The best diet isn't paleo. Nor is it vegetarianism. It's not Weight Watchers, South Beach, Atkins or going vegan, either.
Nope, according to a recent report in U.S. News and World Report, the best diet is actually the DASH diet.
The report ranks 38 popular diets based on scores from a panel of nutrition experts. The "best" are defined as diets that are "easy to follow, nutritious, safe and effective for weight loss and preventing diabetes and heart disease."
The DASH diet came in with an overall score of 4.2 out of 5, narrowly edging out the Mediterranean diet and the Mayo Clinic diet.
What makes the DASH diet so great?
Initially designed by the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute to prevent and lower high blood pressure, the DASH diet is heavy on fruits, veggies, whole grains, lean protein and low-fat dairy. It also aims to cut down on sodium, added sugars and red meat. You can read more about the specifics here.
U.S. News explained why the DASH diet captured the top spot:
DASH was developed to fight high blood pressure, not as an all-purpose diet. But it certainly looked like an all-star to our panel of experts, who gave it high marks for its nutritional completeness, safety, ability to prevent or control diabetes and its role in supporting heart health. Though relatively obscure, it beat out a field full of better-known diets. One expert described the diet as a "well balanced, thorough approach to weight loss."
As for the worst diets, the Whole30 Diet ranked dead last.
The Whole30 diet requires you to cut out all traces of sugar, alcohol, grains, dairy and legumes for 30 days before slowly reintroducing each of them into your system. Based on your reaction to their reintroduction, you'll supposedly know what foods you should avoid for good. "According to our panelists, the Whole30 diet might as well be called the biggest loser. Complaints about its absence of scientific support; its severely restrictive nature; its elimination of whole grains, legumes and dairy; and its short-term approach and long-term promises landed this diet in last place overall," the report authors write.
You can read the full report here.