home the gold. Developed by the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute to help prevent and control blood pressure, the Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension (DASH) diet again wowed the experts for its “nutritional completeness, safety, ability to prevent or control diabetes, and role in supporting heart health.”

2. TLC Diet
Second place goes to the TLC (Therapeutic Lifestyle Changes) Diet, a low-fat plan created by the National Institutes of Health. It is excellent all around and is particularly good at promoting cardiovascular health; added bonus, it has more of a do-it-yourself approach which will appeal to those who get restless with more highly regimented diets.

3 (tie). Mayo Clinic Diet
In a three-way tie for third place, the Mayo Clinic Diet from the Mayo Clinic paves the way to make healthy eating a lifelong habit. The experts praised it for its “nutrition and safety and as a tool against diabetes.”

3 (tie). Mediterranean Diet
The Mediterranean Diet – a nutritional approach and lifestyle inspired by the traditional dietary patterns of Italy, Greece, Spain and Morocco – not only lets you pretend you're Sophia Loren (or Marcello Mastroianni), it encourages the consumption of lovely things like fresh produce, nuts, olive oil, fish and red wine. The report notes that it is “eminently sensible.” 

3 (tie). Weight Watchers
And next in the three-way tie for third place is Weight Watchers, the commercial diet plan which flew past the competition in several areas. Among its pluses, the report notes, are the emphasis on group support, plenty of fruits and vegetables, and an allowance for occasional treats.

To see the rest of the list, visit U.S News World and Report.

ABC News reports on the rankings in the video below:

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