The DASH diet was rated the best diet plan of 2014 in U.S. News & World Report's "Best Diets Overall" list.
In a surprising twist, the Paleo diet — which was the most popular diet of 2013 — was ranked last, tying with the Dukan diet, which one expert blasted as "idiotic."
The rankings were based on evaluations by experts who assessed 32 diet plans for their convenience, effectiveness for weight loss, nutritional density and protectiveness against heart disease and diabetes.
The DASH (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension) plan was rated the best overall diet for the fourth consecutive year, receiving a rating of 4.1 out of 5 stars.
Experts rated the DASH diet is the most effective for weight loss, and for protecting against diabetes and heart disease. "It’s the most nutritionally complete,” said U.S. News reporter Angela Haupt.
The DASH diet, which is similar to the Mediterranean diet, emphasizes eating lots of vegetables, fruits, whole grains, dairy, lean meats and nuts, seeds and legumes. Experts said it's not too restrictive and mainly limits sodium intake.
Meanwhile, the Paleo diet — whose adherents include supermodel Adriana Lima, NBA superstars Kobe Bryant and Ray Allen and actor Kellan Lutz — came in last. The low-carb eating plan received 2 out of 5 stars.
U.S. News & World Report experts slammed the Paleo diet as inconvenient, expensive, and said there wasn't enough research supporting its effectiveness for weight loss or for preventing heart disease and diabetes.
“A true Paleo diet might be a great option: very lean, pure meats, lots of wild plants,” said one expert, who added that such a diet is difficult to replicate in modern times.
The 2014 Best Diets Overall List:
1. DASH diet
2. TLC diet (Therapeutic Lifestyle Changes)
3. Mayo Clinic diet (tie)
3. Weight Watchers (tie)
6. Volumetrics (tie)
8. Jenny Craig
9. Dean Ornish diet (tie)
11. Traditional Asian diet
11. Vegetarian (tie)
13. Slimfast (tie)
13. Spark Solution diet (tie)
16. Flat Belly diet
16. Nutrisystem (tie)
18. Abs diet
18. Engine 2 diet (tie)
18. South Beach diet (tie)
18. Vegan diet (tie)
22. Eco-Atkins diet
22. Glycemic index diet (tie)
22. Zone diet (tie)
25. Macrobiotic diet
25. Medifast (tie)
28. The Fast diet (or 5:2 diet)
29. Atkins diet
29. Raw food diet
31. Paleo diet (tie)