In recent years, diet books have become bestsellers and there is no argument from the medical community that obesity is a major complication in many medical conditions, including the nation's number one killer, cardiovascular disease. A recent study at at the University of Massachusetts Medical School reviewed diet plans in view of how they affect heart health.
Researchers said that people can lose weight in the short term on any one of a number of diet plans, but their interest was in how well these plans do in reducing the risk of cardiovascular disease.
The plans were rated on dietary quality, such as the ratio of white to red meat, ratio of polyunsaturated fat to saturated fat, and quantities of fruit, vegetables, nuts, legumes, cereal fiber and trans fats, all of which are known to affect cardiovascular health.
The highest rating on the scale is 70 points. Here is the list of the top ten plans for heart health in order:
1. Ornish (64.6)
2. Weight Watchers High Carbohydrate (57.4)
3. New Glucose Revolution (57.2)
4. South Beach/Phase 2 (50.7)
5. Zone (49.8)
6. 2005 USDA Food Guide Pyramid (48.7)
7. Weight Watchers High Protein (47.3)
8. Atkins/100 g Carb (46)
9. South Beach/Phase 3 (45.6)
10. Atkins/45g Carb (42.3)
The study, “A Dietary Quality Comparison of Popular Weight-Loss Plans,” was published in the October issue of the Journal of the American Dietetic Association.