[By Jenny Hardy]

Another year, another five new fad diets are launched. Over the year, our editorial team have seen diets come and go. Some are mildly inspiring while others are downright dubious. Before you hop onto another new-fangled diet plan, check our Ready Set Beauty’s ranking for the top 5 diets to date.

It is important to remember that weight lost doesn’t always equal health gained. That new diet that took inches off your waistline could be harming your health if it locks out or severely restricts entire food groups, like carbs, or relies on supplements with little scientific backing, or clamps down on calories to an extreme.

In the ranking below, our editorial team has put themselves through the diets for a period of 10 weeks, and we have based the rankings on weight loss, fat percentage loss, blood pressure readings, blood sugar readings, overall wellness and ease of adhering to the diet plan. While some parameters such as overall wellness may be purely subjective, it gives us a sense of which diets drains you of energy while others allow you to feel balanced and satiated. Diets are meant to be followed as a long term lifestyle choice, so it makes sense that a diet that makes you feel good will be the one that you will stick with it in the long term. Some diets may look good on paper restricts the dieter so severely that it would not be feasible to adhere to it for more than a few months.

“We wanted to be realistic about what the diets really help us achieve. After this exercise, I must admit that some of the stringent diets were actually not the best diets in the long run. Some diets that advocated small sensible changes actually worked out better” says Claire Lim, our beauty writer.

“People are so desperate to lose weight that it’s really weight loss at any cost that normal thinking goes out the window” says Collete Lim.

“If you have reservations about a diet’s nutritional content or safety, listen to your body. Fatigue, sleeplessness, dizziness, aches — they’re all red flags” says Dr Kenneth Lee from The Sloane Clinic  “Losing weight is for good health, so you should feel more vital — not bad.”

DASH DIET

Rating:  9/10

Also named, best US News diet, our panel loved the diet for their nutritional completeness and safety.

Key Features:  In addition to being a low salt (or low sodium) plan, the DASH diet provides additional benefits to reduce blood pressure. It is based on an eating plan rich in fruits and vegetables, and low-fat or non-fat dairy, with whole grains. It is a high fiber, low to moderate fat diet, rich in potasium, calcium, and magnesium.

Additional benefits: It helps to lower blood pressure and cholesterol, and is associated with lower risk of several types of cancer, heart disease, stroke, heart failure, kidney stones, and reduced risk of developing diabetes. You actually become healthier as you lose weight.

TLC Diet

Rating: 8.5/10

Developed by the National Institutes of Health, the Therapeutic Lifestyle Changes (TLC) diet nearly matches the DASH Diet for healthiness.

Key Features: Referred to as the Therapeutic Lifestyle Changes diet, the TLC Diet allows one to observe the amount of cholesterol that they take in order to help the body effectively regulate its metabolism and energy building process. Because it works such a system, there are specific guidelines that one has to follow to allow the TLC Diet to be effective. This will involve a close monitoring of one’s cholesterol intake, which would have one taking less than 7% of the total calories for the day from saturated fat. The TLC Diet will also involve getting one’s daily total calories to less than 25 35%, and will have one looking after to receiving only cholesterol intakes of 200. milligrams a day.

Additional benefits: Like the DASH diet, it is beneficial for lowering cholesterol and blood pressure.

Mediterranean Diet

Rating: 8/10

Our panel loved this diet for its versatility. A glass or two a day of red wine is encouraged so you can drink to each other’s heath and continue this diet even during festive periods.

Key Features: A Mediterranean buffet will showcase foods like whole-grain pita and hummus, salads, fresh fruits and veggies, salmon, and beneficial fats like olive oil. A recent study published in The New England Journal of Medicine showed that a restricted-calorie Mediterranean diet (as well as a low-carb diet) could be even more effective for weight loss than a low-fat diet, while also offering other health benefits.

Key benefits: Recently, a large study published in journal BMJ showed that healthy people who followed a Mediterranean diet had a lower risk of developing type 2 diabetes. A diet rich in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, nuts, beans, and seeds provides thousands of micronutrients, antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals that can help protect against cancer, heart disease, and Alzheimer’s disease, among other conditions, experts say.

The Sloane Diet

Rating: 8/10

Our panel found that the supplements ensured that all nutritional needs are met. The versatility of this diet also meant that it was the most flexible of the lot and can be easily adjusted to suit one’s lifestyle.

Key Features: This diet is based on calorie restriction, with the remaining calories selected from quality, highly nutritious sources. The diet allows the dieter to select foods from various sources while restricting the overall quantity. There is daily supplementation of vitamins and meal replacement sachets at selected meal times.

Additional benefit: Calorie restriction is a strategy proven to extend healthy and maximum life span. Some animal studies conducted over the past 20 years have shown up to a 40% increase in maximum life span. Calorie restriction also provides numerous secondary benefits, such as a greatly lowered risk for most degenerative conditions of aging, and improved measures of general health. In recent years, human studies have demonstrated that these same secondary health benefits are available to you and I, not just to laboratory animals. Many researchers believe that the evidence to date shows the practice of Calorie Restriction will, in addition to weight control, extend the healthy human life span.

More information at www.sloanediet.com

May Clinic Diet

Rating: 7.5/10

You’re in good hands with this diet developed by Mayo Clinic in USA.

Key Features: Our panel enjoyed the plan’s unique eating pyramid, which promotes foods with low energy density (you can eat more but take in fewer calories) like fruits and veggies. This diet with two main parts, aptly called “Lose it” and “Live it” is one that can be followed for life.

Additional Benefits: The Mayo Clinic Diet says that making healthy changes in diet and exercise can reduce your risk of weight-related health problems, such as diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure and sleep apnea.

More information at www.mayoclinic.com

 

* Selected as Article of the Month Feb 2012*

 

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3 thoughts on “The Top 5 Diets for 2012”

  1. Fantastic rating! it is good to know that not all diets are safe nor sound. I am definitely going to try out one or two of the above diets, though it is a little difficult to do the Mediterranean diet as I live in Malaysia!

  2. I have never heard of the DASH diet but i am glad i now have. I am guilty of trying some of the so-called fad diets over the years, and i must warn readers out there that any weight loss is only temporary. It is far better to chose a sustainable diet that can evoke a long term lifestyle change. Thanks RSB!

  3. Awesome Article! I feel that i can finally lose that extra pounds after the Chinese New Year with some of the diets above! Thanks again

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